Out of all facets of the game, the Astros offense was figured to be its bread-and-butter this season. And that has been the case for the most of the season.
Minus a slow start to the season, the Astros lineup has been a relatively solid group of batters. Thus far, Houston’s offense has only two batters with a wRC+ less than 100 in 50 or more plate appearances. Those two players are Nori Aoki (93 wRC+) and Carlos Beltran (74 wRC+). That is a positive and a slight negative at the same time.
Outside of the struggling Beltran and the near-expected version of Aoki, the Astros lineup has clicked in a way that we haven’t seen in years. And years. We may be entering 1998 territory when the team’s home park was the Astrodome. Anyway, the Astros offense in terms of wRC+ has been near the top as we round into double digits in May. Only the New York Yankees (128 wRC+) and the Washington Nationals (121 wRC+), two fellow division leaders, either tie or own a higher wRC+ Houston (121 wRC+) before yesterday’s slate of games. Don’t forget that one team has Aaron Judge while the other has Bryce Harper. That is good company to keep.
The Astros have no pushovers with the bat, though. You have the usual suspects in Carlos Correa, George Springer and Jose Altuve. But they don’t have to carry the load each and every game. Some days it may be Evan Gattis (148 wRC+) or Brian McCann (147 wRC+) that provide the offensive muscle. Both literally and figuratively. Maybe pitchers are just confused which player is who when you consider that they could pass as twin brothers.
Kind of freaky, am I right? Well, these two have turned what has historically been an offensively-inept position, catcher, for the Astros into a strength.
Another position player that has gotten off to a grand start is “super” utility man, Marwin Gonzalez. You may remember him as the guy who broke up Yu Darvish’s perfect game a number of years ago. Anyway, the Astros backup infielder/outfielder/whatever position manager A.J. Hinch pencils him in has put up an impressive 192 wRC+ in 96 plate appearances. This also includes a stretch in which he was just hitting home runs left and right.
Combine this kind of production with any contributions from Josh Reddick, Yulieski Gurriel and Alex Bregman then you have an offense that is worth the investment. As the Astros continue to pad its division lead I implore you to remember that this offense is most likely the driving force. In fact, their late inning heroics is a major reason behind the team’s early season success.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs**