The Houston Astros are off to a rough start out of the gate in the 2022 regular season.
Long serious World Series contenders, the Houston Astros are off to just a 6-8 start, good for fourth place in the AL West.
Led by an offensive core consisting of Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve and Kyle Tucker, the team’s offense has been faltering out of the gate.
While the team is fifth in the AL in home runs, it ranks in the lower half in runs scored, batting average, OPS, and total hits.
This team is also not without its issues on the pitching side of things. Astros pitchers have a 3.65 ERA through their first 15 games, good for the sixth-lowest in the AL. They also have not been striking out many batters while allowing too many walks.
Let’s take a look at three glaring roster holes that are keeping the Houston Astros from World Series contention.
The offensive output from Astros catchers has been, in a word, atrocious to begin the season. Defensive-minded Martin Maldonado has been receiving the majority of the at-bats, splitting time with another veteran Jason Castro.
Maldonado has an .069/.200/.207 slash-line through his first 36 plate appearances with just two hits, one being a home run. “Maldy”‘s OPS+ has been 23 so far in 2022. Yes, you read that right.
The 34-year-old Castro is off to an every-bit-as-awful start as Maldonado; through his first 16 plate appearances, he has recorded just a single base hit in six games.
Maldonado and Castro’s values have always come more from their defense, Maldonado is a former Gold Glove Award winner after all. But good defense only carries a team/player so far. The Astros will need some sort of offensive production from behind the plate if they are going to contend this season.
There are a few out-of-options catchers around the league that could be of potential interest to this Houston club. One intriguing option is veteran Luke Maile of the Cleveland Guardians. Long known as a weak offensive catcher, he has been lighting minor league pitching up while on a rehab assignment.