Major League baseball games return to the agenda this weekend. While many are watching races for the Triple Crown or the home run chase or the Wild Card chase begins to take shape, Astros’ fans are watching a different set of priorities.
For the Astros, the focus is on reconstruction, youth and progress. While the second part of the season kicks off Friday, the important names for Astros’ fans are Cosart, Singleton and Springer, rather than Norris, Harrell or Pena.
Here are some things to keep an eye on the rest of the season.
- Discussed before, but the next two weeks could be busy for the Astros. Will Houston be sellers for the fourth consecutive July trade deadline? Or will they surprise everyone and hang onto the veterans? Actually, the trades seem virtually inevitable. Prediction: 4 trades involving Bud Norris, Wesley Wright, Erik Bedard, Jose Veras and others.
- How many of the top 20 prospects will Astros’ fans see in 2013? Jarred Cosart, Robbie Grossman and Brad Peacock have already had a taste. It’s reasonable to expect to some of this group: Jonathan Singleton, George Springer, Asher Wojciechowski and Jonathan Villar. Further, other promotions and progress will be worth keeping an eye on. Particularly, players like Mike Foltynewicz, Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers and the most recent draft class.
The TV deal.
- Not that anyone really cares at this point in the hot summer, but it would be a slap in the face if the TV deal is finalized in late September. GM Jeff Luhnow has a big off season ahead, working to piece together a more competitive team. Jim Crane’s biggest — if not only — off season job will be to successfully completing the TV deal. Not only in Houston, but also throughout the region. Important. Critical.
The Biogenesis Scandal.
- Doesn’t affect the Astros, you say? Sure it does. Even if no Astros’ players are implicated or suspended in the scandal, it will be important for baseball. In fact, it could result in more penalties than any other single incident or revelation in baseball history. While many fans are numb to dru g usagein baseball, it’s likely to raise more calls for stricter drug testing and penalties. Again.
- If the season ended today, the Astros would draft first in next June’s draft. Surprise, surprise! The question is whether the growing-ever-younger Astros make a Tony D-like “run” in the next 68 games or if teams like the White Sox, Marlins, Brewers or another team overtakes the Astros. Prediction: Astros finish with 30-38 “second half”.
What will you be keeping an eye on over the next 68 games?