Astros’ offense: The black hole of 2016 returns

One of the wonders of the Houston Astros wonderful 2017 offense was the strength up and down the lineup. Even the weak link, DH Carlos Beltran put the ball in play and moved the runners over or hit a sacrifice fly once in a while. The Astros were first in almost everything (Runs, hits, BA, OBP, SLG, OPS) and were a true juggernaut. This season…..not so much.

One of the biggest differences in 2017 from 2016 was the “length” of the lineup. In 2016, there was not much behind the top three players for the Astros (Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and George Springer). Carlos Gomez (.210 BA.594 OPS), Colby Rasmus (.206/.641), Jason Castro (.210/.684), Marwin Gonzalez (.254/.694) and Jake Marisnick (.210/.588) were all rally killers. 3B/1B Luis Valbuena was decent but only played 90 games and DH Evan Gattis did good things intertwined with interminable slumps. It seemed as if the team did not do something involving the top three, they were just as likely to do nothing in the games.

Sounds familiar. Even though the Astros are still number three in the AL in runs scored and top two to four in BA/OBP/SLG/OPS – there are serious underlying issues with their lineup.

  • George Springer. Was in a swamp deep slump for 6+ weeks of the season. Though his BA is slowly climbing now he is not coming near the .889 OPS he put up last season.
  • Jose Altuve. It feels wrong to complain about a guy hitting .329, but he is obviously down in HRs and RBIs and has not been good with 2 outs RISP. It feels like he is pressing to replace the injured Carlos Correa. Now he will miss some time with his own injured knee and that will knock his cumulative numbers down even more.
  • Carlos Correa. Correa was struggling for him in the first half of the season – down in all the major areas (.268 BA/.832 OPS), which would have been great numbers for an Astros SS in about 50 of the previous seasons. He is now in the midst of a one month and counting stint on the DL with a bad back. His numbers will be down for the year.
  • The black hole. The end of the lineup has been a mess, especially lately with inconsistent Evan Gattis, slumping Gonzalez and Max Stassi, overmatched Kyle Tucker and Tim Federowicz, and a fairly ineffective Josh Reddick. For a few weeks, the end of the lineup was pretty decent between a blazing Gattis, a fairly hot MarGo and a solid Tony Kemp. But lately the lineup has not been able to turn over and with the problems with Springer, Altuve and Correa it was no sure thing when they did.

Now a couple positives have been Yuli Gurriel with a good BA especially with RISP and the breakout season of Alex Bregman. Bregman is first or second on the team in Runs, doubles, HRs, RBIs, OBP, SLG and OPS. Where they would be without him? In deep doo-doo.

So is there any hope here for improvement? It was predicted here that Reddick and MarGo would regress this season. But not this much. They could get on a roll some time down the stretch. The returns of Correa, Altuve and to a lesser extent McCann could help a bunch. Another hot streak by Gattis and Stassi would be welcome. And if Jeff Luhnow went out and got some hitting help in the next couple days that might do something for this lineup too.

  • Where are you on this lineup and the black hole?
  • Will they get their hitting mojo back?
  • What do they need to do that?
  • Is this black hole expanding? Controllable?
  • Will the hitting be this team’s undoing?

104 comments on “Astros’ offense: The black hole of 2016 returns

  1. I don’t know what Osuna did or did not do. But if it is anything like Danry Vasquez, who kept hitting the young girl over and over. Then I have no use for either of them. Call it my upbringing, but only low life cowards ever hit a female. PERIOD.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wow been running around all day and night till now. lots happening. i wish my gambling radar was as good as my trade radar. i mentioned just awhile back i thought another arm was coming and paulino might be part of the package leaving. hit on that. osuna (from a baseball only outlook) is a heck of a pickup. i dont know the facts on the domestic side so i will reserve judgement till it all is known.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Called Paxon’s breaking ball on MG’s SO, which he obliged to swing at & miss. Gonna be slow nite with all these long, loud outs


  4. I thought Gattis’ long ball in the first was a 3 run HR. Unfortunately Safeco Field appeared to have only one camera angle on the ball from about 500 feet away. We will never know the truth on that one.


    • Same problem a while back at MMP. Couldn’t see the ball down the left field line. You’d think they’d put camera’s to see the lines. 8th inning…another scoring opportunity down the drain.


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