George Springer

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George Chelston Springer III

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Biographical Information[edit]

George Springer was a first-round draft pick in 2011.

High School[edit]

Springer's father George II played in the 1976 Little League World Series. In high school, Springer was All-New England in 2007 and 2008. The Minnesota Twins took him in the 48th round of the 2008 amateur draft but he did not sign; two other high schoolers they drafted and failed to sign would also be 2011 first-rounders: Kolten Wong and Tyler Anderson.

College[edit]

Springer hit .358/.454/.679 as a University of Connecticut freshman, with 75 runs, 16 home runs and 12 steals in 15 tries. He set the school record for runs and the school freshman record for homers; he also was the first Huskie to be named Big East Conference Rookie of the Year. He was named to the All-Big East outfield, joining A.J. Pollock and Justin Parks. Springer was also named a Freshman All-American outfielder by Baseball America, joining Jackie Bradley Jr. and Wong.

In the 2009 Cape Cod League, he batted .261/.342/.366 for the Wareham Gatemen. Baseball America rated him as the #27 prospect in the league. As a sophomore, he improved to .337/.491/.658 and set school records for walks (60) and runs (84). He stole 33 bases while only being caught twice, went deep 18 times and made only one error. He was All-Big East second team behind Jeremy Baltz, Pat Biserta and Matt Szczur. He was 6th in NCAA Division I in walks, 6th in runs (between Kyle Parker and Anthony Rendon) and tied for 19th in steals. He again played for Wareham, going 15 for 52 with a triple, 3 home runs and 7 steals before being summoned for Team USA. Baseball America rated him as the #2 prospect in the Cape Cod League, between Anthony Ranaudo and UConn teammate Matt Barnes (who joined him on Team USA).

For Team USA in the summer of 2010, Springer batted .292/.342/.472 with a team-high 7 doubles and 18 RBI. He joined Bradley and Mikie Mahtook as the main outfielders. In the semifinals of the 2010 World University Championship, his grand slam off Yuki Saito provided all of the US offense in a 4-2 win. The team wound up with the Silver Medal. For the event, he hit .259/.286/.593 with 7 runs and 7 RBI in six games; he tied for the US lead in RBI and tied Mahtook for second in runs.

As a junior, Springer was even better, winning Big East Player of the Year honors and All-American nods. He put up a line of .343/.450/.608 with 31 steals in 38 tries, a drop-off 12 home runs, 61 runs and 77 RBI in 66 games.

He finished as Connecticut's career leader in both home runs (46) and runs (220).

Pro Career[edit]

The Houston Astros made Springer the 11th pick of the 2011 amateur draft. He was the second outfielder taken, after high schooler Bubba Starling, and was the second position player from a four-year college (following Rendon). He was the highest pick in UConn history, surpassing Charles Nagy (17th overall, in 1988). When Barnes was taken later in the first round, they became the first Big East teammates to both go in the first round since Mo Vaughn and Kevin Morton of Seton Hall University in 1989. When St. John's Joe Panik went later in the first round, it marked the first time three Big East players were taken in that round.

Springer was signed by scout John Kosciak and scouting director Bobby Heck for a reported $2.525 million and made his pro debut with the Tri-City Valley Cats on August 26th. In 8 games with the club, he hit .179 with a home run. he started 2012 with the Lancaster Jethawks of the California League, where he hit .316/.398/.557 in 106 games, in a very favorable hitting environment. He was promoted to the Corpus Christi Hooks of the AA Texas League on August 9th, where he hit .219 in 22 games. In 128 contests between the two teams, he collected 21 doubles, 10 triples and 24 homers, scored 109 runs and drove in 87 and stole 32 bases in 40 tries. Baseball America ranked him the #37 prospect in baseball after the season, up 22 ranks from a year earlier. He continued his progression with another very productive season in 2013. In 73 games at Corpus Christi, he hit .297, and then added 62 games at the AAA level with the Oklahoma City RedHawks, hitting .311. His combined batting line in 135 games was .303/.411/.600, as he slugged 27 doubles, 4 triples and 37 homers. He again topped 100 runs scored, with 106, added 108 RBIs and stole 45 bases. He was named the Texas League Player of the Year in spite of only spending half a season with Round Rock.

Major Leagues[edit]

When Springer showed up in spring training with the Astros in 2014, it was a question of when, not if, he would be starting for the team in the majors. Even with the top draft choices of the previous two amateur drafts, Carlos Correa and Mark Appel, also in camp, he was the biggest center of attraction. The Astros tried to lower expectations by stating from the start that they wanted him to get a bit more experience at AAA, and he was back in Oklahoma City to start the year. He was hitting .319 with 7 extra-base hits in 12 games when the Astros announced on April 15th that he was being called up to the big leagues and that his career would begin the next day, replacing Robbie Grossman on the roster. In his debut against the Kansas City Royals on April 16th, he went 1 for 5 in a 6-4, extra-inning loss. Playing center field and batting second, he collected his first big league hit in the 3rd inning on an infield single against Jeremy Guthrie; he also drew a walk and scored a run. He started off a bit slowly, as he was hitting only .182 with no homers at the end of April, after 14 games, but picked things up in May. Between May 21-26th, he homered in four straight games, including his first two-homer game in a 9-4 win over the Seattle Mariners on May 24th. He also drove in 11 runs in those games, aided by a five-RBI performance in his multi-homer game. He was the first rookie in Astros history to go deep in four consecutive games. In the fourth game, he became the first Astros player to score five runs in a game since Cody Ransom in 2007. He made it 6 homers in 6 games when he connected again two games later, then a homer off Preston Guilmet of the Baltimore Orioles on May 29th made it seven in seven games. He was the first rookie since Rudy York in 1937 to accomplish such a feat, and his 10 homers in May were an Astros rookie record. His power hitting was definitely helping the team, too, as the Astros were on a six-game winning streak and were threatening to have their first month of .500 ball since 2010. He was named the American League's Rookie of the Month for May on the strength of a .294 average, 10 homers 25 RBIs and 22 runs scored. After 78 games, he was hitting .231 with 20 homers and 51 RBIs when he strained his left quadriceps muscle on July 19th. He had to go on the disabled list and did not play again that season.

