There is very little going on with the Astros these days as they float towards Spring Training with most holes filled. So, let’s create a little excitement or at least give our fine readers some questions to ponder to fill this dead time.
Who will be the Astros ace?
This is not as easy as just saying “Justin Verlander” and moving onward. It is true that during the last season of the month and through most of the playoffs JV was the Astros ace. But if you look at the most likely pitchers to be in the rotation and their 2017 stats, it is not a slam dunk.
We could easily argue that both Dallas Keuchel and Brad Peacock were more effective pitchers in less innings than JV.
It should be noted that Verlander was 10-8 with Detroit a team that was a putrid 64-98, so he easily outpitched his support there.
- Will JV pick up where he left off, which was a 5-0 record and a 1.06 ERA for the Astros in the regular season?
- Will Keuchel be affected by a possible mid-season trade hanging over his head? Will he stay healthy?
- Will Charlie Morton take his clutch pitching in the playoffs – winning game 7 of the ALCS and the WS and turn into the ace?
- Will Lance McCullers stay healthy and go back to his 2015 and 2016 effectiveness?
- Will Gerrit Cole get back to the Cy Young competitor he was in 2015?
- Will Peacock and McHugh step in for whoever falters or gets injured?
Who will be the Astros MVP?
Jose Altuve who led the Astros with a .346 batting average, .410 OBP and .957 OPS was the 2017 MVP for the team as he stayed healthy enough to play in 153 games. His 112 runs scored, 24 HRs and 81 RBIs were very good, but leave an opening for the following:
- If you factor Carlos Correa up to 153 games from his 109 games played he would have had 115 runs, 34 HRs, and 117 RBIs while still batting well over .300.
- If you factor George Springer up to 153 games from his 140 played he would have had 122 runs, 37 HRs and 93 RBIs.
- If you factor Marwin Gonzalez up to 153 games from his 134 played he would have had 77 runs, 26 HRs, and 103 RBIs.
- If Alex Bregman had performed the whole season as he did in the 71 games after the All Star break, he would have put up 105 runs, 24 HRs, and 96 RBIs.
The best guess here is that Carlos Correa puts a whole season together and takes over the crown of Astro MVP. But there should be a lot of guys grabbing for that crown.
Who will be the biggest addition to the Astros?
- Will it be Gerrit Cole, who could be anywhere from the 2nd best to 5th best starter?
- Will it be Joe Smith, who brings his side arm slinging to the bullpen?
- Will it be Hector Rondon, who has closed for the Cubs previously?
- Will it be a full season of DH at bats by Evan Gattis?
- Will it be a full season from a Derek Fisher?
- Will it be someone not yet signed to help out at DH or LF?
Lots of questions above – what do you think?