With his first hit in the rubber match against the Los Angeles Angels, L.J. Hoes hit a solo home run for the Houston Astros and got his batting average to .300. This is the first time an Astros player has touched an average at .300 or higher, even for just an at bat, since Jonathan Villar did it July 24 right after his call-up.
Hoes was slotted into the No. 2 spot in the lineup, a spot that has plagued the Astros all year. Their No. 2 spot has hit .218 this year, with a .273 OBP – the lowest of any spot in the lineup.
The No. 2 spot in a lineup is crucial to sustaining a rally. It falls right smack in the middle of a team’s best hitters, following the speedy lead off guy and right before the RBI producers. It’s the job of the second hitter to put the ball in play, move that lead off guy, and get on base.
Hoes has been doing just that since being traded, hitting .350 in his last ten games and most importantly, only averaging a strikeout every other game. The former Baltimore Oriole projects into a good contact hitter, with just average speed and power, so it’s crucial to make contact.
It’s nice to see an immediate impact from a trade return. It’s not expected, given that the Astros are clearing house for young guys that have potential, so to see one of those prospects immediately hitting on the MLB-level team is promising.