MLB Rundown: How Springer Got His Groove Back


The recent rise of the Houston Astros’ George Springer leads off this week’s collection of interesting MLB stats and facts.

The 2016 season didn’t quite take off as the Houston Astros had planned it would. Sure, Jose  Altuve was producing MVP-type numbers, but as a team nothing was clicking. The bullpen was a mess, Dallas Keuchel was anything but his former Cy Young self and George Springer seemed lost. Springer was hitting just .254 with nine home runs, but he’d already racked up 50 strikeouts in just 177 at-bats.

Fast forward to just 10 days ago when manager A.J. Hinch decided to make the “switch.” Hinch decided to swap Altuve and Springer in the batting order, essentially making Springer a leadoff hitter for the first time in his big league career. The results have been outstanding.

Since the aforementioned switch, Springer has belted 4 HR, while hitting .450 (18-40), with an incredible .511 on-base percentage. He raised his OPS from .802 on May 22 to its current season high of .904 and he’s lowered his SwStr% (swinging strike percentage) to 12.6, which represents the lowest mark of his career.

During this 10-game span, Springer has put together six multi-hit efforts, raising his average to a high water mark of .290 and more importantly becoming a viable table-setter for both Altuve and Carlos Correa.

If you want to gauge his value according to Wins Above Replacement (WAR), Springer is the most  valuable position player in baseball with his 3.2 mark. He ranks 8th in the American League in hits (63), 6th in total Bases (114) and 4th in times on base (94).

All in all, it’s fair to say that the leadoff spot is not an experiment anymore for Springer. If he continues to sharpen his plate discipline and refine his base running skills he could blossom into one of the premier top-of-the-order hitters in the game today.

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Bullet Points

  • Jose Ramirez has quietly taken advantage of the full-time at-bats he’s received during Michael Brantley‘s DL stint. He’s batting .368 with six walks and six runs scored over the last seven games with a strikeout rate that’s dipped below 10 percent.
  • Dan Straily is off to a surprisingly good start this season, recording a record of 3-2 with a 3.43 ERA. Last week he turned in the best performance of his career against the Dodgers, striking out 11 batters over seven innings. One of the big keys to his fast start was increasing his groundball rate to 42 percent this year, up from his career mark of 36.4 percent.
  • It was only a matter of time until the Phillies started their plummet back to reality. After a respectable start to the year they’ve now lost seven straight games and currently sit at 26-28. The big difference you ask? Well, Philadelphia owns a -53 run differential, which ranks 27th in the league. They’re on the right track as far as rebuilding, it’s just to soon for a significant turnaround.
  • If you’re into numbers, here’s a weird, but interesting stat: MLB Team Home Runs per Game. Lets take a look at the top 10 in the league: SEA 1.50, TB 1.41, NYM 1.40, BAL 1.35, STL 1,33, BOS 1.32, WAS 1.31, DET 1.29, HOU 1.28 & TOR 1.25. Not exactly who I thought would be on top, but numbers can be weird at times. Actually, with the fact that Baltimore has scored more than half their runs via the long ball it’s surprising they’re ranked only fourth.
  • The Braves ended the month of May with just 21 home runs, the fewest any team has totaled since the 1993 Florida Marlins, who finished with 20. The significance here? The Marlins were in their inaugural season and shared Joe Robbie Stadium with the Miami Dolphins.
  • With Jonathan Villar playing at an All-Star level, the Milwaukee Brewers can delay the clock a bit on top prospect Orlando Arcia. Villar has 19 steals on the year, which leads the majors, and his .409 OBP places him 12th in all of baseball.
  • Daniel Murphy has 9 HR this season and is on pace to almost double his career high of 14. If we take a look at some simple numbers we’ll find that he’s increased his fly ball percentage to 45.1 up from his career average of 33.6. More importantly, he’s increased his Hard Hit% from a career mark of 28.7% to 39% in 2016.
  • Steven Wright has allowed just three HR in 69.1 innings pitched.
  • Since the start of the 2015 season, Carlos Carrasco has racked up 378 strikeouts over 334.1 innings pitched. He seems to be overlooked when mentioning the top 20 starters in the game.

Next: Joe Girardi Getting Frustrated With Media

  • Finally, let’s get to perhaps the craziest and most unexpected fact of the week. Tyler Chatwood ranks 3rd in WAR for Pitchers with a score of 2.7, trailing only Kershaw (3.5) and Arrieta (3.0). If that wasn’t enough to blow your mind… it gets better. His home/road splits are nothing short of amazing this year. Inside the cozy confines of Coors Field, Chatwood owns a stout 5.31 ERA & 1.51 WHIP. Away from Coors he’s been brilliant, producing a 0.53 ERA & 0.89 WHIP.