The Astros are halfway, but to where?

The Astros passed the halfway mark of the season on Thursday night as they played their 82nd game in Cleveland against the Indians. Halfway is always a fun time to lean back and do the kind of math that even us old folks can do in our heads – doubling up what has been done to date to project the future.

Oh, and the Astros were on pace for 96 wins at the halfway mark. By the way, this is rarely very accurate, but enjoyable just the same.

So, what are some fun facts related to projecting forward from the mid-point of the season? Note – this is based on stats through the 81st game, Wednesday.

  • The Astros already have five players with double digits in home runs – Jose Altuve (17), Carlos Correa (15), Kyle Tucker (13), Yordan Alvarez (13) and Yuli Gurriel (10). Three others are on pace for double digits – Chas McCormick (9), the injured Alex Bregman (7) and Martin Maldonado. Michael Brantley, who hit his 5th in the 82nd game, would seem to have a decent shot to join the eight others.
  • With the Astros leading the world in runs scored, you would think they would have someone just tearing it up in the RBI department. However, Yuli is leading the team on a pace for 104 RBIs, which is a good pace but not threatening Hack Wilson’s record. On the other hand, the Astros do have an imposing five players on pace for 85 or more RBIs – Gurriel (52), Alvarez (50 in only 68 games), Correa (49), Tucker (47) and Altuve (43, not counting his grand salami Thursday night). It is quite amazing that two of their better hitters are not in there as Bregman will be stuck at 34 RBIs until he hopefully returns in August and Brantley somehow only has 30 RBIs with his .340 BA and .875 OPS.
  • On the runs scored side, they have been led by two stars on pace for over 115 runs scored – Altuve (59) and Correa (58). Alvarez (49), Tucker (44) and Gurriel (41) are all headed for between 80 and 100 runs scored, while Brantley (39) and Bregman (37) are falling just short of that pace.
  • With all the talk about days off, which positional players are on pace for the most games? Well, headed into the season, if you said it would be Correa and Myles Straw tied with 76, you might have won some serious scratch in Vegas.
  • As far as wins for pitchers, no one is outrunning the 16 win pace for Zack Greinke, who ironically has the second-highest ERA behind Jake Odorizzi in the rotation. If you double them up – three of Zack’s teammates will join him with double-digit wins – Luis Garcia (6), Jose Urquidy (6) and Lance McCullers (5), though Urquidy is currently on the IL. In good shape is Framber Valdez, who got his fifth win in the 82nd game and, with missing the first couple months of the season, has those five wins in only seven starts.
  • Concerning innings pitched, no one will come close to workhorse Greinke, who has 103.2 innings at the halfway mark. Only Luis Garcia is likely to get to 150 innings with his 80 innings so far unless they decide to lighten his workload along the way. McCullers is headed for 130 innings, Framber only has 38 IPs, but he is likely to get over 100 innings if he stays healthy. No telling where Urquidy (77 innings but injured) and Cristian Javier (67 innings moved to the bullpen) will end up on the season.
  • Ryan Pressly’s 12 saves at the halfway point are not very impressive through no fault of his own. But the fact that he only has one blown save so far on the season is impressive. If he goes 12 of 13 on remaining save opportunities this season, everyone should be happy.
  • And of the relievers, who has the most appearances? Ryne Stanek and his 4.59 ERA has been in 35 games so far this season. Right behind him is Brooks Raley, with 34 appearances on the season. Considering Raley has a 5.97 ERA, that is plain scary.

In the end, the most important number for this team is the one in the win column, and if they end up at 96 wins, they will be in the playoffs and likely will be atop their division.

57 comments on “The Astros are halfway, but to where?

  1. Now sure why but Pedro Leon has not played in a game since July 24th. He is activated for the Futures game on July 10th. Also, very quietly, Jake Meyers, OF at Sugar Land has raised his average to .341

