Marc Krauss (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)
We are only four games into Spring Training, and Marc Krauss has appeared in three of them. Yes, the sample size is extremely small and it must be noted, but that does not change the results.
Through Monday’s victory against the Miami Marlins, Krauss is 5-9 for a .556 batting average. But perhaps more importantly, two of those hits are doubles and Krauss also hit the Astros’ first home run of the spring. And it comes at the perfect time for the 26-year old.
Krauss made his major league debut last season for the Astros and appeared in 52 games. His debut was uneven and overall a little disappointing as he batted .209 in 134 at bats with four home runs and just 13 RBI’s. As we enter 2014, the Astros have two jobs up for grabs, first base and right field, both of which Krauss is competing for.
While Bo Porter has said he would prefer to avoid platoons, it is still the likely result. In an effort to make himself even more valuable to Porter and the Astros, Krauss is expanding his versatility by working out behind the plate this spring.
Krauss did catch in high school, so it is not a foreign position to him, and it also will help his chances in making the team. There were lots of times last season, and I would expect this continue in 2014, when Jason Castro and Carlos Corporan both appeared in the lineup on the same day. The benefit of this, is that Porter gets to keep Castro’s bat in the lineup as he is Houston’s best hitter, but he also can manage his catcher’s workload and health. Having Krauss work behind the plate during Spring Training means that this arrangement will likely keep up this year.
But none of this will matter if Krauss does not hit. He did hit .281 in AAA last season with 10 home runs and 39 RBI’s in 78 games after seasons of 25, 16, and 20 home runs the three previous years. The time he spent in Houston, although the results did not show it, will ultimately help Krauss this season.
"“It was hard to kind of transition,” Krauss said. “I have the routine down now. I was kind of scatter brained, thinking too much.“All those tough times, I learned a lot about myself and my swing. You know what, that first day when I was up here, I learned more than I ever have at any level put together, just that couple weeks.”"