TCB Hitter of the Week: April 8-14

Ronald Martinez

Who wins this week's award for the best Astros hitter?

Once again, we delve into the land of the hitter, giving out a weekly award to Houston's best in the batter's box. Who will it be this time? I'll give you a hint...I believe in him.

Runners-up

Jason Castro

After a slow first week, Houston's backstop exploded in Week 2. He just didn't do nearly as well as our winner.

Okay, maybe "exploded" is the wrong word. Castro hit .211/.318/.474 with a home run and a weighted Runs Created plus (wRC+) of 125. That's second on the team, as is his weighted On-Base Average (wOBA) of .344. Hits have been hard to come by for Castro (as with the rest of the Astros), but he's been consistently picking up walks, getting on base and hitting for power.

Jose Altuve

Is this an illusion, or has Jose Altuve returned to 2012 form?

The second baseman had a scorching week, hitting .320/.333/.440 with a wRC+ of 115. That was good for third on the team over the past week. The only thing that hurts Altuve is a low walk rate.

However, looking at the last two weeks, we see Altuve has significantly raised his walk rate now that he's hitting down in the order. So far, he's doubled his rate to 9.1 percent, up from 4.8 percent last season. His strikeouts are also down so far. While we're still about 60 PAs away from his walk rate stabilizing, his strikeout rate can be considered stable at 60 PAs (he's at 55 now).

An Altuve who walks nine percent of the time and strikes out less than 10 percent is an Altuve I can get behind hitting in the middle of the order.

Winner

Bob Grossman, attorney at law

It's hard to see if you're just looking at his season stats, but Bob Grossman just had one heck of a week. The left fielder hit .222/.364/.611 in 22 plate appearances over six games. That included two home runs, one steal, an 18 percent walk rate and a wRC+ of 175.

What Grossman's week does is show the weakness of relying just on batting average, RBIs and dingers. Oh, sorry, I'm not here to talk about one of the hottest takes I've ever seen. We're talking about the week Grossman had.

Grossman only had four hits all week, but made the most of them. Three of those four went for extra bases, including his first two home runs of 2014. Grossman also walked four times, helping out his value. Compare his paltry hit total to Altuve's eight hits and one walk in five more plate appearances than Grossman. Grossman reached base just one less time, despite having half the hits of Altuve.

But, I don't need to tell you all that. You probably know how valuable Grossman is. You know that a walk is just as valuable as a hit, that home runs and other extra-base hits are more valuable than singles and that strikeouts aren't as damaging as they seem. If you don't know all that, we should at least have a lively discussion in the comments.

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