The Astros have forged an identity in the big leagues as an offensive powerhouse team.
They will smash large numbers of home runs and will finish around the top in runs scored. In 2017 though, the Houston Astros could be the best offensive club in baseball.
On paper, the 2017 line up Houston will have may shape up to be one of the best in club history. Not many teams in the Majors have the amount of star power that A.J. Hinch will have. Every player in the Astros line-up from 1 to 9 can harm you.
Some of the other teams that look to be loaded offensively are the Red Sox, Cubs, Orioles, and the Indians. The Blue Jays always play with a lot of fireworks, although losing Edwin Encarnacion won’t help them much. All these teams contain star power throughout their lineups. The Orioles and Blue Jays also hit a ton of home runs as a part of their game. What sets the Stros apart from these teams is the depth of their line-up and ability to make changes for favorable match-ups.
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The Astros made some big moves this off-season in attempts to strengthen what used to be weaknesses. Adding Left-handed bats Brian McCann, Josh Reddick, and Nori Aoki addressed the problem of the right-handed heavy lineup. Switch Hitter Carlos Beltran will add thump and match ability to the line-up, and if he manages to produce the 29 home runs he hit in 2016 again in 2017, he will play a very big role. These moves also added players that will strike out less, and get on base more. This is something the Stros did not have a lot of in 2016, other than of course Jose Altuve.
Alex Bregman seems to have the makings of a superstar, and Teoscar Hernandez and Tyler White showed potential flashes of offensive prowess. Big time prospect A.J. Reed struggled in 2016, but a bounce back year from him would be a great luxury for Houston. Reed could also make good trade bait in getting the starting pitcher the team needs.
Aoki is a transaction that Houston made early in the offseason that didn’t have the pizazz of acquiring Reddick or Beltran. But he is a player that I think will end up being valuable. A career .286 hitter, the lefty does not strike out much, striking out only 45 times last season, and he is the perfect guy to hit in the nine spot on days when the Stros face right-handed pitching.
He has enough speed to wreck a bit of havoc for pitchers, and that can lead to them losing focus on the strong hitters that hit in the top of the Astros Lineup. Look for Aoki to play a big role.
All in all, The Astros will be a very fun team to watch. They’re going to score a lot of runs, they are going to hit a lot of long shots, and the train at Minute Maid Park is going to stay busy. So sit back, relax, and watch the show unfold.
***Statistic courtesy of baseballreference.com***