Thankfully, the regular season for the Astros begins in nearly two weeks.
There is not much more to say about spring training. It’s already somewhat old. Yes, there are still intriguing players to watch, yet there isn’t at the same time.
Anyway, the Astros’ Opening Day roster is pretty much set besides an open roster spot or two. Yuli Gurriel’s injury and subsequent suspension ensured us that much. That said, let’s review three players who’ve stepped up lately.
Trending Up: A.J. Reed
Reed, if you recall, was on my trending down list earlier in spring training. After all, he wasn’t hitting and striking out. In his first eighteen at-bats, Reed collected seven strikeouts compared to just one hit. But since March 5th, Reed has managed to turn a corner. In his last nineteen at-bats, Reed has two home runs and eleven total hits compared to five strikeouts. Much better production from the hopeful first baseman. His performance on March 6th versus the Nationals is worth mentioning again.
Trending Up: Justin Verlander
The Astros’ Opening Day starter has been everything and then some for Houston. Entering his first full season as an Astro, the expectations are high for the veteran right-hander. And Verlander has not disappointed in spring training.
3 games started, 10 innings pitched, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 0 walks, 17 strikeouts
Verlander has posted an impressive 0.90 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .118 batting average. Sure, it is spring training, so the stats don’t matter. At the same time, it is still worth noting. Based on Baseball-Reference’s quality of opponent measurement, Verlander has a rating of 8.8. This means that he has basically faced opponents in between a major leaguer and a Triple-A player.
Trending Up: Gerrit Cole
The Astros’ prized offseason acquisition has gotten off to a great start for his new employer.
4 games started, 12.2 innings pitched, 10 hits, 2 earned runs, 5 walks, 15 strikeouts
While the former Pirate isn’t approaching Verlander’s level of efficiency, Cole has produced quality results. Again, spring training stats do not really matter. On the other hand, it is nice to see Cole jump off to a great start as an Astro.
**Statistics and information courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball-Reference**