Earlier this morning, this author discussed the three Astros who are trending up as of late.
The Astros have some players who are struggling. The struggles are of no major surprise, though. Players tend to go through stretches where the results are less than desirable. Spring training is no exception. But at this point of the year, players can claim shaking off the rust excuse, which is understandable. These guys need time to sort out their mechanics and timing.
Alas, this won’t stop people like me from trivially examining these meaningless stats.
Trending Down: Tyler White
Honestly, I like White as a baseball player. He may not stand out in one particular way, but he is a player that teams need to fill out a roster. And his versatility around the diamond is important. In fact, this versatility may be the only edge he has over A.J. Reed and J.D. Davis for the first base job.
In 24 at-bats in Florida, White has posted a .208 batting average with five hits. These results are not particularly encouraging, even if these stats are from spring training. When you have Reed and Davis hitting well as of late, White surely isn’t going to gain much traction. However, White has drawn seven walks, which has allowed his OPS to hold steady at .858. If he can somehow turn his bat around in the next week-to-ten days, this first base race just may become more interesting.
Trending Down: Max Stassi
The Astros seem quite sure of carrying three catchers on the active roster: Brian McCann, Evan Gattis, and Stassi. However, Stassi is not known for his bat. The start of spring training, though, was a brief encouragement as he hit two home runs in his first eight at-bats.
Alas, Stassi has fallen dramatically back to earth. In his last fourteen at-bats, the Astros’ catcher hasn’t scratched out one single hit. The only plus side to his offensive performance has been the four walks compared to just five strikeouts. Only time will tell if his recent struggles at the plate will be the cause of something, but it is worth pointing out.
Trending Down: Derek Fisher
Fisher is the current favorite for the job in the left field, as he should be. He will likely split time there with Marwin Gonzalez as the season progresses but should see plenty of time in front of the Crawford Boxes. However, he isn’t immune to struggles.
In his last 20 at-bats, the young outfielder has produced just four hits. To his credit, one was a double and another a triple. Fisher has only posted a .200 batting average in March, which isn’t noteworthy in this small sample size. At the same time, top prospect Kyle Tucker is playing quite well, and the pressure is probably starting to mount. It wouldn’t be outlandish for Fisher to lose playing time to Tucker later on in the season.
If Fisher struggles and Tucker thrives early in 2018, the chatter to promote Tucker from the minors will only become louder. And while Fisher’s spring training stats shouldn’t have any sway on any future decisions, the fact that the results haven’t been there will only add fuel to the speculative fire. I am confident that Fisher will turn his struggles around, yet he is worth watching closely in spring training going forward.
**Statistics courtesy of MLB.com**