The Houston Astros‘ lack of effective offensive production from the catching tandem has been a main topic of conversation over a quarter of the season through. Martin Maldonado and Jason Castro both reside south of the Mendoza Line, but for Maldonado, he’s displaying better numbers at the plate in June.
This season, the average OPS of a Major League Baseball player is .702 according to Baseball-Reference. This figure is .026 less compared to the full season of 2021 which was down in contrast to the previous 162-game season in 2019.
Deadening baseballs is a factor, but for the catching position, the average backstops are among the bottom percent in hitting averages. Even though the Astros’ current tandem is displaying some of the worst offensive play in the last 100 years, Maldonado looks to have hit a hot streak.
Martin Maldonado slugged two extra-base hits Wednesday, while the Astros’ catcher is quietly having a better month at the plate.
In likely his best offensive performance of the year, Maldonado clubbed a two-run home run late Wednesday, launching it 442 feet at 106.8 mph. While adding a double at 78.7 mph, the righty still struck the pitch for a .960 xBA.
Maldonado went 2-for-4 on the day, slashing a flyout at 91.8 mph and a lineout at 102.9 mph. According to Baseball Savant, the 35-year-old ranks in the 89th percentile in HardHit% and continues to hit the ball hard with above-average exit velocities.
Through 34 at-bats in June, Maldonado is slashing .265/.306/.529 — higher than his production in April and May. Half way through the month, the right-hander has more extra-base hits than he did at this point in the first two months of the season with three doubles and two home runs.
Maldonado’s signal calling and defensive prowess have been raved by members of the pitching staff. And while his bat won’t ever mirror that of Willson Contreras, he is still quietly performing better offensively in the last two weeks.