Today is April 10th, and the sample size is incredibly small. There’s a reason baseball seasons are 162 games – the variability compared to other sports is astronomical. As it stands, teams have only played five to seven games a piece, less than 4% of their season. Standings to date are essentially meaningless. While these games count just like the rest of them, it’s hard to take any long-term meaning from these games.
Are there some concerning takeaways? Well, sure. Ask Cubs fans how they feel about Jake Arrieta‘s striking velocity drop-off and they will squirm like a child when he knows he did something wrong but is trying to lie his way out of it. But remember, it’s April! A return to previous velocities from Arrieta is well in play.
George Springer Is Off To A Historic Start
All this being said, guess what? It’s time for some over-reactions! George Springer is the best leadoff man in MLB history. It’s official. Sunday night, Springer made history, becoming the first player ever to hit three leadoff home runs in the first seven games of the season. At 27, Springer is the oft-forgotten member of the Houston Astros young core. However, he’s off to a much hotter start than all of Altuve, Correa, and Bregman.
George Springer hits his 3rd leadoff HR of the season for the @astros .
The rest of MLB has 5 combined.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 9, 2017
Through seven games, Springer has totaled four home runs (three leading off and one as a walk-off in the bottom of the 13th). However, he’s only batting .250. In fact, the Astros as a whole are not batting well whatsoever. Jose Altuve (the AL leader in hits for the past three seasons) is off to a .200 start, while Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman are batting .240 and .167 respectively.
The encouraging thing for Astros fans is Springer’s performance compared to his history. Home run rate aside (he’s simply not going to hit the 93 home runs he’s on pace for), the .250 batting average is encouraging for him. Springer has gotten off to incredibly slow starts the following two seasons. In 2015 it took him 55 games to level his batting average to .250 (he hit .276 that season). In 2016 it took him 12 games to level off over .250. This year he’s been right there from the start, recording hits in five of the first seven games.
I can’t stress enough that it’s just April. Traditionally it takes until late May until players settle in to their statistical averages and anything can be taken away from the start of the season. We can all agree that Springer is not going to walk away from the 2017 season having hit 93 home runs – even if the ball is juiced. Regardless, the start for Springer is incredibly promising. If his young Astros teammates can get to where everyone expects them to be, this team will be a force to be reckoned with.
Author’s note: I’m not ruling out the ball being juiced.