In 2013 Springer had one of the best minor league seasons we have seen in over 50 years. To give you some perspective: Mike Trout hit 22 home runs and stole 108 bases spanning three minor league seasons. Between AA Corpus Christi and AAA Oklahoma City, Springer hit 37 bombs and swiped 45 bags in 2013 alone. He also managed to hit .303 (his weakest tool) with a .411 OBP.
Springer’s swing has some holes and he isn’t afraid to take a good hack (he is a lot like Javier Baez in that regard) which led to 156 Ks in 2012, 161Ks in 2013 and will likely lead to a lesser than optimal batting average in the majors in 2014. But, he has the power/speed combination for Fantasy owners to forgive him for those indiscretions.
Let’s look at some highly-touted rookies from past seasons to give us some perspective on what we may be able to expect from George Springer in 2014.
2013: Wil Myers 13 HRs 5 SBs .293 BA 53 RBIs 50 R in 88 games.
2012: Mike Trout 30 HRs 49 SBs .326 BA 83 RBIs 129 R in 139 games.
2008: Evan Longoria 27 HRs 7 SBs .272 BA 85 RBIs 67 R in 122 games.
1999: Carlos Beltran 22 HRs 27 SBs .293 BA 108 RBIs 112 R in 156 games.
I don’t think Wil Myers is a good comparable because he doesn’t run well and he only played 88 games, while Springer has good speed and is expected to play closer to 145. Evan Longoria is interesting because Springer does have that kind of power, but like Myers, Longoria doesn’t run like Springer. It is awful difficult to compare anybody to Mike Trout’s 2012 monstrous rookie season, but it is an intriguing target for Springer to shoot for. The season I think is most interesting and may turn out to be the closest comparison because of the number of games and the similar skill set is Carlos Beltran in 1999. Beltran’s 156 games looks to be about 10 more games than what we can expect from Springer, but that’s a small difference.
Now let’s look a little closer at Springer and his situation in Houston to try to get a sense of what we can expect. First, the Astros aren’t contenders and Springer has no competition for his position, which means playing time will be determined entirely by what is best for his development. We should expect full-time uninterrupted at-bats for the entirety of 2014. Second, Minute Maid Park had the 5th most home runs per game of any park in all of baseball in 2013 and currently ranks 9th in 2014. Third, the Astros ranked 11th in attempts and steals in 2013 and they currently rank 6th in 2014.
When you look at George Springer’s potential this season, we see a player whose games played and skill set compares very favorably to Beltran’s rookie season. We see a player with both power and speed, whose playing time won’t be obstructed playing in one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball. He is on a team that was one of the most aggressive on the basepaths in 2013 when Manager Bo Porter took over the reins, and the team is getting more aggressive in 2014. I think we can look at Beltran’s 1999 20/20 season and comfortably say that that is a season that George Springer can match and potentially exceed in 2014.
Welcome to the Show George Springer. Fantasy owners are very, very glad you’re here.