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The Astros May Report

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

Who was the Astros MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Month in May? Who else did well and who struggled?


I am starting a new monthly feature today- the Astros monthly report- which will include:

  • Statistical Monthly Reports for April and May- Hitters and Pitchers

  • Comparison of where players are NOW vs. the 3/27/23 Fangraphs season projections

  • Review who is playing more and less than expected

  • Look Ahead- Rest of Season Projections

  • Final Report Cards that summarize all of the above

  • Monthly Awards

Because we are also one third of the way through the season, this can also be a one-third report if you like. You are about to get a lot of data! As always, I will highlight things I see in the data.


The Astros finished the month 17-10 which is really good. Let's see how they did it.


Statistical Monthly Reports for April and May- Hitters and Pitchers


Hitters in April

Hitters in May

I provide April here so you can see how the performance has shifted. Overall, the batting is slightly below average. Several players are far behind where we expected them to be.

  • Doghouse

    • McCormick returned from injury and has struggled but his BABIP and wOBA gap indicate it might just be some bad luck in May after great luck in April.

    • Tucker has been bad both at the plate but also in the field.

    • Abreu got a HR in May but his 0.533 OPS in the month still is terrible.

    • How many of you know Julks did not perform well in May? His 0.597 OPS/ 64 wRC+ show you; but apparently, I am the only one that will tell you. The rest of the media seems to be hiding it.

  • Penthouse

    • Alvarez just lives here all of the time. His BABIP and wOBA gap actually indicate he was unlucky.

    • Welcome back Altuve! You are the king!

    • We all saw the Jake Meyers of 2021 and we all liked it!

    • Maldonado road the coaster up to a 105 wRC+ which is incredible for him. With his 0.406 BABIP, prepare for a crash landing.

Pitchers in April

Pitchers in May

Overall, the pitching has been spectacular. The team followed a 3.25 ERA in April with a 3.29 ERA in May. The FIPs indicate some regression IS probable.

  • Doghouse

    • Who even remembers that Montero was actually good in April? That is how bad he was in May.

    • It may not fair to Bielak and France to say they are in the doghouse. Their ERAs were good. Their FIPs are not. FIPs are typically more predictive. I am rooting for the ERA versions of these two.

  • Penthouse

    • Whatever Phil Maton did in the offseason should be the plan for every pitcher. Well except for the broken bone. Maton has been great both months, Even with the higher FIP, you would take that all of the time.

    • Ryan Pressly is, well, Ryan Pressly. Next.

    • Framber is an Ace just in case anyone had doubts.

    • Neris was great too.

    • The penthouse was pretty full to be honest.


Comparison of where players are NOW vs. the 3/27/23 Fangraphs season projections.


How are the Astros doing vs. what the algorithms calculated they would do?


Hitters

Good News

  • Altuve is off to a great start in his first 40 PA

  • Meyers is the other positive surprise.

Several players are right in line with their projections. Dubon may have surprised many, but he is doing what the models said he could do.


Bad News- the list is long

  • Hensley is back at AAA after 86 PA at 16 wRC+ vs. the 97 we expected.

  • Abreu has been the worst player by WAR in the MLB and 78 wRC+ below projections (50 vs. 128)

  • Diaz has never been given consistent playing time and that is hurting his production.

  • Bregman and Tucker have been below too more modestly.

  • Even Julks is 14 wRC+ below what was projected.

Pitchers

As you can imagine with the Astros pitching, several are exceeding expectations.


Good News

  • Maton has been simply great.

  • Brown, Neris, Abreu, Blanco, Valdez are all 0.5 FIP better than projections.

Several pitchers are also right in line with their projections.


Bad News- some of the group here have not done poorly by their ERA, but their FIPs are higher than projections. Again, this is a warning to future production.

  • Bielak and France fit into this category. We will see with time if their FIPs drop to their ERAs or if their ERAs rise to their FIPs.

  • Urquidy was also in this category before he got hurt.

  • Montero was projected to a FIP of 3,59 which many thought was too high. His actual FIP has been 4.16. His ERA has been far worse at 6.65.

Review who is playing more and less than expected


In this section we will simply look at the usage vs. what Fangraphs projected. In this we will look at the PA and IP through the first 55 games, what that pace would lead to by the end of the season, and what was projected.


Hitters

Who's up

  • Julks has played a LOT. Before the season started it wasn't clear he would play before September to the projection systems.

  • Dubon obviously played a lot while Altuve was out. His pace numbers will come down.

  • In March, the algorithms split most of the catching playing time to Lee. Diaz is on pace for about 200 PA which is far short of the 300 AB Dana Brown said he would like him to see but ahead of the projection models.

Who's down

  • Injuries to Brantley, Altuve, and even McCormick have them tracking to fewer PA than projected. Altuve will rapidly catch up. McCormick might catch up. Brantley? Who knows?

  • Dirden may be missing a window for PAs in 2023.

  • Lee is most likely a September call up at best at this point.

Pitchers

Who's Up

  • Hunter Brown is on a pace I am not sure the Astros really want him on. I suspect he will be skipped on occasional starts as the season goes forward.

  • J.P. France and Bielak are getting an extended shots with the Garcia and Urquidy injuries.


Who's Down

  • This is probably obvious, but Garcia and Urquidy will not hit their projections.

Look Ahead- Rest of Season Projections


Hitters

If the bats that have a combined 96 wRC+ actually hit to this 114 wRC+ projection, the Astros will win a LOT of games.


Pitchers

If the Astros ROS ERA is 3.92 or their FIP is 4.13, the team is going to struggle to win the division.


So, we have two different possible futures. The projections are basically telling us the bats should be better and the pitching will not maintain these levels.


Final Report Cards that summarize all of the above


Let's put it all together in the report card format we have used before.


In the columns for each player

  1. what was projected at the beginning of the season

  2. What happened in April

  3. What happened in May

  4. What is projected for the rest of the season.

Hitting


Pitchers


Monthly Awards


Since this is the May Monthly Report, let's do some May Awards.


May Team MVP- Well this probably could go to Alvarez EVERY month, but I am to give the award to Jake Meyers. Jake has not played THIS well since 2021. It is so awesome to see.


May Team Cy Young- There are a lot of choices here, but I am going to give the award to Phil Maton.


May Team Rookie of the Month- This is pretty easy. It's Hunter Brown who should be the MLB ROY if he keeps it up.


Well, that is the Astros May Report. What do you think?


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