Astros: Predicting the H-Town Bombers’ Dingers in 2015

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Much has been made about how many times the Astros will strikeout this season. As of March 3rd, 2015, the Astros have yet to strikeout. Instead of focusing on the negative, just for fun, let’s look at how many home runs each Astros player can possibly hit in 2015. I will use fantasy baseball projections, as well as other factors such as home run tracking charts. For the sake of this article, I will use the following Astros starting nine below.

1) 2B – Jose Altuve

2) SS – Jed Lowrie

3) RF – George Springer

4) DH – Chris Carter

5) CF – Colby Rasmus

6) LF – Evan Gattis

7) C –  Jason Castro

8) 1B – Jon Singleton

9) 3B – Luis Valbuena

Jose Altuve

Jose Altuve does many things well, but hitting the long ball is not one of them. Altuve hit .341 last year because he was looking for contact, not hitting home runs. The last three seasons, Altuve has hit 7, 5, and 7 home runs. He does have the power to hit the long ball, but with his quick bat, he is more suited to doubles and triples. Altuve has a career 4% home run per fly ball rate, so what you see is what you get.

Fantasy Pros has Altuve projected to hit .308 with eight home runs.

My prediction is six home runs, because I think he changes his approach by being the lead-off guy. His job is to get on-base for the big boppers behind him. He is Craig Biggio light, meaning he lacks the home run power, not that he is shorter.

Projection: seven home runs

Jed Lowrie

Lowrie is coming off a poor season with the Oakland Athletics, where he hit .249 with six home runs. He signed a three-year deal with the Astros to allow Carlos Correa some more time to develop in the minor leagues. Lowrie has had mild success hitting the long ball, the past three years he hit 16-15-6 home runs. The 16 home runs was with the Astros in 2012, so that is encouraging. His home run per fly ball percentages has also decreased the last five years, 11.3%-6.8%-3.2%.

Fantasy Pros has Lowrie projected to hit .267 with twelve home runs.

My prediction is 14 home runs, because he seemed comfortable at Minute Maid Park when he played with the Astros before. He will have to rediscover his home run swing, but the Astros staff seem willing to help him.

Projection: 13 home runs

George Springer

Springer came on the scene last year hitting 20 home runs in only 78 games. Over a full 162-game season that would be 42 Springer Dingers. The power is proven in the big leagues so far, while his batting average and speed is unproven. Most Astros fans are anxious to see what a full year of Springer will give. He had a 27.8% home run per fly ball ratio in 2014, so the odds of his power being legit should be verified.

Fantasy Pros has Springer projected to hit .242 with 28 home runs.

@astrosfuture has Springer hitting 34 home runs.

My projection is 37 home runs. Is that a bit optimistic projection? Everyone that knows me know that I am a Springer “homer,” and I am proud of it. I kept Springer over Bryce Harper in a six-keeper league.

Projection: 33 home runs.

Chris Carter

Carter is the best power hitter on the team. When he makes contact, the ball flies far. The last three years, Carter hit 16-29-36 home runs. Over the last three years, Carter’s home run per fly ball percentages were 25.4%-20.7%-21.9%.

Fantasy Pros has Carter projected to hit .230 with 33 home runs.

@astrosfuture has Carter hitting 38 home runs.

@BurkeTime has Carter hitting 33 home runs.

My projection is 40 home runs for the K-happy designated hitter. People forget how much Carter struggled at the beginning of the season, and still hit 37 home runs. With a full season of productive at-bats, he can easily hit 40+ home runs.

Projection: 36 home runs.

Colby Rasmus

Rasmus could end up losing at bats to Jake Marisnick or other prospects, if he does not hit very well this season. The Astros paid him well, so he will be given every chance to play. The past three seasons, Rasmus hit 23-22-18 home runs, but only had one good season with batting average.

Fantasy Pros has Rasmus hitting .233 with 20 home runs.

My projection is about 20 home runs as well, because he has a proven track record of hitting home runs. However, he does not have a positive track record in other areas.

Projection: 20 home runs.

Evan Gattis

Gattis will take full advantage of the Crawford Boxes, which I believe should be renamed to the “Bear Den” in honor of the damage Gattis will do. His type of right-handed power will do well in Minute Maid Park. The past two years, Gattis hit 21 and 22 home runs with limited at bats in about 105 games each year. Project that out over a 162-game stretch, and that would put him at 32 home runs.

Fantasy Pros has Gattis hitting .254 with 28 home runs.

@astrosfuture has Gattis hitting 30 home runs

My projection is that Gattis will hit 32 home runs, because MMP was built for a player like Gattis. He won’t have the aches and pains of being a catcher, but will have to learn to play left field and first base.

Projection: 30 home runs.

Jason Castro

My son’s favorite player is Jason Castro, because he played the same position that he did. Castro had a down season in 2014, but could bounce back, not having to hit in the number three-hole. The past three seasons, Castro hit 6-18-14 home runs. The batting average took a dip, but he is not done yet.

Fantasy Pros has Castro hitting 12 home runs.

My projection involves him bouncing back a little. I see him hitting 17 homers in 2015. Castro has a career 11.8% home run per fly ball ratio.

Projection: 14 home runs.

Jon Singleton

No one knows what to expect from Singleton in 2015. He showed promise when he first came up, but struggled after that. He showed promise in the minor leagues, and is only 22-years old. The Astros have not seen the best of Singleton. Last season he batted .168, but was still able to hit 13 home runs. Even if he can bring up the batting average, the homers will come. The trick will be bringing up the average enough to stay in Houston.

Fantasy Pros has Singelton hitting .205 with 12 home runs.

My projection is based on what I think he can do, once he is comfortable. My projection is 21 home runs, because he does have monstrous power. He could be Chris Carter light.

Projection: 17 home runs

Luis Valbuena

Valbunea came to the Astros from the Cubs in the Fowler trade, with the idea that he would take over third base. With Matt Dominguez having a poor season last year, the job is Valbuena’s to lose.  The past three seasons with somewhat limited playing time, Valbuena hit 4-12-16 home runs. Will he continue the upward trend in 2014?

Fantasy Pros has Valbuena hitting .243 with 12 home runs.

My prediction is 12 home runs as well, but would not be surprised if he hit more with the Astros in 2015.

Projection: 12 home runs

Summary

If my projections come true, the Astros could hit 182 home runs in 2015. Add in a few from the bench players, and we could be looking at a team home run total of close to 200. This is depending on health and if these main guys play all year, but this is a look at what could be for the Astros in 2015.

Next: The George Springer Effect

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