Season Record: 32-18. First in AL West, leading the Seattle Mariners by 2 games. Third in AL , behind Boston and New York, 2.5 games behind the Red Sox.
Pythagorean won/loss record: 38-12, best in MLB.
Baseball Reference SRS: 2.0, best in MLB
Week Record: 4-1. The Astros played two home series last week, the first a three game series at home with Cleveland, which they won 2-1, the other at home against the Giants, which they won, 2-0. For the week the Astros compiled 25 runs and allowed only 10.
Season Hitting: The Astros currently rank 7th in MLB in OPS at .740, moving up from 14th last week. Using Fangraph’s WRC+ rating, they are 6th, at 106, advancing from 10th last week. They are 5th in runs at 236 (they have played at least one more game than their near competitors), advancing one place in rank from last week. They are 28th in home runs at 53, dropping 11 spots. They are 10th in strikeouts, improving 3 places.
The radical home/away splits of the early season have narrowed somewhat. Recently they were first in away OPS and last in the league at home. Today their away OPS is third at .794, just a hair behind the Yankees and Angels, and their home OPS is 20th at .689
Last Week’s Batting: The Astros had 127 wRC+, which ranked 3rd in MLB, quite a turnaround from last week’s 70, 26th in the league. Below are individual statistics for all position players last week.
For comparison purposes here are individual Astros hitting and pitching statistics for the season.
Who’s Hot/ Who’s Not: Numbers one and two in the batting order, George Springer and Alex Bregman, are mashing, each over 1.100 OPS. Springer had 2 home runs, including the crucial smash in the 4-1 May 23, victory over San Fran, his 10th, Bregman added his 5th home run.
This week’s AAA call up deserves special mention. Tony Kemp mashed at an even 1.000, and arguably produced the game winning hits in the May 18th victory over Cleveland, and with his 5 RBI’s on May 22’s win over the Giants.
Max Stassi, in limited time, continued his hot production, and actually leads the team in OPS for players above 75 plate appearances.
Who’s not: Clearly slumping are Carlos Correa, Evan Gattis, who was our hot bat of the week last week, Brian McCann, and two who are currently on the DL, Josh Reddick and Derek Fisher.
Welcome J.D Davis and Jake Marisnick, back from AAA. When Fisher and Reddick return from DL the Astros face an interesting conundrum: who goes back to the minors? Davis was the leading hitter in the PCL before rejoining the Astros.
Next, The Week’s Pitching: The Astros slid a bit this week (he he) posting only the 4th best ERA in the league at 2.00, allowing 10 runs in 54 innings. However 4 of those came off of Dallas Keuchel in the May 18th loss to Cleveland, but no other starter gave up more than 2 runs all week. The most notable performance was Lance McCuller’s 7 inning, 1 hit, 1 run performance in the May 20th 3-1 win over Cleveland.
The Astros were fourth in FIP at 2.81 and seventh in BABIP at .241. This is a persistent trend, as the Astros lead the league in BABIP against, ( 260) which may be another reflection on the good fielding support behind the pitchers. Read here for more on Astros defense this year.
WOBA against for the staff was .254, 5th best. Strikeouts were a little off the league leading pace this week, with K/9 at 9.6, ranking ninth.
Kudos to the bullpen again. Ken Giles, Will Harris, Brad Peacock and Hector Rondon each had multiple scoreless innings this week. Joe Smith continues to struggle, allowing the only home run surrendered by the pen last week, and one of the only 2 runs.
Ken Giles had 3 saves this week, increasing his total for the year to 9.
Season Pitching: Still simply amazing. 2.39 ERA, a run below the next best team, the NL (re: no DL) Milwaukee Brewers. ERA for starters: 2.25. The relief pitchers top the AL with a 2.76 ERA. For the whole staff, 517 K’s, 0.97 WHIP, all league leading. At 122, they have given up two more walks than league leading Cleveland, but in three more games.
Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton continue to be #s 1, 2 and 3 in the AL in ERA, at 1.08, 1.86 and 1.94 respectively. This is the first time in the modern era that 3 starting pitchers had sub 2 ERA’s on the same team at the 50 game mark. Verlander leads the MLB in pitcher WAR at 3.1 Cole leads the AL in K/9 at 13.43. Charlie Morton is 4th and Verlander 5th. Cole is second in MLB (first in AL) in strikeouts with 101, Verlander is fourth with 93. Verlander and Cole lead MLB in WHIP. Morton is 10th.
Batting Average: Jose Altuve, .313
Home Runs: George Springer, 10
OPS: George Springer, .853
Steals: Alex Bregman, 5
Wins: Lance McCullers, Charlie Morton, Justin Verlander, 6
ERA: Justin Verlander, 1.08
Strike outs: Gerrit Cole, 101
Team ERA+-163. Same as last week. Still cruisin way above the next best 131 (1997 Braves)..... Team ERA-2.39. Record is 2.45, 1967 Chicago White Sox........ Individual ERA+-Justin Verlander, 357. Modern era record is 291, Pedro Martinez.......... Individual ERA-Justin Verlander, 1.08. Record set by Bob Gibson, 1968 1.12. (Note: all individual pitching records set in 1968, most of them were, should be thrown out)....... Defense Efficiency Ratio-733. Previous record .731, Cubs 2016.......... Fielding Percentage-992. Tied for first all-time......... Fewest errors for a shortstop in a season-Carlos Correa, none so far. Record, 3......... Most consecutive games without an error in a season for a shortstop-Carlos Correa, 50. Record held by Mike Bordick, 110, 2002.
All statistics as of afternoon, 5-24-18. Baseball Reference and Fangraphs.
Who is the team most valuable player for the week May 17 -May 23?
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