Marwin Gonzalez, the new player that illustrates a team player for the Astros.
One of the things that I remember from my younger years as an Astros fan still stand out to me. This relates to a player not too many of you remember, but I remember something that was said about him. The name is Sid Bream, who only played for one season with the Astros is 1994. It was also his last season in MLB baseball.
Yes, 1994 was the year that Jeff Bagwell won his MVP, broke his hand again, and the strike happened. One time, I remember an announcer say that Sid Bream stood for ‘team’. That season was the best season of his career in terms of batting average with a .344 average in 70 plate appearances. He was the backup to the future hall of famer Bagwell.
I can’t remember why that phrase was said, but Bream was on such a hot streak that Bagwell played in the outfield. It was only for one game, but he earned that start at first base. Maybe the phrase was just a play on words, but for 23 years later, I don’t believe it anymore.
No offense to Sid Bream, but Marwin Gonzalez stands for ‘team’, not Bream. Gonzalez has gone from Rule 5 draft pick to an elite super utility player. This Astros lineup is loaded, but A.J. Hinch still finds a way to get Gonzalez’s bat in the lineup. He may not play every day, but when he does, he helps this team win.
Gonzalez can play all around the diamond, except catcher and pitcher. With his above average defense, he has recently added some more merit badges. Gonzalez has now added power and clutch hitting to his game. How clutch?
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For a guy that doesn’t play every day, Gonzalez has 17 runs batted in with seven homers. Despite a .228 batting average, Margo has an impressive .943 OPS. His wRC+ is way above average at 167. This production is from a guy floating from position to position. Wherever Hinch needs Gonzalez, he’s ready to produce. But last night is when Gonzalez really cemented the Marwin stands for team idea in my head.
The Astros were supposed to face Cole Hamels, but he was scratched minutes before the game. Josh Reddick was benched in favor of Gonzalez, who hits better against left-handers. Earlier in the game, Gonzalez got the Astros closer by hitting a solo shot. Let’s set the stage for his heroics last night.
In the eighth inning, the Astros loaded the bases with one out. Yulieski Gurriel skied out, leaving it up to Gonzalez. Think it was a 3-2 count, Gonzalez hit the ball out of the ballpark, barely stayed fair. After the first win versus the Rangers Monday, last night’s win put the Astros another game up in the standings.
Anyone at any time can be the hero for this Houston team, which has excelled at scoring in the seventh and eight innings this year. They have scored 22 and 21 respectively. This ability to fight back into games is a great trait to have. Gonzalez was the hero last night, who will it be tonight?
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***