Everyone in the world not only has the opportunity, but also the need for improvement in their jobs and in their home lives. Similarly, young and rich baseball players have the same kind of need, no matter how young and how rich they may be for showing improvement on the field. Today’s effort is to look at some of the 2017 Astros and choose an area for them to work on during spring training and throughout this season. So without further discussion….
Jose Altuve. This feels like a finger painter critiquing Cezanne….could he get taller? No? Then how about returning to the Altuve who tattoed LHP for .372 BA/.431 OBP/ .973 OPS in 2015? He was a pedestrian (for him) .306 BA/ .391 OBP/ .885 OPS against the lefties in 2016.
George Springer. The gut reaction is to ask big George to cut down on that human windmill act and strike out less. A noble goal, but it is probably a futile request. So instead, a fella with his speed and smarts has no business getting thrown out stealing more than half the time (9 for 19 in SBs). Tighten that up please. Oh and sure – if he could cut down that 24% K rate everyone would be ecstatic.
Collin McHugh. One of the striking differences between last season when he was mediocre and previous seasons was Collin’s ability to get out left handed hitters. In 2016 lefties put up a robust .291 BA /.804 OPS against him as compared to .235/.648 in 2015 and .220/.609 in 2014. (Also if he could get back to his 2014 .190/.556 against righties that would not hurt).
Carlos Correa. A right handed hitter as good as Carlos is should never hit .236 BA against LHPs like he did in 2016. Get back to using the whole field against lefties Mr. Correa.
Yulieski Gurriel. He certainly doesn’t have to be a 30 HR guy, but as a corner infield he needs to show more pop than he did in a small sample last season and he needs to draw walks. A .262 BA in 2016 was solid; a .292 OBP was poor and a .385 SLG was bad.
Lance McCullers Jr. The easy area to point at would be health but that is a hard thing to work on in ST. Instead the wunderkind needs to cut back on baserunners allowed. His WHIP from 2016 looks like something from circa 2013 Jordan Lyles (1.543) ….. Yes his great stuff kept his ERA sparkling, but the baserunners ran up his pitch count and put extra strain on the young man’s arm. He walked more batters in 2016 than in 2015 in 2/3 the innings. Did the injury lead to the runners or did the runners and extra pitches lead to the injury?
Dallas Keuchel. Better communication skills on how he is feeling.
Josh Reddick. He was awful against LHP in 2016 with a .155 BA / .366 OPS and yes it would help if they don’t start him often against lefties. But you also can’t pinch hit for him every time a lefty pitcher comes into the game. He needs to aim for his so-so career numbers against lefties .218 BA / .640 OPS.
Ken Giles. In 115.2 mlb innings leading into 2016, Giles had given up 3 HRs. In 65.2 IP in 2016 he gave up 8 HRs and he gave up 15 of his 32 runs for the season in those 8 appearances. He needs to figure out how to keep it in the ball park.
Jake Marisnick, Tyler White, Preston Tucker, A.J. Reed, Tony Kemp, Colin Moran. Except for a 2 week hot spot for Tyler and a warm July for Jake, these guys were really bad in their time in the majors last season. If and when they get called upon they need to be more positive than negative in their value to the team this season. They need to work on not looking overmatched and/or scared at the plate.
There are obviously other folks to critique here and that assignment is given to you.
Of other folks likely on the team, plus the manager, GM, owner, and coaches what areas for improvement do you want them to work on this season?