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Houston Astros Midterm Report Card: Outfielders

Jason Lane Stros Bro : F- I don't even know why I'm giving him a grade. . . you don't usually get grades in school if you're dropped from the class. . . . Should I start with the .176 OBP, or the .165 avg? How about we just stop there. . . .
rastronomicals : F People talk about Ensberg and how it's mental with him, and it is, but still, it's nothing like what it is with Jason Lane. They could write a case study on this guy. As I write, he's at .265 batting average with an .890 OPS at Round Rock. Thing is, he has the talent to do that in the majors. His confidence level, though, is more like something out of Single A.
Carlos Lee Stros Bro : A Carlos Lee, the Astros' only position-playing All-Star, has been everything advertised. He leads the league in RBIs, and the team in RBI's, Home runs, hits and total bases. Earlier in the year, when Lance Berkman was a big nothing, Lee was still driving in runs, still hitting home runs and still playing up to his potential, carrying this team on his back. If there's a downfall in his game, it's not on offense. . . and being that offense is basically everything, there's no reason to give him anything lower than a solid A.
rastronomicals : A- El Caballo has already tied the team's seasonal record for sacrifice flies and for walkoff homers, and with a good second half, he's got a shot a Berkman's season RBI mark. He's even-keeled, plays much better defense than we'd been told, and (surprise, surprise) is a very savvy base-runner. So why the "minus?" Well, there's the slight matter that he leads the league in double plays grounded into, and a couple occasions where the hustle's been lacking. I remember how delighted we were in Spring Training to find that Lee shortened up with two strikes and focussed on taking the ball up the middle. But now it appears that the league's shortstops and second basemen are pinching him toward the center of the diamond. It may be time for Kabong to start trying to pull the ball with two strikes.
Orlando Palmeiro Stros Bro : C+ Orlando really hasn't gotten a chance to do much. In his 66 AB's on the season he's produced a .273 average with 4 RBI's. Palmeiro is probably on his last year with the Astros and is a pinch hitting specialist, how isn't really anything special. But he does show some worth every now and then (like last year in the last week of the season). . . just doesn't do it often enough for me.
rastronomicals : C Another player who had a brutal May. Palmeiro is in the league because he has the supposed ability to come off the bench and hit singles vs. righties. He does nothing else. He doesn't play defense, he doesn't face lefties, he doesn't hit for power. So when I see a .266/.356/.669 line against righties, I'm not that impressed. I mean, he should be really, really good against righthanders.
Hunter Pence Stros Bro : A+ How could you possibly give Hunter anything other than an A+? He leads the team in batting average, slugging %, stolen bases and triples. He's 2nd on the team in hits (yes, hits) and total bases, 3rd on the team in home runs and doubles. . . and he's only been around for 60 games! He just became eligible to be listed among the league leaders on Wednesday. He's been amazing at the plate; one of the only bright spots on the team, and he's also a + outfielder. All of this and he plays the way the game should be played; all out hustle and 100%, all the time.
rastronomicals : A While I can imagine that his take-no-prisoners style at the plate might get him into some trouble once a fuller book on him is available to league pitchers, and while his ball hog ways in the outfield are a little irksome to me as I watch, there is absolutely no way that you can't give give the guy an A. I remember being pretty vociferously against his promotion, not only on the grounds that it was panic decision-making, but that it was unfair to the player, who had barely settled in at AAA.
I'll still make the decision-making part of the argument, but I was clearly wrong on the back half of that.
I've never seen a young player make adjustments so quickly. He adjusted to major league ball nearly immediately. Due to much the same process, his slumps since have barely had time to get started, 'cause he's adjusted himself out of them by the time you notice.
It still may not end up so great, but 2007 without Hunter Pence could have been a brutal, brutal affair
Luke Scott Stros Bro : C- Maybe I'm being nice by giving Luke a C-, but that's what he has. After tearing up the league last season, putting up a .336 average with .426 OBP and 10 dingers, Scott has come out flat this year, producing a .233 avg and a .328 OBP. He has still produced the 10 home runs and 38 RBI's which are nice, but he just hasn't lived up to expectations. You can possibly put part of the blame on the way he has been used (mostly in a platoon role in right field), but when it comes down to it. . . he just hasn't produced.
rastronomicals : C We keep waiting for the hot streak that hasn't come.