Danny Worth is by no means a prospect in the Houston Astros system.
Signed on January 26th to a free agent deal by the Houston Astros, Danny Worth, a utility player in the infield, is a security blanket for the major league club. He provides above average defense all around the infield if someone on the major league club gets hurt. However, through his 18 games played as a member of the Fresno Grizzlies, Worth has been a stable offensive force near the top of the Grizzlies lineup.
Worth really is not known for his offense. In his limited amount of major league time with the Detroit Tigers from 2010 to 2014, he hit .230 with two home runs, 19 RBIs, and a .588 OPS in 135 games.
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Worth was then granted free agency and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the 2015 season. This was when the offensive potential started to show. In 106 games, Worth hit .314 with six home runs, 47 RBIs, 53 runs scored, and .863 OPS.
Worth exceeding offensive expectations has continued into the start of the 2016 season with the Grizzlies. Through 18 games, Worth leads the team in 9 of the 17 main offensive categories including batting average with .357, hits with 25, runs scored with 14, and OPS with .998.
The Grizzlies are finding ways to keep that bat in the lineup, playing Worth all over the infield. Although he has primarily played at second base and shortstop throughout his major league career, Worth has gotten some time at first base and third base. On top of that, Worth has pitched two major league innings.
And when his bat is in the lineup, Worth has been successful. Although his walk percentage is down from years past, his strikeout rate is down from 24.8% in 2015 to 13.4% so far in 2016. This change raised his on-base percentage to .427 compared to his batting average of .357. Also, his isolated power average has skyrocketed to a career-high .214 to start the 2016 season.
With the combination of playing all around the infield and his major league experience, there is a very good chance that we will see Worth in an Astros uniform in September if not earlier.
So, with his increased offensive production, what is Worth’s value in a major league clubhouse? Again, if someone were to get hurt in the infield on the major league club, Worth would provide a fine alternate with major league experience. It also gives the Astros a nice replacement for utility man Marwin Gonzalez if he were to get hurt or starts struggling.
Worth’s performance for the Grizzlies has helped them towards their underwhelming 9-10 start. However, if he keeps it up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Worth in a major league uniform by the end of this year. Hopefully, this small-scale free agent signing by Jeff Luhnow and the Astros is Worth it.