This weekend, the Astros hit the mid-point of what thus far has been the most spectacular season in the organization’s history. As games begin on Sunday, Houston has the best record in baseball and a 14-game lead in the AL West Division.
When Sports Illustrated predicted a World Series championship this season, no one — no, not even you! — could possibly have projected the domination the team has wrought on the league to date in 2017. If A.J. Hinch‘s group continues to play this well in the second half, the 1980, 1986, 1997 and 2004-05 teams will pale in comparison.
At the halfway point, here are a few notes. Houston…
- Is on its way to a 108-win season, despite a run of bad luck with its pitching staff.
- Is on pace to a 61-20 record on the road.
- Will likely have more fans in attendance for home games than any season since 2009.
- Will likely break the all-time organizational HR record (249 in 2000).
Think about this. When is the last time Houston had FOUR players with a .900+ OPS. At the halfway point, George Springer (.948), Carlos Correa (.920), Jose Altuve (.923) and Marwin Gonzalez (.973) all are solidly in that category.
Moreover, remember all those K-heavy teams? When is the last time Houston had five players with OBPs above .350? Altuve (.401), Gonzalez (.400), Correa (.387), Springer (.367) and Josh Reddick (.358) all are seeing the ball well and are five reasons Houston is also on pace to challenge its all-time runs scored record as a team.
Heck, the team OBP is .348 at this point. Last year? .319.
Speaking of individuals…
- Springer is on pace for 48 HR.
- Altuve is headed for an unprecedented fourth straight 200-hit season.
- Dallas Keuchel could still win 20 games, despite missing nearly two months of the season.
- Six players are on pace for 35 doubles or more.
- Seven hitters are on pace for 20+ HR, and 11 different players will likely hit 10 or more HRs.
Houston starters aren’t likely to smash any individual records, but — for better or worse — five relievers are on target to appear in 60+ games apiece.
That’s just a quick synopsis of the first half, but there is no doubt that Houston will break records this season. Individual players will have career seasons and the post season awards will include plenty of Astros.
Still the biggest ‘record’ or best ‘number’ — not to mention the only one that matters — will be the total wins. Everything else will take care of itself and Jeff Luhnow will be writing some hefty checks in the next 12 months.
One last thought in how far this team has come in less than a year? Did Jason Castro, Carlos Gomez, Doug Fister, Luis Valbuena, Scott Feldman and Pat Neshek really play in Houston less than a year ago?
Dan will be along with the June ChipalattAwards on Tuesday, but let’s get a head start with a few questions.
- Most surprising accomplishment by a player in the first half.
- Total number of wins by Dallas Keuchel for 2017?
- Who crashes and burns in the second half?
- Who steps up from the middle of the pack to cover for the burns and busts?
- Over/under for total Astros’ wins in the regular season?
- Which single player must have a career second half for Houston to succeed down the stretch?
- What could bring the Astros’ house of cards tumbling down in the next 81 games?