The Astros had a solid 16-8 month in July as the wounded (Carlos Correa, George Springer, Joe Smith and Aledmys Diaz) trickled back to the team. There was plenty to admire in the Astros position players and starting pitchers for the month. The relievers? Not so much.
Starting Pitcher of the Month. Tie – Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley and Justin Verlander. In a month when the heat was on the top three in the rotation to perform, while the bottom two spots were a rotating whirl of replacements, they were each excellent. Cole continued his dominance from June (4-0, 1.85 ERA, 0.882 WHIP, 13.5 K/9 IP). Verlander (4-1, 2.25 ERA, 0.875 WHIP, 13.8 K/ 9 IP) stepped it up after he struggled the month before. Miley (3-0, 2.03 ERA, 0.968 WHIP, .541 OPS against) snuck in under the radar, but was just as effective as his two compadres. The Astros had too many other pitching problems to worry about these three and luckily they it was not necessary.
Runner-up. N/A this month
Last Month. Cole was the winner and Brad Miley was the runner-up.
Positional Player of the Month. Yuli Gurriel. Yuli talked to Carlos Beltran and then let his bat do the talking as he put up a tremendous month of July. He put up a slash of .398 BA/ .427 OBP/ 1.264 OPS which paired with 18 runs scored, 12 HRs and an unbelievable 31 RBIs helped him carry the team for the month.
Runner-up. Tie – Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley – Jose came off the IL in June at a .235 BA raised it to .269 to start July and ended the month back where he belongs at .300 BA. For the month he slashed .388 BA/ .434 OBP/ 1.087 RBIs with 18 runs scored, 8 doubles, 6 HRs and 17 RBIs. Steady Eddie, Brantley put up another solid month (.349 BA/ .421 OBP/ 1.036 OPS with 19 runs, 7 doubles, 5 HRs and 18 RBIs).
Relief Pitcher of the Month. Joe Smith. This was a tough one to pick with so few decent performances, but Mr. Smith in a small sample of 5 appearances coming off the IL held the opponents scoreless (0.00 ERA, 0.923 WHIP) and gave AJ Hinch an option that did not explode like a trick cigar.
Runner-up. Jeez, I’m looking for some help here. I can either pick Cy Sneed who had a 1.50 ERA in 6 innings and 2 appearances or Chris Devenski who seemed to pitch every other day and had a decent 3.86 ERA. Heck we’ll give it to Devo this time around.
Biggest Surprise (Positive). Yuli Gurriel. He entered July putting up fairly anemic numbers (.267 BA/ .726 OPS/ 8 HRs/ 37 RBIs) especially on the power side for playing a corner position. He looked like a candidate to not be the first baseman for long. He ended the month (.299 BA/ .856 OPS / 20 HRs/ 68 RBIs) on fire and off any potential trade list.
Runner-up. Yordan Alvarez – Hey, I love the kid, but figured that whatever film got around on him from his hot start in June would point out the weaknesses the opponents would be exploiting in July. So, he put up a .333 BA/ .419 OBP/ 1.045 OPS slash with 7 doubles, 5 HRs and 15 RBIs for July. Now his .455 BABIP (batting average for balls in play in July) points to unsustainable numbers, but when you hit the absolute heck out of the ball, maybe he will keep those numbers up down the stretch.
Last Month – Myles Straw was the winner with Cy Sneed as the Runner-up
Biggest Disappointment. Max Stassi. Now no one thought he would turn into Johnny Bench, but was it too much to expect him to do better than he did. He only had 23 ABs in July, but he came close to a total goose egg – .130 BA/ .130 OBP/ .361 OPS – 0 runs, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs. In this case the eye test did match reality on the former Astro.
Runner-up. Josh Reddick. His hot start to the season seems a decade ago and he was a constant rally killer in July. He put up a small slash .205 BA/ .267 OBP/ .524 OPS with 6 runs/ 0 HRs/ 6 RBIs. (Hector Rondon was a real consideration here too….)
The surprising stats award.
- Zack Greinke was good in July with a 1-1 record, 2.90 ERA, 0.968 WHIP and low .211 BA against and .614 OPS against. With all that he would have been only the Astros 4th best starting pitcher in July as Verlander, Cole and Miley were all better. The fans can’t wait to see how rolling these four out every five games is going to go. I mean Astros fans, not fans of the opposition.
- It is very rare to see a hitter like Alex Bregman play almost every day and hit only .233 BA but get on base at a .402 OBP clip. It helps to have 21 walks in 22 games.
- Both Chris Devenski and Collin McHugh had the exact same WHIP for the month of 1.371 (WHIP is basically a measurement of how many people get on base by hit + walk + hit by pitch on the average each inning). But Devo’s ERA was 3.86 vs. McHugh’s 6.17 ERA. This was basically because Devenski was giving up more walks and less clutch hits plus homers…..
Anyway, bottom line, do you agree with these awards?
Want to propose awards of your own?