12. Will Harris makes the All-Star team.
Harris became one of the most reliable relievers in the game in the first half of the season. He was selected to the AL All-Star team as a non-closer, which occasionally happens. He ended up being the Astros closer, before yielding that position to Ken Giles. In Harris’ first 39 innings in the first half, he had a 1.62 ERA with 39 strikeouts and nine saves. While the bullpen struggled, he was the guy in the first half.
He faced one batter in the All-Star game, striking out that hitter. However, once he was officially named the closer, his performance took a big hit. The once lights out reliever looked out of place and struggled. His second half stats showed this trend with a 0-1 record with a 3.27 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 25 innings. His walks increased from six to nine in the second half.
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11. Yulieski Gurriel signing by Andrew Stapp.
Gurriel debuted for the Astros on August 21 after speeding his way through the minor leagues. Everybody knew Gurriel could handle a bat very well. He has not fallen short of expectations for fans despite being out of baseball for an extended period before signing with the Astros.
This was the first point of criticism from the opposition to the Gurriel signing. People also noted that Gurriel was already 32-years-old. After seeing how he performed last season, however, the critics have gone away as Gurriel proved he still had major abilities with his bat. Gurriel never truly hit a low point with his bat and consistently came through with hits.
What surprised many was his versatility in the field. Everybody knew he was capable of this, however. The part that arguably came as a shocker to fans was Gurriel’s abilities with his glove. Many expected him to play DH and maybe make spot starts at first base. This was not the case. Gurriel was shifted all over from first to third to even left field. His glove became even more valuable with the injury to Marwin Gonzales.
The future for the Astros is looking bright and Yulieski Gurriel is a major reason why.