Look, the Astros won a Spring Training game. Good for them.
Yes, the Astros bested the Tim Tebow-less New York Mets split squad yesterday. The score, in case you are curious, was 12-2. Nothing really exciting about that since it is Spring Training.
Oh, did I fail to mention that they broke the streak of two ties in a row? I know, it’s riveting stuff.
Obviously though there were plenty of positives in this game. For one, Charlie Morton continues to impress. Our fearless leader at CTH, Eric Huysman, details Morton’s increased velocity that has carried over from last year. If he pitches this well in the regular season, the starting rotation becomes less of a question mark.
The player I want to focus on this morning is A.J. Reed.
The first base candidate has quietly compiled a respectable start to Spring Training. In fact, he went 2-for-2 with another home run. Reed now has a 1.125 OPS in ten games since the start of camp.
This is encouraging for the Astros as first base has been, well, a humdrum position in recent years. Reed does have the potential to end this dry spell. For example, ZiPS projects Reed to have a 105 wRC+, which is slightly above average. This is partly contingent on Reed earning the 540 plate appearances though. But a 105 wRC+ from a first baseman would be a step or two in the right direction. This is the same team that witnessed their collective first base group post a 79 wRC+, which is well below average.
I warn that we must take this small sample size from Reed with a grain of salt. Spring Training statistics can provide false optimism as the results likely not come against major league regulars. The pendulum can swing back to the other side rather quickly. And Yulieski Gurriel still lurks as the current favorite to earn the bulk of playing time at first base this season. Reed will need a strong beginning, middle, and end of Spring Training to wrestle the job away from Gurriel.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and MLB.com**