Houston Astros 2022 – Who’s Hot, Who’s Not Volume 1

Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Houston Astros, Rafael Montero
Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

Who’s Hot

Kyle Tucker

Tucker got off to his patented April slow start but seems to really be coming around in a big way. The lanky right-fielder is averaging .482 batting average with a 1.360 OPS in his last 10 days. He sure is doing a pretty-good Ted Williams impersonation.

On April 20, Tucker had a batting average of under .100, which on the surface look like just a disaster-of-a-slump, but Tucker has been just a victim of some bad luck. His exit velocity off the bat is in the 93rd percentile and current expected batting average is .350 — only Wander Franco and Joc Peterson have higher expected batting averages.

All in all, Tucker has been ripping the ball from the plate all season, but now instead of lining out to the outfield or hitting into the shift, he’s finding gaps and creating damage.

Interesting tidbit of optimism: Last year Kyle Tucker hit .322 against fastballs and had an expected batting average of 323. So far this year — he’s only hitting .190 against fastballs but has an expected batting average of .365.

Once these numbers eventually turn on the good side of luck, we might see an offensive tear of dominance we’ve never seen from Kyle Tucker.

Rafael Montero

The Astros won the Kendall Graveman trade. Rafael Montero was a throw in at the trade deadline last year that was injured so no one really knew what to expect from this guy. But Montero came in with a great spring training and has followed up with a pretty dominant first month of the season.

Montero is averaging 15 strikeouts per nine innings with a 0.92 ERA. Except for the one bomb he gave up to Corey Seager, Montero has looked borderline unhittable. Montero has a powerful four-seam fastball and sinker combination that hangs in the mid-to-upper 90s that is so far generating a career-high 44% whiff rate. He’s is pounding the leather on the catcher’s mitt, and hitters have not been able to keep up.

The question for Montero is can he hold this up. He’s currently outperforming his career averages with his fastball and sinker, so a skeptical fan would probably expect some regression. Let’s wait and see how he holds up through the latter part of the season, but Montero could be positioning himself as a stellar seventh or eighth inning option for the Astros in the postseason.