Top Performer #2: Yulieski Gurriel
Like the majority of the Astros offense, Yulieski Gurriel had a cold start to his 2017 season. In his first 35 plate appearances, Gurriel posted a 32 wRC+ with a .029 ISO and a 0.0% BB%. This is not optimal for any first baseman, or player for that matter, in baseball.
Those abysmal statistics that I just mentioned were as of April 15th. Fast forward to April 30th and Gurriel flipped the narrative on us.
Statistics as of 4/30: .329/.354/.481, 138 wRC+, 2 HR, 7 RBI
Gurriel’s success is definitely something good. Anytime a player can post those kind of numbers then it has to be beneficial to the team. However, there are a few issues that may prevent us from tabbing Gurriel as the team’s next best hitter. One is his BABIP, which came in at a high mark of .364. For those who may not know, a .300 BABIP is about average. The act of maintaining a .364?BABIP is awfully difficult as only seven players achieved the feat in 2016. I’m not saying Gurriel can’t achieve that level, but it is unlikely from a player that has entered his first full major league season.
The other issue that immediately jumps out to me is Gurriel’s remarkably low walk rate of 1.2%. Thanks to the high BABIP, this hasn’t been a metric which has been paid much attention to as of late. Regardless, the early results have been encouraging to a certain extent. He clearly helped the team or I wouldn’t have named him to this list. I recommend, though, that we exercise a cautious optimism with Gurriel until further notice.