It’s easy to envision a marriage between recently DFA’d Blake Swihart and Houston, however, there’s a lot to ponder before the Astros pull the trigger.
The Houston Astros have a need. A massive, glaring, hard-to-ignore-type need.
Max Stassi is the ire of many fans right now. Hitting a HEFTY .056 average. Don’t adjust your screens folks. That’s real. Through 18 at-bats this year, Stassi has managed only one hit. Someone should tell him this isn’t golf. You don’t want the lowest batting average.
All jokes and side-jabs aside, Stassi seemingly can’t buy a hit after the first leg of this long season. Being known mainly as a “glove-first” type player, Stassi has his detractors calling for a change.
And who right now is the sexy name everyone wants? Blake Swihart. The former Top 20 prospect, Swihart was unceremoniously designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox on Monday. Ending a tumultuous marriage between Swihart and the Red Sox.
Never given a fair shake, the Texas native really only has five years under his belt in the majors. Casual wisdom would say this is a surprise and dumb move by the Red Sox. The question on my mind, however, is it though? Followed by, should the Astros even sniff him?
Since debuting in the majors, the notes on Swihart are that he was raw at the plate, but fantastic defensively. To a point, this has been the case, checking all the boxes.
Fielding? Check. Since 2016 (That’s 960 innings played at the catcher position) he has only amassed an eye-popping six errors. Six errors over five years. He’s also been above the league average when it comes to fielding percentage and range factor per game, topping those respective categories by a solid margin.
Arm and Accuracy? Check, check. In all his years, he has thrown out around the league average when it comes to potential base-stealers, at 25%, as well as combining for 55 assists over that span.
So where did it all go wrong for him in Boston?
The answer? His ability to call a game. It’s been well documented by media outlets in Boston that Red Sox pitchers just do not feel comfortable with Swihart as their battery mate. Something that is a staple with all catchers here in Houston.
His hitting is a far cry from being any sort of consistency as well. Only topping .250 once during his stay in the
Cradle of Liberty Boston. Swihart is able to square up the ball a few times, however, his main problem is striking out. Just like another Houston Astros catcher.
Striking out a grand total of 161 times in 573 at-bats. That’s a strikeout every three AB’s. A change of scenery could help this, the Astros’ have been known to tweak an approach and a player benefit from it. Look no further than Robinson Chirinos.
However, if the Astros were to pursue Swihart, would it be beneficial? Or are you replacing one broken piece with another?
It’s still early, and Stassi will come around. Hopefully. However, 18 AB’s is a bit early to start demanding someone’s head. Yes, I read your comments, and I’m looking at you Aledmys Diaz.
If he doesn’t, then the Astros have plenty of other options in-house that are better. As fantastically pointed out by fellow writer Rob Fontenot, Garrett Stubbs and Jamie Ritchie are more than doing their fair share at the plate.
Stubbs is carrying his own cannon behind the plate, gunning down already four would-be base-stealers on six attempts. Ritchie two on six attempts. Both are in their 26th and 27th year respectively, so youth is on their side as well.
Back to Swihart, it’s easy to see the positives. Low innings in the majors, leading upside still being there and age, as he is only 27 years old. The negatives are still evident. His ability to hit major league pitching and have pitchers be comfortable with him, just don’t make him a fit for the Astros.
It will be interesting to see moving forward, if the Astros do in fact, pursue him. However, at this time, I think its best to let a sleeping dog lie.