I have searched for a way to communicate the total bat impact of each Astros hitter to the team. I have wanted a system that separates the difference makers - both good and bad from the rest. I have created a metric- Total Bat Impact.
Total Bat Impact = (wRC+ - 100) * PA
In this formula the wRC+ is an all-in measurement for batting value. Average performance is 100. Therefore, the first term is a measure of how far above or below average a player is.
If one multiplies that factor by the number of plate appearances, we have a very simple way to compare the total impact of each player. A great player with just a handful of plate appearances is not as valuable as an above average player who ends up with 600 plate appearances.
So, what does it look like for the season to date for the Astros? How did the Astros do on the Total Bat Impact (TBI) in August?
I bet the Astros players you are most frustrated with are the worst on this graph. The players highest on the chart are the players you have the most confidence in.
What is also fun about the Total Bat Impact is that we can plot waterfall charts that show the monthly bat impacts. Let's look at the Total Bat Impact of every Astros player listed above by month- the good, the bad, and the ugly. The rank shown is out of 377 MLB players with more than 150 PA.
Having a monthly value of near zero can mean one of two things.
player had very few PA
player was very average
How did the team do in August?
August was by far the BEST month of the season. EIGHT of the players had good months.
Bregman and Altuve led the team in TBI in August. Abreu struggled so bad early in the month that he went on the IL. He actually did well upon his return.
Let's look at the team. Who has been Good, Bad, and Ugly.
The Good (MVP, Great, Very Good)
Alvarez has missed a lot of time and still leads the team in TBI. He is that good.
Tucker has been excellent this season. He is right behind Alvarez.
Bregman heated up in June and got hotter in August. and continues to rake. Summer Bregman is MVP Bregman.
Altuve has played like MVP Altuve in 2017 in August with the second highest TBI in the month.
McCormick has been good most of the season.
Diaz got hot in June. I should note a catcher with a 100 wRC+ is miles ahead of where Astros catchers have been. At the end of August, Diaz is at 122.
Pena had a great August. He is close to average right now.
Meyers is consistently performing at a slightly below average level since June.
Dubon was 94-99 wRC+ for the first three months and tanked in July. Dubon had a great August.
Julks was VERY unlucky (follow Link for details) in July and August and got limited PA and was optioned when Brantley returned.
Abreu in August somewhat modelled the season. He was HORRIBLE in early August, but like Julks was unlucky (0.167 BABIP). He was out 8/10- 8/22. In five games since returning from the IL, Abreu has been like MVP Abreu. Where does Abreu go from here?
Maldonado has had three terrible months and two good months (May and August). I don't think I have ever seen a split like this (LHP 23PA- 259 wRC+ and RHP 48PA- 33 wRC+). Just incredible!
The Astros have six very good to great players. The Astros have three average players. Julks has been the lone bad player. Then the Astros have Maldonado and Abreu whose performance has been ugly.
I plan to update these monthly. Let me know what you think. Additional charts below.
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Here is the Total Bat Impact data by team.
In August, the Astros rose from eleventh in team TBI all the way to fifth. That is what a TBI month of 38,496 will do! Notice the teams and scores of the top four teams however.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens tells the story of the 2023 Astros the best.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way
Compare the Astros with the other top teams in the division. These are the players with >150PA. You will see there are a lot of bad players with >300PA.
The Astros have more at the top and more at the bottom.
Top 5 Players
Bottom 3 Players
The fact that Julks, Abreu, and Maldonado have cost this team SO MUCH productivity is CRAZY.
Just so you can appreciate the total population of players >150PA.