It’s really hard to evaluate a lot of the Houston Astros‘ offensive tools because the entire offense is sputtering right now. That being said, some players are showing some excellent progress. One such case is Jonathan Villar, whose main skill set was his speed. While he is 4-for-5 in stolen base attempts this year, it’s his power that’s really shining.
While Villar’s average is only a .211 right now, he’s hitting .308 in his last seven games. With three home runs and six RBIs out of the 9-hole in the lineup, he’s definitely pulling his own weight, offensive wise, which is more than most of the Astros can say. While strikeouts are still a major concern, it’s no more of a concern than it is with the rest of the Astros, mainly Chris Carter and Jesus Guzman.
Many see Villar as a mere placeholder until top prospect Carlos Correa comes to the Majors, and no doubt Villar knows this. It’s up to him to establish himself as a useful asset to the Astros.
Batting in the 9-hole alleviates a lot of the pressure that may be caused by the impending Correa. Villar still has at least one more year before Correa is a serious contender, so 2014 is a huge year for him. He could easily become a lead-off hitting candidate with the struggles of Dexter Fowler and the necessity of having Jose Altuve in the middle of the order to sustain rallies.
There are little to no immediate competition to Villar’s spot, so hopefully he can use that time to help himself out and help the Astros in the process.