Could the Astros be a threat to themselves?
Answer? Absolutely. Besides the AL contenders, the Astros themselves could be their own worst enemy. To repeat as AL champions not only do you have to beat the teams you face, you have to keep your team intact. Let’s look at a few things that could possibly hinder the Astros hopes this season.
Without a doubt, I believe the Astros are the deepest team in the major leagues but 162 games over six months make for a very long season. The injury bug has already reared its ugly head with Yuli Gurriel being placed on the 10-day DL and Carlos Correa’s nagging big toe injury. Those are minor things and hasn’t affected the team. You can never overlook health and fatigue. Ever. That’s why the Astros proved to keep their roster intact. Rest will play a key factor down the stretch.
Threat Level: 5
They all have them. Individual slumps happen all over the MLB. Josh Reddick’s “slump” lasted all of two games. Dallas Keuchel isn’t having the hot start he’s looking for after two games either. Piggybacking off the last paragraph, slumps don’t really affect a deep lineup as they do with a team built around a star player. AJ Hinch, the magician that he is constantly tinkering the lineup to his liking and will find ways to manufacture runs. Slumps don’t become an issue until more than one player has them during a stretch.
Threat Level: 2
The Hector Rondon and Joe Smith signings have proved worthy thus far. Brad Peacock is also lights out in 3 games going 5.0 IP posting a 0.00 ERA. But ten games in and a +22 run differential doesn’t really test the bullpen. Our own Eric Huysman doesn’t think there is a Ken Giles situation. I continue to think that the bullpen will need some more stability.
Ten games in aren’t enough sample size yet to see what this unit is capable of in 2018. I still think the Astros need stability and a “go-to” closer role. With that being said, I don’t think the Astros will let the bullpen be the Achilles heel in their postseason run this year. They will address any needs come trade deadline. So right now, as it stands, I think the threat level of this unit is high considering this may be the only real threat to the Astros down the stretch.
Threat Level: 7
It’s very early in the season, but we’ve scratched the surface. It’s good to look at the obstacles that could stand in the Astros way this season.
***Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs, and MLB.com***