Astros news: George Springer funk easy to diagnose, harder to fix

Houston Astros, George Springer (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Houston Astros, George Springer (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

George Springer is yet another sleeping giant in the Houston Astros lineup, but solving his funk is easier than most, now it just needs fixing.

I’ve been digging into this Houston Astros lineup lately, looking for explanations as to why certain players are struggling. Spoiler, it has nothing to do with any ridiculous theories of cheating or not, and it has nothing to do with a potential “mass exodus.” It’s all down to the numbers, and George Springer‘s funk is no different.

Springer was scratched from the second game against the Rockies due to wrist issues that have been bothering him all year (which is another contributing factor, no doubt), but if we want to figure out what Springer needs to improve, we don’t have to look far.

For Jose Altuve and Kyle Tucker, it’s plate discipline. For Abraham Toro, it’s better luck. For George Springer, it’s where he’s spraying the ball.

It’s easy to see where George Springer is struggling at the plate

George Springer has a pedigree that speaks for itself, so when it comes to figuring out what’s wrong, you don’t need to compare him to anyone else on the team, you just compare him to himself in previous years.

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It’s well known that Springer is a streaky hitter, but at the end of the day, most of his contact numbers balance out in the same general vicinity. Which makes it easy to diagnose his problem.

Springer’s notable differences—

  • Average launch angle in previous years: 8-10 degrees. This year: 15 degrees.
  • Average opposite field percentage in previous years: 20-27%. This year: 13%.
  • Average pull percentage in previous years: 34-44%. This year: 54%.

He’s also hitting fewer line drives than any year previous year, with the closest being his rookie year.

So what’s the problem? Easy. He’s trying to pull the ball too hard. How you diagnose that is different depending on the hitter, but it could be he’s trying to hit the ball too hard, he’s pulling his head off the line, he’s yanking the bat through the zone instead of barreling up. There is a number of things that could be going wrong.

As far as getting it right, with Springer, the answer is often just time. Just let him sort himself out. He’s a professional with a fantastic track record of righting the ship. It’s hard for a streaky hitter to have such consistent numbers, but he’s done it.

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It makes it easy to know what to look for in terms of improvements though. Just watch his swing. See where he’s making contact. When he starts spraying the ball more, we’ll know what’s just around the corner.