The Astros have a more grizzled veteran look coming into 2017.
One day away from something Houston Astros fans have waited for since last October, opening day 2017. It’s a day that all Astros fans come together and merge upon Minute Maid Park and root for the Astros. With the expectation from the offseason moves and Sports Illustrated anointing them the 2017 World Series Champs, excitement is at an all-time high. Part of the excitement stems from the young core of four players.
The Astros have added some veteran players this offseason with Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Josh Reddick, and Nori Aoki. With Beltran being the outlier, the average age of the team increased. Don’t forget that we also have the 32-year-old rookie Yulieski Gurriel who should stabilize first base. With age comes the experience of acting like you have done this before.
You might have heard the term ‘grizzled veteran’ many times when talking about a veteran player. The Houston Astros have many players that fit the part in Evan Gattis, McCann, and Dallas Keuchel. Sometimes teachers, like myself, who have baby faces grow beards to look older. When you shave the beard, other teachers start asking for your hall pass or tell you that you can’t go into the teacher’s lounge.
Earlier, I mentioned the young group of four core players on this team. Some people have started referring to this quartet as the ABC’s, trying to bring back the Killer B’s phenomenon of the 2000’s. In order of the Houston batting order, the players are George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa. These players are all young and normally clean shaven, but not this year. At least three of them aren’t.
According to Brian McTaggart, the Houston Astros are the 14th youngest teams, via ESPN. The average age of the Astros is 28.6. The only two rookies this year on the opening day roster is Jandel Gustave and Gurriel. With this is mind, it seems that Altuve, Correa, and Springer are sporting facial hair this year. Bregman has shaved his facial hair off.
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Beltran sported a bleached beard during the World Baseball Classic for team Puerto Rico. Thankfully, he shaved it upon returning to the team in Florida. But look at this Tweet, all four were sporting beards at one point this Spring.
Unless they shave before first pitch, this could be a grizzled bunch of players on this team. Regarding experience, 23 of the 25 are not considered rookies anymore. Bregman and Joe Musgrove lost their rookie status last year. We all know that Gurriel is not a rookie, he had the exact number of at-bats to classify still (130).
There will be some groaning if he wins the rookie of the year award this year. If that happens, the Astros are in great shape. With the added veteran presence this year, you can’t help but get excited about this team. Tomorrow is the big day. The beards are coming.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***