George Springer is having a heck of a run.
Springer now has six home runs in his last six games, after homering again and extending his hitting streak to 10 games in the Astros’ win on Wednesday afternoon. His nine home runs this month are three more than any other Astros rookie had previously hit in a month, and the most by a rookie in May since Mark McGwire hit 15 in 1987.
On Monday, Springer had four hits, five runs scored, a home run and three RBIs, becoming the first Astros player to hit all of those benchmarks in a single game.
Springer is hitting .365 with a .500 on-base percentage and .846 slugging percentage in 14 games since May 12.
That run started one day after Springer went 0 for 5 with four strikeouts in the final game of a series against the Orioles.
Springer has almost as many hits in his last 52 at-bats (19) than he did in his first 93 (20) and he’s cut his strikeout rate nearly in half in the process.
To what can Springer’s success be attributed?
Springer has been a more careful hitter as his time in the majors has gone on. Through May 11, he was swinging at 52 percent of the pitches thrown to him. He’s cut back since then to a 42 percent swing rate. The increased selectivity has led to more balls in play and a lot more line drives.
Springer hit seven line drives in his first 93 at-bats. He has 13 in his last 52.
Springer established early in his big-league tenure that he could hammer a fastball. He’s been crushing that pitch throughout this streak.
George Springer - May MLB Ranks
Springer is 12 for 27 in at-bats ending in fastballs (including cutters and sinkers) during this run.
For the season, he’s hitting .360 with a 1.177 slugging percentage against such pitches.
Handling the outer half
Springer’s weak spot, in terms of pitch location, was on the outer half of the plate. But since that four-strikeout game, he’s been much more effective.
Springer had 10 hits and one home run on the first 203 pitches on the outer-half. He’s had 13 hits and three home runs against the last 143 pitches he’s seen to that area.
Springer still has work to do in a number of areas. One would be on the defensive side. Springer has six errors in his first 37 games and four other plays scored by Baseball Info Solutions as Defensive Misplays.
As such, he currently has a negative rating in both of the primary advanced defensive metrics, Defensive Runs Saved (-1) and UZR (-4.8 runs).