Astros’ ChipalattAwards for July

After two very good months of May (21-8) and June (16-9), the Astros continued their surge with another solid month with a 19-9 July. Thanks to going 6-1 against the second-place Seattle Mariners during the month, the team finished the month with a 12-game lead in the AL West, despite the 14-game winning streak the M’s had in July.  

But for the purpose of this post, let’s look at how the individuals performed during the month and who earned the ChipalattAwards.

Here is a quick chart of the Astros’ pitchers in July.

Name Gm W L Svs IP ERA WHIP HR Ks/9 IP BAA OBPA OPSA IR/ IS
Justin Verlander 4 4 0 0 26.2 1.01 1.013 1 10.8 .222 .257 .550 0/0
Framber Valdez 5 1 1 0 33.2 3.23 1.158 1 9.9 .220 .309 .586 0/0
Luis Garcia 4 2 1 0 23 4.70 1.130 4 10.6 .191 .277 .658 0/0
Jose Urquidy 5 3 1 0 33 2.73 0.849 3 6.8 .174 .224 .537 0/0
Cristian Javier 5 1 3 0 25.2 4.56 1.091 7 14 .183 .276 .728 0/0
Jake Odorizzi 5 1 1 0 28.1 4.45 1.129 4 7.9 .243 .282 .680 0/0
Ryan Pressly 9 2 1 4 10 1.80 0.500 0 16.2 .118 .143 .261 0/0
Hector Neris 10 3 0 1 9.2 3.72 1.345 0 10.2 .256 .310 .694 1/0
Rafael Montero 11 1 1 2 11.1 1.59 0.882 0 11.1 .154 .250 .455 5/3
Phil Maton 12 0 0 0 10.2 2.53 1.031 2 10.1 .200 .273 .648 6/1
Ryne Stanek 10 1 0 0 10.1 2.61 1.355 1 9.6 .206 .333 .686 10/4
Bryan Abreu 9 0 0 1 9 4.00 1.667 0 12 .235 .395 .660 2/0
Seth Martinez 8 0 0 0 11.1 3.97 0.971 2 9.5 .191 .244 .602 3/0

Note – I added the IR (Inherited runners) / IS (Inherited runners who scored) stat for the relievers.

Starting Pitcher of the Month. Justin Verlander – This month was reminiscent of JV’s first month with the Astros – September 2017, where he was 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in an extra start vs. this month. He had more pedestrian numbers (.222 BA / 1.013 WHIP) than he usually puts up but pitched tremendously tough with runners on base to prevent runs scoring – only allowing 3 runs on the month.

Runner-up. Jose Urquidy – After some struggles earlier in the season, Urquidy, after changing his pitch mix, led the starters in slash allowed (.174 BA/.224 OBP/.537 OPS) and with a 0.849 WHIP. There were rumblings about him being on the trading block, but this writer is hoping this is not true.

Last Month – Winner –  Verlander / Runner-up – Valdez

Relief Pitcher of the Month. Ryan Pressly – There is a tendency to want to remember what recently happened and his blown save on Saturday looms large in our memories. But outside the two hits and 1 walk he allowed in that outing, he only allowed 2 hits and 0 walks in his 8 other appearances this month. And, of course, this included most of that streak of retiring 32 hitters in a row that started in June.

Runner-up. Rafael Montero – Montero continued to pitch well in high leverage situations and has been the backup person to gather saves behind Pressly. He has been the biggest surprise in the bullpen this season.

Last Month – Winner – Bryan Abreu / Runner-up – Ryne Stanek

Now on the offensive side, there were some good numbers from surprising places on the month.

Name ABs Runs Dbls HRs RBIs BBs Ks BA OBP OPS BABIP
Martin Maldonado 67 8 4 5 14 4 22 .254 .315 .852 .300
Yuli Gurriel 90 11 8 1 7 5 10 .289 .340 .751 .317
Jose Altuve 95 18 6 4 11 13 12 .295 .387 .872 .300
Jeremy Pena 101 13 2 6 11 5 29 .208 .241 .647 .221
Alex Bregman 99 14 9 4 17 11 14 .241 .321 .776 .244
Michael Brantley 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Chas McCormick 67 10 2 4 10 13 18 .269 .388 .865 .311
Kyle Tucker 99 11 3 4 14 7 16 .212 .262 .625 .213
Yordan Alvarez 63 18 6 7 14 17 20 .286 .432 1.146 .297
Jose Siri 5 0 0 0 1 0 3 .000 .000 .000 .000
Aledmys Diaz 74 15 7 6 11 8 13 .311 .378 1.027 .309
Jason Castro 30 3 0 1 2 1 15 .133 .161 .395 .214
Mauricio Dubon 50 8 1 0 4 4 7 .200 .259 .539 .214
JJ Matijevic 32 4 2 0 2 2 8 .250 .333 .646 .333
Jake Meyers 76 8 3 1 12 5 28 .211 .276 .616 .313
Korey Lee 25 1 2 0 4 1 9 .160 .192 .432 .250

