Astros Season Preview: Predicting the Infield and DH

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Catcher and First Base

Mar 24, 2015; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter

Chris Carter

(23) bats against the New York Mets at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Catcher – Jason Castro

Following a down year in 2014, Jason Castro had swung the bat really well during spring games. Now that the spring schedule is over, it’s up to Castro to prove that 2014 was the fluke year and not 2013. Even though Castro is not the best defensive catcher in the game, Castro has the ability to be in the top ten offensive catchers when things are clicking for him. The former first-round pick hit .222/ 14 HR/ 56 RBI in 2014, which was down from 2013 when he hit .276/ 18 HR/ 56 RBI.  The biggest difference between the two years was the decrease of Castro’s batting average. With a few adjustments at the plate, and not having to be the guy hitting third anymore with more pop in the lineup, Castro should be due for a rebound year.

The projection below is from FantasyPros;

The projection above shows a slight increase in the batting average for Castro, but with the way he hit in spring training, I can see him hitting between .260 and .270. The on-base plus slugging increased from his 2014 numbers, but he is expected to hit fewer home runs. While Castro’s batting average wasn’t that good during spring, he did have a respectable slash line of .233/ .313/ .512/ .824 with three homers and six runs batted in.

My Prediction: .256/ 16 HR/ 56 RBI

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First Base – Chris Carter

We all felt bad for Chris Carter at the beginning of the 2014 season, with his struggles that led to him being benched for a while. Then something clicked for Carter, and he gained this quiet confidence about his game. He was able to believe in himself again, which he lost the ability to do in the early part of the 2014 season. After the All-Star break, Carter became one of the hottest hitters in baseball.

From the above Tweet, you can see that Carter outperformed AL MVP Mike Trout after July 4th. If Carter can avoid that early season funk in 2015, there is no reason that Carter is not near the top of the power hitters in baseball.

The projection below is from FantasyPros;

While I think that the batting average is pretty accurate, I think this projection is discounting Carter’s raw power and shorter swing that will lead to more contact. Will he still be the Astros King of the K’s? Yes, but he could also be the AL home run champ with the adjustments he ahs made at the plate. This spring Carter batted .217/ 2 HR/ 11 RBI while hitting in the clean-up spot. With more runners on-base in 2015, Carter can turn some of those solo shots into more RBI’s, he could easily reach 100 RBI’s.

My Projection: .234/ 42 HR/ 100 RBI

Check out my Outfield Projections here.

Next: Second Base and Shortstop