Astros Observations: Hey, this team is good!
Are the Astros starting to recapture their 2017 form? I sure hope so.
The Astros are 29-17 with a +97 run differential. The Red Sox have the second-highest run differential at +67 runs.
Here are the top five run differentials in baseball for your reading pleasure.
Astros: +97 runs
Red Sox: +67 runs
Yankees: +62 runs
Cubs: +58 runs
Braves: +57 runs
These Astros are good. Unlike last season, though, the offense has yet to take off in 2018 fully. The team’s total runs scored this season is 214 runs, which is the seventh-best in baseball. Not bad, mind you. But the pitching staff has been on a whole other level as the Astros have only allowed 117 runs.
Here are the top five pitching staffs regarding runs allowed.
Astros: 117 RA
Nationals: 154 RA
Diamondbacks: 155 RA
Cubs: 159 RA
Phillies: 160 RA
Houston is the only AL team to allow less than 170 runs. All other AL teams have allowed at least 171 runs. That’s pretty good. And that’s an understatement.
There are two points I would like to make today. One, you have to be encouraged by the team’s ability to win despite a drop off in overall offense.
For example, Marwin Gonzalez has a 75 wRC+. Last season, Gonzalez finished with a 144 wRC+. While I believe he’s better than a 75 wRC+, it was always a bit unrealistic to expect a repeat performance of his likely career season. Jose Altuve has a 116 wRC+, which is solid in its own right. However, he finished his MVP season with a 160 wRC+. Again, another drop-off, but one would except Altuve to rebound more so than Gonzalez. Carlos Correa has had a rough May with a 105 wRC+ compared to his 152 wRC+ in the first month. Designated hitter and left field have been hit-or-miss. In short, the offense hasn’t fully ignited. And that’s fine for now.
Secondly, the pitching staff has been fantastic. The rotation is the best in baseball in numerous statistical categories. The bullpen is considered one of the best despite a few hiccups in the early going. But this staff will most likely regress to a certain extent as the season goes along. The offense will have to pick up the slack at some point like last season. Only time will tell, though.
Next: Astros: Looking at the Indians series with ESPN's Buster Olney
This year’s Astros are pretty dang good. If this team fully clicks, well, the rest of baseball will be cursing Houston. Sounds like music to my ears.
**Statistics courtesy of ESPN and FanGraphs**