Friend of the blog, Devin wrote this yesterday….
“I’m a bit worried we have some fool’s gold here. Yes, we will be better with Springer back, but look how silly the Indians…a middle of the pack team, have made them look. If Altuve, Keuchel, and McHugh regress even a little next season… In other words, it’s great we have won more games than expected, but we still have a long way to go.”
This states a normally unspoken fear that many Astros’ fans suppress. What if this year’s improvement is a mirage? What if this is not a springboard to .500?
Here are 5 top fears for 2015.
Injury bug. The injuries to Jesse Crain, Matt Albers, Anthony Bass, Josh Zeid, Jose Cisnero, etc. handicapped the bullpen. But what if next season, George Springer keeps going down? Or Jose Altuve or Dallas Keuchel or Collin McHugh? Somehow the Astros played decent ball with Springer down this season, but looking back that looks like smoke and mirrors and an on-fire Chris Carter pairing with a red hot Jose Altuve at the right time. What if that does not happen again?
Regression. To paraphrase Devin, what if Altuve hits .290 or McHugh and Keuchel have ERAs around 3.70? What if Carter goes back to black hole, non-contact Carter?
Luhnow is an Arch Villain Mad Scientist. In every Batman, Spiderman, Superman, and Iron Man movie there is a mad scientist, who comes up with an incredible brainy plan for blowing up the world, dominating the world, kidnapping the superheroes’ love interest, killing off the superhero or endangering whales. But like in Bill Shakespeare’s plays the arch villain has a fatal flaw that leads to his demise. What if Jeff Luhnow is exposed as a mad scientist rather than an ingenious planner and the house of cards folds?
Brent Strom Leaves. What if Strom gets a manager’s job? Or the new manager wants his own guy guiding the pitching staff? (I know we still own the weapons for storming the castle and making the new manager disappear). A big chunk of this team’s improvement has to go to Strom as the starting pitching has become the reliable foundation of almost every game.
Bullpen still stinks. The bullpen was easily the worst in the majors in 2013 and after a lot of attention given to it in the off-season, it has almost exactly the same ERA and a slightly better record in save situations in 2014. But there is no doubt that this pen has cost the team 10-15 wins vs. even an average bullpen. What if the clock is still broken in 2015?
So what keeps you awake at night or at least makes your stomach become queasy while thinking about the Astros’ 2015 hopes and dreams?