We’re at 10% of the way through the season, with the Astros coming back strong from a rough start to the year, storming back from 2-5 to 11-5. I wanted to start a discussion with the TCB community to see which new Astro player has impressed you the most in their short time with the Astros. For clarification, I’m not asking which you think is the best career wise, simply in your initial impressions with the team.
Option A - Aledmys Diaz
The fact that I’m even listing him as an option is a telling sign of the turn-around he had from his first initial impression. Diaz, became our defacto Marwin replacement upon his trade in the off-season. Diaz has had an interesting past, with an All-Star appearance under his belt at age of 25 in a season where he ranked 5th in the Rookie of the year, but has bounced around from team to team since.
His first couple games were absolutely horrible resulting in many fans calling for him to be DFA’d, committing errors left and right and a horrendous 0-9 streak where he struck-out more than he made contact. Since then, he’s gone 5-13 (.384) with 2 home runs, both of which were essential in securing the wins. He’s now an above average hitter with a 102 OPS+ and 104 wRC+ while playing at a multitude of positions, not an easy task. Additionally, his .188 BABIP indicates he may have been a victim of some poor luck, although his wOBA vs xwOBA are nearly identical.
I was going to type up a quick comparison of him vs Marwin, but it simply feels unfair and disrespectful to Marwin as his .147/.216/.176 line for a 6 wRC+ is obviously not representative of his talents.
Option B - Robinson Chirinos
One of the least lauded acquisitions of the off-season, Chirinos’ arrival was met with disappointment as teams dreamed of Realmuto and Grandal solidifying the catcher position for years to come. Chirinos has notoriously been a poor defender with above average offense. This year, the early signs have indicated he’s made some significant changes to improve his defense, which I highlighted in my article questioning if we were duped about his defense. Surprisingly, he has been an above average defender for us so far.
But let’s look at the offense. I was cautiously optimistic that Chirinos would be able to take advantage of the Crawford Boxes to boost his already above average power. The early results have been outstanding, with him hitting .265/.375/.588 for a wRC+ of 165!!! (This even blew away my “bold” prediction of .240+/.350+/.500+). I do caution that he is currently been EXTREMELY lucky in the eyes of xWOBA, so regression may be coming to offset his hot start.
Option C - Michael Brantley
Obviously the largest acquisition of the off-season, Brantley brings a history of a professional hitter, and as long as he avoids the injury bug, an All-Star caliber player. He immediately warmed himself to the Astros, getting off to a strong start with the Astros. Currently, he sits at .295/.348/.443 good for a wRC+ of 117. I think he has lived up exactly the expectations fans should have had of him coming in to the season. From a BABIP and xwOBA standpoint, he’s slightly on the lucky side, but nothing overly concerning.
Option D - Wade Miley
I’ll admit I was wrong so far in regards to Miley. I was probably the least excited of the TCB writers about his acquisition. He did not fit the Astros mold of a starter, and his value to me seemed largely based on eating innings and ability to be moved to the bullpen if needed. So far, Miley has put up a strong 3 games of a 3.45 ERA (3.27 FIP). His xFIP isn’t quite as kind coming in at 4.47, so you do have to believe that he can maintain a well below average HR/FB rate. His 5.74 K/9 is concerning but is somewhat offset by an amazing 1.74 BB/9.
Fangraphs did note:
- “In classic Astros form, they completely reworked Miley repertoire. It’ll be interesting to see how it works out.”
The revamp they are referring to is largely based on his cutter usage. His cutter, a pitch that he did not throw before 2017 has been used in 52.3% of his pitches. Obviously, we’re still in very small sample size but they’ve moved the focus to his cutter and all but removed his Sinker and Slider from his arsenal. Although Fangraphs mentions the Astros completely revamped his arsenal, it really began in the Jr. Astros of the North (Brewers), in which Fangraphs did an excellent article last year evaluating the changes. Those changes have only been magnified this year.
So tell me - who’s your pick? Why?
Which new Astro has impressed you the most?
This poll is closed