Springer made the highlight reels with a tremendous catch in right field on April 12, 2015. With two outs and the bases loaded in the 10th inning of a game against the Texas Rangers, Leonys Martin hit a drive that was headed over the wall for a game-winning grand slam when George timed his jump perfectly and grabbed the ball above the padding. The Astros went on to win the game, 8-6, in 14 innings. He was hitting .264 with 13 homers and 29 RBIs in 75 games when he was hit by a pitch by Edinson Volquez of the Kansas City Royals on July 1st, breaking his wrist. He game back in September and was able to pay regularly the last month, ending up at .276 in 102 games, with 16 homers and 41 RBIs. He was 1 for 4 with a double during the Astros' win over the |New York Yankees in the Wild Card Game. In the Division Series against the Royals, he was 4 for 19 (.211), with a double and a homer, 3 RBIs and 5 runs scored. He followed that with a very solid season in 2016, when he played all 162 games, led the American League with 744 plate appearances, and scored 116 runs while hitting .261, he had 29 doubles and as many homer, in addition to 5 triples, drew 88 walks and drove in 88 runs. His only poor mark was in the base stealing department, as he was successful only 9 times while being caught stealing a league-leading 10.

He started the 2017 with a bang as he led off the bottom of the 1st inning with a homer off Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners on opening day, April 3rd. On April 5th, he hit a three-run walk-off homer off Chase De Jong with two outs in the 13th to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 win over those same Mariners. Homering in his first at-bat of the game became a bit of a habit, as he did it twice more in the next six games, something unprecedented. He already had 12 lead-off home runs in his short career. On April 11th, he made it four lead-off homers in eight games as he turned the trick again, this time off Ariel Miranda of the Seattle Mariners, to set the Astros on their way to a 7-5 win. He had another great game on May 31st when he reached base in all six plate appearances against the Minnesota Twins in a 17-5 win. He once again led off the game with a homer, and added a second one later on in the game. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time that year and finished the season at .283 with 34 homers and 85 RBIs while scoring 112 runs in 140 games. He was named the winner of a Silver Slugger Award as one of the three best-hitting outfielders in the American League after the season. His strong hitting carried over in the postseason, as he hit .412 with 3 extra-base hits in the Division Series win over the Boston Red Sox. He slumped in the ALCS, though, hitting just .117 with no exra-base hits in Houston's win over the New York Yankees. He then started the 2017 World Series by wearing the proverbial "Golden Sombrero" in Game 1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on October 24th, but he was an unstoppable force after that. he collected 11 hits over the next 6 games, including 3 doubles and 5 homers, scored 11 runs and drove in 7 to win the World Series Most Valuable Player Award as Houston triumphed in seven games, winning the first championship in franchise history.

On May 7, 2018, Springer tied an Astros team record by collecting 6 hits in a 16-2 win over the Oakland Athletics. By the 4th inning, he had already hit a double, a three-run homer and a single, but he failed to complete the cycle in his next three at-bats, singling each time instead. Only Hall of Famer Joe Morgan had ever had a six-hit game for Houston, and it had come in a 12-inning game on July 8, 1965, when the team was still known as the Houston Colt .45's. In 140 games that season, he hit .265 with 22 homers and 71 RBIs and also scored 102 runs. He returned to the All-Star Game. He again was outstanding in the postseason, hitting .429 with 3 homers in the Astros' three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians in the Division Series, and .381 with another homer and 5 RBIs in their loss in five games to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS.

He got off to a great start in 2019. On May 12th, he had a 5-for-5 game with 2 homers, 5 runs and 4 RBIs in a 15-5 win over the Texas Rangers. At that point, he was hitting .321 in 41 games and leading the AL in runs, hits, homers, RBIs, slugging, OPS and OPS+. His season was interrupted on May 25th when he was placed on the injured list as a result of pulling a hamstring while trying to make a sliding catch in foul territory in a game against the Boston Red Sox the previous night.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Sources[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Ted Berg: "George Springer hit .115 in the ALCS, then had one of the greatest World Series of all time", "For the Win!", USA Today Sports, November 2, 2017. [1]
  • Anthony Castrovince: "Springer swats his way to MVP honors: Astros' leadoff man ties Reggie, Utley for most HRs in one World Series", mlb.com, November 2, 2017. [2]
  • Richard Justice: "Springer masters baseball, speech disorder: Astros star outfielder hopes to help others dealing with similar issues", mlb.com, July 12, 2017. [3]
  • Brian McTaggart: "Series MVP Springer entering his prime", December 15, 2017. [4]
  • Joe Posnanski: "Highs, lows of Springer, Bellinger tell Series tale: Astros star shakes off slump, becomes Classic MVP; LA slugger breaks K record", mlb.com, November 2, 2017. [5]

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