Through all of the injuries that hurt the Houston Astros this year, they needed a player who could perform day in and day out. That man was George Springer.
As the Houston Astros season was winding down yesterday afternoon, few were paying attention to a team that failed to live up to expectations in 2016. Tired of the ups and downs of a long 162-game grind, the fans seemed ready for the offseason.
Unfortunately, the Astros were not playing a meaningful game #162 yesterday. This meant that a lot of special moments for certain Astros players were diminished, if not forgotten.
One of these special moments was George Springer enduring the six-month grind of the MLB regular season and playing in all 162 games for the Houston Astros in 2016. Springer, who was injured for a large part of the magical run in 2015, gave it his all in an Astros uniform this season.
On Sunday afternoon, Springer led off the game with a single and then was replaced by Teoscar Hernandez in just the top of the first inning. A.J. Hinch wanted to let Springer have his moment by taking him out of the game early, and give the young slugger his chance in the spotlight and also to take some time off.
From April through September, Springer treated us to many of his famous leadoff “Springer Dingers”, as well as countless athletic plays in right field. While Springer may have also struck out a bit, he made up for the whiffs with consistent hustle and a great attitude in the clubhouse.
For the season, Springer finished up with a slash line of .261/.359/.457 along with 168 hits, 29 home runs, 82 RBI, 29 doubles, and 88 walks. His 4.5 oWAR ranked 21st among all American League hitters, which is quite an impressive statistic for Springer’s first full season in the major leagues.
Many Astros fans will say that Springer should not be left out when General Manager Jeff Luhnow throws out names in trade negotiations, and that he is not a cornerstone of this team, like Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. While these opinions may be somewhat valid, Springer’s milestone from this past season must be applauded.
When players like Correa, Altuve, Dallas Keuchel, and Lance McCullers were hampered by injuries, George Springer pulled through for the Astros and led the younger players like Alex Bregman and Joe Musgrove through their first season at the major league level.
All in all, before we examine mock trades and throw names out into the rumor mill, it is important that we recognize Springer for carrying the Houston Astros in 2016 and pulling off a feat that has not been accomplished by a Houston Astro since Carlos Lee (shocker) played all 162 in 2007.