Time for the Astros to be Bold
On last night’s Talking Stros, Brandon and I talked about how we are all frustrated with how the Houston Astros season is playing out. The team doesn’t seem to be playing with the same passion that they did last season, and they need a spark to get the team going. The two bright spots on the season have been the improved bullpen performance and the historical performance by Jose Altuve at the plate.
The Astros now find themselves 17-28 and ten games out of first place in the AL West with no signs of the team improving. As we talked about on the show, when the pitching is doing well, the hitters can’t score enough runs to get the win. When the pitchers are struggling, they don’t have enough firepower to outslug the other teams.
They do have 17 wins, which is six more that the lowly Twins, but with the expectations coming into 2016 was playoffs or bust. All of this can not be put on the shoulders of A.J. Hinch alone, and he can’t control the decisions the players make at the moment. He is probably more frustrated than we know. The blame can be put on the entire coaching staff for not knowing how to fix these players.
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Too many players have gone on to succeed outside of Houston, such as Chris Carter, Jonathan Villar, and Jed Lowrie. I understand that the Astros rely on sabermetric thinking to run the organization, but are they putting the staff needed to teach these players the basic skills? There have been too many Jon Singleton types of players who have struggled to perform at the major league level.
With that, here is my bold statement. The Astros may be too smart, trying to wait for players to maintain team control instead of doing what the team needs to win. While it was later in the year, the Mets made a bold move last year by promoting their star hitting prospect from Double-A in July. This move, as well as acquiring Yoenis Cespedes, helped spark the Met’s terrible offense to become a team that went to the World Series in 2015.
The Mets saw that there was a problem, so they did the unsmart thing and went with their gut, and it paid off. The Astros need to do the same, look for ways to fix the team, admit their mistakes. When the Super Two deadline comes about, bring Alex Bregman up to be the everyday third baseman. This is the only player, besides a healthy A.J. Reed, who could instantly have a positive impact on the season. While the season is not over, the hill is getting taller with every Astros loss.
Bregman is swinging the bat probably better than he ever has and he might be cocky enough to give the players around him the energy or focus. He is hitting .325 with ten homers and a 1.083 OPS on the season. While he has only played a handful of games at third base, even J.D. Davis, says that he has the quickness and arm to play third base. Davis is also a third baseman, so this is high praise for his competition.
Mark Appel was supposed to be a fast-tracked pitcher, and Carlos Correa could have been had he not had that brutal leg injury. The Astros need a bat like Bregman’s now if they want to try to salvage the season, or they can always wait to win next year and wait on Bregman. I think the Astros are too smart to make this move, but as we have learned this year, next year is never guaranteed.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***