Positional Player of the Month. Yordan Alvarez – Considering he had a stint on the IL, his numbers continue to be amazing. That 1.146 OPS and .432 OBP are top shelf. If you factor him out to having as many ABs as Kyle Tucker, he could have had 27 runs, 9 HRs, and 21 RBIs on the month.

Runner-up. Aledmys Diaz – With injuries to Brantley and Alvarez opening up more at bats to the most flexible player on the team, Diaz went on a run with more consistent at bats. His hitting was critical this month, with other big bats missing and/or slumping.

Last Month – Winner – Yordan Alvarez / Runner-up – Kyle Tucker

Biggest Surprise (Positive). Martin Maldonado is still hitting an unacceptable .173 on the season, but he was leading the team in RBIs for most of the month and did his best to keep Korey Lee on the bench for the most part with Jason Castro out.  

Runner-up. Chas McCormick – Maybe this should be Diaz, but it was good to see Chas get on a better roll in July, especially with Brantley out and Jake Meyers scuffling. Chas was doing a good job of hitting the other way with pop, and his 13 walks on the month is a significant change from the kid who rarely walked last season.

Last Month – Winner – Seth Martinez / Runner-up – Mauricio Dubon

Biggest Disappointment. Javier still held opponents to only a .183 BA for the month, but he gave up a whopping 7 home runs in only 25.2 innings. This led to his sub-par 4.56 ERA in July.

Runner-up – Tucker – After making his first All Star Game, Tucker went on a bit of a prolonged slump during the month. Maybe a bit of bad luck (.212 BAbip) fed into it, but he is too good a hitter to not bounce out of this.  

Last Month – (Tie) Chas McCormick / Jose Siri

Stats of note …..There are a number of them:

  • I don’t know about you, but the eyeball test does not have Phil Maton with a 2.53 ERA for the month, only allowing 1 of 6 inherited runners to score.
  • Alex Bregman puts up a so-so .241 BA in July but leads the team with 17 RBIs. Similarly, Tucker (who I complain about above) knocked in 14 RBIs despite his .212 BA in July.  
  • That slash against Pressly of .118 BA/.143 OBP/ .261 OPS is amazingly low.
  • The two youngsters struggling in July – Jeremy Pena and Jake Meyers, put up a couple telling numbers. Pena walked 5 times and struck out a team-leading 29 times, and Meyers walked 5 times and struck out 28 times. Something they both need to fix.
  • Ryne Stanek gets the thrown into the frying pan award for the month as he inherited 10 runners (four of which scored), while Maton had the second most inherited with six.  

As usual, it is your turn to comment. Any awards you disagree with? Any new ones you want to award?

71 comments on “Astros’ ChipalattAwards for July

  1. I agree with your choices for the month. I also do not want Urquidy traded. It’s disheartening when the pitcher walks the first batter. It seems they always come around to score. The players seem to enjoy playing behind Urquidy as they know that he pounds the strike zone. I know that his “stuff” lacks behind the other starters, but he seems to know how to pitch and consistently keeps the scoring down and has a quality start.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Larry – good to hear from you again. I think Urquidy’s pitch choices (I think he’s cut back on throwing his cutter) has made him a much more effective pitcher lately. I hope they keep him.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I missed that Josh Hader got traded to the Padres – I guess its “reported” rather than official.
    I don’t know why everyone regrets our trading Hader, Houser, Phillips and Santana for Fiers and Gomez. What would we do with a left handed closer with 125 saves and a 2.48 ERA (and his 3 buddies) when instead we could have an outfielder who was terrible for us and the pitcher who went all Judas on his ex-teammates?

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  3. Mancini to the Astros? I wonder if he’s more a replacement for Brantley rather than Yuli. Otherwise I’m not impressed. He gives us more O but less D at first or left. That’s why he’s primarily a DH at this point in his career. Don’t know what we gave up yet. I hope this is not the extent of our aggressiveness.

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    • Don’t give up on this deal just yet – mlbtr is reporting that part of this deal is sending Jose Siri to the Rays! We must be giving up at least one pitching prospect to Baltimore as well, though.

