The Houston Astros are recognized this season as having one of the premier farm systems in the majors, and Jonathan Villar is a bright spot in that system.
The Dominican made his debut for the Astros on July 22 and was an instant hit. The 22-year-old is lightning-quick and has great energy. He steals bases with ease and is always eager to do so. He has one of the strongest and most accurate arms among the infielders on the roster. His demeanor is infectious, and that kind of positivity is encouraging as the leadoff hitter and tone-setter.
Here’s the problem, though – Villar strikes out a ridiculous amount of times. Houston leads the league in offensive strikeouts this season by miles. Is adding to this problem something the Astros need to do right now?
Villar came from the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010 as part of the trade for pitcher Roy Oswalt, and spent impressive years in the Astros’ farm teams, piecing together numbers that jumped off the page. He can switch-hit for both power and placement, has the speed to steal a record numbers of bases and commits very few errors.
But again, maybe the most important number that flies off the page for him is the strikeout. Since his debut in the majors, he’s been sent back to the dugout nearly half of the time during an at-bat. If he wants to be a leadoff man, this just can’t happen.
There’s no doubting how good he is in the infield. It’s going to take a larger sample size to get a better feel for his batting numbers, and the Astros are desperately hoping that he’s not another addition to the strikeout-prone system.