Fast Forward to 2017
Jump to the next calendar year, and the Astros are in much better shape in terms of the win-loss column.
Compared to last season when it took the team till May 3rd to achieve victory number nine, this year’s rendition is already 9-5 as of last night. Before the loss by the hands of the Angels on Tuesday, the Astros were in fact having one of their best starts in recent years.
Regardless of the results last night, the Astros have looked much better as a cohesive unit this season than they did the year before.
For example, Keuchel (.181 wOBA allowed) has closely resembled the ace that we remember from 2015. While McHugh has not pitched a major league inning this season, the rotation is relatively stable. The addition of Charlie Morton has been especially helpful.
The offense, despite its slow start, has managed to put itself within the top four units in baseball in terms of wRC+ (114). A lot of that success can be attributed to George Springer, but the rest of the lineup is starting to come around. Sure, the pitching staff carried the load for the first week or ten days of the season. But the offense is now starting to carry its weight.
And the bullpen, minus a miscue here and there, has been solid. A huge part of that success, though, has been the emergence of Chris Devenski. You may have heard of him by now as he has struck out 21 of the 38 batters he has faced this season.
As you, the valued reader, know by now, the season is never decided by mid-April. There is much baseball left to be played. Anything can, or will, happen. But the chances of postseason glory is better if you start the season strong. The Astros didn’t last year and they paid dearly. But if the team can maintain a solid start to the season then their 85.8% chance of making the postseason entering Tuesday will likely increase. We couldn’t express that same level of confidence around this time last year.
**Statistics and information courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Reference**