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    • McDermott at A+ ball has some great stats – 6-1 WL – 14.3 Ks/9 IP combined with some not so great – 5.50 ERA and 5.4 walks / 9 IP – he turns 24 in August

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    • It’s becoming more apparent that Jake and Chaz are “Empty Uniforms”. Don’t know about this year but we better go get us an outfielder that can hit next year.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oof exacftly what I mean, if Valdez turns into the all-star a few of us suspect, this will be a bad deal for a rental. Hope the Astros have resigning Vazquez in mind, wouldn’t hurt my feelings he is a good bat from behind the plate.

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    • I thought this was more about the money, but Smith is going to get ~$4.6M from the Astros for the remainder of the season. Odorizzi is owed $2.3M. However, the Astros would have been on the hook for a number of bonuses in Odorizzi’s contract which are about to vest as well as buying out his 2023 contract for $3.2M. Smith is owed $13M in 2023, but we’ll surely buy that out for $1M unless he dominates for us the rest of the way, right? My fuzzy math says the Astros end up saving a lot of money next year by making this deal.

      As to the on field stuff, Smith still strikes people out. I really like our bullpen, but if 2021 was an indication we will need all the bullpen arms we can put on the roster.

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      • I agree. Smith isn’t a guy I am going to try and get an inning from, but a guy walking out to face a tough lefty with 2 outs and men on base, I think he is a good tool. Maybe you can bring him out for an inning if two of them are lefties. With LMJ returning it was possible Odorizzi may not have even been on the playoff roster anyway.

        We don’t have 162 game marathon ahead of us, we have a short 2 months and plenty of depth. We were very unlikely to bring Jake back next year. LMJ still leaves us at 6 starters. We probably need a playoff rotation of JV-LMJ-Framber-CJ anyway, with Garcia and Urquidy giving us 2-4 inning options from a bad start. I don’t expect more than 4 from Javier in any start in the playoffs anyway since he is a swing and miss guy that also is out of the zone a bit – could be at 80 pitches in the 3rd in the playoffs. Who knows, the Astros could end up with LMJ and CJ in the bullpen instead given how good the next 6 weeks is for LMJ and the fact that CJ can be used multiple times for 2-3 innings doing that in a series versus once for 4 innings.

        Baker got upgrades for 1B/LF and C for his WS run, he has the best pitching staff he has probably ever had in his career as a manager, if he doesn’t manage this one to finally win the big one, it isn’t met to be.

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  5. Would have rather had Bell than Mancini, but Mancini is an upgrade over giving Dubon and Gurriel at bats. I would assume, with Diaz, McCormick and Meyers on the roster Dubon is the most expendable. I also guess that Washington is going to let Bell walk for nothing in return at the end of the year. I don’t know anything about Chayce McDermott but I imagine he is better than having nothing in return.

    Losing Valdez hurts but Vazquez isn’t going to hit .140. Lee needs more time at AAA as well. Valdez was probably going to be knocking on the door this year, and Altuve and Bregman neither one are going anywhere, though Valdez probably could have had a long look in LF.

    Vazquez is by far and away our biggest pickup. We have taken the 9th spot in the order and moved it up to the 7th, and pushed 7th and 8th down to better suit them. Mancini will help a little, and I like that it cost very little (and we have him next year as well), but Gurriel has been better the last month and can probably be a threat in a playoff game still to a point. I almost feel like Mancini was more about the status of Brantley as much as Gurriel – I mentioned the dude from Miami for the same reason last week – and Mancini is probably better than him. I do think Mancini is going to frustrate a fan base that isn’t that used to seeing 3 strikeout days from hitters that often – but he does shore up the right handed side of the plate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure how I feel about the Mancini trade yet. If it’s to take at bats away from Gurriel then the upside is he’ll see more pitches, but the production probably doesn’t change much. If it’s because Brantley can’t swing a bat then it gives us a quality hitter instead of another AAAA guy…so that’s ok. He’s a pretty balanced hitter who likely will get hurt a bit by our deep CF at home. As to the strikeouts, he has three games this year with 3 K’s and all came in June. That’s not awful by current standards.

      Honest question for those Space Cowboy aficionados here: were you sold on Valdez based on his statistics or the eye test? My first impression was he’s a 23 year old who looks 27. I hate that we’re sending a good hitter to Boston, but you can’t expect to get someone good for nothing.

