Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick suffered a fractured right thumb when sliding head-first into second base in last night’s game and will undergo surgery tomorrow, the team announced. He’ll require a six- to eight-week recovery, according to the Astros, which seems likely to put an end to his 2017 season even if Houston makes a deep playoff run.
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The loss of Marisnick, 26, will put an end to what has in many ways been a breakout campaign for the fleet-footed outfielder. While Marisnick’s glovework in the outfield doesn’t rate as highly as it has in past seasons (+2 Defensive Runs Saved; -4 Ultimate Zone Rating), his .243/.319/.496 batting line and 16 home runs make the 2017 campaign far and way his most productive offensive year. Marisnick is still far too prone to strikeouts (34.7 percent), but his overall output has been markedly better than the league average on a rate basis (121 OPS+, 116 wRC+).
While he’s been slumping a bit lately and hasn’t been an everyday player for most of the season, his absence will thin out the Astros’ outfield mix. Derek Fisher, George Springer, Josh Reddick and Cameron Maybin figure to see the bulk of the playing time in the outfield moving forward. The loss of Marisnick makes Houston’s move to claim Maybin off waivers look all the more important, as his right-handed bat and considerably above-average speed give him a similar skill set that will help offset Marisnick’s absence.