One last workout before the Texans head to Green Bay

11 observations from Texans training camp, Aug. 3

If you have missed any of the previous looks at the Texans observations you can find them here

Light day but work day

The Texans are deep into working against themselves and with the work against the Packers a couple of days away the team didn't hit it super hard. They got some really solid work in though. Plenty of situational work and even some goal line work. I would say the offense and the defense each had elements of they day they could be proud of Saturday.

Stout. Just stout. 

Texans defensive line at Texans Training Camp 2019

Cody Stoots/SportsMap

I am not sure who will be scoring on the Texans defensive line. They have rarely been pushed by the Texans offensive line on the ground. When Watt and Reader are leading the pack they just smash people. I can't wait to see them work against other teams and better offensive lines. Green Bay could be a fun test. If you want to score on the Texans in the red area you better throw.

Picking on Roby

The Texans offense picked on Bradley Roby a bunch today. He got a couple of wins but DeAndre Hopkins is a tough cover for him. Lamar Miller also put a nice move on him in the open field to score a few more yards. The Texans have to have Roby play well if they are going to succeed this season.

Surprising find

Jahleel Addae has been a real camp standout. The safety has spent the last few years with the Chargers and he's easily one of the best safeties on the team with Justin Reid and Tashaun Gipson. He earned some praise from Bill O'Brien after the workout as well. The Texans' defense has always relied on a third safety to a large degree and Addae has been a really nice find by the Texans staff.

Tytus and Thomas down

Jordan Thomas at Texans Training Camp 2019

Eddie Clarke

Tytus Howard didn't work out again today despite Bill O'Brien hinting earlier in the week he expected the first round pick to be ready today. If it is nothing too serious I would expect him to work against the Packers next week. If he misses those workouts there will be cause for concern. Jordan Thomas has been down but again, if he works out against Green Bay he hasn't missed a ton.

Pass blocking woes

The running backs had a decent day against the safeties earlier in camp but they worked against the linebackers today and it wasn't pretty. Lamar Miller has the absolute best rep, as he should he's the expert on the team, stuffing Benardrick McKinney. D'Onta Foreman had a solid rep too but the rest of the backs struggled.

Watt vs the world

J.J. Watt showed off for his parents at practice today working over just about everyone he faced. I feel bad for the Packers linemen. Watt bull rushed Matt Kalil almost into Deshaun Watson on one play. He has looked great in camp and frankly needs some days off so the offense can actually work. Kalil looked solid on his other reps. He's had a nice camp.

Baseball Watson

Deshaun Watson

Eddie Clarke

This may sound weird but I bet Deshaun Watson would have been one hell of a baseball player. His lower body moves like a shortstop sometimes and his ability to get the ball out from angles reminds me of a middle infielder. He's smooth and it is apparent he knows so much more than previous years. He makes it look easy.

Fairbairn's first miss is no issue

Texans kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn missed the first kick I saw him miss in camp. He hit the upright and it bounced back. Again, this was the first miss I have seen in camp. Later when the A.J. McCarron led Texans offense stalled out Fairbairn hit what would have been a kick good from it seemed like 60-plus yards.

Play of the day

It felt like the first goal line rep of the day and the Texans defense was fired up after forcing a fumble. It looked like a few different defenders ended up contributing to the play. On offense, Keke Coutee kept moving when Deshaun Watson extended a play and extended out to make a great snag.

Quote of the day

Bill O'Brien

Cody Stoots/SportsMap

"Greg Mancz has done a good job, but we need Nick back out there. From a leadership standpoint, from the whole deal. Taking nothing away from Greg Mancz. We think very highly of Greg Mancz, it's just from a depth standpoint and getting Nick back out there, for Nick, it's important."

Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien on his injured center Nick Martin. Martin will go to Green Bay with the team hoping to practice.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

TO BE THE MAN, YOU GOTTA BEAT THE MAN!

The answers in the outfield are becoming clearer than the Astros hoped

*Note: Some Advanced Statistics, courtesy of Baseball Savant, do not include Thursday night's game against the Diamondbacks. Others, courtesy of Fangraphs, do include Thursday night's game*

The Corpus Christi Hooks Twitter account confirmed that Yordan Alvarez is alive and able to take swings, meaning the slugger's return to the Astros lineup is getting closer. Alvarez will get a bulk of the DH at-bats. With Springer being the primary center fielder, and Brantley being the primary left fielder, Dusty Baker will have to choose between Josh Reddick and Kyle Tucker for his primary right fielder. Who should he choose?

