Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Kudos to the Houston Astros.
You won't hear that often this season, but the Astros made the right move on Wednesday, recalling super outfield prospect George Springer in an effort to not only jumpstart their woeful offense, but perhaps draw some interest in a team that is probably headed toward a fourth consecutive 100-loss season.
By calling up Springer now, he'll likely qualify for Super Two status and be eligible for arbitration one year earlier than he would have if he were called up after the Super Two eligibility date (usually not too long after Memorial Day).
Nobody would have blamed the Astros for waiting. Plenty of teams do it. It's not as if they are going anywhere this season. In fact, after losing a league- high 111 games last season, they are already tied for the worst record in the American League.
And it has been ugly.
Tuesday's loss to Kansas City was Houston's sixth in eight games, as it managed only four hits and saw its collective batting average dip to .185. And only the Royals (36) have crossed the plate less times than the Astros in the AL (40).
No offense, but the Astros have none.
Just how bad has it been? Well, the Astros have already registered a 0.0 television rating on CSN Houston for a game on April 7. Zero. Nobody watched. Infomercials ranked higher than the Los Angeles Angels-Astros matchup. People actually tuned into the pregame show, but turned the game off. Were things that bleak?
The Astros also accomplished (is that the right word?) the same thing last season, but that was in September when the team was already at 100 losses.
This was a week into the season.
So, yes, this team needed a jolt and Springer is just the guy to deliver it.
Now let's not get twisted here. Springer is not going to turn the Astros into a contender. Not anytime soon anyway.
The Astros have as much talent in their farm system as any team in baseball. Unfortunately, that's what happens when you average 108 losses over the past three seasons.
But when they do start to turn it around, they can point to Wednesday as the day it all started to change.
Now who exactly is George Springer? The easy answer is that he was the team's first-round pick (11th overall) back in 2011 and the team's third overall prospect according to most who keep tabs on those sorts of things.
And if you are a fantasy baseball nerd, sorry, he's probably already stashed on a roster somewhere in your league. And if he's not, well, you probably aren't in all that competitive of a league.
Springer was always targeted for the big leagues this season. I'm not sure anyone thought it would be this quick, but it is what it is.
The fact of the matter is that he was wasting his time with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He was the Astros' Minor League Player of the Year in 2013 and has picked up right were he left off last season, hitting. 353 with four doubles, one triple, three home runs, nine RBI, nine walks, 15 strikeouts, a .459 on- base percentage and .647 slugging percentage.
And for good measure, he's 4-for-4 in steal attempts.
He's about as five-tool a player as you are going to find this side of Mike Trout.
Still, Springer may be a nice start for the downtrodden franchise, but everyone in Houston knows the real prize is still sitting down in the minor leagues in 19-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa.
The first overall pick in the 2012 draft, Correa batted .320 with 86 RBI and an .872 on-base plus slugging percentage last season at Class-A Quad Cities (Iowa), in his first full season of pro ball.
Right now, Correa is at Single-A Lancaster, but he should make his way through the ranks rather quickly. Some have actually speculated that he may find his way to the Astros this season.
That's probably a bit optimistic, but the point is the Astros are coming.