The Astros had a 14-12 record in August, which at one time was 6-8, so the final number is not the end of the world. The Astros’ starting pitching along with losing Lance McCullers came down to more human numbers. The revamped bullpen was overall good. The hitting was a mix of the terrific and the terrible. So there was a lot to consider in giving out the Chippy Awards for the month of August.
Starting Pitcher of the Month. Framber Valdez. None of the regular pitchers was that outstanding in August and Valdez came in and gave them a terrific shot in the arm. He only had two starts, but his third 4+ inning appearance was start-ish in effect. He was 2-1 for the month with a sterling 1.26 ERA and 0.907 WHIP. His strong and poised performance gave the front office something to think about as they head to an off-season with two starters becoming free agents.
Runner-up. Dallas Keuchel. He was the anchor for the month with a solid 2-1 record and a 3.49 ERA with 1.241 WHIP in a team-leading 38.2 IP.
Everyday Player of the Month. Your Pick. This month you get to choose the Everyday Player(s) of the month and his (their) Runner(s)-Up. There were three outstanding performances for the month that all deserve some recognition.
- Alex (The Stare) Bregman put up a terrific .327 BA / .427 OBP / .938 OPS slash while scoring 18 times, knocking out 9 doubles, 3 HRs and 15 RBIs and oh yes, he walked 16 times and struck out only 10 times.
- Marwin Gonzalez reversed his season trend with a .303 BA / .361 OBP / .967 OPS while scoring 19 times with 6 doubles, 8 HRs and 20 RBIs, but he did strike out 28 times vs. only 8 walks.
- Tyler White was great with a .325 BA / .385 OBP / 1.095 OPS, 14 runs scored, 4 doubles, 8 HRs and 23 RBIs and he walked 8 times against 17 Ks (in 15 less ABs than the other two guys)
In different ways, all three of these players brought a lot to the table and all deserve to be recognized for their performance.
In July – It was Alex Bregman with Tyler White as the runner-up.
Relief Pitcher of the Month. Ryan Pressly. Pressly has been nails since the deadline trade with the Twins brought him to a contender. He posted a glittery 0.79 ERA and matching 0.441 WHIP while striking out 12.7 batters / 9 IPs and walking no one in 11.1 IPs in August. He has been a solid contributor in the late innings for the Astros.
Runner-up. Hector Rondon. Rondon did not fall apart when the Astros brought in another closer in Roberto Osuna. Hector had 4 saves along with a 1.46 ERA, 1.135 WHIP in 12.1 IP in August. He has helped give the Astros some choices in the 8th and 9th innings.
Biggest Surprise (Positive). Tyler White. He has shown small snippets of good hitting in his previous stays with the big club, but since getting regular plate time in late July, he has pulled the DH job away from Evan Gattis and given himself a potential long-term position with the club.
Runner-up. Framber Valdez. The way most of the Astros’ hitting farm hands have floundered after their first call-ups, it was natural to be wary of the insertion of Valdez into the McCullers slot into the rotation. The kid has not disappointed in his first taste of major league ball.
In July – It was Tony Kemp followed by Tony Sipp and Joe Smith.
Biggest Surprise (Negative). Carlos Correa. It might not be an exaggeration to say that Carlos was worse than any sub they might have used for him when he was injured. In August, he was even worse than he was when he came off the DL in 2017 with a .169 BA / .235 OBP / .460 OPS. It was not surprising that he would be a bit rusty coming back, but this performance makes one wonder if his back is healed or not.
Runner-up. Justin Verlander. This comes under the category “we’ve been spoiled”. JV has been unbelievably good through an unbeaten September 2017, as a leader of the playoff push to the championship and through 2/3 of the 2018 season. He proved he would actually bleed if cut in a very pedestrian August with a 2-2 record, a 5.29 ERA and allowing 9 HRs in 32.1 IP, while pursuing his 200th career win. Yes – he deserves a mulligan of a month once in a while.
The surprising stats award. Will Harris. His 0-0 record, 2.38 ERA and 0.882 WHIP in August do not seem to match the eyeball impression test where he is thought to be bound to be banished from the post-season roster.
Runner-up. Martin Maldonado. It was obvious he was hitting better in August than when he first came over from the Angels, but his .269 BA / .867 OPS / 12 runs / 9 RBIs month seemed higher than what was seen during the month.
Honorable Mention. Jose Altuve. This also comes under the category of “we’ve been spoiled”, but would you have guessed he was slashing .295 BA/ .356 OBP / .795 OPS in August? Good for mortals, but not good enough for Mr. MVP.
The stat that might have shown an injury was coming award. Charlie Morton. Every month he was averaging 11 or more strikeouts per 9 innings pitched until August where he dipped to 8.5 K/ 9 IP
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