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Astros: Five bold predictions for position players in 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: Carlos Correa #1 and Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros celebrate their teams 8-1 win against the Washington Nationals in Game Four of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park on October 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: Carlos Correa #1 and Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros celebrate their teams 8-1 win against the Washington Nationals in Game Four of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park on October 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /
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Here are five bold predictions for Astros position players in 2020.

Now that it’s finally time to focus on the 2020 season, we all know it’s World Series or bust for the Astros. In the wake of the sign stealing scandal and all the self-righteous, hollow indignation coming from opposing fans and players, it’s refreshing to be focusing on baseball again.

With that in mind, I’ve come up with five bold predictions for Astros position players in 2020. Some will be things we want to happen and some won’t, and some will be bolder than others. But I have a hunch all these things will take place in the upcoming season, so buckle in and enjoy the ride.

Jose Altuve Will Win the Batting Title

Maybe this isn’t so bold considering Altuve already has three batting titles under his belt. But with good health, I think he’s motivated enough (and certainly talented enough) to pull off a fourth. He might even put up MVP-caliber numbers again, though even if his numbers say he should win in a landslide, he won’t. He’ll have almost zero support from writers outside Houston.

Carlos Correa Will Hit 35 Home Runs

Correa’s career-high is 24, so I’m expecting him to beat that handily. There’s no doubt he has the talent to do it, it’s all been a matter of staying healthy. I think this is the year he plays in 140-plus games and finally puts it together, and I think he’ll end up hitting right behind Alex Bregman in the lineup as the season progresses.

Yuli Gurriel Will Regress on Offense

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Gurriel put together a career year in 2019, popping 31 homers to go with 40 doubles and 104 RBIs. But he will turn 36 in June and can’t keep up that level of production forever. I think he’ll probably hit 20 homers with 30-plus doubles and a solid batting average, but that’s more along the lines of what he put up in 2017 and 2018.

Josh Reddick and Kyle Tucker Will Both Hit Well

Reddick hit .352 through April last season, put up respectable numbers in May and June, and then cratered in July and August. Some of that may have been attributable to a banged up shoulder that he dealt with all season and had surgery on in the offseason. In the final year of his contract, I expect Reddick will hit well enough to warrant significant playing time.

His main competition will be Tucker, who put up an .857 OPS in 22 games in 2019. Tucker will display more power than Reddick, though Reddick is the better defender and may hit for a better average. I think they’ll both push each other all season, with neither one gaining a significant upper hand on the playing time in right field.

Yordan Alvarez Will Have a First Half Sophomore Slump

Alvarez was sensational as a rookie, but he went through some struggles in the postseason as opposing pitchers adjusted to him. I think that’ll carry over to start the season before he re-adjusts and looks more like himself in the second half. Most young players will go through some growing pains, but I think Alvarez will come out of it just fine.

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