All Things Astros and a whole lot more
It has been a crazy down and then up first half for the 2016 Houston Astros. Looking back at the first half – here are the awards for various categories and a runner-up certificate too.
Rookie of the Year. Michael Feliz. For about 10 days this looked like a sure-fire award for Tyler White. But in the end, the position players making their debuts, (White, Colin Moran, Tony Kemp and A.J. Reed) did not earn this award. Michael Feliz with his 6-1 record, his 1.050 WHIP and his 12.8 K/9 IP was the top rookie. His 4.28 ERA was skewed by giving up 9 runs in his first two appearances of the season.
Runner-up. Chris Devenski. Folks supporting Devenski for this award would have a point with his much steadier performance, his 2.30 ERA and his 1.057 WHIP. Feliz gets the nod here due to his use in much higher leverage situations, especially the number of times he held extra inning games at bay until the team finally scored.
MVP. Jose Altuve. He is leading the team in runs scored, hits, doubles, SBs, BA, OBP and OPS. He probably picks up the peanut wrappers on out of town flights, too. He has become a more patient hitter and has raised his OBP .039 over his previous career high and his OPS .124. He is the straw that stirs the drink.
Runner-up. Dead heat. George Springer and Carlos Correa – Springer has slightly better numbers overall. Correa gets some extra points for playing SS and for being only 21 years old. He has also been the key hitter for 6 of their 13 last at-bat wins this season.
Top Pitcher. Will Harris. If you ignore his outlier of an outing on Friday night (he gave up 4 of his measly 7 runs for the season in that 1/3 of an inning) he has been just outstanding. His 0.72 ERA and 9 out of 9 save opportunities heading into that game punched his ticket to the ASG Tuesday night. He has been absolutely reliable the whole season, one of the few players who has not been up and down.
Runner-up. Doug Fister. Despite his “Jered Weaver can’t break glass” fastball, Fister was the steadiest starter over the first half of the season, especially through the toughest times early on. He gave up 3 or less runs in 13 of his first 14 starts and gave the team a shot most times out, leading the team with a 8-6 record and putting up a rotation leading 3.55 ERA.
Comeback Player of the Year. Luis Valbuena. it is hard to decide whether to give this to him for his improvement over 2015 or his improvement over a nasty April. He bottomed out May 6 with a .174 BA / .528 OPS with no home runs and only four RBIs through the first 30 games. In the last two months he has put up a .304 BA/.955 OPS with 12 HRs and 33 RBIs, while playing a very good 3B.
Runner-up. Fister, who has come back from an injury riddled 2015 to be solid in 2016.
Disappointment of the Year. Dallas Keuchel. He is showing signs of finding himself in the last few weeks, but no one expected the Cy Young Award winner to lead the team in losses (9) or to have the worst ERA (4.80) among starters at the halfway mark.
Runner-up. Ken Giles. Similar to Keuchel, he has been straightening the ship lately after finishing April with a 9.00 ERA and May with a 6.33 ERA. His 1.72 ERA over his last 15 appearances is more like what was expected of him. Tony Sipp is pushing to take this runner-up tag away from Giles.
Most Professional and Under the Radar. Scott Feldman. Thinking back to how Lucas Harrell “responded” to being moved to the bullpen a few seasons ago, Feldman has pitched brilliantly in relief. His 1.61 ERA and 0.89 WHIP out of the pen have shown his professionalism in responding to his demotion to the bullpen.
Runner-up. Marwin Gonzalez. He is not hitting as well as the last two seasons, but continues to perform well no matter where he is placed in the field, at all 4 infield positions and LF on occasion. The Astros’ Swiss Army Knife brings value and consistency no matter how he is used.