One quick Astros note: Appreciating Tyler White’s impressive second half

If the Astros learned anything from 2018, then Tyler White may have the inside track for the DH role in 2019.

Let’s be honest for a moment: The Astros were never clicking on all cylinders last season. Although the club boasted one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, the lineup always felt like a quality hitter short. The numbers may reflect something a bit different, but I can’t shake this feeling.

Even though the Astros’ offense disappeared at inopportune times, it was buoyed in the second half by the likes of Alex Bregman, Marwin Gonzalez, George Springer, and Tyler White.

Offensive numbers in the second half, 2018

Alex Bregman – .283/.402/.520, 11 HR, 156 wRC+ in 271 PA

Marwin Gonzalez – .275/.352/.492, 10 HR, 134 wRC+ in 217 PA

George Springer – .301/.374/.476, 7 HR, 138 wRC+ in 189 PA

Tyler White – .287/.350/.551, 10 HR, 147 wRC+ in 197 PA

White’s performance, in particular, caught plenty of attention. The 28-year old hitter has been known for his above-average offensive numbers in the minors, but awarded only 343 major plate appearances from 2016-17. However, White made the most of his opportunity in 2018 when the Astros allowed him his best opportunity at consistent major league playing time. Overall, he finished the season with 12 homes runs and a 144 wRC+, which helped the Astros overcome injuries to a couple of key hitters on their way to 103-wins. His 174 wRC+ at home was a breath of fresh air for a lineup that didn’t seem to fully click at home at various points during the season. Again, the team’s cumulative 108 home wRC+, the fifth-best in baseball, indicates otherwise, but I just can’t shake the feeling.

The Astros are likely inclined to give White a long look as a possible DH/first baseman in 2019, especially since then-available options during the offseason are now elsewhere. He did enough last season to show he deserves a longer look as a long-term fit on the club going forward. His 2018 production is one reason why I speculate the Astros felt comfortable in trading J.D. Davis to the Mets earlier this offseason.