Gurriel has been on an absolute tear out the gate, hitting .429 with an OPS of 1.142. He’s had six multi-hit games this year and is currently on a five-game hit streak (9-16, .587 BA). Only Ronald Acuna, Yermin Mercedes, Brandon Nimmo and Nelson Cruz are putting up stats like that this April.
Gurriel has been absolutely smoking fastballs – hitting .470 against them and spraying them all over the field. The only pitch he’s been getting fooled on is the slider (.174 BA), but he’s only seen 45 of those pitches. He’s also been crushing pitches on the inside part of the plate (.600 BA).
The way to get Gurriel out is by throwing off-speed stuff on the outside of the plate – but with the way he’s seeing the ball right now, that’s a not exactly easy for pitchers. We shouldn’t expect him to hit over .400 for the entire season, but this is really encouraging to see Gurriel rake like this at age 36.
The hard-throwing reliever was signed as a free agent in the offseason and as thus far been nothing but great. In seven innings pitched, Stanek has only given up one hit (a HR vs the A’s) to go along with an ERA of 1.29 with 10 strikeouts and one walk. Stanek relies on a fastball-split finger mix – using his fastball to get strikes ahead of the count, then uses his split finger to generate swing-and-misses – which has been on point so far.
Time will tell whether Stanek could be a closer or primary set-up guy, but Stanek is showing some real promise early on and looks to be a great signing for the Astros.