Astros Season Preview: Predicting the Infield and DH

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Second Base and Shortstop

Apr 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman

Jose Altuve

(27) during batting practice before a game against the Kansas City Royals at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Second Base – Jose Altuve

The Astros have had a great history with All-Star second baseman, and Jose Altuve could be the second best of them all, behind Craig Biggio. It’s hard to say that Altuve had a breakout year in 2014 because he already showed some talent prior to last year. It just all came together last year, especially in steals and batting average. There are a few experts who feel that Altuve will regress in 2015, but watching him play all last year, I am not one of them. In 2014, Altuve hit .341/ 7 HR/ 59 RBI/ 56 SB.

The projection below is from FantasyPros;

The projection has a drastic drop in batting average for the AL batting champ in 2015. Was 2014 a fluke year for Altuve? I think it’s hard to fake 225 hits in a season, so I think he is for real. If his batting average dips a little, expect his stolen bases to do likewise.

My Prediction: .325/ 6 HR/ 49 RBI/ 49 SB

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Shortstop – Jed Lowrie

Most Astros fans weren’t jumping for joy when they heard that the Astros had signed Jed Lowrie to a three-year deal to play shortstop. This was not only due to his poor play in 2014, but also that the Astros uber-prospect Carlos Correa looks like he will make his debut in 2016. Lowrie had a great season with the A’s in 2013, but injuries robbed him of some playing time and success in 2014. In 2013, Lowrie hit .290/ 15 HR/ 75 RBI, but he dropped to .249/ 6 HR/ 50 RBI in 2014.

The projection below is from FantasyPros;

Compared to what the Astros have gotten from the shortstop position since Lowrie was traded in the 2012 season, I would gladly accept those predictions above. He will be hitting sixth in the batting order behind Evan Gattis, so he will get some pitches to hit. His runs batted in should also increase more to what he did in 2013 with the Athletics. This spring, Lowrie had an impressive slash line of .325/ .372/ .550/ .922 with four doubles and a home run.

My prediction: .265/ 14 HR/ 67 RBI

Check out my Outfield Projections here.

Next: Third Base and Designated Hitter