Astros News

Astros: Marwin Gonzalez (MarGo), The Solve All Duct Tape

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Aug 18, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros left fielder Marwin Gonzalez (9) celebrates with teammates after hitting a walk off home run during the tenth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Minute Maid Park. The Astros defeated the Rays 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 18, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros left fielder Marwin Gonzalez (9) celebrates with teammates after hitting a walk off home run during the tenth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Minute Maid Park. The Astros defeated the Rays 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Astros’ utility man, Marwin Gonzalez, is the jack of all trades.

A couple of weeks back I wrote about the Astros piecing the puzzle together, and how they were poised to make a run. In the article, I spoke of a mechanical adjustment that was about to set Carlos Gomez free, a bullpen that has become one of the best in the game, and that it was time to bring up A.J. Reed. Maybe it was too soon for Reed, but I still would like to see him get a couple more chances. When you piece a puzzle together, no part is more important than the rest. On a team that carries the soon to be AL MVP Jose Altuve, Marwin Gonzalez could arguably be the Astros MVP.

If a player can consistently hit from both sides of the plate, give you a little power from both sides of the plate, steal you a base, and oh by the way he can play 3B, SS, 2B, 1B, OF all at a high level, I ask you, what is his value?

There is no doubt that Margo would be a starting middle infielder on many MLB teams, but its Marwin’s ability to spell a rest for almost every player on the field that makes him an asset as rare as a star player. The fact is, believe it or not, when Margo subs for a starter, in many cases the Astros improve their overall game.

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Altuve, the Gold Glove second baseman, is with no doubt, the second best fielding second baseman on the team. If you need to give Altuve a rest at DH, he will eat most of his fingernails sitting in the dugout, but you will have improved your team two-fold on that day.

First, a defense up the middle with Margo and Carlos Correa will provide more range in the field. Second, you get to keep your batting champion as a DH, while resting Altuve’s legs for the long hot summer. Margo is not only the solve all duct tape you can stick anywhere, but he is also a battery charger to keep the entire team fresh. Margo is truly the Jack of All Trades.

Since May 24th, also known as the day George Springer went into the leadoff spot, the Astros have a record of 25-9. In that stretch, Astros hitters have a combined .786 on-base plus slugging percentage, and they are averaging five runs per game. Is May 24th the day of Springer, or was it the official knighting of Margo? In that 34 game stretch, Marwin participated in all 34 games, and Margo started all but two games in June.

Over the course of June Marwin hit .297 with five doubles, two triples, and two home runs. Marwin also contributed nicely to the Astros high run output with 16 runs scored, driving in 9, and picking up three stolen bases. Over the Astros 34 game stretch of decimating MLB opponents, Margo played 18 games at 1B, two games at 2B, three games at SS, one game at 3B, one game in LF, and one game as the DH. Somewhere toward the beginning of that stretch it had become apparent that Super Utility Man Margo, had become Super Starter Man Margo.

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On this next home stand, we will pass the halfway mark guaranteed to finish the first half of the season above .500. Truly a remarkable achievement after the 7-17 month of April. Currently, Houston sits at their high water mark of the season at six games above .500. The Astros just capped a 5-1 road trip that has more important meaning than the dominant record. They went into Kansas City and beat the Royals two straight to win the series before game three started.

The Royals who are absolute monsters at home lost two straight at home for the first time in the 2016 season. How do you improve on beating KC at home two out of three? You pummel the teams that struggle. In the month of July, every Astros opponent currently has a win-loss record below .500. If the Astros sweep of the Angels is a foreshadowing of things to come, July should be another month where the Stros make serious strides forward.

Except first base, the Astros appear to be set for the second half run. If Reed cannot find his footing, then the Astros will duct tape the hole with Margo and not miss a beat, and it also may open a door for Alex Bregman. Although Marwin is not the typical power bat you would want at first, he provides a shortstop defense, and the Astros just win when he is there. With some talk about maybe trading to fill a hole at first base, it would be hard to see the Astros continue to give away more talent.

Next: Can Astro upgrades come from within

It is well documented the talent the Astros gave away for Ken Giles, and Gomez and sometimes it may be better to play the hand you have. For that analyst out there that say the Astros can’t win with Gonzalez at first base, I believe the true question they need to be asking themselves is, after a 25-9 stretch with Margo playing most of those games at first base, can the Astros win without Margo at first base?

**Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com**

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