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April’s Astros Mudbug Awards

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These are the Astros’ best performers after 2019’s first month of play.

Poll

Who should get the Mudbug for Most Valuable Astro in the Month of April

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Jose Altuve
    (11 votes)
  • 4%
    Alex Bregman
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    Robinson Chirinos
    (4 votes)
  • 27%
    Josh Reddick
    (28 votes)
  • 34%
    George Springer
    (36 votes)
  • 16%
    Justin Verlander
    (17 votes)
  • 1%
    Carlos Correa
    (2 votes)
103 votes total Vote Now

This is the first installment of the Crawfish Boxes’ coveted and highly esteemed monthly Mudbug Awards. Mudbugs are awarded to outstanding Astros for greatness on the baseball diamond, for crawling out of the depths of adversity, for clawing one’s way to the pinnacle of success. Without further ado, we present April’s Mudbugs.

Best Harmon Killebrew Imitiation

The winner: Jose Altuve.

Jose Altuve’s April numbers are remarkably similar to those of 1960’s Hall of Fame Minnesota Twins 1B/3B Harmon Killebrew. Killebrew was one of the greatest pure home run hitters in history, ending his career with 573 dingers.

This is Killebrew’s career line: .256/.376/.509 .884 OPS, BB% 15.9, K% 17.3, 1/17 HR/PA.

This is Altuve’s April line: .248/ .328/.513 .841 OPS, BB% 10.9, K% 16.4, 1/14 HR/PA.

This was a close call, as Altuve needs to improve his on base skills if he wants to be a true Harmon Killebrew, but Altuve is out slugging Killebrew, homering at an even greater rate than the notorious “Killer.”

Steadiest Astro

The winner: Michael Brantley.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

If you break down the Astros season so far into 10 game increments, in Brantley’s first 10 games his OPS was .727, for the next ten games it was .893, and in the last 10 games it was 1.019. In the 29 games he has started he has hit safely in 23 games and gotten on base in 26 of them. He is second on the team in batting average at .331 and fifth in wRC+ at 143.

Biggest Surprise

The winner: Robinson Chirinos.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

When the Astros acquired Chirinos from the Rangers, the reaction of many fans was. “well good, we found our back-up catcher.” When it sunk in that this was it, no Realmuto on the way, many among us were very disappointed.

Last year Chirinos had a 103 wRC+, a defensive rating of -12.3 , and 0.0 fWAR. Already this year Chirinos has a 135 wRC+, a positive 0.8 defensive rating, and a 0.7 fWAR.

Oh yeah, Realmuto? A 109 wRC+.

Most Improved

The winner: Carlos Correa.

MLB: Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, the 1st overall draft pick of 2012 produced the following slash line: .239/.323/.405 for an exactly average OPS+ of 100. He had 15 home runs in 468 PA’s. This year he is slashing .298/362/.559 with an OPS+ of 145. If he gets as many PA’s as he had in 2016, he would be on track for about 36 home runs. He has almost as many bWAR (1.2) this year as he had all of last year (1.7) in 110 games.

Best Defensive Player

The winner: Jake Marisnick.

Of course. Jake has an overall defensive rating from Fangraphs of 2.0, by far the highest on the team, despite only playing about one half of the season’s innings. His expected catch percentage, according to Statcast, of 93%, is 3rd in MLB, just behind Byron Buxton. His UZR/150 rating is an outstanding 23.6.

Best Bobblehead

The winner: Alex Bregman

Most Woos

The winner: Josh Reddick

OK, I had to give Josh something. He probably deserves to be co-winner with Carlos Correa of the most improved award.

Most Valuable Mudbug

The winner: George Springer

This is a microscopically close call. Perhaps the most salient characteristic of the 2019 Astros is the unrelenting excellence throughout the lineup. There are seven starters with wRC+ between 126 and 149. They are, in order, George Springer, 149, Carlos Correa, 147, Alex Bregman, 146, Josh Reddick, 144, Michael Brantley, 143, Robinson Chirinos, 135, and Jose Altuve, 126.

So why Springer? He leads the team in wRC+, runs (21), RBI (24), tied in the lead in home runs (9), and steals (3). He is the only player on the team with a positive base running score.

Springer’s fWAR of 1.2 is .1 less than Alex Bregman, based entirely on a -1.8 defensive score, although George has made only one error all season, and according to Statcast his expected catch percentage of 92% is fourth in the league, as is his outs above average. (Ramon Laureano is last)

Defensive statistics are not reliable in a one month sample, and George has been the best all-around hitter on the team. It’s hard to overlook Brantley, Reddick, Correa, and especially Bregman, which is why Bregman got the Best Bobblehead Award. But I say, the Mudbug for Most Valuable Player goes to....George Springer.

Cy Mudbug Award:

The winner: Justin Verlander.

Nuff said

Poll

Who should get the Mudbug for Most Valuable Astro in the Month of April

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Jose Altuve
    (11 votes)
  • 4%
    Alex Bregman
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    Robinson Chirinos
    (4 votes)
  • 27%
    Josh Reddick
    (28 votes)
  • 34%
    George Springer
    (36 votes)
  • 16%
    Justin Verlander
    (17 votes)
  • 1%
    Carlos Correa
    (2 votes)
103 votes total Vote Now