The strikeout numbers that the Houston Astros put up last year were literally breathtaking. They set records no team should ever seek, such as most Ks in an opening series. They were in the top three each month. Chris Carter himself struck out over 250 times. These are the kinds of things that professional ball clubs simply cannot aspire to.
Well, the Astros are hanging out at 13th so far this year in strikeouts. The improvements are obvious as they only have eight team strikeouts with runners in scoring position and just 15 with runners on base. That’s fantastic. It means they’re putting the ball in play when it’s needed most. Now, that also means that they strike out an exorbitant amount with nobody on, but if you had to pick one of the three, that’d be the one.
The concern is who is producing these strikeouts.
Carter has struck out in half of his 16 at-bats so far. If his offseason objective was to cut down on the enormous holes in his swing, he obviously failed, at least to this point. Carter’s leash cannot be long. He has a 50 percent chance of whiffing, that doesn’t contribute much to a lineup.
The other concerning individual is Robbie Grossman, who’s struck in eight of his 22 at bats. Grossman is and has been one of the great success stories on the Astros, so hopefully this is just a slump that he can snap out of; he was never a big strikeout guy at any level.
The improvements are more noticeable than the negatives. When 16 of your team’s 52 strikeouts are from two people, it’s pretty easy to fix the problem.