There really was not much that went right for the Astros last year. One area that left a lot to be desired was the defense.
Fans were forced to suffer through poor execution, lapses in judgement, and mental mistakes on a regular basis. As soon as the season ended, Bo Porter made it a point to note that the Astros’ defense needs to improve in 2014.
The main thing here for the Astros as they begin to turn the corner towards building a winning culture, is to improve their focus on details. Young players can no longer get away with making these errors as the honeymoon for the entire organization is ending.
So far this Spring Training, Porter has continued his tradition of having the team shake hands at the conclusion of the workouts each day to have that winning feeling. But on Saturday, Porter deemed that the Astros had not done enough to warrant a handshake line to close out the day.
Houston’s effort and execution left Porter wanting more, and he made sure the team knew it. Carlos Correa did make a nice play, which should not be surprising, but that was the lone highlight of the day.
“Needs improvement,” Porter said. “We didn’t execute, and that’s why we actually ended up turning it into a day of execution from the defensive side of it. We all understand the game of baseball, it’s about runs being scored, and I’m a firm believer that your best offense is a good defense and we had to defend the baseball.”
It wasn’t just crispness, Porter said. It was the mental side, like positioning. Porter would shout out situations — i.e. bottom of the ninth, Albert Pujols up — and fielders had to react quickly to know where to put themselves.
“We’ve explained this to our guys, from a defensive standpoint, it’s not just a physical aspect of making the play,” Porter said. “There are a lot of mental things that go into positioning. Situations, understanding what to do, what not to do given the particular situation.”
Of course the result was not good, but at least Porter is aware of it, and is making sure the team is as well. This is something that needs to change for the Astros moving into 2014 and beyond.