At the end of each month the staff here at CTH posts a “state of the team report.’ That report examines the numbers the Astros put up as a team. The big number right now is the one in the loss column. The Astros are almost certain to eclipse last season’s franchise record of 106 losses. It’s been a tough summer for all of us so I won’t beleaguer the point. I just wanted to throw out a few individual numbers that have to be considered major factors in a lost season.
First let’s look at some of the individual leaders on offense, starting with the accumulative numbers. (as opposed the percentage based categories)
J.D. Martinez leads the club with 54 RBIs and Chris Johnson is second with 41. Martinez is now at AAA and CJ is in Arizona. Those numbers are obviously low, but it’s no wonder the team isn’t scoring any runs. Jed Lowrie leads the team with 14 homers and he’s been on the disabled list since July 15. Lowrie also leads the team in walks with 39, suggesting he is the most feared hitter on the team. It should come as no surprise that the team went from bad to terrible when Lowrie got hurt. The Astros are 27-50 when Lowrie starts and 13-38 when he doesn’t.
Jose Altuve is the one guy that has performed at a high level all year long. Altuve leads in just about every remaining category. He tops the list in hits, runs, doubles, triples, total bases, and steals. Of course Altuve has played in more games (119) than anyone on the team. Unlike Brian Bogusevic, who is second on the squad with 118 games played, Altuve actually earned his playing time. Altuve also leads the team in a couple of the percentage based categories with a .301 average and .354 OBP.
I have nothing against Bogusevic. I just don’t think his numbers warrant as much playing time as he has been getting. Bogey is an excellent defender and base runner. His .209/.299/.303 slash line suggests he should be utilized more as a defensive replacement and pinch runner.
A quick look at the percentage based numbers leaves me shaking my head. With so many players coming in with a small sample size one would expect to see a few gaudy numbers in the mix. That just isn’t the case. Tyler Greene‘s team best .500 slugging percentage is the only number that stands out. But it is counteracted by his team worst 38.5% strikeout rate.
Brett Wallace (.474) and Carlos Corporan (.471) are the only other players with a higher slugging percentage than Jed Lowrie’s .456. Wallace is also second, behind Altuve, with a .351 OBP. Let’s hope that Tony DeFrancesco continues to get Wallace in the everyday lineup batting third and playing first base.
Part-time catcher Chris Snyder has the best walk rate on the club at 13.1%. But that could be partly due to the fact that he typically bats in front of the pitcher. Carlos Lee had an outstanding 6.1% strikeout rate prior to being dealt to the Marlins. Jose Altuve has shown improvement and is the leader among current Astros with a strikeout rate of 11.9%. Plate discipline continues to be an issue for the Astros. Let’s see if Ty Van Burkleo can make any progress in that area.
And what about the pitching? That’s where it gets even uglier.
Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell are the only remaining members of the original starting rotation. Harrell has been tremendous and leads the team with ten wins but Norris leads the staff in losses thanks to a ten game losing streak. Opening Day starter Wandy Rodriguez led the team with a 3.79 ERA when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Harrel has a 3.92 ERA and Wilton Lopezleads all bullpen pitchers with a 2.31 mark.
Closer Brett Myers and his 19 saves were dealt to the White Sox prior to the trade deadline and Lopez currently leads the staff with a measly two saves. On the other hand, Francisco Cordero and Francisco Rodriguez have blown three saves apiece. F-Rod has also been one of the league’s easiest pitchers to run on, allowing 19 stolen bases in 19 attempts. Rodriguez also leads all National League relievers with eight losses. Ouch.