Let's talk some Astros as we savor that thing that happened last night...(not all the pitchers, the win!)
1) Chris Johnson smackdown - Chris Johnson now has less home runs than Matt Downs. He has less than Jose Altuve. He has less than Justin Maxwell. He has less than Jordan Schafer, Ichiro, Chone Figgins, Clint Barmes, Robert Andino, Freddy Galvis, Darwin Barney and Orlando Hudson.
Did I make my point clear enough?
It's early in this season to talk about pulling the plug on a guy and I'm not going to bring that up with Johnson. I'm just going to point some things out about the erstwhile starting third baseman.
- He has never hit more than 13 home runs in a single season in his professional career.
- He has only topped 500 plate appearances in a season once in his career.
- His minor league walk rate has only been above 6 percent twice. Once in half a season at Lexington in 2007 and once in 94 plate appearances in 2011 in Oklahoma City.
- He has an isolated power average of .095 right now. His career ISO is .139.
This guy puts on a show in batting practice, but he's never actually translated that to a game. CJ will be 28 in October. This is his Age 27 season, not the time for him to make a huge jump in productivity. Monday night, he looked like he had given up on that late-game strikeout.
Things are not going well for him right now, and he needs to snap out of it. Soon, he might not be given the chance, and a Matt Downs or Brett Wallace or Scott Moore will be plugged into his spot. And it will be a justified move.2) Nick Tropeano, cooking with gas - Did you check out Zachary Levine's latest Minor League Notebook? Good, because it's almost a must-read for minor followers.
In it, he makes a very interesting point about our resident bully beating up the smaller kids of the Sally, Nick Tropeano. The man with the changeup has seen his fastball tick up a few notches this season, touching 94 at times.
That's noteworthy for a couple of reasons. One, for a guy like Tropeano to survive, he has to throw harder than he showed last year. Dallas Keuchel would not still be in the minor leagues if his fasball had more velocity.
The second really interesting wrinkle is that many pitchers will lose some velocity to their fastball when they switch to a every five days starting schedule. Tropeano seems to have not been affected by that. In fact, he's only gotten stronger.
So, file that away in your prospect piggy bank for when the talented youngster gets moved up eventually.
3) Jose Altuve in elite company - Though he finished the month short of being in the top Astros batting averages for April in history, Altuve still joins some pretty big company. As in, his 12 multi-hit games tops the NL so far, he's got one of the top averages in the majors for second basemen and he's reached base safely in 17 of his 22 games so far this season.
Escorpion finished that last Houston road trip hitting .481 with a home run and four RBIs. That's a little ridiculous, don't you think?
Where do we go from here? Escorpion has to tail off some, doesn't he? Will that mean he starts walking more? When will teams adjust to him? More importantly, do you ask your No. 2 hitter to bunt Schafer over to second in that situation if he's not Altuve? Do you ask a normal hitter coming off a road trip where he hit nearly .500 to put down that bunt?