When the Astros acquired L.J. Hoes from the Orioles at the trading deadline, I was indifferent at best. This had nothing to do with trading Bud Norris, or even the other pieces of the deal, as I thought that the trade was actually a pretty good one.
My opinion was that Hoes was the least important piece of the trade to the Astros. The outfielder that I thought was merely a place holder for George Springer and a future bench player then proceeded to change my mind over the month of August.
Power is not part of Hoes’ game, and he only hit one home run and drove in five runs over the month. But that is not what gave him a permanent spot in Bo Porter‘s lineup. As the month progressed, Hoes found himself at the top of the order. And the outfielder did not disappoint as he batted .301 and scored 18 runs.
A large part of Hoes’ success, was the fact that he only struck out 13.6% of the time and had a .345 BABIP. If you look at Hoes’ career trends, those numbers are in fact in line with his past range of production. They might be slightly on the high range of his expectations, but not by much.
So far in 21 September at-bats entering play Sunday, Hoes is batting just .095 with only two singles and two runs scored. That production earned Hoes a trip towards the bottom of the lineup and some days off. Bad luck is partly to blame here as Hoes’ BABIP in this stretch is just .133.
Now that I have had a chance to watch Hoes play and to begin evaluating him, I think we can project him to be somewhere in the middle of the two sample sizes discussed. As a disclaimer, one sample size is obviously a lot bigger than the other, so that must be kept in mind.
Going forward I think Hoes could be a very useful spare outfielder, bench player and platoon option. What do you think as we start to look in earnest towards 2014?