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  2. This:
    Is McCullers EVER going to get out of the 5th inning without 97 pitches?
    If I never see Brooks Raley take the ball it will be too soon.
    Paredes had a “clean” inning in Sugarland…GOOD keep him there.
    Chas McCormick deserves to play more.
    Let’s hope Ordorizzi can go 7 tomorrow night….our bullpen is shot.
    The A’S lost.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. – Chas McCormick is a rookie, had not played a game since 2019 and had not ever been in a MLB game before this year. He has now played in 52 games, has 30 hits and 29 RBIs. He has played all three OF positions and has zero errors. Where would the Astros be without him?
    – Yes, LMJ is a GGRRRRRR! But he has had to learn to pitch all over again after his injury. He used to overpower hitters. Now he misses bats with movement. And he misses the plate with movement. His injury has caused him to relearn everything.
    BUT, he has made 13 starts, has a 2.97 ERA and is 6-1. If he does the exact same thing in the second half of the season, I would be thrilled.
    – Cristian Javier is probably the Astros bullpen tonight.
    – Hope the Astros have a good supply of orange duct tape.
    – Keep Robel Garcia away from 3rd base as quickly as possible.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This Robel stuff is why some people would question the wisdom of Dusty. Yeah, we won anyway. But Toro is at least adequate at 3rd. But we have to move him to first because Yuli has his off day because Yordan, well anyway. Put Robel at first. I assume he can at least catch a ball and can block it with his body and step on first. Put a regular fielder at third (Toro).

      And I agree, LMJ has no idea where his curve and slider are headed once it leaves his hand.

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  4. Just some thoughts
    – Lance can drive us crazy – but…..in his last 10 starts he has not given up more than 3 runs in any of them or more than 3 in 12 of his 13 starts. He’s never an innings eater like Framber, but only in 2 of his 13 starts did he fail to get through at least 5 innings and in 6 of his 13 starts he went at least 6 innings.
    – By comparison – Greinke has given up more than 3 runs in 5 of his 17 starts. He also went less than 5 innings in 5 of his 17 starts. On the other hand he has gone 6 or more innings in 10 of his 17 starts.
    – I’m not sure if there are enough Tums in the world when the Astros have to cover 4 or more innings with that bullpen.
    – Robel makes you miss Bregman at third that is for sure
    – Yeah going into last night’s game we thought we would get 3 runs scored and 5 of the 6 RBIs from Toro, McCormick, Jones and Castro….
    – So, are the Indians wondering how they got only 3 runs from 12 hits, 5 walks and a HBP….or are they wondering how they scored 3 runs when they struck out 16 times?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Interesting post on Twitter from Jake Kaplan.

    “There are also plenty of things Pedro León is not. He’s not regarded as an elite prospect across the industry, at least not yet. He’s not yet experienced against the caliber of velocity and movement pitchers feature in the upper levels of the minor leagues. And he’s not yet accustomed to the daily grind of being an everyday player over a 120-game minor-league season. ”

    I don’t know if this is why he is sitting or not.

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  6. Something I noticed today is that Cot’s has us with just over $3million in luxury tax room and Spotrac has us with a little over $4million in room.
    I think this is a change for both.
    It’s possible we may have enough room to add a reliever at the deadline.
    I’m just speculating.

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  7. -Not being able to face one lefty hitter and then coming out of the game will be Brooks Raley’s demise. The split that kills him and the Astros is his strand rate. He has not been good at that. His strand rate is 47% this season.
    -Andre Scrubb needs to be throwing one inning stints in the minors to learn how to handle pressure. He currently is throwing way too many pitches out of the zone and batters are waiting him out and winning the battles.
    -Abreu and Paredes and Smith don’t just need to be healthy when they return, they also have to pitch much better.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Been a long tome since I’ve posted but have tried to lurk a bit. I’m most pleased with Correa’s durability so far and if it continues our prospects for this season are pretty darn good.
    McCullers’ fundamental problem now and throughout his career has been his lack of fastball command. His misses with his fastball are completely non-competitive and are totally wasted efforts. He has always relied on his “trick pitches” which can indeed be impressive but I get tired of hearing folks oooh and aaah about his curve, slider and change when he misses the plate by a foot with the fastball a lot. I can’t see him ever being reliable. Framber certainly dominates with his curve but he has a real clue where his fastball is going.
    Odorizi may be the second half gem. We need some veteran consistency and I don’t see that coming from McCullers or Greinke. Hoping Bregman can stay healthy and not take six weeks to find his swing. We do miss his defense.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We miss you around here Doc
      LMJ just can’t seem to control that fastball – it is so weird because most guys can control that but not the curves stuff / though he can’t control that either

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    • Of the avg 10 hours a day I spend studying baseball/video, for the last few months it takes almost all of that to get with the Mock Drafts. I was lucky enough to guess after all my top picks were taken in 2019 (Priester, Espino, Goss) to write this 10 minutes before the Astros chose:

      “Korey Lee is an interesting thought ranked in mid-40’s Catcher at Cal.
      Looks like a solid hitter, great arm.” Posted by GoStros1 on Jun 3, 2019 | 9:58 PM

      Last year, Santos III falling to HOU was a no-brainer selection. I wanted us to take Luke Little at #101 instead of Ty Brown, and according to Woody Williams at San Jac, he thought after talking to Astros F.O. that we would too.

