Surprising facts about the last week of Astros hitting:
- Jesus Guzman didn't play once.
- Seven hitters posted above-average wRC+.
- Six posted wRC+ totals 20 percent better than league average.
- Six different Astros hit home runs. Three hits multiple home runs.
- George Springer stuck out over 40 percent of the time.
- Houston had the third-highest strikeout rate in the entire majors over the last week.
- The Astros tied for the most team home runs over that span.
- Only two teams in the majors stole more bases than the Astros in the last week.
- Houston also had the 13th-lowest BABiP in the majors.
Yet, for all those offensive fireworks, the Astros still managed to go 2-5. Maybe that's what Jeff Luhnow meant when he said this team is playing better than its record in the last week.
Oh, and the most surprising thing? We've got three first-time honorees in these spots. Let's get to the winners.
Kiké showed a pretty hot bat at Triple-A this season and his heat journeyed with him to the majors. One of just five Astros to play in all seven games over the last week, Hernandez hit .292/.370/.458 in 27 plate appearances with a home run, four runs scored and two RBIs. More importantly, he didn't strike out 30 percent of the time, like everyone else on this team seems to do.
He also demonstrated an ability to play all over the diamond, seeing time at shortstop, in the outfield and at designated hitter. Oh, and he's got an infectious personality that makes you want to root for him. Add all that up, and I'd say his first week in the majors exceeded expectations.
Seems that Kiké's emergence has lit a fire under "Gamebreaker." In six games and 21 plate apperances, Marwin hit .333/.429/.611 with a 190 wRC+, one home run and a 14 percent walk rate. With the void at shortstop after Jonathan Villar got sent down, someone needed to step up. Having both of Houston's middle infielders hitting well right now is a luxury. In any other week, Marwin could have won this award. Now? He just misses out on the top prize, but does get his first honorable mention of the season.
If it weren't for bad luck, Castro wouldn't have any luck at all this season. He finally starts to get going, hitting .462/.462/.538 with no walks and a 30 percent strikeout rate in three games and 13 plate appearances. Then, this mysterious illness sidelined him and he hasn't played since.
I know what you're expecting here. It's not happening. Why Carter? Over the last week, big fella has hit .350/.409/1.000 wiht four home runs and a 284 wRC+. His isolated power average over that stretch is .650 and his BABiP is actually lower than his batting average (.333). He also only struck out 31 percent of the time, so that's better.
He's still on pace to hit 29 home runs, despite a projected batting average of .205 to end the season. What we're also seeing is that Carter is very dependent on his batted balls falling for hits. In this week, he hit over .300 on balls in play. He's hitting .224 for the season on those same plays.
Either way, in an offensively barren week, he proved to be a highlight.