Astros Observations: Key contributions come from different players
By Cody Poage
Although the Astros are down a few players due to injury, the players called upon to fill the void have contributed to the overall success of the club.
The following players on the Astros‘ 40-man roster are on the disabled list: Josh Reddick, Brian McCann, Derek Fisher, Jandel Gustave, and Brady Rodgers. Of these five, Reddick, McCann, and Fisher have seen the field this season for the Astros. Both Gustave and Rodgers are recovering from Tommy John surgeries.
Needless to say, Houston has relied upon its minor league talent pool to fill the voids left by these injured players. This statement rings especially true regarding the situations for Reddick, McCann, and Fisher as they were regulars on the major league club. And don’t forget the help provided when major league players struggle. Jake Marisnick‘s situation before the recent rash of injuries is an example.
Step forward, J.D. Davis, Tony Kemp, and Max Stassi.
When the Astros won the 2017 World Series, Davis, Kemp, and Stassi were not considered “key” contributors to the club. They weren’t even on the active roster at the time of the Fall Classic. Sure, they did make some contributions throughout the regular season. But we did not celebrate their deeds like they were George Springer or Justin Verlander.
Fast forward to June 1, 2018, and the Astros should be grateful for these young players.
Each of the three, along with others, have contributed to the cause in numerous ways in the first two months of the season. For example, Kemp with his amazing dives and catches in the outfield. Davis and his powerful bat adjusting to major league pitching. Or the overall improvement from Stassi as he took over the backup catcher role in 2018.
When one examines the numbers, Davis, Kemp, and Stassi have been a positive addition in terms of fWAR, albeit in a small sample size. If consistent playing time is provided, it is foreseeable to see Davis and Kemp continuing to be a positive force on the Astros. Of course, opposing teams are bound to adjust in due time. This adjustment period may happen to Stassi sooner or later.
Stassi, though, has been the most improved on the Astros in this author’s opinion. A 1.3 fWAR is the tied for the fourth-best in baseball among catchers with at least 90 plate appearances. The players Stassi is tied with? Yasmani Grandal, Buster Posey, and Gary Sanchez. All three are considered as some of the best catchers in the game today for various reasons. And Stassi only has 98 plate appearances. Goodness, that is impressive.
Next: Astros Minor League Spotlight: Cy Sneed
Thanks to the impressive depth the Astros have accumulated over the years; the organization has been able to acquire good players from other teams. At the same time, this depth has allowed the team to promote from within to fill roster spots when the need arises. The Astros are missing three regulars right now, and the results have still been solid. This kind of stability is an indicator of a healthy organization.
**Statistics and information courtesy of FanGraphs and MLB.com**