Astros Countdown: Top Five Players to Watch in July

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 24: Relief pitcher Ken Giles
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 24: Relief pitcher Ken Giles /
1 of 5

The Astros regressed a bit in June.

HOUSTON, TX – JUNE 30: Lance McCullers Jr. Astros
HOUSTON, TX – JUNE 30: Lance McCullers Jr. Astros /

The Houston Astros had their worst record of the season in the month of June. That is not saying much though. The Astros won 16 of 26 games and still have a firm hold on the American League West lead, with the Los Angeles Angles in second place 13.5 games back.

The month of July could be very important for the Astros. In the aftermath of the All-Star Game in the middle of the month. Astros fans could see some roster moves and changes by the trade deadline at the end of the month. Here are the top five players to watch in the month of July.

Ken Giles

Giles has been a very consistent closer for the Astros this season. In 32 games, he has saved 18 games in 20 opportunities, already matching his opportunity total from last season.

Even though his 3.56 ERA may seem a little high for a pitcher in his role, he has been very difficult to hit this season. With opposing hitters hitting only .196 off him, Giles has struck out 39 batters in 30.1 innings of work this season, striking out hitters 31.2 percent of the time.

One of the main issues with Giles is his control. Using a high-nineties fastball and a mid-eighties slider, he is walking batters 9.6 percent of the time, the highest rate of his career. He is averaging a career high 3.56 walks per nine innings this season.

After a stellar month of May with a 1.80 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 11 appearances, Giles struggled a bit in June. Coming into the last day of June, he has a 4.50 ERA with a 1.40 WHIP, giving up both of his home runs in 10 innings this month. He was still reliable in the closer’s role though; converting four of five save opportunities.

With a probable playoff spot coming in October for the Astros, the month of July is very important for Giles. He has been reliable, but July is when Giles could turn from consistent to lights out.