Some basic questions as the Astros enter yet another weekend as the best team in the American League and the second-best in all of baseball.
Is Preston Tucker on a showcase?
The Astros brought up impressive outfielder Preston Tucker when George Springer went down with a concussion. Now that he’s nearing 100 at bats — generally the first mile marker in the life of a major league hitter — he clearly has the goods and other teams have taken notice. If the Astros want to add starting pitching, at least a top of the rotation starter, opposing GMs will have Tucker at the top of their wish lists. Luhnow has apparently not designated Tucker as untouchable, but it would be difficult to part with some a promising hitter.
Lance McCullers Jr. The real deal?
Hard to cast a vote again this guy after his gem earlier this week. Sorry Brad Peacock. Better hurry back Scott Feldman. Where y’at Dan Straily and Asher Wojciechowski? The only question regarding McCullers going forward might be when to shut him down for his innings pitched count. He’s pitched 53 already between Corpus Christi and Houston and has never pitched more than 104 in his pro career. Heck, he has only 292 minor league IP altogether! Do the Astros stretch him out as far as he can go? Or do they upgrade the rotation and send him to the bullpen for the second half of the season?
The Correa Watch.
Carlos Correa hasn’t exactly taken Fresno by storm…yet. However, the numbers are still positive and he could be only a series or two from breakthrough. Fewer Ks than hits, a .324 OBP, and nine extra base hits out of 23 total all spell a promising future as he has moved ahead of the progression curve. The end of June still looks like the best target for his coronation in Houston, but could come sooner if the break out is earlier.
The Chris Carter Watch.
Has Chris Carter turned a corner? In the last 12 games, his line is .375/.458/.675 with a 1.133 OPS, three home runs and nine RBI. It’s only 48 plate appearances, but that’ll do in a pinch, don’t you think? Of course, the big question is, how long will it last? Is he heating up earlier this year than last, or is it just a short-lived streak?