What to expect from the Astros bats for the rest of the season?

Thankfully—for me—my U-verse has been on the fritz for the last week and has yet to fix this issue. Because a channel can only be watched for 30 seconds before the screen freezes, I have been forced to listen to the radio or watch Gameday to keep up with the Astros. This has definitely been a blessing for me. Had I borne witness to the offensive/defensive ineptitudes that have abounded over the last week, something valuable in my life would have unduly suffered.

Instead, my computer-based viewing experience has lead to undue amounts of internet browsing to entertain myself with lack of moving pictures. That means I have been pouring over the ZiPS Rest of the Season and CHONE Updates. Given the offensive ineptitudes we, as Astros fans, have been subjected to lately, these numbers at least inspire some hope. The function of projections systems is to take the information we have about a player and generate the most reasonably expected outcome of their future performance. The added information of less than a month's worth of data does not change the reasonable expectation we have about them. Although we probably do not agree 100% with most of the Astros' projections, at least looking at the numbers we have something to hope for in the coming weeks.

Below is a table of the Astros hitters' current OBP/SLG, their CHONE and ZiPS updates for OBP and SLG, the average of those updates (a quick and dirty way to remove pessimism/optimism), and the difference between actual and averaged projected OBP and SLG. I have bolded the instances in which an Astro has over-performed a skill set thus far. As you can see, improvements are to expected pretty much everywhere. 

Player OBP SLG CHONE OBP CHONE SLG ZiPS OBP ZiPS SLG pAVG OBP pAVG SLG OBP-pAVG OBP SLG-pAVG SLG
Towles 0.255 0.349 0.329 0.403 0.317 0.376 0.323 0.390 -0.0680 -0.0405
Quintero 0.216 0.278 0.292 0.372 0.287 0.278 0.290 0.325 -0.0735 -0.0470
Berkman 0.325 0.457 0.381 0.510 0.389 0.515 0.385 0.513 -0.0600 -0.0555
Matsui 0.225 0.162 0.319 0.374 0.311 0.363 0.315 0.369 -0.0900 -0.2065
Keppinger 0.364 0.377 0.344 0.397 0.336 0.390 0.340 0.394 0.0240 -0.0165
Feliz 0.262 0.363 0.301 0.480 0.292 0.391 0.297 0.436 -0.0345 -0.0725
Blum 0.333 0.409 0.306 0.383 0.315 0.383 0.311 0.383 0.0225 0.0260
Manzella 0.262 0.259 0.293 0.342 0.289 0.342 0.291 0.342 -0.0290 -0.0830
Lee 0.222 0.224 0.337 0.490 0.338 0.477 0.338 0.484 -0.1155 -0.2595
Bourn 0.404 0.377 0.343 0.367 0.336 0.355 0.340 0.361 0.0645 0.0160
Pence 0.250 0.318 0.340 0.478 0.327 0.463 0.334 0.471 -0.0835 -0.1525

Regardless of whether you look through the updated projections and agree or disagree, I am confident that most expect the Astros bats to improve. The imperative thing, though, is to not slip into the gambler's fallacy when thinking about the Astros early season offensive struggles. It is not wise to assume that Carlos Lee will now hit .450/.475/.800 for the next month to average out his stats. What we can rest somewhat easy knowing, though, is that at some point the Astros should move from one of the worst offenses imaginable, to the just a bad offense- like we expected from them before the season got underway. As for the defensive struggles (both in the field on the mound)...

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