For non-player personnel in the MLB, the only award given out is for the Manager of the Year. Even then, baseball writers don’t really seem to put as much time thinking who deserves it as they do other awards. Basically if your team didn’t make the post-season last season and make it this season, you’ll win. However, the specific coaches that work with the players everyday, whether it be pitching or batting, seems to lose the credit they deserve to the team’s manager.
By now, if you haven’t figured out the Houston Astros are one of the best teams in baseball now, then you have not been following baseball at all. They were one of two teams to enter the All-Star break with 60 wins.
On top of that, they lead all of baseball in batting average, on base percentage, slugging, runs, RBIs, and home runs. You get the point, they can hit the ball well. The most impressive stat for them is the fact that for as many home runs as they hit, they also strike out the least amount.
For anyone who has been around the sport in any way will tell you, you can’t have one without the other. Home runs and strike outs go together like peas and carrots. However, someone must have not told the Houston Astros that.
They currently have the lowest K% in baseball (17.2%), while hitting the most home runs (150).
Batting coach Dave Hudgens says, “I don’t want my hitters swinging at a pitch they can’t hit a homer, I don’t want my guys swinging at a pitch unless they can do some damage. If you go in with that mind-set, you’re not going to miss your pitch as often.”
I find this type of mind-set incredibly perplexing. It’s hard to tell a little kid looking for someone to model their game after not to have that mind-set when it’s working so well for the Astros. As a kid, you’re often told to just make contact because when kids swing for the fences, it often looks ugly and doesn’t end well.
However, when you have a line up full of powerful, young talent like the Houston Astros, it works. It takes a very mature and seasoned mind for a player to go to the plate, and to actually swing for the fences every time, and succeed.
Usually when a guy has 20 or more home runs for the season, he also usually has north of 180 strikeouts. Having multiple types of player like that on your team makes it hard to expect to win. Over the last two season, the Astros got rid of players like Chris Carter, Jason Castro, Luis Valbuena, and Colby Rasmus who did have multiple home runs, but also the strike outs that usually go with them.
In 2014, the Kansas City Royals had the lowest K% when they went to the World Series, as well as in 2015 when they went on to win it all. If history is any indication to what the future holds, the future is bright for the Houston Astros.
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