Jul 9, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Astros center fielder George Springer (left) celebrates the victory with first baseman Jon Singleton (28) against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The All-Around Improved Team
The Springer-Carter-Gattis trio will wear out the Crawford Boxes, along with the (assumed) rise of Jon Singleton also hitting bombs. Those four guys alone could legitimately combine for 120+ HR’s. Rasmus will give you 15-20, along with Valbuena and Lowrie hitting around the same. Castro should have a bounce back season as it’ll be hard to replicate the terrible 2014 season he had, and his HR total will be in the 15-20 range as well. Altuve will give you a handful, as will the bats off the bench. I fully expect the Astros to hit more HR’s than last season with this lineup, and they finished 4th in the majors in that category a year ago (163).
I also expect their BA to be better than 25th in the league, as well as their OBP which was 21st. Altuve will lead the way and do what he always does, and that’s get on base. Singleton is not going to hit .168 again and whiff 134 times in 94 games. He’s going to rise, and again, so will Castro. And if any of these guys fail to produce, they will be replaced by players who are producing.
Then thinking of the rotation providing 6-7 innings a vast majority of the time with a legitimate bullpen only needing 2-3 innings of work makes me smile. And if that happens, the bullpen won’t get overused this year. With the ML level arms throughout the entire bullpen, this team won’t blow nearly as many games as they did the last couple of years. I’ll say what I’ve said before, and that is that the 2014 Houston Astros would have been just below .500 (by 3-4 wins) with a ML-average bullpen. And that is with the terrible hitting team they were a majority of the season.