Coming into 2018, it felt like the Astros MVP this season was likely going to be Carlos Correa or Jose Altuve. Correa has underperformed (against expectations) and has missed injury time during the season. Altuve, while still high in BA and hits is a bit down in clutch hits and power from 2017. The exercise today is to rate the Astros Top 10 so far this season.
#1 Alex Bregman. This is not just a homage to the young man after his Home Run Derby performance. He has become the most dangerous hitter in the lineup. He is leading the team in runs scored (67), doubles (31), home runs (20), RBIs (64), SLG (.539) and OPS (.928) and he walks (56) more times than he Ks (53). Oh and he is also #1 in WAR (4.8). When he comes up to bat, the fans expect an excellent at bat from the young man, especially in the clutch.
#2 Justin Verlander. Get past the 9-5 record. He is first in the AL in innings pitched (137.2), WHIP (0.835) and K/Walk (7.17). He is 4th in ERA (2.29), but only 0.06 behind the leader. He should have about 14 or more wins to date with normal hitting support. He gives the Astros an excellent outing almost every time out.
#3 Jose Altuve. He has played in all 99 games on the season, is headed for another 200+ hit season, is leading the team in BA (.332), OBP (.394), hits and stolen bases. The last couple of seasons he has set insane standards for himself that he is short of this time around, but he always seems to come up with a huge run sometime during the season.
#4 Gerrit Cole. On most teams, Cole would be the ace at 10-2 on the season. In the AL he is 6th in ERA (2.52), 4th in WHIP (0.986), 6th in IP (128.1) and 2nd in Ks (177). Like Verlander, he should have more wins, but he gives the Astros a solid chance every time he takes the mound.
#5 Yuli Gurriel. Some of his numbers are down a bit due to him missing 21 games on the season, but his great hitting in the clutch (.450 BA with RISP and .448 with RISP and 2 outs) has him in the top 5. He is hitting a robust .310 BA with a .340 OBP and his 52 RBIs in 78 games stand out.
#6 Charlie Morton. Considering there are 15 teams in the AL, Morton at 11-2 could easily be a #1 with quite a few of them. In the AL he is tied for 4th in wins (11), 9th in ERA (2.96), T 11th in WHIP (1.148) and T 3rd in K/9 IP (11.7). His only drawback is averaging 5.9 innings per start, but all teams would kill for getting this production out of a #3 for only $7 million.
#7 Carlos Correa. To this point in the season, he is having a down year. How much of that is due to his bad back? Who knows? But through 73 games played he had only 2 errors, which is tremendous for a shortstop. He is 4th on the team in BA (.268), and 3rd in OBP (.352) and OPS (.832). Even though he has missed 26 games, he is 4th in runs scored (46), home runs (13) and RBIs (49). If he can trend more towards his norm, he will give the Astros a big bat in the middle of the lineup down the stretch.
#8 George Springer. Sure, he has been in a terrible slump for the 6 weeks leading into the ASG, but recently he was showing signs of shaking it off. George is 2nd on the team in runs scored (63), 2nd in home runs (15) and 5th in RBIs (46). He needs to get that BA (.249) up in the .270-.280 range and his OPS (.749) over the .800 line.
#9 Collin McHugh. Collin has been the consummate pro in his shift to the bullpen. He is leading the Astro relievers in Wins (5), ERA (0.96), WHIP (0.707) and Inning pitched (46.2). He has given the team the superior performance and multi-inning outings that Brad Peacock and Chris Devenski gave them last season.
#10 Lance McCullers. He has not been as consistent as the three starters above him, but no one is going to complain about a 10-4 record and 3.77 ERA out of a 4th starter. He could climb this list with fewer stinkers and by pitching a bit deeper into games.
On the Cusp – If someone wanted to put DH Evan Gattis (19 home runs and 63 RBIs), RP Hector Rondon (1.57 ERA, 8 saves), or even Dallas Keuchel (7-8, 3.75 ERA, 122.1 IPs) towards the bottom of the top 10, there certainly could be an argument for that opinion.
Questions to you….
- Do you agree with the top 10?
- Do you agree with the order of the top 10?
- Anyone being left off you want to see up there?
- Anyone that should be dropped?
- Who will be #1 at the end of the season?