Houston Astros: Trend – Who’s Hot, Who’s Not (Vol 6)

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Houston Astros, La Pina Gang
Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /


La Pina Gang

The La Pina Clan ain’t nothin to mess wit (shout out to Wu-Tang). The Cuban trio of Yordan Alvarez, Aledmys Diaz and Yuli Gurriel have been on a tear – combining to go 40-for-111 over the last 15 games, for an OPS of .955.

  • Yuli Gurriel – 12-23 (.522 BA), 2 HRs, 7 RBIs, 1.411 OPS
  • Aledmys Diaz – 15-46 (.326 BA), 3 HRs, 11 RBIs, .891 OPS
  • Yordan Alvarez- 13-42 ( .310 BA), 4HRs 10 RBIs, .984 OPS

With Bregman still on the IL and other guys nursing nagging injuries, this trio has managed to anchor Houston’s potent offense in the past couple weeks. Aledmys Diaz has been Houston’s MVP for the first half of August – playing terrific at both the plate and the field since returning from the IL.

Yuli Gurriel was back to his old raking self that we saw in the beginning of the year before his most recent short trip to the IL. And Yordan Alvarez seems to be finding the barrel more and striking out less. Being able to depend on these three great dynamic hitters and plug them into advantageous positions in the batting order has kept this Houston offense as potent as ever, even with the injuries.

This trio has got swag and substance. This group goes on dates with your moms and keeps on hitting bombs. They keep blowing bubbles and hitting doubles. They keep driving in runs and having funs.  The La Pina Gang just keeps raking and raking. And I can’t wait for their offseason mixtape.

Houston Astros, Rafael Montero
Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Arms

Kendall Graveman

Sure, we all wanted Craig Kimbrel at the trade deadline. Who wouldn’t? But I gotta say – Kendall Graveman is it beast. And every time he’s pitched in the Astros uniform makes me question what was Seattle thinking letting this guy go?

Graveman has thrown eight strikeouts and only allowed two hits in 5.1 innings pitched. – that’s good for a 0.38 whip and a .111 opponent batting average. His fastball is in the upper 90s and has movement, and his slider is just flat out nasty (45% WHIFF rate). Good luck hitting against him.

Rafael Montero

Another questionable call by the Seattle was the choice to DFA Rafael Montero before including him in the trade with Graveman. Montero is pitched six very solid innings in four appearances for the Astros it has been very good – 0.00 ERA, 5 strikeouts, 2 walks, 3 hits. Montero also has a strong arm and has a balanced mix of his four-pitch repertoire that frankly has looked very good. He recently went on the IL, but I’m very fascinated with Montero’s potential–  especially if he gets an offseason fine-tuning things with Brent Strom.

More from Climbing Tal's Hill

Yimi Garcia

The former Dodger prospect was another great acquisition by the Astros the trade deadline. Although he hasn’t been as lights out as Graveman, Garcia is still showing his effectiveness – 2.45 ERA in 4 innings pitched with six strikeouts and a .083 OBA. His lone mistake was in his first inning as an Astro on July 31 where he gave up to Yastrzemski – since then he’s been solid. It’ll be interesting to see where and when Dusty will use Garcia, but he’s another undervalued solid bullpen arm Houston can rely on.

Phil Maton

Okay, so he isn’t on fire statistically speaking  – 5.79 ERA in 4.1 innings pitched. But Maton pitches beautifully — he’s got a great release and the action he can generate with the ball on his pitches is impressive. And the way he makes his motion looks so easy and fluid and effortless– it reminds me of Roger Federer hitting a tennis ball. The guy generates so much spin (2,700-3,000 RPM) and so much whiff on all his pitches it makes you drool at his potential.

Let’s hope he can find a way to turn it into more outs.