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Dissecting some early season numbers

Boy, if the season ended today...

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, boy, if the season ended today: the Houston Astros would be the American League West champions, George Springer would've been less valuable than some random minor leaguer, Luis Valbuena would be the star of the show and Jake Marisnick would actually have been more valuable for his bat, rather than his glove and arm. Point being: the season is only two weeks old. Luck will start to even out and statistics will start to look a bit more, normal.

However, that won't stop me from dissecting the performance of the team thus far.


  • Marisnick has posted a wRC+ of 142 and his WAR of 0.4 has been fueled primarily by his bat. But, this isn't the Marisnick we were prepared for? What happened to the defensive wizard we were promised? Maybe, once his BABIP of .357 evens out, Marisnick will be valued for his glove once more.
  • Springer has had a start to the season he'd rather forget. With a wRC+ of 60 and a negative WAR, as well as a K% of 36.4, Springer has been abysmal. And, I mean, we knew the Astros were going to strike out, but I didn't know they were going to strike out that much. With a LD% of 32.1, the right fielder has clearly been desperately unlucky. Don't worry, though, Springer will start to mash soon.
  • Evan Gattis, too, has been horrible. People are calling for a demotion to the bench. And, hey, can you blame them? Gattis has a wRC+ of 19 and has been worth minus five runs so far. He has been half a win worse than your average Joe from the minor leagues. Oh, wait: the season is only two weeks old. Gattis has a BABIP of .185 and is hitting 8% more ground balls than usual. Things are going to get better. Gattis is going to slug.
  • An ISO of .390, a wRC+ of 155 and a wOBA of .394, Mike Trout? Nope, Valbuena. The third baseman is knocking the cover off of the baseball currently. His batted ball profile looks pretty normal. His BABIP is actually incredibly low. Oh my, Valbuena is going to be the MVP. Maybe not. Wait for things to even out. Valbuena is a great third baseman, he isn't a star, though.

Starting pitching

  • Dallas Keuchel is better than Clayton Kershaw: man, the things you can type after two weeks of the season. Hold on, people. Look at that FIP and that xFIP, not to mention that BABIP, and damn, that LOB%. Keuchel will need to walk fewer batters, strike out some more and keep getting ground balls. Sadly, he isn't good enough to post an ERA of .090, but hey, he's still a great pitcher.
  • Roberto Hernandez has had a solid start to the season. But, then again, a high GB% with a low BABIP sounds like a recipe for success. They also sound like a recipe for regression. All the same, his LOB% has been freakishly low. Add the two together and Hernandez is still solid.
  • Collin McHugh has been scintillating. He's going to strike you, you and you out. He's probably not going to walk you. His ERA is lovely and low. His FIP and xFIP even lower. Pick out the anomalies, remind yourself the season is only two weeks old and there you have it: McHugh is great. McHugh isn't the Cy-Young winner.

The bullpen

  • Luke Gregerson has done everything the Astros signed him to do, and then some. Seven innings, seven strikeouts, no runs. Sadly, all good things come to an end. Sadly, a little more than 13% of balls in play will fall for hits. Sadly, Gregerson can't strand 100% of runners. The new closer is going to be great this season, but he won't be that great.

  • Tony Sipp has been great this season with an ERA just over one. Having already tossed seven innings, Sipp seems to be having the season we all thought he could. However, the lefty has some interesting splits: a wOBA of .278 in just under four innings against lefties, but a wOBA .074 against righties in four innings. Sipp doesn't care whether you bat right handed or left handed.