- The 2018 Astros did not have Alex Bregman? It is hard to picture the Astros being in first place without Bregman carrying this team both physically, plus the psychological boost of his “Stare” silliness.
- They had started the season with the following starting rotation….. Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, Lance McCullers Jr., Collin McHugh and Brad Peacock after not trading for Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole? They would certainly still have a good rotation, but it would not be the best in the league and the bullpen would not be as top notch as it has been.
- They had successfully traded for Zach Britton and/or Brad Hand instead of for Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna at the trade deadline? Hand (Cleveland), Pressly and Osuna have been very good for their new teams, while Britton has been meh for the Yanks and Hand and Britton would have cost the Astros a bunch more prospect-wise.
- OF Ramon Laureano had not fallen off the cliff in 2017 with AA Corpus Christi? He had been dominant at 3 minor league levels for the Astros in 2016, but after a nasty 2017, he was traded to the Oakland A’s for a so-so pitching prospect and now has sprung from the minors into a solid player with the A’s.
- The Astros could play at home like most top AL teams play at home? The other four likely playoff teams, Red Sox, Yanks, Indians and A’s have won a combined 65% of their games at home. If the Astros had done that they would be 99-47 and 10.5 games up in their division.
- Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Reddick were producing like 2017 (or even 90% of 2017)? It is pretty easy to picture a team that would have this division wrapped up already with them hitting somewhere between 2017 and 2018.
So… what are your answers to these questions? Do you have some “what ifs” to pose of your own?