How do you boil down picking between two players to one question? What is the most important thing to judge a hitter on? The answer

The better player is the player that does the most damage consistently.

Sounds easy, right? But how do you judge that?

  1. Hard Hit %
  2. BB:K
  3. Contact %

Why these three? Well, hitting the ball hard usually leads to damage, so it is good to hit the ball hard. A player that walks and strikes out roughly the same amount is generally pretty consistent, so BB:K ratios closer to 1:1 (this is extremely rare, and a vast majority of MLB hitters are worse than 1:2) are good. Lastly, players that make contact a lot not only can generally do more of the little things like moving runners over, lifting a ball with a runner on third, or executing a hit & run, but also they generally don't swing and miss at their pitch when they get it. Action happens.

Kyle Tucker has a hard hit % of 38.5% so far in 2020. That is 55th in MLB amongst players with at least 25 batted balls (Tucker has 26). For context, Padres star third baseman Manny Machado is ranked 54th with 38.9%, thorn-in-the-Astros-side Kole Calhoun is t-58th at 37.9%, and Padres star shortstop Fernando Tatis leads the big leagues at 66.7% (wow).

So, more than 1/3rd of the time Tucker makes contact, he hits it hard. That's pretty good...But how often does he make contact?

Tucker has a contact % of 75.6%, meaning he makes contact with the baseball three out of every four times he swings the bat. That is 88th amongst qualified hitters. He is 1% worse than the slumping Jose Altuve, tied with that guy Kole Calhoun again, and about 1% better than the also-slumping George Springer. Tucker is far from elite at putting the bat on the ball, but he isn't terrible either.

However, despite hitting baseball's hard one-third of the time and making contact three-thirds of the time, Tucker strikes out entirely too much. His 29.3% K-rate is the 35th worst in baseball, and he doesn't offset the strikeouts with a lot of walks either. Tucker walks just 7.3% of the time, which is the 62nd lowest. Ultimately, Tucker has a BB:K ratio of 0.25, which is 49th in MLB right now.

Lastly, while it isn't part of the criteria above, Tucker doesn't have a very diverse batted ball portfolio. Tucker hits the ball to the pull side 65% of the time, and he's hit it on the ground 50% of the time. Eventually, teams will start placing heavy shifts on him, and those balls that have snuck through holes in the early parts of the year won't anymore.

But, is Josh Reddick any better? While none of Tucker's numbers blow you away, they aren't terrible, and he's a young prospect that needs playing time to develop.

Reddick has a 31.3% hard hit % so far in 2020, about seven percentage points below Tucker. 31.3% places Reddick in 96th place, between players like Marcus Semien and Yuli Gurriel. So, Tucker has Reddick beat here, but it isn't by a landslide.

Reddick has a contact % of 80.5%, which is 50th in MLB right now. He's better than Tucker by 5%, and he's in the top quartile in baseball. Reddick also sprays the ball around when he makes contact, hitting the ball to center field 43.8% of the time, right field 37.5% of the time, and left field 18.8% of the time. His ground ball rate is also 31%, almost 20% lower than Tucker's. That would explain why Reddick and Tucker's Barrel % (hard hit baseballs hit in the most desired exit velocity) are within a percentage point of one another despite Tucker having a seven point hard hit advantage.

Lastly, Reddick doesn't strike out very much. He strikes out 14% of the time, which is the 34th best K% in baseball (funny enough, Gurriel and Brantley are 33rd and 32nd). While Reddick doesn't walk a ton either, he walks more than Tucker, clocking in four percentage points better at 11.6%. That results in a BB:K ratio of 0.83, which is tied with Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman for the 30th best in MLB.

Throw in the fact that Reddick plays significantly better defense, and it's really a no-brainer who should play. Astros fans might want the sexier and newer model in Tucker, but it isn't time to trade in old reliable just yet. When Yordan Alvarez returns, Josh Reddick is the right answer in right field.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome