Over the last few seasons, the Astros team salary total has been edging upward along with their average team age. Last season their everyday players were the second oldest in the majors at 28.9 years old (a weighted average based on ABs and games played) and their pitchers were fifth highest at 29.9 years old again based on a weighted average. Back in 2017 they were ninth and 16th in the majors for everyday players’ and pitchers’ age respectively.
While the Astros still have players who can help keep that average down a bit – Yordan Alvarez (22), Kyle Tucker (23), Carlos Correa (25), Alex Bregman (25), Jose Urquidy (24), Roberto Osuna (25), and Bryan Abreu (22) – they are increasingly relying on folks on the “wrong” side of that magic number of 30. Now whether that even matters is another question.
As they sit today the following folks are on or above that 30 mark: Yuli Gurriel (35), Michael Brantley (32), Josh Reddick (33 this Wed.), Martin Maldonado (33), George Springer (30), Dustin Garneau (32), Justin Verlander (37 this Thurs), Zack Greinke (36), , Ryan Pressly (31), Joe Smith (35), Brad Peacock (32), Austin Pruitt (30), and Jared Hughes (34). And that does not count Jose Altuve, who hits the magic mark in May.
Is this a problem? Well, based on last season, the under 30 crowd seemed to have more injuries going than the above 30 crowd, but it has to be a concern for the Astros this season, especially in the starting rotation. Brad Peacock already is a probable scratch for the race for the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation due to continuing concerns with his shoulder. As durable as they have been, losing Verlander or Greinke for any significant time would turn the rotation into a huge question mark.
The everyday position players are not nearly as much of a worry due to the outstanding depth of their lineup. (Which does not mean they can survive losing four or five at a time as they have done a few times in the past).
The bullpen? Well this is an area of both concern and fair sized potential entering the season. They lost Pressly for an extended time in 2019, but luckily the return of Joe Smith and the breakout season of Will Harris filled that hole in the bullpen. Now of course they have lost Harris, but re-signing Smith and picking up Pruitt and Hughes may well help the team down the line. Plus a youngster like Abreu or any number of other youngsters coming to camp may give this team depth and arm talent to survive the season.
With a season where the team may well be the most hated and despised team in recent history, it is probably a good thing to have a solid cadre of vets in the locker room. In the end, having so many grizzled veterans (or veterans dying those grey hairs) could be a plus or a minus, but it is an area of risk for the team.