We’re back in the swing of things for the 2022 season. Welcome again to a new year of Who’s Hot Who’s Not — Astros style.
We just wrapped up the first month of baseball, and the Houston Astros are playing — in the simplest terms — okay baseball. They currently stand 12-11 and are tied for second in the American League West.
Sure, it would be nice if the Astros went 17-6 to start and everything looked hunky dory, but championships aren’t won in April. Just ask the New York Yankees. The goal of April is to stay relatively healthy and not fall out of the race. The Astros did just that.
The Astros’ offense is currently hitting with an uninspiring .216 batting average — 26th in the League — and a .662 OPS — 18th in the League. These numbers might come to some is a shock for an Astros’ lineup this potent, but there’s some things that can explain these low production numbers.
First, the league-wide team average right now is .233 BA, lowest it has been for some time. Houston also has a .264 team expected batting average, which would put them third in the league – so Astros offense has been generally more un-lucky according to metrics.
Then when you consider the fact they’ve played 15 games on the road and have faced some elite pitchers — Ohtani (twice), Syndergaard, Berrios, Gausman, Bumgarner, Gallen, and a pretty stout Mariner pitching staff — and these numbers make more sense.
Astros’ pitching has been relatively good with a 3.58 ERA (13th) and a 1.19 WHIP (13th) and a .227 opponent batting average (12th). Justin Verlander is big factor behind the success, but you could argue it’s been the relief pitching carrying this team. Astro relievers are generating a 3.05 ERA (sixth), thanks to some stellar relief play by Rafael Montero, Ryan Stanek, Phil Maton and Ryan Pressly.