Sunday, March 11, 2018

Houston Astros 2018 season preview



           With the city of Houston destructed from Hurricane Harvey, the Houston Astros played upon themselves, and won the 2017 World Series, with some help from their 101-61 record, plus their playoff victories over the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Stros didn't need to do too much in the offseason, but let's take a look at what they did.

           Notable additions: RHP Gerrit Cole, RHP Hector Rondon, RHP Joe Smith.

           Notable subtractions: DH Carlos Beltran, 3B Colin Moran, RHP Luke Gregerson, RHP Mike Fiers, RHP Michael Feliz, RHP Joe Musgrove, LHP Fransisco Liriano, RHP Tyler Clippard.

            What they did well: They fleeced the Pirates in the Cole trade (they gave up Moran, Musgrove, Feliz and Jason Martin), even though Cole is overrated. That's really all they did.

              What they did bad: They have a really bad bullpen for a playoff team, and it didn't get that much better. They needed bullpen help, not rotation help.

              Sneaky sleeper: Chris Devenski had yet another great season, striking out 100 batters in 80.2 innings. In his two year career, Devenski has a 2.38 ERA and 204 strikeouts in 189 innings. He's their best reliever, but not that many people know about him.

                Incoming outbreak: Derek Fisher deserves more attention. Stuck behind Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Reddick, the Astros' best prospect has no where to go but the bench. Fisher didn't play that much in 2017, but struggled when he played. Give him more time, or trade him.

                 Unsuspected slump: Even though he had a good regular season, with a 2.30 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 62.2 innings, Ken Giles was horrible in the postseason, allowing 10 runs in 7.2 innings. With the rise of Devenski, it doesn't like like Giles is their reliever anymore.

                  Blue-chip Bopper. 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve led the league in batting average for the third time, with a .346 mark. He also led the league in hits for the 4th consecutive time, with 204. He is almost guaranteed to steal thirty bases, and now that his power is coming along, Altuve is finally a five tool player.

                   Astounding ace: Even though Justin Verlander was the best player in the postseason, Dallas Keuchel is still their ace. Keuchel had a 2.90 ERA, and a 1.12 WHIP in 145.2 innings. It's not really that close between Keuchel and Verlander.

                  Here is the Astros' projected roster, starting with their lineup.

 CF George Springer (R)
 2B Jose Altuve (R)
 SS Carlos Correa (R)
 DH Evan Gattis (R)
 LF Marwin Gonzalez (S)
 RF Josh Reddick (L)
 3B Alex Bregman (R)
 C Brian McCann (L)
 1B Yuli Gurriel (R) (when returning from suspension)

  Here is their rotation.

 LHP Dallas Keuchel
 RHP Justin Verlander
 RHP Lance McCullers
 RHP Gerrit Cole
 RHP Charlie Morton

 Ken Giles (R) is their closer, with Chris Devenski (R), Will Harris (R), Hector Rondon (R), Joe Smith (R), Tony Sipp (L), Brad Peacock (R) and Collin McHugh (R) in the bullpen as well.

 C Max Stassi (R), 2B Tony Kemp (L), OF Derek Fisher (L) and OF Jake Marisnick (R) are on the bench.

 Finally, for my prediction, I think the Astros, who are still a very good team, will make the playoffs in 2018.

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