Astros: Five things the team did well in 2018

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CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros celebrates with teammates in the dugout after scoring a run in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros celebrates with teammates in the dugout after scoring a run in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field on October 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 17: Tony Kemp #18 of the Houston Astros celebrates with Marwin Gonzalez #9 in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 17, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Help from unexpected places

The test for a quality franchise isn’t exclusively the performance of its stars, but sometimes the help received from unexpected places. Let’s face it as every team is going to rely upon its depth sooner or later. The Astros were no different as Tony Kemp, Tyler White, Framber Valdez, Josh James, and others made a notable impact on the roster. Here is how the four that I had previously mentioned and how they performed by Wins Above Replacement (FanGraphs and Baseball Reference).

  • Tony Kemp: 0.9 fWAR/1.0 bWAR

  • Tyler White: 1.5 fWAR/1.6 bWAR

  • Framber Valdez: 0.1 fWAR/1.1 bWAR

  • Josh James: 0.4 fWAR/0.7 bWAR

Kemp and White filled in admirably during the regular season and postseason for Houston. Due to the injuries to Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and George Springer, the duo provided a spark in a lineup that needed it. If you’d require further proof, check out the Astros’ lineup during late July into early August. Trust me, their contributions were needed.

Thanks to McCullers and Morton suddenly finding themselves on the shelf with various arm ailments, James and Valdez were called upon to start. Both players were able to pitch well late in the season, and provided Houston a chance to regain its health. James, in the postseason, demonstrated what he is capable of when given an opportunity.

Like the Cardinals, the Astros long-term hope hinges on the quality depth produced by the minor league system. Thanks to a wave of reinforcements, Houston was able to hold off the A’s and Mariners for the AL West title. Without these guys, I am not sure that a division title would’ve happened.

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