When talking about under-the-radar players in Major League Baseball this season, Houston’s Jeff Keppinger should be a reoccurring name—regardless of the Astros awful overall record.

Houston doesn’t need a newspaper column with a photo of a graveside and RIP to know their season is practically over.

Fans, writers, and announcers for the Astros have already swallowed that reality pill and realize Houston is in the process of rebuilding.

And that’s putting it nicely.

But along with that rebuilding process comes the opportunity for the young guys to prove themselves in the majors.

Such is the case with Keppinger.

Outside of the constant bricks in the wall such as Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, along with young studs like Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence, Keppinger has been a bright spot in a very dull season for the Astros.

Let’s take a quick look at why Kepp has been so vital to a Houston team struggling to rebuild, remold, and reload into National League Central contenders.

Thus far, Kepp’s been one of the best on the team, both on and off the field of play.

In fact, on a team batting well under .250, Keppinger and his .275 batting average is better than your average Astro.

He’s tied for third on the team with total bases (101), has 28 runs batted in, 21 doubles, a pair of steals, and holds a .361 slugging percentage.

And Kepp has also played in 73 games at second base for the Astros in 2010, trailing only Carlos Lee, Bourn, and Pence in games played this season.

Great eyes and patience at the plate have also been a contributing factor to Keppinger’s success this season, as he has walked 24 times this season.

Plus, when it comes to clutch hitting in clutch situations, no one has been better than Kepp in 2010 for Houston.

He proved that again on Thursday night in San Diego (yes, Bourn’s 10th inning triple was also key), plating two key runs to give the Astros an early 3-0 lead.

And he helped pad that 10th inning lead by driving home Bourn with a single—as Houston went on to win, 6-3.

Keppinger may be an under-the-radar player on a completely buried team, but the guy has many solid years of baseball left in the tank.

Hopefully, he’ll remain with the Astros.


Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at denton.ramsey@gmail.com


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