“Every once in a while,” writes MLB’s official site, “a franchise gets really lucky to find a player who checks off every box. He’s not only supremely talented, but he has a relentless drive and work ethic to be great. That’s George Springer.”
Springer is one of the MLB’s truest jacks of all trades, and one of the reasons the Houston crew will shine in 2016 and beyond.
For example, George is one of the best offensive players on the Astros.
In the last eight games of the 2015 season, a time during which the Astros were vying for an AL West victory, George Springer batter for a.389 average to lead the Astros to a 6-2 record during that span.
And offense is not the only place where he shines. In fact, George Springer is even more adept as a defensive force.
In 2015, the site wrote, “Springer made perhaps the single greatest defensive play in a season filled with amazing grabs.” This refers to the amazing sprint culminating in a grand slam-robbing, fence-climbing grab he made in just the sixth game of the season.
Because of these things, Springer’s coaches and teammates praise him almost constantly.
“I don’t know that we’ve got a better combination of power and speed and athleticism than George,” says Houston GM A.J. Hinch.
Astros player Jose Altuve, who is a three-time all-star, even said that he only wishes he could play like George Springer.
“I try to copy the way he plays. He has one speed – 100 mph.”
But as the MLB article notes, Springer’s in-game talents, which are incredible, are not his greatest assets as far as the Astros are concerned.
“When the Astros talk about Springer, they do not begin with the things that can be weighed, measured and touched. Instead, they talk about things only they can know,” it reads.
What it means is that although people generally think of MLB players only being able to help their teams on the field, Springer is a team chemistry expert first and foremost.
Springer is always having fun with teammates in the dugout, playing amusing games like pouring sunflower seeds on the head of a pre-game reporter with Astros first baseman Marwin Gonzalez just a few days ago.
But Springer’s most meaningful contributions to Houston’s well-being are more serious.
Dallas Keuchel, the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner, recently discussed how Springer is a bigger addition to team chemistry than any other player on the Astros roster.
“He’s our spark plug. He comes to the park every day with a smile on his face.”
And when George was out for two months last year with a broken wrist, he was asked by management to show up in the dugout during games anyway just to boost his teammates’ spirits, said Hinch.
“I wanted his voice and his energy. Those are important things to us. To see him in there getting on guys, getting on me, that’s part of who we are as a team.
“[George] brings it every day… That’s not hard to do for a week at a time or even a month at a time. But to do it every single time he goes out on the field is pretty impressive. With the grind we go through, he never fails to have energy or passion.”
Springer himself does quite a good job of staying modest for such a masterfully eclectic player, but he occasionally acknowledges his exceptional drive and ability to lift up other Astros players.
“I understand that not everybody every day is going to be 100 percent — and I’m not either,” he said. “If I can do anything to get somebody into the game emotionally, get ’em fired up, be positive, I’ll do anything to help somebody’s mood to affect how they play. If you’re in a good mood, you’ll probably have a higher chance to play better.”
“If I don’t give 100 percent for the team, I’m not myself. Obviously, I don’t want to hit a wall with my head. I have to be smart about it. But I’m not afraid of the wall. I’m going to go out and play, and whatever happens, happens. We know who we are. We know our style,” Springer continued.
In typical MLB player fashion, George Springer replaces “I” with “we” when discussing his strongest points (“WE know who we are. WE know our style”). And that’s just another instance of George being the team player that he is. But we all know what he really means.
The Astros have a not-so-secret weapon in George Springer, and it is one of the reasons Dynasty Digest claims the Houston Astros have a brighter future than any other team in the MLB as well as a solid chance to contend in 2016. What do you think of Springer and the Astros’ chances in the upcoming season as well as further down the road?
[Photo by AP Images]