It is finally that time again. The sun is breaking through the clouds, the winter has thawed out, and sno cone vendors are shaving their ice and avoiding public bathrooms which can only mean one thing — baseball is back!
The Houston Astros start their 2014 season the same way they ended 2013,
on a 15 game losing streak playing the New York Yankees.
With the season finally upon us, I think it is high time for some wildly inaccurate predictions about the upcoming baseball season. Here, I’m predicting major award winners for the Astros, as well as team leaders and the team’s final record.
Rookie of the Year: George Springer
Here’s the deal. George Springer could strike out 100 times and hit three singles by the time May rolls around and he still will get called up to Houston before the All-Star Break. The Astros know he’s ready. He knows he’s ready. Springer will spend a good four-to-five months with the big league club this year and should come away with the team’s Rookie of the Year award.
*It should be noted that I think flame-throwing Mike Foltynewicz has a very real shot to be the Astros best rookie next season, however, Folty will be called up at least two months after Springer and therefore won’t have enough of a track record to dethrone him.
Pitcher of the Year: Jarred Cosart
No, Cosart will probably not have a 1.95 ERA like he did last season, but I still believe he is the best pitcher on the team. Cosart — along with other Astros pitchers — have new and improved curveballs that you can see for yourself here. Cosart has the stuff to be an ace for the Astros in 2014 and he certainly showed flashes of that in his first start last season, almost no-hitting the Rays. He has the potential to be a star and I think this is the season he breaks out as a mainstay in the Astros rotation for a long time to come.
Most Valuable Player: Jason Castro
I legitimately considered choosing Robbie Grossman, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. Castro is easily the best player on the Astros and he showed why Houston drafted him 10th overall in the 2008 draft last year, batting .276 with 18 HR and 35 2B. If he stays healthy — which is impossible to predict, but the front office seems to think his knee injury last season is a non-concern — Castro should win back-to-back Team MVP awards.
Now for the million dollar question. Do the Astros break their three season streak of 100+ losses, or do fans have to settle for hearing “next year” one more time?
Rejoice, Astros fans! The team has improved enough to only be 30 games under .500 in 2014. Houston will be as depressing as it has been the past three seasons in the first half of the season, but the first real semblance of being a legitimately competitive team will crop up around August. Springer will have had a couple of months to get his feet under him, Folty will be throwing 100 MPH fastballs past hitters and I think Mark Appel will be in Houston this September. It’s going to be a long season, but the dream of having a good team is very, very close to a reality in Houston.