A Look at Houston Astros George Springer’s 2016 Projections
One of my friends in my ESPN Fantasy Baseball Commish league wants me to trade George Springer to him in exchange for Dee Gordon. While I do need a second baseman because I could not protect Jason Kipnis as one of my ten keepers for that league, but do I want to trade the player I get to watch play on a daily basis? Some people say that Springer had a bad 2015, but most of them forget that he only played in 102 games after missing two months with the fractured wrist. That just reminded me about the Royals and how close we came to beating them, but I digress.
Even when Springer came back, his whole game came back with him except for his power game. He went homerless in his first 14 games back from the DL and only hit three homers in September/October. He batted .219 in the playoffs with two doubles and a homer, but he showed that his bat was returning to form. It was nice to see Springer use a little of his speed with stolen bases in 2015 with 16, but with a full season under his belt, could he be the 20-20 player that we think he should be?
While I know it doesn’t take a mathematician to project what he would have done in a full season of about 150 games, but here it is in case you were wondering. I used a scale factor of 1.47 to do the calculations, let’s see some math in everyday life.
Even though it was obvious, the projected stats from a full season would definitely make Springer become a 20-20 player, something that teammates Carlos Gomez and Carlos Correa could do as well. While Jose Altuve did hit 16 homers last season, it would be hard for him to reach the 20-20 label, but it would be awesome and would push Astros to the top. This lineup can be dynamic, especially when A.J. Reed comes up and offers the pop that he is expected.
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Spring appears to be comfortable hitting second for now, which has its perks and downfalls. He will be hitting in between Altuve and Correa, so he will see pitches to hit on a consistent basis. He will be part of many double steals with either Altuve or Correa and should be able to score more runs with more consistent production hopefully out of the first base hitter. He will get more at-bats hitting second, but could have limited opportunities to drive in runners depending on how the eighth and ninth hitters get on.
The only real drawback of him hitting second is he is not the typical contact guy hitting second who is willing to lay down a bunt or advance the runner by putting the ball in play. He did raise his batting average (.231 to .276) and his OBP (.336 to .367), which shows that he is making growth as a player. He also lowered his strikeout rate from 2014 of 30% down to 24.2% in 2015, which was closer to the rate he was at in the minor leagues.
One interesting note which could have led to the increase in batting average and OBP is the percentage of times he hit line drives versus fly balls.
- Line Drives: 2014 (15.3%) and 2015 (24.5%)
- Fly Balls: 2014 (39.3%) and 2015 (30.1%)
This could have also explained why Springer’s at-bats between home runs raised from 14.25 AB/HR in 2014 to 24.25 AB/HR in 2015. Springer was hitting flyballs like crazy in his rookie year, but adjusted this approach a little in 2015 to hit more line drives which could drop easier than a fly ball short of the wall. The change improved his overall game, but he still has the power to hit 30 homers as soon as this season. It’s too early to brand him a injury-prone player, but hopefully, the Astros can get a full season from Springer.
Let’s give it a shot at what to project from Springer below.
Huysman’s 2016 Projection: .267/ 82 Runs/ 25 HR/ 72 RBI/ 21 SB
While I know that Bryce Harper was a top overall pick by the Nationals, I think that Springer could have a Harper type season in 2016. In 2014, I gave up on Harper in fantasy baseball, because he was in the midst of a disappointing season. Harper ended up breaking out for the Nationals who had very little go right in a season in which they should have run away with the NL West. This is why I don’t want to trade Springer for Gordon, besides the fact that he is my most favorite player to watch right now.
**Stats from Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference**