Early in Astros spring training, George Springer was getting on-base and showed evidence of his potential speed with a stolen base. What he had not done before Friday’s game versus the Nationals is hit for power and drive in the runs. Prior to the game Friday, Springer had a 4:3 walk to strikeout ratio, which would be a good sign for Springer if he continues this trend into the regular season. But his three hits before Friday were all singles, which changed in a drastic way on Friday.
Last season, Springer hit 20 home runs in 295 at-bats, before going onto the DL for the rest of the season with leg issues. Springer has a 27.8% home run per fly ball ratio, which was the highest in the league last year. He had a .34 walk per strike out ratio in 2014, which contributed to his low batting average and OBP from his rookie year. Not sure about other Astros fans, but once Springer was out for the year, my interest waned a little in watching Astros games. This is due to the excitement that Springer brings to the game.
On Friday March 13, 2015 George Springer didn’t just hit his first extra-base hit of the spring, he got his first two home runs of the spring in the span of two at-bats. Both of the home runs were solo blast and opposite field home runs to right center field. According to Jose De Jesus Ortiz, “George Springer homers on consecutive pitches.” While Astros fans will predict that Springer will hit between 30 and 40 home runs during a full regular season, it is nice to see him actually hit for power after his injury last year. This was the first time he has hit a home run since July 19th, 2014.
From Bill Ladson at the Houston Chronicle,
"“Oh man, was that great to see or what?” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of Springer. “He’s been working real hard trying to get his timing right. You can’t hold those two [homers]. It was good swings, good barrel contact like we like. Not many people can do what he did.”"
Earlier during the Bloggers Round-Table at Astros Fan Fest, Hinch liked my reference of Springer as a young Justin Upton when he managed the Dimondbacks. Hinch has been a fan of what Springer has to offer, so this praise is well warranted for the future face of the Astros. Springer was happy with his contact on the two home runs, versus just being excited about the home runs themselves.
It has been reported that Springer has added more weight in muscle this offseason, and he also spent most of his offseason in New England working out. He is trying to become more durable to last the entire season. Last year, the Astros played it safe by holding Springer out for the rest of the season to let his body heal. They could see the rewards of their patience from last year this year, where Springer could be on the verge of being an break-out player in 2015.
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