      This season, the Astros on their last yr of fleecing our top 2 picks, HOU will get #87, #117, and #132 for compensation of George Springer declining the QO.

      It’s nearly impossible to predict at this sitting who would be available. One that I have focused on is OF from Kentucky, John Rhodes. In 17 games played, he slashed .426/.485/.672 with 10 doubles and 19 RBI. Scouts say he looks very strong in the Cape Cod league, so as with most on my wish list, who knows if he’ll be available. Lastly, #106 pick from Michigan, Jordan Brewer is emerging over the “future CF” Colin Barber, so I’m not sure if OF is truly an organizational need. You may have seen this play he made last night.

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      • The guy that made that throw from CF threw the ball with his left arm.
        Fangraphs, Baseball reference, The Astros and MILB all list Jordan Brewer as throwing with his right arm.
        Are they all wrong?

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      • Having not seen the FG reference, I’d guess a misprint. As you probably already know, Jordan is a switch-hitter too.

        For those who didn’t hear much in ’20, the reason Brewer fell behind was knee surgery. He also started late being placed in Fayettville this season, so he’s showing like Matthew Barefoot & Jake Meyers the preparation they made without the benefit of competition in the lost year.

        I think HOU scored big time with Zach Daniels last year, so it will be interesting to see if Astros do select an outfielder so high in draft again.

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      • Nope. I didn’t know he was a switch hitter because the Astros apparently don’t know he is a switch hitter or that he throws with his left hand.

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  9. I’m late to the dance. I’ve been too busy eating.

    1op, I love that line “he misses the plate with movement”. Lance is frustrating to watch when he can’t get the ball in the zone, but if he ever figures it out, he’s got ace stuff.

    That was a beautiful bunt by Jose last night. He’s the most talented guy on the club in that department. If he put a bunt down once a week, he’d be a better baseball player.

    Myles is hitting .267. Chas, .238. McCormick is a much better hitter and a solid outfielder. He should be getting half the playing time. Regardless, both guys have contributed a combined 1.7 WAR.

    Robel is not a major league ballplayer. The Astros can’t change that.

    Brooks Raley does not like to pitch with guys on base. He very effectively resolved that issue last night. He also likes to grow other peoples ERA’s. If I had one wish, it would be to send him packing.

    When does Seth Martinez get a shot?

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    • Quoting batting averages, you may have seen the Brewers lead their division by 7.5 games. They also have the major league worst team BA at .219. It’s just not a predictive statistic any more.

      On Seth Martinez, the same could be asked of Velasquez, Brett Conine, Kit Scheetz (or AA Bermudez if we’re talking southpaws). Those hovering around the 26th man; Garza, Nivaldo, Scrubb, Bielak, Paredes, Raley — the differences seem razor thin to me. SBecause the 40-man is so crunched, it’s hard to speculate who could be added and subtracted.

      On this note, the Astros performed their 2nd Tommy Johns on #6 prospect Jairo Solis recently. They are tasked with a choice now:

      1. DFA after you just paid for removing loose impediments, plus the full-blown TJS, and were patient for 2 yrs after the first surgery.
      2. Keep him on the 40-man sitting there like Fred Nova, hoping they make it in 2023. A terrible idea in a pennant race!
      3. Put him on the 60-day IL, which opens up the 40-man spot, but then we have to pay him a ML salary, and still have to put him back on, after the season.

      On a positive, since I don’t agree on the LMJ criticism at all, Raley’s FIP is deceivingly good. Since it’s so much lower than ERA, it usually portends for improvement. I’d have send him packing long ago too, but maybe a team will see some value in him as an add-on piece in trade. Which might explain why Astros have been using him in medium-hiLev situations.

      With the roster as described, it seems to me imperative we get rid of the “fat” on the 40 pronto, so we have some flex (Op said $3-$4M) in getting a dependable reliever at deadline. I know it’s not popular here, but I think Bryan Abreu is a Strom favorite, and they fully intend for him to be a playoff reliever.

