A third of the season has come and gone, and we have started to heat up over the past week. I won’t give this site the credit to our success, even though we are 6-2 since its launch day, but I have noticed certain things in comparison to the league that define the Astros.
Fielding: We are right at the ML average with 36 errors on the year, but what is concerning is from where the errors are coming. Pedro Feliz, who was supposed to be signed strictly for his glove and hopefully for the short porch in left field, has committed 7 errors on the year at the hot corner. I think defense is a worthy focal point for a team, note Minnesota, but if you surround your team with a bunch of defensive minded players and they are producing, then we have a problem. Feliz’s lack of ability to produce at the plate (outside of ground out RBIs which is an art he has mastered) is hurting the team, especially since we passed up on signing players, such as Felipe Lopez ,who are doing above mediocre for their respective teams.
Tommy God-zella is also performing at a below average rate with the same amount of errors, seven, as Feliz. Manzella is young and it is his first year in the league, but you have to be concerned with his glove since it should be his fall back skill. Manzella and Feliz’s combined error total of 14 is two less than the total that the Twins have on the season. If you are going to be a team that depends on the little things, you need to have solid glove work to back up the pitchers, and we just aren’t getting it done.
Plate Discipline: You almost have to be wondering if Tony Clark is down at third base threatening the families of the batters to swing with how they completely disregard the concept of working the count. Not only do the Astros rank last in walks, but its embarrassing! They are 28 behind the next team and 62 below the league average. That means that if we were an average walking team, we would have at least one extra baserunner a game which is huge for a team that wins by small margins with low run totals. Kaz comprised a great ability to take pitches and work walks, and this is the first negative effect we have seen from his departure.
Conversely, we should be a team that strikes out more often if we aren’t getting on base with walks. Oddly enough, we are 28th in the majors with 346 strike outs on the year. This, in combination with the lack of walks, portrays a team that is swinging early and putting the ball in play, which is not too terrible. This has led to grounding into 50 double plays, but that is only 5 above average and manageable.