Despite what the Houston Astros‘ usual bottom-of-the-barrel 23-44 record might tell you, this team is all about moving forward.
And with players like Jose Altuve and Jordan Lyles at the center of the picture, the team’s prospects for a more successful future are definitely looking up. Matt Dominguez could still be a part of that, though he’s going to have his work cut out for him considering that his 2013 season has been little more than a couple of proverbial steps back.
Now, it’ wasn’t as though he was entirely too impressive in this rookie season in 2012, but with a .284/.310/.477 triple-slash and five home runs in 113 at-bats, he too represented a step forward for the Astros at the hot corner, where there really aren’t too many other options.
For the 2013 quad, however, he’s simply a sub-par option that the team is stuck with.
Sure, Dominguez is flashing decent power potential with nine home runs through 242 PA, good enough to put him on a 23-home run pace … but since all but one of those homers came over the month of May, the pace numbers are mostly unless here.
Perhaps what’s more concerning, though, is that outside of the power (.500 slugging for the month), the third baseman had just hit .229/.230 (just one walk in 101 PA to 23 strikeouts) in an otherwise dismal month.
Fast-forward to the middle of June, and well, it’s only gotten worse. Including Wednesday’s 0-for-3 performance against the Seattle Mariners, Dominguez has found himself in a season-high four-game hitless streak. Not only is he not hitting for power in the month thus far (.293 slugging), he’s simply not hitting much at all with a .171/.190 AVG/OBP to complete his line through 42 PA.
As least he finally drew his first walk of the month?
At this point, Dominguez is simply a player who is not able to help himself out of the abyss, with a .167 BABIP for June that is more or less accurately by his plummeting 10.8 percent line drive rate. No bad luck needed here — just a whole lot of bad contact. In fact, even that part of his game might be taking a step back, considering his drop in contact rate from 88.1 percent in 2012 to just 82.6 percent to this point …
Then again, despite being a below-replacement option at 0.4 fWAR, this is just a 23-year old, and 23-year-olds certainly aren’t immune to struggles at the highest level of the game. You might even say it’s common, really.
That’s something the Astros can afford patience with, given the current state of the team. But while he’ll be continued be given a leash to try to get over this low point, Dominguez will need to show some inkling of progress, because as we’ve seen, those who don’t fit in as part of the future don’t tend to stick around in the bigs for very long, even with the Astros.