In the dark, early days of the 2014 season a Houston Astros’ lineup might contain the names of Jesus Guzman, Robbie Grossman, Matt Dominguez, L.J. Hoes, and Alex Presley. While quite a few people in the lineup were youthful, this was not quite what the fans were hoping for when it came to a youth movement. Leaving the best outfields in the minors (George Springer) to start the season did not help the grumpy fanatics rally around the plan. Where were all these young guns who were going to raise this franchise phoenix-like from the ashes?
Fast forward 14 months to mid-June of 2015. The Astros are Jose Altuve-less for a few games, but the offense clicks anyways. On a rainy Monday night 1st round pick George Springer (2011) leads off the game with a single. First overall pick Carlos Correa (2012) then singles and Preston Tucker, who is only a lowly seventh round pick (2012), but who is the brother of a 1st round pick (Kyle -2015) singles and drives in a run. For the game the three newbies have seven hits, five runs scored, three RBIs and thanks to Springer, two home runs. Oh and Springer goes flying around making diving catches, Correa is playing smooth and flawless shortstop and Tucker is a better left field than Chris Carter and Carlos Lee.
This is exciting. This is what the fans have been dying to see. And a couple of cherries on top of the sundae are the recent performances of wunderkinds Lance McCullers Jr. and Vincent Velasquez, LMJ a supplemental 1st rounder out of the 2012 draft and VV, a second rounder out of 2010. Before the season, neither of these power pitchers were expected to sniff the majors until 2016 at best.
Probably more than anything it is a relief to Houston fans to see players being called up from the minors and acting like they belong.
Hopefully, the 2015 season will someday be looked upon as the year the organization turned the corner and put the pedal to the metal on the way to the top.
- Who among these five youngsters is the most important to the long-term success of the team?
- Who do you think may be a bit of a flash in the pan?
- Who are you looking forward to seeing next? (Domingo Santana is reportedly on the way to take Colby Rasmus‘ place while he is on bereavement leave, so he does not count.)
- Can these young guys lead the team to the playoffs this season?