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Sample Size, Shample Shmize: Astros Young Hitters and Patience

Last season was Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence's first as full time starting outfielders on the major league level. Both had their struggles, though Bourn more so than Pence. Going into 2009, we knew that in order for them to take the next step their plate discipline would have to improve.

Their pertinent 2008 statistics were not pretty:

OBP BB/K O Swing %
Hunter Pence
.318 .32 31.1
Michael Bourn
.288 .33 21.7


Though Bourn wasn't as apt to swing at pitches outside the strike zone, he had contact on only 54.4% of those pitches he swung at. Certainly not the kind of numbers you want to see, especially out of guy who hit primarily out of the leadoff slot.

In 2009 through 10 games, both of their approaches have seemed to change. True, this is a miniscule sample to look at. If their mindset sticks, I would bet that this team will benefit as a result. Here is what they've done so far in 2009:

OBP BB/K O Swing %
Hunter Pence .333 4/6 35
Michael Bourn .361 5/4 22.8


Besides Pence's high O Swing %, those are all palatable totals. Both look more comfortable at the plate- much luch lunging, and swinging early in counts. While the lineup is still fluctuating it seems, our young outfielders seem to be learning and improving upon their 2008 seasons.