Matt Dominguez and Chris Carter (Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports)
For the last two seasons, the answer to this question was an easy one. In fact it was answered by default, which was in fact the way the Astros’ All-Star representative was determined.
In 2014, there are some actual options to choose from when answering the question of who the MVP will be this season. And for now, we are just talking about the player’s currently on the major league roster. Based on what we have seen from George Springer so far in his young career, he would be the easy answer to my question. But of course that is dependent on when he is called up to Houston, which should not be later than Memorial Day.
So for the purpose of this poll, Springer is off the table because it is just too easy. A Mike Trout like impact isn’t hard to fathom, but I would temper my expectations slightly until he proves he can cut down his swing.
The options I present for your voting pleasure this season are all solid players, some of whom will likely be part of Houston’s core for years to come. But the real competition for this award will be beginning over the next few seasons, and that is when the fun will start.
Chris Carter might not be the most exciting option, but I think he will be the most deserving Astro for the MVP this season. Last season Carter hit 29 home runs in 148 games. Expecting the slugger to hit 30-35 long balls this season is not out of the question. An improvement on Carter’s 82 RBI’s is also a reasonable expectation based on the improvement of Houston’s lineup.
Yes, I know Carter did strikeout 36.2% of the time last season (212 at bats) and hit .223, but he did have a .320 on base percentage. For as much criticism as he gets for that, Altuve who hit .283 last season had a .316 on base percentage.
However, Carter does need to cut down on his strikeouts by at least 10%, to become more of a middle of the order threat. But I would not take him lightly either.