Astros: Early season evaluation of offseason acquisitions
It’s early into the Astros’ 2019 season but we’ve gotten a glimpse of the offseason acquisitions. Let’s take a look at how they’re panning out so far.
Some may say this offseason was a relatively quiet one, no earth-shattering acquisitions like a Bryce Harper or a J. T. Realmuto, no big name pitcher. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow was insistent on keeping his top prospects, but he did bring in a few new players to fill a couple of holes and augment the lineup in Michael Brantley, Robinson Chirinos, Aledmys Diaz, and Wade Miley.
We’re only eleven games into the season and it’s still a fairly small sample to make any real concrete judgments at this point. But let’s take a look at what we’ve seen so far from the new faces in the dugout.
Michael Brantley LF:
Brantley got off to a quick start hitting a home run in the season opener and was batting .417 through the first three games. He followed that up with a mini-slump, going hitless the next five games. But Brantley picked it back up when they came to Houston for the first home series.
He currently has a slash line of .250/.302/.425 with two homers. Brantley has seven RBIs and is tied with George Springer for the most on the team. He has been getting good contact on the ball striking out only four times in 43 plate appearances.
Robinson Chirinos C:
Chirinos has started at catcher in seven of the eleven games with Max Stassi filling in the other four. His slash line on the season is .250/.357/.542 and is second only to Alex Bregman with an .899 OPS. In his 24 PAs Chirinos has four extra-base hits, three doubles and a home run, and has knocked in four RBIs.
He has allowed no passed balls in the 244 batters he’s faced in 62 innings of being behind the plate. In the seven base stealing attempts against Chirinos, five have been successful, two thrown out and one throwing error.
Aledmys Diaz INF:
Aledmys has even a smaller sample of playing time to look at, starting four games and one PH appearance. He has just 15 PAs in five games and is slashing .143/.200/.357. He started the season going hitless in the first three games, but finally broke it open in the fourth game going 2 for 4 with a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored.
He has started two games at shortstop, one at first, and another at second. Aledmys began the season a little rough out on the field, committing two errors, one each in the first two games from shortstop. There was another play that I thought he should have been credited with an error, but it went to the first baseman.
Wade Miley SP:
Miley has started two games in this young season going 1-1. He gave up three runs in his one loss, with the Astros going down 3-1. Lack of run support maybe? In his second game, Miley didn’t allow any runs, Houston winning that one 6-0. He actually leads all the Astros’ starters with a 2.31 ERA.
He has pitched into the sixth inning in both appearances. Miley has allowed 12 hits and 3 runs in his 11.2 innings pitched. His ground ball to fly ball ratio is almost dead even with 20 GBs to 19 FBs. In the 182 pitches he has made, 64% went for strikes.
To sum everything up, I think Brantley was a nice pickup to add to the middle of the lineup. With him primarily at Left Field, it gives A. J. Hinch a lot of flexibility on how to use a deep talented outfield. It looks like Chirinos is going to be a solid add at the catcher position and most likely a more dependable one when it comes to health.
Miley has filled in well at the fourth spot in the rotation and at a nice price. Diaz is the question mark at this point. He started the first two games filling in for the injured Carlos Correa and hasn’t played much since. Hopefully, his play will improve on the field and behind the plate.
The latter two players came at quite the discount considering who they replaced and the alternatives. This extra salary room may have helped Luhnow engineer the extensions for Justin Verlander and Bregman. There’s plenty of baseball to play and too early to make any final judgments. But at this point, I give Luhnow’s offseason moves a thumbs up.