Today’s assignment is to look at some scenarios and choose which one is more likely to happen for certain Astros and the team as a whole during the 2018 season.
1) Are the Astros more likely to….
a) Repeat as World Series champions.
b) Miss the playoffs entirely
No team has repeated as champion since the Yankees won three times 1998 through 2000. On the other hand in the 16 seasons since that feat, nine World Series champs have failed to make the playoffs the following season, including the 2002 Angels, 2003 Marlins, 2005 White Sox, 2006 Cards, 2010,’12,’14 Giants, 2013 Red Sox, and the 2015 Royals. But then again has a champion ever gone this unscathed into the next season, only losing a few small pieces and strengthening themselves at the same time?
2) Who is more likely to play 150+ games….
a) George Springer
b) Carlos Correa
In 2014, his rookie year Springer went down with 64 games to go. He missed 60 games in 2015, played all 162 in 2016 and missed 22 in 2017. In 2014, Correa played 62 games at Lancaster before breaking his leg. In 2015 he played more than 150 games between the minors and his major league call up. In 2016 he played 153 games, but in 2017 he only played 109 games in and around his thumb injury. Maybe they both make 150 games. maybe neither do.
3) Is Dallas Keuchel more likely to….
a) Be traded during the season
b) Play out the season and leave in free agency.
c) Play out the season and re-sign with the Astros
Dallas will make $13.2 million this season in his last arbitration year. He will turn 31 next New Years Day. He has one of three sports candidates for the Antichrist as his agent in Scott Boras (the other two are Nick Saban and Bill Belichick). He won the Cy Young award in 2015 and had an impressive 14-5 record and 2.90 ERA in 2017. His number of games started the last 3 seasons has slipped from 33 to 26 to 23 games. When it comes to signing him going forward, one is reminded of the Dirty Harry quote – “…you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky’?”
4) Who is more likely to win more games…..
a) Justin Verlander
b) Charlie Morton
c) Gerrit Cole
d) Dallas Keuchel
Verlander won 15 games last season between Detroit and Houston and last won more than 17 games in 2011. Morton’s 14 wins last season is four more than he had won in nine previous seasons. Keuchel had 14 wins last season in only 23 starts and is only two seasons removed from 20 wins in 2015. Cole won 12 games last season and is two seasons removed from 19 win season. Or if you want to vote for Lance McCullers (who has won 19 total career games, never more than 7), Collin McHugh (who won 13 in 2016 and 19 in 2015) or Brad Peacock (who won 13 of his 24 career wins in 2017) – have at it.
5) Who is more likely to hit 25 or more home runs…
a) Yuli Gurriel, who hit 18 in 2017
b) Alex Bregman, who hit 19 in 2017
c) Marwin Gonzalez, who hit 23 in 2017
Marwin hit 10 more HRs in 2017 than he did in 2016 in about 30 less ABs. Bregman hit 11 of his 19 HRs in the second half of the season and then went off for four more in 18 playoff games. Gurriel hit 12 of his homers in the second half of the season and then popped a couple more in the playoffs. Who is improving, who hit over their heads?