What a difference a week makes. Last week, I had no interest writing about anyone in the Astros lineup.
As of Tuesday, After a road trip that saw them win 4 of 5 and the team being 6-2 in their last 8, the story of that time span was the Astros lineup exploding.
It wasn’t all your typical guys though. Altuve turned around his slow start, now having a slash of .320/.407/.400. But it was more the guys that go unnoticed, Josh Reddick and Nori Aoki.
While Reddick has yet to hit a home run this year, he does have a slash line of .341/.362/.523. This is not going to lead to a high OPS, and it shows with his 108 wRC+ and .317 wOBA, which is what I prefer to use, as it is a much better weighted version of OPS (if you want to learn more, link here: http://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/woba/).
I do expect that to go up a lot more as he shows more power, and I think his OBP will stay similar to where it is now, and if it drops, I personally don’t think it’ll be by much.
Moving to Aoki, it has been a great start for him. He currently has a .351 OBP, a .362 wOBA, and a 140 wRC+. He has been crucial at the bottom of the lineup, and the only reason I want him to stay there is because based on history, there is no way he keeps this up.
He will always be a solid guy that gets on base, always something I prefer in the lineup, but he’s not going to hit for average or have a high slugging percentage. He is a focal point to the lineup’s success though. He was always the signing I liked the most because of price and value of getting on base, and he has surpassed that so far.
The real negative that both of these guys will have is their defense. As I mentioned in my article on Reddick, his defense has dropped dramatically in right field since he was a gold glove contender a few years ago.
Aoki has never been a great defender, as he has never had a positive Defensive Runs Saved in left field and a -4.0 UZR in left field last year.
The idea this year with Aoki playing a lot of left field is there is a really short porch in Minute Maid Park with the Crawford Boxes in left field. That is not necessarily something I buy into, but if that proves to be true, it would be a major plus.
While it seems as if I have come off pretty negatively in the article, remember, that even as an Astros fan, it is important to be neutral as a writer trying to give analysis.
It has only been two weeks into the season, and it is important to still give an outlook as to what to expect from them for the rest of the year, as this is still a very small sample size.
With that being said, Reddick and Aoki have been crucial to the lineup in these two weeks of baseball, and as a fan, I hope they can continue, because it would really be a scary lineup with them in this form and guys like Correa and Beltran turning it around.