Spring Training is well under way and we are seeing some strong performances across the board from Astros hitters.
We all know that Spring Training stats should be taken with a grain of salt. Or two. Even if a player performs well, the proper context is important. For a hitter specifically, who was the opposing pitcher? An established major league veteran who is shaking off the rust? Or a young prospect hoping to make a name for himself?
That said, it is also encouraging when you see hitters perform well in Spring Training. It is a time to for teams to see if adjustments were made, and how hitters improved over the offseason. So, let’s take a look at three Houston hitters who look ready for the 2019 season.
Trending Up: Nick Tanielu
While the 26-year old infielder may not have a place on a crowded Astros’ roster, Tanielu has definitely put himself on the radar in camp.
.421/.476/.947, 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO in 21 plate appearances
Posting a 1.424 OPS will draw some attention to hitters, even in Spring Training. However, Tanielu doesn’t really have a chance to make the Opening Day roster, unless injuries come into play. The Astros are loaded across the board on the position player side. But say injury does suddenly befall the infield in 2019, Tanielu may be on the short list if he is eventually placed on the 40-man roster.
Trending Up: Tony Kemp
With the Astros expected to carry only 12 pitchers to start the season, it nearly guarantees Kemp a spot on the Opening Day roster. If Kemp’s Spring Training performance is a sign of things to come, he may not be going anywhere for a while.
.417/.563/.667, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 1 SO in 15 plate appearances
Kemp, who is out of minor league options, figures to be one of the club’s key reserves off the bench in 2019. Although he doesn’t hit with much power, Kemp does have a knack for generating consistent contact and displayed noteworthy defensive range in the outfield. Although Aledmys Diaz is likely to receive some infield reps in light of Marwin Gonzalez‘s departure, Kemp also experience playing the infield as he was primarily a second baseman in the minor leagues. If the 27-year old can keep hitting, the Astros will need to find ways to give him consistent playing time.
Trending Up: Derek Fisher
Viewed as a potential long-term solution in left field as little as two years ago, Fisher is looking to reinvent himself back to his past self in 2019. So far in Spring Training, he is doing just that.
.294/.429/.706, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 3 SO in 21 plate appearances
Even with a strong showing camp, it is doubtful if Fisher will make the Opening Day roster. For one, the club is loaded in the outfield and seems intent including Kemp and Jake Marisnick as backup outfielders.
With top prospect Kyle Tucker also on the short list for promotion in the event of injury, Fisher may not have much of an opportunity with the Astros any longer. I can’t help but wonder if he would be better off with another organization that would give him a longer look in the majors.