Houston Astros: Which AL Contenders Most Improved Team?
By Eric Huysman
#2 Houston Astros
Aug 2, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez (30) gets a two RBI hit against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Kazmir: 6-5/ 2.10 ERA/109 SO in 124 1/3 innings.
Mike Fiers: 5-9/ 3.89 ERA/ 121 SO in 118 innings.
Carlos Gomez: .263/ 8 HR/ 45 RBI/ 8 SB.
The Astros are the surprise team in baseball this year, as they have the third-best record in the American League next to the Yankees and Royals. The Astros could have gone the way of the Twins, and not really trade any of their top prospects for 2015. However, Jeff Luhnow and Jim Crane made a commitment to play for the playoffs in 2015 instead of continuing the Process.
The Astros have the best team with the most holes on the roster, their needs included flame-throwing reliever, first baseman, an outfielder in case Springer takes longer to heal, and maybe a starting pitcher or two.
The Astros added two arms to an already good rotation in Kazmir and Fiers. When looking at Fiers’ stats, keep in mind that he has played for a losing team this year, so he has lost because the other teams held their hitters. What Fiers does offer is strikeouts, averaging a little more than a strikeout per innings pitched. Kazmir may not be as exciting as Randy Johnson was, but he has shown dominance in his two starts with the Astros. Gomez offers his skills of a five-tool player, who is struggling a little in 2015.
July 23th before the first trade: 81.9% chance of making the playoffs.
August 1st after the trade: 93.2% chance of making the playoffs.
Next: #1 Toronto Blue Jays