Carlos Correa is a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate, Houston has multiple players pushing for All Star status and, if the season ended today, A.J. Hinch would be a cinch for AL Manager of the Year.
Even if the Astros don’t continue on their current pace to win … games, Houston and its players will have placed their names on the proverbial baseball map come September. Of that, there is no doubt.
Here’s a quick rundown of possible awards as the All Star Game approaches.
When the Astros were competitive and respectable, 2-3 All Stars was the norm. But the organization has had only its one obligatory pick the last five years. Before that it was at least two or more: 2006-2009 (2), 2005 (4), and 2004 (4).
Jose Altuve is the only Astro with a shot at being voted into the game. He is presently running second to Kansas City’s Omar Infante, a much less-talented second baseman and who has apparently benefited from a royal ballot-stuffing frenzy. Altuve will be on the roster, but he won’t be the lone Astro.
Dallas Keuchel (8-3, 2.35, 0.978 WHIP) easily will make the All Star rotation and could be a candidate to start the game.
Now, George Springer has thrust himself into the discussion with his torrid June, Springer Dinger notoriety and circus catches. And, you were concerned he would hit .200 all season. He enters play today at .274/.379/.472 and is a challenger for 30 home runs and almost a shoo-in for 20/20 (20 home runs, 20 stolen bases).
Correa himself will not have enough at bats for consideration (no rule, just not enough playing time), but he would be a flash on the field for the American League team is there were a spot on the roster.
Rookie of the Year.
Correa has not only been a spark for Houston, but he has become a darling of ESPN and other national media, who have rightly noticed him as a possible future Hall of Famer. Early, yes, but he has the pedigree, charisma and makeup to become a Derek Jeter or other classic player.
Unfortunately, Correa may have spent too much time in Corpus Christi and Fresno to warrant serious consideration, not to mention that it’s the Year of the Rookie in major league baseball. To be sure, the best rookie stats may be in the National League, so Correa will still be in the running most of the season for AL Rookie of the Year.
Manager of the Year.
If the season ended today, Hinch would be in as AL Manager of the Year. Has there been a time in recent memory when a manager was so “quiet”. Have you heard one iota of controversy from the dugout of clubhouse? Has Hinch called out anyone in the media? Does anyone seem disgruntled?
No, nope and no sirree.
Of course, the Astros are in first place and winning cures a lot of ills. Still, Hinch, who will also serve as a coach in next month’s All Star Game, seems to have learned from his first failed round as manager and is navigating a tough stream with a patchwork roster and new coaching staff. Even if Houston doesn’t win the division, he’ll be a viable Manager of the Year candidate through the season.
Unlike the past few seasons, Houston will certainly have many players contend for post-season awards and honors this year. Correa, Hinch, Keuchel, Springer and Altuve, however, have not only helped put Houston on the map, but they’ve also made it easier for other players wearing Astros’ uniforms to be noticed now.