Astros' young star finally showing signs of waking up at the plate after slow start

The month of May was rough, but one of the Astros' most talented young players is finally finding his way at the plate.
St. Louis Cardinals v Houston Astros
St. Louis Cardinals v Houston Astros / Logan Riely/GettyImages

Houston Astros fans had lofty expectations for Yainer Diaz coming into the 2024 season. They were finally freed from the offensive ineptitude that was the Martin Maldonado era in Houston, and Diaz was a popular pick as a breakout candidate given what he did during his rookie season when he posted an .846 OPS in 377 plate appearances in 2023.

Unfortunately, Diaz got off to a slow start this season at the plate after taking over primary catching duties. His .660 OPS this season is pretty pedestrian and well below what we saw out of him last year, and he really struggled in May with a .200/.214/.259 line in 25 games of work. Diaz's struggles were enough to even make the argument that he shouldn't be the Astros' everyday catcher over Victor Caratini.

Luckily, Diaz has finally started to show signs of life at the plate as he has now homered in three straight games, including a key three-run homer in Houston's win over the Cardinals on Tuesday.

Astros' Yainer Diaz's third homer in as many games has his stock trending up

To be clear, this isn't an argument for Diaz to play any more or less than he has. Caratini has been great as well, and having two very capable catchers is absolutely the best way for Houston to weather the long baseball season. However, the playing timeshare between Diaz and Caratini was feeling pretty bad in May with Diaz's struggles at the plate, so seeing him driving the ball more lately is a very welcome development.

In fairness to Diaz (and Caratini for that matter), he has had his hands full on the defensive and game-calling end of the spectrum over the last month. The Astros have had multiple injuries to key arms, which has resulted in a lot of rotating new faces in and out to try and make things work. That is tough to manage for any catcher, let alone one that is in his first full season as Houston's primary backstop.

Diaz finding his swing again couldn't have come at a better time. The Astros have mostly stopped their freefall this season and if Diaz really gets going, Houston could finally start making up some ground in the AL West and get above .500 again.

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