If 2015 was a snapshot of things to come and 2017 is the Year of the World Series, what in the heck is 2016?
I’ll tell ya! It’s The Perfect Storm!
Could — or even should — Jeff Luhnow and/or A.J. Hinch have seen this coming? I mean, if they’re rocket scientists and magicians with a splash of soothsayer, palm reader and Kreskin. Heck, maybe even part Carnac (that will send some of you to Google rather quickly)!
The Perfect Storm?
Perhaps. The perfect storm is a meteorological term, but it’s also transferable to other situations and circumstances. A la the 2016 Houston Astros. Here’s the definition:
“…a particularly bad or critical state of affairs, arising from a number of negative and unpredictable factors…”
Does that define the Astros in 2016? Sure it does. About the only things that are living up — or down — to expectations this season is that Jose Altuve (and maybe George Springer) continues to play at an MVP level and ticket prices continue to rise.
Here’s a short list of things that have contributed to the 2016 Perfect Storm Season.
- Dallas Keuchel. Who among us doesn’t believe the team would be in contention if Keuchel was even a shell of his 2015 self?
- The Carlos Gomez Debacle. Again, who among us could have predicted this disaster. And, who among us foresaw that Josh Hader and Brett Phillips would struggle in Milwaukee’s minor league system thus far?
- Ken Giles. Yes, virtually everyone among us believe the Astros gave up too much for Giles. Still, who among us would have figured Giles would struggle like he has? But…who among us wouldn’t give a nickel to have Vincent Velasquez in the rotation right now?
- Injuries. Well, every team has injuries, but Lance McCullers Jr., Luis Valbuena, Max Stassi and a few others have forced the Astros’ hand where they had nothing to give.
- Hitting. Who among us would have thought that the Astros would have been in the bottom third of all these categories: batting average, OPS, OBP, slugging percentage, runs, hits? All the while still leading the league in strikeouts? Of course, no one among us ever predicted OBP, hitting and running, high average of RISP were ever a strong suit for this team.
- Be honest now. Who among us knew, predicted or would otherwise have thought that none of Tyler White, A.J. Reed, Colin Moran, Preston Tucker or Tony Kemp would succeed? Where would the Astros be now if only one of them had become a regular contributor? Obviously, the jury is still out on Alex Bregman, but he’s the most likely to succeed at some point in 2016. The others have had more incubation time and should have been ready for some level of prime time.
- Colby Rasmus is earning, umm, making $15.8 million on his qualifying offer this season and he just has been diagnosed with vertigo. Wait, there are fans among us — many — who are experiencing vertigo symptoms watching the 2016 Astros!
Yes, those are only a few of the elements involved in the Astros’ 2016 Perfect Storm season. You can add your own, but these are the things that general managers and managers are fired over, players are released over, youngsters are rushed over and trades are made for.
Now, before you shout me down — and some of those among us may have started typing before getting this far — this is not intended to absolve management at any level. Yes, there are some horrible trades, though many of the players traded away aren’t performing with their new teams either. The GM is always responsible. He gets the blame when the team fails and rarely gets the credit with the team wins.
But there are many factors in the Astros’ failures of 2016 and time is running out to right the ship.