George Springer (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Everyone is excited by the arrival of George Springer to Houston. It signals a new beginning for the Astros and their fans.
We have been hearing about these prospects for a few years now, and have seen the minor league affiliates have infinite amounts of success, but it has done little to ease the sting of three straight 100 loss seasons. But with Wednesday night’s game against the Kansas City Royals, that all changed.
It changed because Springer, wearing number four, took the field in the first inning as the starting right fielder.
By now everyone can recite all of Springer’s minor league stats. Astro fans have been tracking him for the last few years, and rightfully so. When news broke of his promotion late Tuesday night, excitement was abound.
As it should be.
Even owner Jim Crane, who rightfully so doesn’t have the best reputation among Astros’ fans, got in on the optimism.
"“He’s certainly a very good player,” Crane said of Springer. “We got to get him up and see what he can do. We got a lot of good guys in the system. Hopefully this is the first of many really good ones to come. We’re certainly not hitting the baseball at the big league level.”"
But we do need to temper expectations. No, I’m not trying to be a kill joy. I’m just being realistic. It is important to remember that Springer is the first of many top prospects to be promoted.
While Springer did bat .303 between AA and AAA last season with 37 home runs, he did also strike out 161 times in 489 at bats. This season Springer has 15 strike outs in 51 at-bats but is batting .303.
Clearly strikeouts are a problem for Springer, but it has not prevented him from having success so far in his career. There will be an adjustment phase for Springer upon his promotion, and he will need some discipline to lay off breaking balls and also to shorten up his swing depending on the situation. This is also something that Jeff Luhnow was concerned about, but at this point, the positives outweigh the negatives.
"“I am concerned about that, but not enough to not make the move happen, because the reality is he’s got a history of being an exciting player who can hit home runs and steal bases and play good defense,” Luhnow said. “If he just sticks to what he’s good at, he’s going to be fine. We think he’s ready. Everybody has some transition when they get to the big leagues, and I expect he will have some transition.“He will have our support, and I fully believe that he is a type of worker and player that will quickly address any deficiencies that reveal themselves, and he will be what everybody hopes and expects him to be, which is a very good to great player.”"
But if Springer bats .265 this season with 17 home runs and 55 RBI’s, will anyone really object? We know it will just be the tip of the iceberg for the top prospect. Not to mention it is better than any other option the Astros have. The fact that there is upside here doesn’t hurt.
For me the promotion of Springer represents two things; the true look towards the future as we can begin to look at core players, and also that failure is no longer acceptable in Houston.
"“We’re not in a position where we can let players struggle for long periods of time in Houston. That’s what Triple-A is for, and there are other options, and we have enough talent in our organization where everybody needs to realize that if you’re not performing, there’s another option for us, and we’re going to go and get that option at some point.”"
This is just the beginning for the Astros. Springer is a special player who will bring a buzz that has been lacking. Yes there will be some growing pains, but the future is bright for both Springer and the Astros. The promotion of Springer is just the start as the curtain was pulled back a little bit.