It happens every year. Fans, teams, players enter the season, picturing the status quo with modifications. “Our infield is the best hitting group in the majors. We just have to tweak that outfield” “Our rotation is set. We just need another big arm in the bullpen”. And then reality occurs along with injuries, regression and hopefully progression. It takes no skill to say that some Astros will improve in 2022 from 2021, and some will fall back. So, who do we think will progress, and who will regress?
Candidates to Progress
Justin Verlander. Basically, if he shows up and does anything, it will be a forward step from the big fat bagel of the last two seasons. Fans want him to return to the dominating, innings eating monster he was for the team from the waiver trade deadline of 2017 through 2019. But being a good, solid starter with a little bit of a leash on his innings will work just fine.
Alex Bregman. He is Carlos Correa of a couple years ago. Can he stay healthy enough to fulfill that obvious talent? But let’s face it, Alex in 2018 and 2019 did something that Carlos really never did until last season, which was put up astounding numbers while playing an entire season. If he can tap into that MVP type talent, it would be a tremendous boost for the team.
Jose Urquidy. He put up excellent numbers (8-3, 3.62 ERA, 0.991 WHIP) in 2021 but only made 20 starts. An entire season of more of the same would take some pressure off the first guy on this list.
Candidates to Regress
Yuli Gurriel. He had a great year in 2021, leading the AL in hitting and putting up a career-high .383 On Base Percentage. But he does turn 38 in June, and it would be tough for him to repeat what he just accomplished, though he fooled us heading into 2021 after a disaster of 2020.
Lance McCullers. Last season was the best for Lance as he stayed healthy during the regular season and put up the best overall numbers on the staff. But the injury in the playoffs reminded us all that he is a bit of a ticking time bomb when it comes to health, and he may regress a bit coming back from that muscle strain in his arm.
Chas McCormick. I loved what Chas brought to the team last season as a rookie, playing terrific defense and knocking in 50 runs in only 284 ABs. But it often seemed like it was all or nothing with Chas as the Ks piled up, and with more video and info on him, he could be a candidate to struggle more the second time around in the bigs.
And as usual, we turn to you dear readers for your opinions. Who do you think may progress or regress in 2022 when it finally happens?