Astros: 4 Rookie hitters who will have big roles in 2017

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Aug 21, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Yulieski Gurriel (0) waits on deck in the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 21, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Yulieski Gurriel (0) waits on deck in the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /
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Yulieski Gurriel

MLB: Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians
MLB: Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians /

It’s fair to say that we have not seen the best from Gurriel. It’s hard to call him a rookie as well, but he had exactly 130 at-bats last year, to lose rookie status, it has to be more than 130. Gurriel was one of the better hitters in the international baseball. He has an career international slash line of .335/ .417/ .580/ .997.

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The switch to MLB baseball was a little difficult, Gurriel even struggled in the minors. In 4 levels of minor leagues in 2016, he had a slash line of .250/ .262/ .429/ .691. Because the Astros were losing ground in the playoff chase, they brought Gurriel up maybe sooner than they should of. We have to remember that he hadn’t played organized baseball since February of that year.

Not so fast.

While he didn’t have the best impact at the plate at the beginning, he did go through a hot stretch. With the Astros, he had a slash line of .262/ .292/ .385/ .677 with three homers and 15 RBIs. This is far below his career level, but we will see what a full spring training with the team will do for him.

The plan for him is to be the primary first baseman and bat ninth in the batting order. He is the wild-card of the lineup. If he turns in a .280/20 HR/ 75 RBI season batting ninth, this could mean good things for the Astros.

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These players should all have some impact on the Astros this year. With a veteran lineup, these guys have to have the next man up mentality. Gurriel is the only one guaranteed a job this spring, but the others, Hernandez, and Kemmer could all make names for themselves this year. Don’t forget about Mr. Scrappy, Tony’s Kemp. GO Stros!

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***

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