5 Astros players that have been horrifically unlucky in 2023

Several Astros players have underperformed their expected production in 2023.
Sep 10, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker (30) hits his second
Sep 10, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker (30) hits his second / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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Kyle Tucker

The focus here shouldn't be on players that have been objectively awesome as much, but Kyle Tucker's season is worth showing off to explain that a player can be good while also getting some bad batted ball luck. Through over 622 plate appearances this season, Tucker has a .283/.369/.504 slash line with a .368 wOBA in 2023. However, you choose to slice it, that is elite production.

However, the metrics tell us that Tucker actually SHOULD have been better this season. His xWOBA is .390 and his expected batting average is an elite .290. His BABIP is a bit low, but that isn't that strange since home runs aren't included in it. Tucker's hitting profile (elite plate discipline, consistently hits the ball hard) suggests that despite his awesome season, Kyle actually got a bit unlucky in 2023 to this point. For what it's worth, Yordan Alvarez has been very similar to Tucker and also got hurt in 2023.

Hunter Brown

It wasn't that long ago that Hunter Brown was the talk of the town as a guy with a ton of potential and who could help Houston weather all of the injuries in their rotation. However, the end results this season have been decidedly mixed. He certainly can rack up the strikeouts, but he also has a 4.61 ERA which is decidedly less good.

A look at Brown's peripherals, however, highlights the fact that he has gotten a bit unlucky in 2023. His FIP sits at a significantly lower 3.94, his xFIP even lower than that at 3.43, and his xERA is currently 4.00 ERA. Some of this is due to batters having an abnormally high BABIP against him at .336, but not everything is dumb luck. He still walks a few too many batters and when he gives up contact, it is usually hard contact which doesn't help in the batted ball luck department.

Yainer Diaz

Next up on the hitting side is Yainer Diaz who is an example of some bad luck but also having some warts to his game that can make bad luck uniquely worse. Overall, Diaz has been a breath of fresh air for Houston as he has posted a 127 wRC+ while Martin Maldonado has seemingly forgotten how to play baseball. His wOBA currently sits at .354 and he is hitting .284. All good things here.

However, Diaz has underperformed his xWOBA (.370) by 16 points and his xBA (.293) by a full nine points. Part of the problem here is that Diaz just doesn't draw walks with a miniscule 3.1% walk rate in 2023. When a guy isn't getting on base on anything other than balls in play, any bad batted ball luck is going to lead to wild swings in actual production. Assuming he can start taking more pitches outside the zone and stop swinging at them while continuing to hit the ball hard, he should be in great shape going forward.