Updated: Jun 20
Some large cities have major amusement parks. With all due respect to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, the Kemah Boardwalk, and Galveston's Pleasure Pier; the most terrifying summer thrill ride is not in any of those venues.
That thrill ride is the Maldy Roller Coaster. Astros fans have ridden this ride before in 2022. It looks like 2023 is setting up to be the same thrill ride as last year. Some people apparently love the ride. I don't. I rather have a way more consistent ride- something I can count on.
Why do I call Maldonado a roller coaster of performance. If you read "The Argument for Maldy" you already know about last year. How is the roller coaster doing in 2023?
It has been more of the same. Here are the numbers in our heat map format.
Up and Down, Up and Down. Maldonado has become one of the most ice cold to on fire players in the history of baseball.
His streaks are random. some last for 30 PA and some have gone over 90. With wRC+ runs ranging from -45 to 164 in stretches last year, no one know which Maldonado is showing up at the park tonight.
This year, the opening run was 70 PA and ended on 4/29 at 25 wRC+. Since then Maldy has become one of the greatest contact hitters in the history of baseball with a BABIP of 0.483 and wRC+ of 152. Maldonado is a career 0.260 BIPIP hitter. The BABIP alone tells you this run is smoke and mirrors. How long will this run last? I don't think even Maldy knows.
I will say this
5/26/23- -100 wRC+
5/27/23- +3 wRC+
Give me 2 more bad Maldy days in the next three games and this run is likely over. It happens that fast.
Maldy's longest "good" streak last year was 94 PA (158 wRC+). This "good" streak is at 61 PA (134 wRC+) right now. The Astros are 2 games into a 17 games in 17 day run. Dusty has spoken more defiantly about playing Maldy more. This is when it breaks. Dusty overuses Maldonado and sends him into a massive tailspin. It is what happened last year.
In the 11 days from 7/28/22 to 8/7/22, Dusty Baker started Maldy 8 times and brought him into an extra innings game on one of the few off days. After two days off, Baker again overused Maldy. From 8/10 to 8/19, Maldy started another seven games. Remember, we have Vazquez at this point. On 8/13, Maldy started a -8 wRC+ stretch in the next 60 PA.
This year, in the last nine days Baker has started Maldonado 7 times - five of those starts vs. the Oakland A's. If Dusty keeps this up, he will break Maldy and the next 10% of the season for Maldy are going to be bad.
Overuse Maldy and find out Astros. I HOPE I am wrong and Maldy has found a secret that breaks the cycle. I will believe it when I see it.
I heard someone say (TV crew, radio crew, or postgame coverage) say Maldy is hotter now than he has ever been. Folks, THIS is why you have me. You can see from the graphs and the table that is simply not true. The 94 PA from 7/2/22 to 8/11/22 was a better run at 158 wRC+ and 0.916 OPS. That run was just as unsustainable last year as the current run is now.
Folks, it happened THAT fast. I wrote that font in blue on 5/28/23. That was the beginning of Maldy's down spiral. It did indeed start of 5/26/23. It was an epic 53 PA, -7 wRC+ (yes NEGATIVE seven) run punctuated by a 0.120 BABIP.
All of the tables and graphs have been updated.
Let me try to do the impossible again. It is 6/20/23 at 4:30PM. I believe the down spiral ended on 6/16/23 and we started the uptick on 6/18. Dusty is getting more pressure to time share Maldy's time at catcher with Diaz. I believe that actually would HELP Maldonado. You heard it here first. Larry is calling the Bull Market for Maldy for the next 3-6 weeks.
Enjoy the ride? I think this ride makes me sick.