Astros in Fantasy: Week 14

June 28, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Houston Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez (30) hits a double in the fourth inning against Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
June 28, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Houston Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez (30) hits a double in the fourth inning against Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

A Look at Fantasy Baseball Through the Lens’ of an Astros Fan

Here is how I did in Week 13:

Week 13 Hitter:

Carlos Gomez– 5/23 H/AB, 2 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB, .217 BA

Gomez capped off his June with a good run. In the last three games of the month against the Angels, he had four hits in 12 at bats, driving in two runners and scoring once.

Coming into July after hitting .286 with a .814 OPS in June, Gomez has a great first game against the White Sox. He went 1-4 with a two-run home run into the Crawford Boxes that extended the Astros lead.

The rest of the series, Gomez struggled. He went 0-7 with two strikeouts against games started by Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. It is very odd for Gomez to struggle against left-handed pitching. In 60 at-bats this year, he has a .267 average and a stellar 1.089 OPS against lefties.

With a nice June behind him, fantasy owners should be happy with the turnaround for Gomez. However, it remains to be seen whether he will continue that success.

Week 13 Pitcher:

Will Harris– 3 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 SV, 0.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP

The 4-2 week for the Astros did not produce as many close games as anticipated. However, when he was in, Harris was just being Harris.

In his only save opportunity, Harris struck out two and gave up two hits against the Angles. His other two outings went without a hitch as well, giving up three hits and striking out one in those two innings.

Harris has become one of the game’s most unlikely success stories. After being picked up off of the waiver wire in 2014, Harris has been dominant as a member of the Astros. With a 0.76 ERA this season, Harris should be an All-Star for the Astros this season.

Harris will get his fair share of save opportunities as the postseason inches closer. If Harris continues to perform, he will be a steal for fantasy owners.

This week’s selections:

Week 14 Hitter:

George Springer (Owned in % of ESPN Fantasy Leagues)

As the All-Star Game in San Diego inches closer, the infield combination of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa seemed to have already secured a spot on the coveted American League All-Star team. However, one of the most deserving players on the Astros roster could be on the outside looking in when the All-Star break comes around.

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Springer is the Astros’ sparkplug at the top of the lineup. This season, he is hitting .260 with a team-leading 18 home runs and 49 RBIs which are second on the team. He is also second on the team in hits and slugging percentage.

With the numbers to back him up, where is Springer in regards to All-Star voting? Nowhere to be found. Hidden behind superstars such as Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, and the beloved Alex Gordon, Springer is quietly having one of the best seasons of any AL outfielder. Why does that make him a fantasy pick this week? He is about to prove it.

First of all, the Astros have seven home games against division rivals Seattle and Oakland. Springer has been statistically better in the confines of Minute Maid Park. In his 40 games at home this season, Springer has a .281 batting average with nine home runs and 19 RBIs. Also, his OPS is at .905, which is 149 points higher than when the Astros are away from Houston.

Second of all, not only are the Astros better with Springer leading off, Springer is. Although he is only hitting .259 leading off this year, one point lower than in the two spot, his OPS jumps 23 points. Leading off any inning, Springer has an OPS of .937. If that does not convince you, Springer is batting .329 with a 1.069 OPS in the first inning alone this season. He provides the spark at the top of the lineup that brings ample amount of run scoring opportunities to the All-Stars batting third and fourth.

Third, Springer has found success against these teams, especially the Mariners, in the past. In 59 at-bats against them last season, Springer hit .356 with a 1.096 OPS. He had four home runs with eight RBIs.

Although Springer has struggled this season against Oakland and Seattle, with only recording 12 hits in 54 at-bats, this is the time to give his name some national media attention. No matter if he gets his shot at San Diego or not, this is the week for Springer to prove himself offensively. This extra motivation should make fantasy owners very happy this week.

Week 14 Pitcher:

Lance McCullers (Owned in % of ESPN Fantasy Leagues)

It has already been a tough season for McCullers. After starting his season in mid-May because of injury, he was scratched from a start last week because of a blister on his right index finger. McCullers has a lot to prove in what could be two starts before the All-Star break.

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McCullers’ 2016 has been a tale of two months. He struggled in May giving up 11 earned runs on 19 hits and 16 walks in 20.2 innings pitched.

Then in June, he started to pitch more like he did in 2015. In his 25.1 innings of work, McCullers only gave up nine earned runs. Even though he gave up more hits, with 29, his walks were down to only 13.

Control has been a struggle for McCullers as he came back from injury. He has given up an average of 9.4 hits and 5.7 walks per nine innings pitched. His 1.67 WHIP is not where fantasy owners want that to be.

However, McCullers has still been the strikeout pitcher that distinguishes himself from the other pitchers in the Astros rotation. With an average of striking out 11 batters per nine innings, he has 56 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched.

His next opponent, the Seattle Mariners, know his strikeout capability very well. In his 15.1 innings of work against them last season, he struck out 17. However, he also gave up ten hits and walked nine.

Like Correa, McCullers has been stellar at home. In his five starts, he has a 2.37 ERA with a .241 batting average against. He also has 38 strikeouts in his 30.1 innings pitched.

Two starts this week are not guaranteed for the young right-hander. Manager A.J. Hinch has talked about giving veteran Scott Feldman another spot start before the All-Star break. That would likely come when McCullers next start would be, next Sunday against the A’s.

Next: Astros Hitting Needs as the Trade Deadline Approaches

McCullers is an erratic, young right-handed pitcher with strikeout capabilities that are out of this world. If he can use a bit of that control in his potential starts next week, he could be a valuable pick-up as you hit the mid-way point of the fantasy season.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***