George Springer and Jose Altuve (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

Houston Astros Offense: First Half Recap

The 2014 Houston Astros have taken a couple of steps in the right direction. Although they are likely not going to see the 30-game improvement that Jim Crane envisioned, they are en route to avoiding a 100-loss season. Part of their “success” has been a growing offense.

A discussion about the Houston Astros without Jose Altuve would not be complete. And it is nearly impossible to not begin with him. The first half that he enjoyed will be difficult for any Astro to match in the future. Perhaps even the rest of MLB as he was the 1st player since 1933 to record 130 hits and 40 stolen bases prior to the All Star break.

One of my chief complaints is the rate of strikeouts. In 2013 the Houston Astros led the entire major leagues in strikeouts which included the K King in Chris Carter. For the entirety of the 2013 campaign their K rate was a staggering 25.5%. Though this season is better they still rank 1st in K rate with 23.5% but 2nd in strikeouts with 835 (2 behind the Miami Marlins).

But it seems like with strikeouts come the dingers. The emergence of George Springer has given Carter some competition in home runs. The duo each have 19 home runs going into the All Star Break. Springer’s 19 set an Astros rookie record for home runs prior to the break. Lance Berkman, for the time being, owns the full season rookie record with 21. Overall this team ranks 4th in all of MLB with 103 home runs.

There are obviously many more areas of discussion when regarding the Astros’ offense. The staff writers here at Climbing Tal’s Hill will discuss their thoughts below:

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Tags: George Springer Houston Astros Jose Altuve

  • JohnE H-Town

    It will be good to see Fowler back in action. Singleton may need to be moved down in the lineup until he develops a little more. I like the Hernandez kid in left. Marwin should start the rest of the year at short unless someone from the farm really steps up. Carter hits the ball hard but batting .200 is sad. Still waiting for this thing to turn around. Where is last year’s Jason Castro? I think Dominguez should be moved to cleanup behind Springer until Singleton improves. But bottom line is we still strike out way too much.

    • Kennon Riley

      Fowler has been out with the intercostal strain. Bass took about 6 weeks to come back. The team says that he should be good to go soon but I’m not sure.

      I agree that Hernandez needs to get more chances in left. I like his defense and even if the reality is that he is a .250 hitter, he drives the ball well and plays the game hard.

      Carter is actually 4th among DH’s in home runs. He’s riding a 9-game hitting streak entering the break so hopefully we will see his batting average recover to what it was in ’13 and maybe improve a little bit. The important thing is that his K rate has actually decreased from 36.2% to 32.7%. Unfortunately it seems like the rest of the team is all near the 30% mark.

      I think this team is still improving offensively. Only time will tell.

      • JohnE H-Town

        Yeah, signs of life. But we are coming from as deep a hole as has ever been dug in MLB history. The Aiken/Appel thing is troubling right now too.

        I don’t expect Hernandez to still hit around .300 by end of season, but anyone who is safe of the .240 mark on this squad should start every day.

        If Carter can continue to climb his average and still slug away….. IDK, .225 with 40 HR’s would perhaps be respectable. I just worry that somehow Singleton is going to learn from him. Much better lately from Carter as you said, so let’s hope for the best. I want to see Singleton everyday but at this point, he has to be dropped out of the 4 or even 5 hole.

        At this point, not cashing in on Castro is looking like a mistake. I wanted to keep him too, but let’s hope his second half is more reminiscent of last season.

        • JR Carroll

          The first half of this season should be remember as regression. From Castro to Carter to Appel to Aiken even so fair to say From Nix to Marshall as well. This season as a whole has not been a step forward.

          • JR Carroll


          • JR Carroll

            And speaking of Carter to Singleton. It may be time shortly after the break if Singleton doesn’t start hitting to send him back to OKC to get his confidence back and reflect on what he needs to do to be successful in the show.

          • JohnE H-Town

            I would agree if I though we had a viable option to replace him. At this point I just want to see Singleton moved down in the order so he is not striking out behind Springer and Altuve. Take the pressure off him by dropping him down the order, let him figure things out in the bigs. He has proven what he can do at OKC.

          • JR Carroll

            I agree that I love seeing him in the lineup everyday. I’m just saying the kid has pretty much raked his whole life. He’s been up for a couple months now and has struggled a lot. Maybe it’s time to let him go down and get his mind right. He has the skill. But mentally is he ready to make adjustments on the fly? With his addiction background can he deal with failing for a prolonged period? What could it hurt to let him go down and get his confidence back? So we have to deal with Mark K or Robbie G for a couple weeks of full time ab’s not like the losing is gonna stop either way.

          • JohnE H-Town

            I would drop him down first. Give him three or four weeks batting six or seven before you send him back. If We spend too much more time with Krauss and Grossman I will become a Rangers fan.

          • JR Carroll

            Not like their doing much better than us….. At least we always have 1-1 to look forward to. Even using my advanced math eventually the odds say one of them will pan out.

          • JohnE H-Town

            I guess technically Lunhow is 1 for …… Correa is the real deal, the Appel situation can still be salvaged. And hell, I guess the deadlines has not passed on Aiken yet either. My philosophy would be to stack the system with all the 5-tool position players you can find, and purchase pitching on the market. But I’m not the GM and I don’t think I could afford the light bill at the Juice Box let alone pay the salaries.

          • JR Carroll

            Amen to that