KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- With the Astros putting more emphasis on analytics than ever before under general manager Jeff Luhnow, it's not surprising they scooped up infielder Jake Elmore on waivers from the D-backs last November.
Elmore has been an on-base machine in the Minor Leagues, posting a .388 career on-base percentage in 524 career Minor League games. He has 273 walks and only 266 strikeouts in 2,104 career plate appearances in the Minors.
"I like to think I'm blessed with good eyes to see spin and lay off pitches," said Elmore, who made his Major League debut in 2012 and appeared in 30 games for the D-backs. "One of the things I can always relate to is my first year in rookie ball, the hitting coach asked me what a good at-bat was for me."
Elmore said getting a base hit or maybe hitting the ball hard before the coach gave him his answer.
"He said 'If you put a strike in play,'" Elmore said. "There's nothing any hitting coach can teach you if you swing at a ball. It kind of stuck with me, and I'm proud of myself for putting strikes in play and nothing else."
Elmore, who was a college teammate of Brett Wallace at Arizona State, was thrilled when the Astros grabbed him.
"It's good to be wanted," he said. "When you're put on waivers by the Diamondbacks and the Astros have the very first selection on the waiver wire and get you, you're like, 'Alright, that shows confidence.' Obviously, they're rebuilding a little bit. There's going to be some opportunities there, and hopefully you'll be able to take advantage."