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  6. When you think about it – you are having Vazquez and Mancini suck up at bats by Korey Lee or Castro (if he ever returns) and Dubon and maybe some Gurriel at bats. The catcher side of this is the bigger boost. I presume Vazquez will be taking some of Maldy’s at bats also – he certainly won’t be playing as little as Lee or Castro.
    We missed Bregman last night – tell these guys to get out the calendars and think a little bit when starting families….
    I hope they can help Smith find his mojo again – can be very effective, but the last two regular seasons he has not been.
    There was something about Odorizzi that reminded me of Scott Kazmir. Just someone you thought was going to let you down when you really needed it and that was probably unfair. He was good this year after a few bad starts early and outside the injury where he looked like a sniper gunned him down.
    I like Yuli and his glove and his bat has picked up a bit – but he also hasn’t hit a home run in more than a month.

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  7. – If you include LMJ in the mix for starting pitchers, the Astros had six righties and one lefty. They chose to trade Odorizzi, over younger pitchers with more years of control.
    – In return, they get a LH reliever with closer experience and playoff experience. They now have one lefty in their bullpen instead of none. They also have Parker Mushinski who has been made a reliever, instead of a starter, in AAA.
    – The Astros needed to bolster their catching position, where Lee, Castro and Maldonado combined for 55 hits total this season. They went out and got a catcher who has 83 hits by himself this season and now provides one of the highest batting averages on the Astros team. He also has extensive playoff experience. His percentage of throwing out baserunners this season is higher than Machete’s.
    – Trey Mancini has outperformed Yuli in every stat category this season except baserunning, believe it or not. He can also play in LF if needed. With Baltimore’s LF fence moved back to 380 ft, the Crawford Boxes are a new and wonderful playground for him, at 315 ft.

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  8. No doubt we’ve built a stronger roster over the past 24 hours. As Steven noted originally, Mancini takes Dubon at bats and he should be taking Jake Meyers at bats. Jakes OPS is now below .600. Leave Chas out there in center, unless of course Click strikes late and brings us a centerfielder. And I agree too that most of Mancini’s work will be in left, until Brantley gets back, if he gets back. I think we’ll miss Yuli’s soft hands at first when we watch our rookie shortstop short hopping throws over there with Mancini on the bag.

    Vasquez is a tougher one to figure. I’m not sure if Dusty really wanted anything more than an experienced back up for Maldy. Now he’s going to have to get that .282 average into the line up 4 or 5 days a week. Maybe Vasquez will do some DH work. But the big question is whether our new catcher will be happy here?

    I think we got fleeced on the Smith deal. That 3.4 lifetime walk rate is no good late in a game. We’ve already got righties that can get lefties out. I’m guessing Jake had to go though. He just never fit in.

    I hope these moves light a bit of a fire. Tucker continues to slump badly. We need the regular summer version of Kyle back. We need Yuli keep hitting. And we need our two new bats to hit. On a sidenote, I think we’ll see Valdez in a Red Sox uniform before the season is over. And do we bring Brown in to be our 6th starter?

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  9. I think Click improved the team. I knew that Kiermaier was out for the season but still didn’t understand why Tampa Bay only got Siri. Then I looked and saw their current CFer is batting .191. So I guess each of the three teams got what they wanted.

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  10. If I were the Astros I would go for the best left handed batter available on the market. He fills the last position the Astros are weak in and that is CF.
    Juan Soto.

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    • That would be the Justin Verlander (2017) equivalent shocker for 2022 – OP – they certainly have the budget – but do they have enough trade capital to get the Nats to say yes? He would cost them about $5.7MM for the rest of the season by my calcs.

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  11. Something that interests me is that Enmanuel Valdez never became a top 30 Astros prospect until Monday morning, when JJ Matijevic had to be removed from the list. That is the first(and last) time I got to see his tool grades as an Astros prospect. He had slightly below average grades on his arm, glove and speed. They were referred to as “fringy” in the scouting report and they also said 2B was where he was suited best. The Astros have an All-Star second baseman already, if I am not mistaken.
    The Astros were probably going to have a problem keeping Valdez from being taken in the Rule 5 draft by a young team looking for a bat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m rooting for chaos here. All the outlets are reporting that this is happening, but Hosmer has also declined to waive his no-trade clause. That means they either need to alter the players involved or get another team involved that is not in the list of 10 he can veto. Regardless, the Padres and Dodgers have 12 games remaining against each other and the Padres trail by 12 right now. Tatis, Jr., is heading out on a rehab assignment (soon). I wouldn’t bet on the Padres running them down, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. They’ll likely open 2023 as the NL favorites over LA.

