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George Springer is right where the Astros need him

The 30-year-old outfielder finally left his struggles behind and is carrying with the Astros’ lineup since early September.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Fortunately, George Springer is back to his standards. When the Astros need him most, he’s stepping up as one of the forces in Dusty Baker’s lineup. He successfully overcame his early-season struggles and is crushing balls.

During the first one and a half months of the season, Springer was not Springer himself. In the first 28 regular-season games, he was hitting for a .194/.331/.388 slash line, with 23 strikeouts, only nine extra-base hits, and 17 runs batted in.

Heck! He even began the campaign 1-for-21. It was a concerning beginning for a star who’s in his walk year and, especially, for a key player during a very short season. But he finally has turned it around.

From September 3 to 15, across 13 games, Springer collected eight extra-base hits (two doubles, one triple, five home runs), eight ribbies, and a pretty solid slash line of .327/.375/.692. He’s been the hottest hitter in the Astros’ lineup for the last two weeks. No discussion.

But those numbers have a reason. We went deep into FanGraphs to see what was going on with George’s hitting. Take a look at the following stats:

From July 24 to September 2:

  • Exit velocity: 86.7 MPH
  • Launch angle: 20.4º
  • Barrel%: 9.0%
  • Hard Hit%: 35.9%

Since September 3:

  • Exit velocity: 93.5 MPH
  • Launch angle: 10.9º
  • Barrel%: 17.8%
  • Hard Hit%: 60.0%

Impressive, right? Those marks mean the 30-year-old (31 on Saturday) is SMASHING and he’s absolutely BACK!

Another reason for his recent success might be he’s being more aggressive at the plate as he’s swung at 53.8% of the pitches he’s seen over the second period (44.0% before).

What could be the dust of the long offseason and the lost time due to the COVID pandemic, Springer was not having a good time against fastballs (four-seamer, two-seamer, cutter, sinker) before September 2.

  • BAA: .176
  • SLG: .314
  • XBH: 3

But it’s been a different story since then. Springer excelled against that type of pitches last year and it was kind of atypical for him to miss so often this year. So we can say everything is back to the standards.

  • BAA: .343
  • SLG: .657
  • XBH: 5

Now that Springer is on fire, the Astros need their other horses to join him. Through this stage of the season, they can’t lose 1-0 games just like Wednesday’s loss. Hitters like Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and José Altuve need to get back on track as soon as possible so that Houston can avoid a disaster.