MLB: Assessing the AL West GMs at the midway point

Jun 30, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros left fielder Michael Brantley (23) celebrates with shortstop Carlos Correa (1) after scoring a run during the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 30, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros left fielder Michael Brantley (23) celebrates with shortstop Carlos Correa (1) after scoring a run during the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Astros starter Luis Garcia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Astros starter Luis Garcia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Houston Astros, Jim Click, +2.1 games

The Astros may be everybody’s least favorite MLB team, but it’s hard to knock that 54-33 record. Click owes some of that performance to the talent he inherited from disgraced former GM Jeff Luhnow. That holdover talent base includes Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve and Zack Greinke.

Given what he already had under contract, Click worked cautiously this winter. Still, two personnel moves stand out and mark Click’s season to date among the most successful of any MLB general manager.

His most important move was the retention of free agent outfielder Michael Brantley (+1.3), who has given the Astros a stellar .340 average with an .885 OPS.

Click has worked Houston’s farm system hard. Most of those callups have played bit roles, but Luis Garcia (+1.2), who got a brief introduction to the majors in 2020, is 6-5 with a 3.14 ERA in his 14 starts. He’s got a 1.12 WHIP.

Most of the rest of Click’s personnel additions have not moved the needle much, if at all. Here’s a synopsis of some of the more noteworthy ones.

  • He signed veteran starter Jake Odorizzi (+0.2) and veteran reliever Ryan Stanek (-0.2) to free agent deals. Net impact to the Astros:  zero.
  • He picked up backup infielder Robel Garcia (-0.1) as a waiver claim from the Los Angeles Angels.
  • Aside from Luis Garcia, he promoted a dozen first-year players, notably rookie outfielder Charles McCormick (+0.3) and rookie reliever Bryan Abreu (-0.3). The net impact of those dozen callups (not counting Garcia) on the Astros: -0.3 games.
  • He lost outfielder George Springer to free agency, but Springer (0.0) has done little for his new team, Toronto, being largely sidelined by injuries.