Is it time to consider handing the Astros current fourth outfielder more regular at-bats?
Hear me out before you almost assuredly shut me down, but the Astros should consider giving Jake Marisinick more at-bats. Yes, I feel somewhat strange typing that sentence myself. But I like to believe that I have a good reason to think this way, though.
As of yesterday’s 2-1 victory over the Angels, Marisnick has produced with the bat in a way that is unfamiliar with what we have seen from him in the past. Here is a snapshot of his second home run of the season from that game.
And here is some interesting metrics from Marisnick this season.
2017: 222 wRC+, .375 ISO, .688 SLG in 20 PA
It is unusual to see Marisnick hit for much power, if any at all. You see, the defense-oriented outfielder, before this year anyway, had a career ISO of .116. Both Steamer and ZiPS projections currently project his ISO to be anywhere from .131 to .141. So the projections maybe foresaw a power increase.
I will concede that Marisnick’s impressive results are overshadowed by his sample size. After all, twenty plate appearances is awfully small, and it shouldn’t be used to make any definitive statements. But the results make you wonder whether to give hime more of a chance to showcase his bat.
Marisnick’s early improvement, though, did not come overnight. If you may recall Brian McTaggart’s article from MLB.com back in February, Marisnick spent the offseason working on his offensive approach.
"Marisnick has talked hitting with teammate Jose Altuve, a two-time AL batting champion, and studied his own spray charts, which showed he pulls the ball on the ground a lot. He wants to start hitting the ball in the air more, getting more line drives."
Per Fangraphs batted ball numbers, the Astros outfielder has yet to see the results that he likely desires. Once again, this can be attributed to the sample size. There just isn’t enough data there to draw any definitive conclusions. But there is enough results to at least make this topic interesting.
At this point in time, the Astros are likely wise to use Marisnick in the manner that they have been as of late. He won’t start every game, but he will likely be a part in most of them. If he continues to show improvement with his bat though, the Astros need to get him more at-bats. An improved Marisnick with the bat in conjunction with his defense would be quite the valuable player. And valuable players are harder to come by than most people think.
**Statistics and information courtesy of Fangraphs and Statcast**