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  12. The last thing I saw on the Soto / Bell trade is that the Padres included their 1st rounders from 2017, 2019 and 2020 (two of which are rookies with the major league club), their 2nd rounder from 2021 and an 18 year old signee from Dominican Republic. All of them have been playing well. The hangup was they included Eric Hosmer, who has vetoed his part of the trade as the Nats are on his 10 team no trade list. Supposedly they have other permutations without Hosmer that have been agreed to. I was speculating with my sons that this may include a trade of the San Diego Zoo in exchange for the Pandas in the National Zoo or the Coronado Hotel straight up for the Washington Monument though President Washington still has to sign off on that one.

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  13. Supposedly the Dodgers are about to trade for Joey Gallo and I can only ask why?
    He is like a poor man’s Cody Bellinger and they already have one of those. Finished below .200 in 3 of the last 4 years and is only hitting .159 this season. In a way I’m fine with whatever bad moves the Dodgers make, I’m just wondering what I may be missing here.

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    • He’s a free agent after the season. Someone (probably a Yankee fan hoping for a trade) wrote an article saying the numbers look like Gallo is a worse hitter, but the decrease in performance is closely attributed to what the deadened baseballs are supposed to be doing. Depending on who is paying how much of the salary it makes sense to have him as a pinch hit / DH option for the playoffs.

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      • I know maybe if you get Gallo away from the pressure of New York he may perform better – but here is a comparison between two players from this season.

        Player A – 233 ABs – 32 runs / 12 HRs/ 24 RBIs / .159 BA / .282 OBP / .621 OPS
        Player B – 240 ABs -26 runs/ 10 HRs/ 30 RBIs/ .175 BA / .240 OBP / .582 OPS

        Player A is Joey Gallo and he is doing it in a park that was built for left handed hitting success.
        Player B is Martin Maldonado and I don’t think the Dodgers would trade for him to make him a DH

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    • Red SOX, I think.

      By the way, since Castro secretly had miniscus surgery and is out for the year [if not forever], can we assume something similar is going on with Michael Brantley? I guess the F.O. didn’t want to enter into negotiations obviously desperate for a C and a LF.

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  14. It certainly appears that Jake Meyers is not the answer in CF – at least in 2022. I’ve been expecting a trade for someone like Cedric Mullins or Michael Taylor, but the Orioles’ and Royals’ asking prices may be too high. So … assuming we don’t manage an upgrade to the position by trade, do we try moving struggling All-Star RF Tucker to CF and bring up Corey Julks to see what he can do at this level?

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    • Julks is interesting. His stats for range factor is not very good. I watched several games last year (fewer this year so far) and Julks along with Costes did not have good techniques in the outfield.

      Straw, Siri, Chas Mc, and Meyers are much better outfielders.

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  15. Trevor Story sure has turned out to be a real disappointment in Boston. That’s a lot of money for a lot of years.

    With Diaz hot and Pena cold, it might be a good time to give our rookie a couple of days off.

    Time to get this team jelling and chase down the Yankees!

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  16. Well, let’s see if we can win a game this afternoon. Lot’s of distractions with all the media around and new guys coming through the door and Bregman having to run off and become a daddy! Time to hit now. As far as centerfield goes, we still don’t have one. So let’s put the most viable guy out there and let him play. He’s got 10 dingers, he might get ten more. Jake has 1.

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    • If you’re advocating we put Martin Maldonado in CF so we don’t lose his potent bat when Vasquez is behind the plate I’ll give you credit for thinking outside the box. If you’re advocating for Chaz to get more at-bats I don’t see any good reason to keep him out of the lineup. He’s unlikely to become an All-Star, but he’s not an automatic out either.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Seriously. Have you ever seen a team with a winning percentage of .638 that is less impressive? Maybe I am just spoiled. I don’t expect them to win every game, but I do expect them to show up and play.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. So far today
    – Astros use small ball to pick up a couple runs in the first inning
    – In the second – Tucker beats out a bunt single to try and shake his slump away. Mancini endears himself to his new club and fans by whacking one over the Crawford Boxes – a fly that would have gotten out of any park in the AL except……his former home in Baltimore. I’m guessing he likes it here too
    – Urquidy and Vazquez seem to be on the same page so far

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The offense managed an abnormal # of hits today (12). Eight of those came from 3 guys – Altuve (4 for 4), Bregman (2 for 4), and Tucker (2-4). Now we will see if new addition Will Smith can hold a 6-run lead.

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