Jake Marisnick (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
After a difficult four games against the Cleveland Indians, the Houston Astros bounced back to win their final home series, 2-1, against the Seattle Mariners this weekend.
The big story down the stretch for the Astros has been All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve as he continues to break record after record. Last night, Altuve earned an incredible standing ovation after a home-stand where he passed Magglio Ordonez for the most hits by a Venezuelan born player in a season and now has the most hits by a second baseman since 1936 (Altuve currently sits at 220.) He is looking to become the first Houston Astro to ever win a batting title and leads the Tigers’ Victor Martinez .345 to .334.
Flying a little under the radar during all this has been the play of Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick. The 23-year-old has had a terrific month of September and is currently playing his best ball of the season. This weekend, Marisnick went 5 for 13 with two home runs, seven RBIs, a double, and four runs scored against the Mariners. The Astros acquired Marisnick from the Miami Marlins right before the trade deadline and he’s looked good during his two months in Houston.
"August: .265/.298/.327 with one home run, seven RBIs, three doubles, two walks, nine runs scored, 26 hits, 21 strikeouts, and one stolen base in 98 at-bats.September: .296/.322/.463 with two home runs, 12 RBIs, three doubles, three walks, seven runs scored, 16 hits, 14 strikeouts, and five stolen bases in 54 at-bats."
However, it’s not just Marisnick’s offense that has been impressive. He has done a terrific job defensively in the outfield and has shown an ability to play all three positions. Marisnick covers a lot of ground with his speed and athleticisim, so he would be a great piece to have next to George Springer and Dexter Fowler in the outfield next season. Marisnick has also shown off his terrific arm strength a few times this year by gunning down base runners on numerous occasions. Here’s one example:
And another one…
I think Marisnick will most likely be a starter for the Astros next season if he plays well in the spring. During the offseason, the team will be looking to improve multiple areas, but I don’t think they are going to spend money on any outfielders in free agency. There are much bigger issues in the bullpen and on the left side of the infield that need more attention.
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With Springer, Fowler, and Marisnick, I think the Astros can feel comfortable about their outfield situation moving forward. There are also guys like Robbie Grossman, L.J. Hoes, Marc Krauss, and Alex Presley who could get in the mix as the fourth outfielder (until Domingo Santana and Preston Tucker are ready.) Either way, I’m encouraged by Marisnick’s play down the stretch and think he has a chance to make a big impact for the Astros in 2015.