Before every series I will post these charts to help you get ready for the games, The methodology is described below.
It's MAY! The up and down month of April is done. The Astros are 15-13 and in second place.
There are several key injuries today
Per Astros- We have placed RHP Jose Urquidy on the 15-day Injured List (right shoulder discomfort) to fill his spot on the roster, we recalled RHP Brandon Bielak from Triple A.
IF Brandon Crawford placed on the 10-day IL with a right calf strain (retroactive to April 30)
OF Mike Yastrzemski placed on the 10-day IL with a left hamstring strain
Cal Stevenson and Brett Wisely recalled from Triple-A Sacramento
The Phillies series typified most of the month. Now the 11-16 Giants come to town. I WILL be at the games Tuesday and Wednesday. Look for me folks!
The Giants have struggled and have some injuries. Many of their players are not meeting preseason expectations. Can the Astros keep them cold? We shall see below.
Overall Preseason WAR Comparisons
Before the season this is how the two teams compared from a projected WAR standpoint.
The Giants projected to be a fairly mediocre team. They did have a slight advantage in the SP.
Here is our modified table that shows the WAR by position so far, the projected WAR for the ROS, and then what the cumulative total WAR would be.
From a WAR standpoint overall, the Astros have an advantage as the records might indicate. The Giants offense is significantly higher so far at 5.2 to 3.3. The Giants pitching is STRUGGLING. Their relief staff has a combined WAR of -0.7.
The rest of the season projections are consistent generally with the preseason numbers. The Astros have the advantage. Again, these are the season projection numbers and NOT my opinion.
By the preseason WAR method, San Francisco would be predicted to win 79 games in 2023 vs. the 89 for the Astros. Projected after their starts, the Giants would track to 80 wins while the Astros remain at 89.
Let's compare the competition these two teams have faced.
According to the website MLB Strength of Schedule Rankings (powerrankingsguru.com),
The Giants have played the 21st easiest schedule so far in the MLB. Don't worry they have the fourteenth hardest remaining schedule.
The Astros have played the fifth hardest schedule so far. Their remaining schedule is only the 29th hardest remaining schedule. It is easy for the Astros fans.
The overall data would suggest the Astros should win the series. The details may be a little less reassuring.
NOTE- the projection numbers have now been updated to the projections as of May 1st. This shifts several of the baseline Astros grades too. The defensive projections also were updated which affected the full season defensive WAR and the defensive grade bumps up and down.
Chart 1- Position Player Roster
Defensive Positions and rosters with bench and key minor league players. Who is injured? Then, the relative scores to arrive at who is better.
The details of the report card indicate that despite the Giants fast start offensively, the Astros should have a slight advantage with the bats.
The Astros would LOVE for Abreu and Maldy to break out of their funks. I hope that Diaz gets more opportunities to play for both.
The Giants have SIX players that grade a B by this report card system. As shown several of these players are off to a fast start too.
Chart 2- The Projected Batting Orders
In this section I predict the general batting order I expect both teams to use this series. I MIGHT update this as the series progresses. You also see how the batting lineup compares with the 2023 projected grades.
The Giants lineup appears to be a somewhat relentless parade of GOOD but not necessarily GREAT hitters. Yastrzemski was off to a great start so losing him can really hurt the Giants. Can the Astros pitching staff control the Giants?
This will be an interesting but not impossible test for the Astros pitching.
Chart 3- Pitching Rosters
Starters and Relief pitcher rosters with key minor league players. Who is injured? Then, the relative scores to arrive at who is better.
What I am about to say will make zero sense given the Giants pitching staff's start. The report card matchup actually gives the Giants a slight advantage. Look at all of the Giants pitchers off to early horrible starts.
What does it mean? Which is more accurate? I will go with the preseason projection pitching advantage for the Astros. There is a warning here, however. The Giants are likely not as bad as they have started.
Side note- If the Giants continue to struggle, Alex Wood is a trade target for me.
Chart 4- Starting Pitching Matchups,
In this section we look at the SP matchups by game.
The Astros get to delay how they fill Urquidy's slot in the rotation until next series.
The Astros get to run out both Brown and Valdez in this series. That SHOULD be an advantage for the Astros.
Series Prediction- I need to address this. THIS Article is about the matchup and not a prediction. Predicting three games series results is nearly impossible. I do these predictions as a SUMMARY of what I think all of the matchup data is saying.
I believe the Astros will take two in this series but almost any result COULD happen. The Giants are a better team than you probably believe.
Again, I will be at Minute Maid on Tueday and Wednesday. Look for me and say Hi!
As we have discussed in the previous Astros Report Card Articles here is the grading scale for the position players.
To account for the value of defense a player can get a letter grade bump up or down based on their projected defensive WAR (or actual defensive WAR for 2022) for their primary defensive position.
For the pitchers we will use these two scales- one for 2023 based on projected FIP and the other for the 2022 actual FIP- data.
The overall score will be based on the point values to the right. The differences are tallied in the columns to the right.
Overall Score = Starter Differences + Bench Differences / 2 + MiLB Players Differences /4