The second week of Astros baseball certainly had more offense than the first, although it wouldn't take much to improve over the 2+ runs per game average in week one. It was an exciting week, starting with salvaging a game from the A's series, then going on to win the next 2 series from the Angels and Mariners. The team rode this wave of competence right into first place in the AL West standings.
All this is good news for the guy picking out the hitter of the week, (hint...that's me) since that means there are more candidates from which to choose. Here is what I think about the week that was. Come on down to the comments and tell me how insightful I am. Or come tell me I am totally wrong. Just remember...I keep lists.
Our week one winner did the same things in week two, which means he hit the ball. A lot. He ended up going 6-14 with 2 walks (and throw in one HBP for good measure). For those of us who are bad at math, I had my accountant do the calculations, and they prove that Jake got on base more than half the time in the last 6 games. Having a speedy runner batting 9th and getting on base like this is a recipe for success. If you want some proof, just look at the run he stole last night by tagging up from 3rd on what wasn't much more than a glorified infield pop up.
At this point in the season, Marisnick has a .415 OBP and a .361 batting average. Based on his past performance, I am not sure that is what we should expect over a full season. But on the other hand, he seems much more comfortable at the plate, and a marked improvement over his career numbers would not be out of the question. If you couple that with his great defense, the Astros could have another long term building block.
Altuve had a good week at the plate, going 8 for 24 with a couple of walks. He also stole 3 bases along the way. Everyone expects Jose to hit, so it will be no surprise when he ends up on a lot of these lists. The reason he gets an honorable mention today isn't just for his batting average, it is for one particular hit.
Up until this point, he had been 0 for the series (8 at bats). To make things worse, he had already batted twice in this game with the bases loaded, and failed to get anyone home either time. You could see the frustration on his face. It had to feel good to finish that comeback personally, and for the team. I know I liked it as a fan, for sure.
In the preseason, we all knew this team was going to be built on power. Everyone assumed the majority of that power would come from the likes of Springer, Gattis and Carter. With those guys off to slow starts, Valbuena stepped up this week to help out in that department.
The power surge started against Oakland on Wednesday, when he hit a homer in the 7th inning. After he was moved up in the lineup to bat behind Altuve against the Angels on Sunday , Valbuena responded by hitting a 2 run homer to give the Astros the early lead. He followed that the next day in Seattle with the first multi-homer game by the team this season to help win the opener of that series.
It has been great this season to get production out of the third base position. It wouldn't have taken a lot to improve, obviously. With the way Marisnick has been playing in center field, and Valbuena's production, so far it looks like trading Dexter Fowler was the right thing to do.