Development is not the most entertaining thing to watch night in and night out. It's sometimes very ugly.
Take this stat line for example:
.229/.288/.300 with a 7.2%BB rate and a 21.6% K rate. 514 plate appearances. If you've been watching the Astros long, you were subjected to watching this hitter just look lost at the plate night in and night out.
Props to you if you know who I'm talking about. There's a picture after the jump.
That would be Michael Bourn's first full season as an Astro. In 2008, Bourn put up that those paltry number at age 25. His final WAR posted for that season was 0.2 according to fangraphs. Since then, Bourn has gone on to average 4.6 WAR per season (2009-2011). He's on pace for 5.8 WAR this year. His wOBA has been .338 since that terrible 2008 season.
We have 2 outfielders that are still young and developing, and aren't setting the world on fire.
We all know Jordan Schafer is striking out way too much and his wOBA is abysmal all the while with a .335 BABIP. However, his speed plus his 23% line drive percentage in his big league career means he should be able to sustain a high BABIP. If his contact skills increase and the K rate drops. He could be a very productive major leaguer. He's 25 years old.
JD Martinez's BABIP is at a career low including his minor league numbers. Fangraphs is bullish on the rest of JD's season. They have him finishing the season at a.315 wOBA. He's 24.
I understand for every Michael Bourn, there are a dozen players that flame out, but the Astros have nothing to lose but let these guys keep getting MLB at bats. Personally, I think JD will develop, I'm not sure if Jordan has the makeup to do it... but it's worth finding out when you're not in contention. It worked out for the Astros in the case of Michael Bourn.