Nash is hitting .375 with nine hits in 24 at bats. Of his nine hits, he has five home runs, one double and three singles. All that is great but looking at his stat line there is something that excites me more than the power. It is the selectivity he is showing at the plate so far this season.
Nash has been a high strike out guy since he signed with the Astros. In 2009, he carried a 28.7% strike out rate in the GCL, and a walk rate of 7.6%. In 2010, he fanned 28.2% of the time while walking 11%. Last season in Lexington, he struck out 32.6% of the time and walked an improved 12.7% of the time. This season in a VERY SMALL sample size, Nash has struck out 3 times and has walked 3 times. So his walk rate and his strike out rate are both 13%.
I am not expecting him to cut his strike outs in half this year but if we see a reduction of strike outs along with the increased power (inflated by California League hitter friendly environment), Nash will be shooting up prospect list and moving up the ladder towards Houston.
So enjoy watching the home runs but keep an eye on the strike outs too! To me that is the more important developmental stat for him.
Altuve Seeing More PitchesBrian McTaggart reports today that the Astros have asked Jose Altuve to "to be more aggressive on pitches in the strike zone while getting him to be more patient and draw more walks" It appears to be working, after walking just 5 times in 234 plate appearances last season. So far in again a VERY SMALL sample size, Altuve has taken 3 walks in 18 plate appearances.
That is the difference between a 2.1% BB rate and a 16.7% BB rate. That will create a significant improvement in his on base percentage which was .297 in Houston last year. A 16.7% walk rate over 600 plate appearances would come to just over 100 walks. That would be impressive but probably unrealistic. I would be thrilled with a walk rate around 10% for 2012. There are many other fringe benefits he will receive if that happens. He will see better pitches. He will be on base more. He will steal more bases. And he will score more runs. Isn't that what baseball is about, scoring more runs?