Houston Astros: Trend – Who’s Hot, Who’s Not (Vol 7)

Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 3
Houston Astros, Michael Brantley
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

Who’s Not

Michael Brantley

I don’t think this is anything to worry about, but it’s worth noting that Michael Brantley is only hitting .244 (11-45) his last 15 games with a sub-.600 OPS. This is being weighed down by his back to back oh for five performances back on August 22nd – August 23rd. He hasn’t been horrible, he hasn’t even been all that bad… he’s just been very un-Michael Brantley like.

This slump kind of come out worst time for those out there who bet on Brantley to win the AL batting title. On August 15th Brantley was hitting .332 and looked like a lock to take the title, now he’s dropped to .317 and is now in a dogfight with both Yuli Gurriel And Vlad Guerrero Jr. for the title.

…But what am I even saying??  We’re talking about the same guy that can go on 12-for-20 tears over a couple of games. Brantley also has sixteen three plus hit games already this season, which is easily more than any other player in baseball. Expect Brantley to find his stroke again.

Jose Altuve

Altuve has not been playing good for a while. The former MVP was red-hot in June and July but has since cooled off. It seemed like Altuve found his stroke again during the a solid home series against the Mariners (8-of-15 during that series) but once again has cooled off on the road. Altuve went .255 (27-106) with only seven extra base hits no home runs and three RBI – easily his worst month of the season at the plate.

Perhaps this is a product of pitching approach. Opposing pitchers in August threw breaking balls to Altuve 37% of the time – a huge uptick from the 27% career mix Altuve has seen throughout his career.

On the other hand, Altuve has not punishing pitchers for throwing fastballs lately, something Altuve has been great at his entire career. Altuve only hit .254 against fastballs in the month of August – way down from his career .314 BA against fastballs. These two combinations have led to a lackluster month from the second baseman.

Some of this could very well be from fatigue, but I can’t help but get worried considering Altuve is on the wrong side of 30. Then again, I felt the same way this time last year – then he mashed in playoffs. Hopefully history repeats itself.

Relievers on the postseason bubble

With the postseason just around the corner, the Astros need to figure out who will make postseason roster out of the bullpen. nephew Astra levers on the bubble didn’t help their cause.

Phil Maton posted 5.87 ERA overs last seven appearances with an ugly 1.65 WHIP. Although his head two recently good bounce back performances, Maton had back to back clunkers against non-playoff teams (three ER vs KC, three ER vs TEX).

Maton’s skill and arm might justify him being on the postseason roster, but he’s very up-and-down with his performances which ultimately might make him unusable in October.

Related Story. Phil Maton, a potential high-ceiling worth waiting on. light

Brooks Raley continues to put up very solid numbers (1.80 ERA, 0.80 WHIP in last 5 appearance) But hasn’t figured out Dylan Moore, is still posting a 5.25 ERA for the season, and continues to get destroyed by right-handed power hitters (OBA .286, OPS – .868- yikes). Unless Houston ends up playing the lefty-bats of the Yankees in the playoffs, I have a hard time feeling confident about putting Raley out against the elite lineups.

More from Climbing Tal's Hill

Bryan Abreu returned from a stint in the IL to deliver, what can only be described as, a disastrous performance against the Rangers.

Abreu came in to the fifth inning of a blowout and gave up seven earned runs, one mark and one home run without getting through the entire inning. His season ERA ballooned from 4.08 to 5.75 with just that appearance. His control (especially on his slider) and his overall confidence looked as low as it’s ever been in the season.

With Pedro Baez likely done for the season, the Astros will need look further down the roster to figure out which arms give them the best chance for success in the playoffs.

The three mentioned above are obviously still in the mix to earn these spots, but their recent performances didn’t help their case. I would expect Houston to give Josh James or Brandon Bielak or Enoli Paredes some innings in the next couple of weeks just to see what they can bring.

Keep the eye on the prize, Astro fans. They’re in great position for a September/October run for another World Series.

Next. Jose Siri is getting called-up to the major-leagues. dark