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  10. Here’s NOT in the lineup tonight :
    No Altuve
    No Brantley
    No Tucker
    Think Odorizzi thinks he has the best guys playing behind him???
    I don’t.
    The guy is snake bit….either Baker has him on a pitch count, or Baker sits his BEST players. Stubbs is catching and Castro is the DH???? Good Lord.
    WHO will Baker sit tomorrow 😠

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great win tonight on the road again. Great save by our closer again. Great start by Odorizzi allowing only 1 earned run. Only seven hits, but drew another 8 walks.
    Tomorrow we face a starting pitcher who has been great in relief this year and pretty bad as a starter. I don’t expect to see Tucker playing tomorrow. Surprise me, Dusty.

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  12. If you had predicted the Giants and Boston to have the two best records in MLB today, you are a baseball genius. If you had predicted the Astros and Dodgers to have the best records, you would be pretty darn smart.

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  13. Four of us brothers were sitting on the screened in porch last night watching the game as rain fell politely while we sipped cold beverages. (It’s too cold indoors for me here). It’s so good being back together. All of us 60 to 70 plus year old knuckleheads talking horse dookie and reminding each other of the dumbest things we’ve ever done. We got our 3-2 win well before we ran out of material.

    Some guys will likely still not be available today. Seems that Jose had his scheduled night off, but Yordan is away having a baby. Brantley has a sore side. Tucker has back spasms. Martin is still away on bereavement leave. Pressly will be off after going three nights in a row. So we might be seeing a split squad lineup again.

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  14. I heard a rumor that Straw has improved at the plate because he junked his old bat and picked up a different one. However, that same rumor said Altuve is using Straw’s old bat. Again, probably just a rumor.

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  15. I think Manfred needs a new rule. If both managers agree, then the umpires have to rotate one base and get another umpire behind the plate. Straw just walked on strike 3. But before you complain, one of his strikes was at least 4 inches over the top of the zone.

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    • And if Chas doesn’t knock in 3 we go home early and have no Yuli/Raley heroics…
      Greinke gave them a shot going 7.2 and Blake Taylor did a nice job picking up 4 outs.
      Castro had a hit and two walks and beat the DP throw in the 10th that led to Yuli’s score and Maldy would have been out by 5 feet.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m working on the ChipalattAwards for June and I owe Brooks a bit of an apology as he was better than a lot of his compadres in the month with a 2.35 ERA. He did allow 5 of 8 inherited runners to score, which isn’t great, but again I was surprised he pitched better than I remembered. And his defensive play today was excellent as he really hustled to catch the hump back bunt in the air and made a perfect throw to second.

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  16. I didn’t think we could win this game when Raley came in, but a fluke come backer and a good throw to second gave me hope….finally.
    The Indians will be tasting this bad series for a while,they had plenty of chances. WHERE would we be without CHAS!! I know he went 0-4 yesterday but man, he’s a baseball player! Go home boys sleep late tomorrow get your wives to cook your favorite meals, and come back Tuesday and beat the A’s!!
    Laugh of the day!
    Cole lasted 3.05 innings gave up 4 runs
    The Mets beat them 10-4!! Chapman gave up *3* runs😂😂
    Who hid the sticky stuff from Garrit Cole and Chapman 😂

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  17. I feel like a guy who fell off a cliff into a pillow factory.
    -Baker’s move from Scrubb warming up to Raley warming up was genius. Scrubb won’t make that double play! He probably throws it into CF. I nearly passed out when Raley struck out Mercado to end the game.
    – A 2021 baseball player is a guy who can pitch 101 mph but can’t catch a
    good throw from second base or make a bang-bang throw home on a tag play.
    – I don’t think Toro is as bad a fielder as he showed today. I think the pressure of the moment and 20 games in 20 days got to him. This team is in need of a day off.
    – Congratulations to the Indian’s fans who booed our players right up to the very end of a well-deserved, four game sweep.
    – Cleveland’s young pitchers gave a good account of themselves. They didn’t get a lot of help.
    – Jason Castro hit the ball hard enough that it made the infielders try to do something they couldn’t. The ball he hit was an inside cutter at 100.3 mph.
    – Correa, Altuve, Brantley and Pressly made the All-Star team. Yuli didn’t.

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    • Yuli should be there too but we know how that works. Same for a couple of others that should be there or starters and not necessarily Astros. But then again it’s a popularity contest.

      Liked by 1 person

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