For my money, the Houston Astros will be one of the most intriguing teams to watch in 2015. After three 100+ loss seasons, Houston showed they’re ready to turn a corner, improving their win total by 19 games over their 2013 mark. Here is a look at some storylines for the upcoming season.
I covered this topic a couple of days ago, but for me, it’s the most interesting on the board: how will George Springer perform in a full season? Springer is a great blend of power and speed, and should be the most exciting player to watch in an Astros uniform, outside of Jose Altuve.
Jeff Luhnow addressed the Houston Astros’ biggest weakness this offseason by adding Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek to a bullpen that simply couldn’t close out games. Add in Chad Qualls, and the Astros could be looking at a pretty decent ‘pen in 2015. Will they live up to the expectations?
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Yesterday, I wrote about what we can (hopefully) expect from Jon Singleton in 2015. After being called up last season, Singleton was awful. The power-hitting first baseman flashed some of his might, and if he can hit for a higher average than the .168 he posted a season ago, he could be a second Chris Carter in the Houston Astros’ lineup.
Chris Carter is another intriguing piece to the puzzle. In the first half of 2014, Carter hit just .205 with 19 homers and 40 rbi. In 39 less at-bats, Carter was on fire post All-Star break, hitting .252 with 18 homers and 48 rbi. Which player will emerge in 2015? We’re all hoping it will be the second half version, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
The Astro farm system is stacked, and we’re all awaiting the call-ups of some of the players we expect to be major pieces moving forward. The one player that has the best shot at getting a call-up in 2015 before September is former first overall selection Mark Appel. He worried many fans with his poor performance in Lancaster last season, but once he left High-A ball, he seemed to turn a corner in Double-A, and also had a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League. Will Appel progress through the majors and help the Astros in 2015?
This final storyline is dependent on all of the factors listed above: will the Houston Astros reach what is considered to be their goal of an 81-81 season?
If Springer progresses nicely, the bullpen additions work out like we are expecting them to, Jon Singleton isn’t a black hole in the middle of the Astro lineup, and Carter has a season similar to his second-half of last season, there is a strong possibility that the Houston Astros will take that next step, and become a destination for free agents next offseason. Adding Mark Appel to the mix in 2015 would be an added bonus.