One thing about last year’s Houston Astros was that they swung early, often and missed frequently. So far in Spring Training, which they have put up a nasty 31 strikeouts, that kind of thing is to be assumed with such a young core of players.
The one stat that begs to be recognized as an improvement is the 19 walks they’ve put up in four games thus far.
But it’s not just that they are walking — it’s who’s taking those walks.
The main detractor from George Springer‘s MLB-ready repertoire was his lack of plate discipline. He swung at everything, which would have fit in perfectly well with the Astros if they weren’t trying to fix that. Well they are, and he has.
Springer leads the team in walks, with five of his eight plate appearances resulting in walks, including four in his last game alone. When he gets on base, he’s deadly, as he’s already swiped three bags as well.
If this new-found plate discipline is here to stay, then teams will have no way around Springer.
Along with Springer, potential lead-off man Dexter Fowler and future potential lead-off man Delino Deshields Jr. have been very selective as well, drawing a combined four walks in 14 plate appearances. Plate discipline is key for guys like them, who want to start the lineup off by getting on base and wreaking havoc on the base paths. It goes without saying, but you can’t steal first base — that one you have to earn.
Walks are the most welcome addition to the Astros’ situation, especially from the likes of Springer, who, given enough plate discipline, could become the most potent weapon the Astros have to offer.