Which Astros are heating up as the weather starts to heat up?
After a rough start to May, the Astros find their groove. Stating 2-5 in May, the Astros are 6-2 in their last 8. Winning their last three series against the Athletics, Rangers, and Angels, Houston finds themselves atop the AL West once again. With the bats coming alive and the bullpen holding up, there are a few key players who stood out during this stretch. Let’s dive into who’s trending up this week.
Trending Up: Max Stassi
Welcome back to the trending up list, Stassi. He’s a familiar face seeing time on here in early April. Stassi has earned his way back. Seeing 11 at-bats in his last three games, Stassi went 5-11 for a .454 batting average. He’s elevated his season batting average to .348 and is seeing more time at the plate.
In May so far, he is slugging a .609 percent. With Gattis’ early struggles trying to find hits, Stassi has stepped up in the catcher role. This answers the early season questions on why the Astros felt the need to roster three catchers to begin the season. Next question?
In fact, let me add some bonus stats. In their last seven games, all 3 Astros catchers have gone: 13-42 for a .309 average including four homers and six total extra-base hits.
Maybe the luxury of interchanging these catchers is a good thing, Evan Gattis has significantly stepped his game up as of late.
Trending Up: Alex Bregman
Third baseman Bregman has had a nice week. In the last eight games, he has gone 7-26 for a .270 average. He’s stayed consistent managing hits in 6 of his last eight games. Alex has taken four walks and struck out only twice in 26 plate appearances. He’s getting time on this list for consistency and defense played. Did you see him run down that out in Tuesday’s game? He’s fielding a .943 defensively and has the biggest sample size on the team playing all 44 games this season.
In fact, he’s scored the most runs, six total, of the Astros 28 total in the last eight games.
Trending Up: Will Harris
After a forgettable end to April and start to May, Harris finds himself trending up. In 1.1 innings pitched in that span above, Harris allowed four hits and four runs taking a loss to the Yankees. What a difference a week makes. Since then, Harris pitched three straight shutout innings in relief against the Athletics, Rangers, and Angels all resulting in team wins.
He added two strikeouts, and no walks with 29 of his 45 pitches being called a strike at a .644 percent rate. He’s had some time between his relief appearances and has some cushion before coming into action. If anyone knows how to get a guy’s confidence back, it’s AJ Hinch. Here’s hoping the worst of Harris and the rest of the bullpen for that matter is behind us.
Verlander can’t go all nine innings every appearance, can he?
*** Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference and MLB.com ***