Joshua "JR" ReeseBy Joshua Reese

CBS Houston – The Houston Astros climb back to playoff contention has been a pretty epic ride. Since the start of May, the team has gone 39 and 22 good enough for a 64% winning percentage.

One of the big keys to the turnaround has been the offense starting to catch fire, and it’s just not the top of the order guys like George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa. Guys all though the lineup are contributing and it’s giving the team a big boost.

Lots of players have had their turn giving the team a helping hand but of late Luis Valbuena is really earning his keep. The past two games, the team’s third baseman launched two of the most beautiful home run shots you will see, a combined 839 feet between the two bombs, both landing in the second deck of left field.

“He’s the guy, he’s the monkey,” Carlos Gomez said of Valbuena power the past few days, “He’s the [expletive] guy.”

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When looking at the shot, it’s hard not to agree with Gomez, Valbuena is the man, he’s doing work at the plate! Not to mention his epic bat flips on walks, infield singles, strikeouts, popouts, mammoth tape measure homer runs, really anything are all spectacular.

In April his batting average for the month was over .300 (.316) and while it’s down to start this July, his OPS this month is a very stout 1.011 only lower than all-star candidate George Springer (1.122) and rookie A.J. Reed (1.169).

“He’s looked good for over a month now,” A.J. Hinch said of Valbuena’s hot play, “he’s playing every day, he’s playing against lefties I think that helps him stay closed, I think it helps him stay through the ball a little bit, he’s found his timing, his swing decisions are really good, he doesn’t swing at balls out of the zone very often.”

Valbuena’s swings on pitches outside of the zone have dropped five percent since last season. It might not mean a whole lot, but his walk percentage is up so there is a little bit of a correlation. All across the board Valbuena’s numbers are better than his numbers from even his breakout season from last year.

With the future at third base in Alex Bregman off at triple-A destroying baseballs. Valbuena’s hot play is making people wonder, maybe we shouldn’t rush Bregman.

Valbuena is the guy and he’s playing like the man! Right now he’s doing his job helping the team score runs, play good defense and win games.

Follow JR on twitter —–> @MrJoshua

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