Looking at certain numbers, the Houston Astros offense may not seem that improved over 2016.
- In 2016 the Astros had two players with more than 100 runs scored (George Springer and Jose Altuve). So far they have no players on track for 100 Runs scored.
- In 2016 the Astros had four players with 20 or more HRs (Springer, Altuve, Carlos Correa and Evan Gattis). To date they have three players on track for more than 20 HRs (Brian McCann, Springer and Marwin Gonzalez) and good money should be bet on the fact that MarGo will not be over 20 at the end of the season.
- In 2016 the Astros had three players with more than 80 RBIs (Altuve, Correa and Springer). So far they have two guys (Springer and Gattis) on track for more than 80 RBIs.
- They are a little better in runs scored as a team as they were 8th in the AL in 2016 and are currently 6th in the AL in runs scored.
So, is the offense better this season than last? And is this more the type of offense that Jeff Luhnow was hoping for? The answer to both is yes.
Jeff Luhnow and the front office have a vision of how a team should produce the most efficient and best offense. That vision includes a good batting average, a very good on base percentage and OPS (on base + slugging) and low in Ks. Here is how the Astros have improved in all those areas.
- 2016 – 13 of 15 in AL in BA (.247) / 2017 – 1st (.273)
- 2016 – 8th in OBP (.313) / 2017 – 1st (.343)
- 2016 – 9th in OPS (.735) / 2017 – 2nd (.771)
- 2016 – 14th worst in Ks / 2017 – 3rd best in Ks
So, why are they not higher in runs scored? The best explanation is that it seemed to take them a little while to get their traction and incorporate all these new parts (McCann , Nori Aoki, Josh Reddick, and Carlos Beltran) into a cohesive unit. Indeed they started the season in an offensive funk scoring only 2.6 runs/game the first 8 games of the season. They have been on a tear ever since at 5.53 runs/game for the last 15 games. And it is not like they are riding some bat that has put up 8 HR and 15 RBis in those games. They have been on a run despite the fact that Alex Bregman has not hit a HR, Correa has been in a funk that he is just starting to hit his way out of and with Springer missing games with his hamstring injury.
Right now the Astros look like they will have a very balanced lineup that will be tough from one end to the other.
Here is a comparison between a lineup from late April 2016 and Friday night’s Astros lineup
|Altuve – 2B||Springer – CF|
|Springer – RF||Reddick – RF|
|Correa – SS||Altuve – 2B|
|Colby Rasmus – CF||Correa – SS|
|Gattis – DH||Beltran – DH|
|Tyler White – 1B||Yulieski Gurriel – 1B|
|Preston Tucker – LF||Gattis – C|
|Luis Valbuena – 3B||Bregman – 3B|
|Jason Castro – C||Aoki – LF|
I’ll give you one good guess which lineup is less of a black hole as you get to the second half of it and that is with Brian McCann sitting out this particular game this year and Carlos Gomez sitting out that particular game last year.
So how do you feel about the offense that this front office has built for 2017?