30 Clubs in 30 Days: Houston Astros

Houston Astros Preview!

 

The 30/30 Club

Club 3:  Houston Astros

The 30/30 Club will look at all 30 major league clubs over the next 30 days.  Some teams have made moves to make a run for this year’s World Series title, while other teams have positioned themselves for the long run by moving their veteran stars to get younger.  Today’s team is the defending World Series champion Houston Astros.

Past reports:

BaltimoreChicago ALHoustonAtlantaChicago NLArizona
BostonClevelandLos AngelesMiamiCincinnatiColorado
New York ALDetroitOaklandNew York NLMilwaukeeLos Angeles
Tampa BayKansas CitySeattlePhiladelphiaPittsburghSan Diego
TorontoMinnesotaTexasWashingtonSt. LouisSan Francisco

 

2017 Record: 101-61, won World Series

Acquisitions: RP Joe Smith (free agent), RP Hector Rondon (free agent), SP Gerrit Cole (trade – PIT)

Departures: OF Cameron Maybin (free agent), RP Luke Gregerson (free agent), DH Carlos Beltran (retired), RP Tyler Clippard (free agent), P Francisco Liriano (free agent), 3B Colin Moran (trade – PIT), SP Joe Musgrove (trade – PIT), SP Mike Fiers (free agent), OF Preston Tucker (trade – ATL)

Projected Lineup:

CF George Springer

3B Alex Bregman

2B Jose Altuve

SS Carlos Correa

LF Marwin Gonzalez

RF Josh Reddick

1B Yulieski Gurriel

DH Evan Gattis

C Brian McCann

Projected Rotation:

SP Justin Verlander

SP Dallas Keuchel

SP Gerrit Cole

SP Lance McCullers Jr

SP Charlie Morton/SP Brad Peacock/SP Collin McHugh

Position Battles:

Houston’s team is pretty much set.  The only question mark is who gets the fifth spot in the defending champion’s rotation between Charlie Morton, Brad Peacock, and Collin McHugh, with the losers moving to the bullpen.  When Gonzalez doesn’t play left field and moves around the infield, Derek Fisher is the player likely to get the starts in left field ahead of Jake Marisnick.

Outlook:

The Astros made the 2014 Sports Illustrated prediction come true last season by winning the World Series on the strength of homegrown players George Springer, Carlos Correa and reigning MVP Jose Altuve.  The acquisition of Justin Verlander at the waiver trade deadline gave them the oomph they needed to get over the top and capture their first World Series title, and the Astros are the favorites to go back in the American League.  Houston has a lot of strength in their pitching staff, and if a starter goes down, they have very talented pitchers in Brad Peacock and Collin McHugh who can move into the rotation and fill the void.  Marwin Gonzalez broke out in 2017, and his flexibility makes him reminiscent of Ben Zobrist in his prime with more pop.  Top prospect Forrest Whitley was just suspended for 50 games under the Minor League drug policy, but at best he was only going to make an impact in September, so this could be a blessing in disguise for the Astros.  The only question is if there will be that World Series hangover that has felled teams in recent years, as there hasn’t been a repeat champion since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees.

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