HOUSTON (CBS Houston): Astros fans have been waiting for this move since last summer, and yet it has come earlier than expected.
The Astros have called up top prospect outfielder George Springer from Class AAA Oklahoma City. He is expected to be in the lineup for Wednesday night’s game with the Kansas City Royals. However, the move comes far earlier than the original plan called for at the beginning of the season.
The plan, of course, was to make Springer a midseason call-up. No need to rush him to the majors on a team that wasn’t expected to win 70 games. Make sure he’s ready. Don’t start his service time too early, to avoid making him a Super 2 arbitration eligible player. Stay the course. Steady growth.
Scrap that plan.
14 games into the 2014 season, the Astros as a team are batting .185. Only 4 players are hitting over .200, and two of them are in platoons. In 8 of the team’s 9 losses, they have scored 2 runs or fewer. 5 times only 1 run or less.
“Our pitching has been strong,” Astros team president Reid Ryan told me today. “We’ve been in a lot of close games. This team has a lot of talent.” The lack of offense however, has been troubling.
With Robbie Grossman (.125 through 14 games with 17 Ks) off to another poor start, and the team needing an offensive spark, they decided to make the move now.
“George brings some better defense…a big bat, and a lot of speed,” Ryan said of his soon-to-be new right fielder.
Springer hit .303/.411/1.010 last season, with 37 HR 108 RBI 106 Runs and 45 SBs, splitting time between Double-A Round Rock and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Early in the 2014 season at Oklahoma City, Springer has been on fire, hitting .353/.459/.1.106 with 3 HRs 9 RBI 17 Runs and 4 SBs in 13 games.
“This is a much better team than last year,” Ryan said. Now he’s looking for them to show it on the field, and adding Springer will help with that.
It’s a change in plans for the Astros, and a positive one.
Patrick Creighton is the host of “Nate & Creight”, with Nate Griffin, Sundays 2-5p on Sportsradio 610 Houston. Follow him on Twitter at @PCreighton1