Hunter Pence has been DFA’d by the San Francisco Giants and the Houston Astros have a chance at a meaningful and sensible reunion.
Before we get started, let me say that Hunter Pence has always been a favorite player of mine. He’s one of the only guys I ever rooted for that wore a Texas Rangers jersey. All because of what he did with the Houston Astros.
So yeah, I might be a bit biased. But I’ll do my best to focus on the facts and the stats and only a wee bit on the emotional side of things. Oh, and I should say I was on the brink of tears when he was traded. I use the word ‘brink’ generously.
37-year-old Hunter Pence could be a huge addition to this team. Huge in terms of stability, keeping in mind that this is a team that currently has five outfielders on the books—George Springer, Josh Reddick, Michael Brantley, Myles Straw, Kyle Tucker. Brantley is more of a DH, Reddick is struggling massively, Straw is the rotational guy.
The Houston Astros can find immense value in Hunter Pence
As it stands, that means that Springer and Tucker are the two guys that are untouchable in the outfield, while Brantley is untouchable wherever he plays that day. But Reddick and Straw are struggling. Not to mention the fact that we don’t have Yordan Alvarez for the year and Taylor Jones is still trying to find himself at DH.
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More bats are never a bad idea, even if he’s just a rotational guy who can deputize in the outfield or slip into DH.
The logistics make sense. Especially if we can get a couple more years out of Pence if we stand the risk of losing Brantley, Reddick, and/or Springer.
Statistically, sure, Pence is struggling this year. But he sure as hell didn’t last year. .297, 18 HRs, 59 RBIs? That’s impressive.
One year doesn’t change that. Pence is a career .279 hitter, he’s approaching 250 career home runs. This is a guy who gets the job done. He’s just in a rut. Also, that rut is looking similar to the “rut” that Altuve was in. Consider that Pence’s BABIP is .086. Which is just ridiculous. For his career, he’s at .317 BABIP. So again—bad luck is a huge factor in this struggle. Especially considering that he’s actually hitting the ball quite hard this year. His 10% soft hit is the lowest of his extensive career.
He’s not struggling anywhere else. He isn’t striking out more, he isn’t whiffing more. He’s genuinely just in a bad patch. This is a guy with a reliable bat who’s an Astro at heart (don’t tell me otherwise). Talk about the boost he needs—coming home? It’d be a master stroke.