The offense should return
The Astros bats were very inconsistent to the last year, and they seemed possessed by the ghost of Bill Bergen (look him up). The Astros were snake bit with injuries and individual slumps all season which really seemed to affect the offensive output.
MVP runner-up Alex Bregman was injured down the stretch, Jose Altuve had a 2020 to forget, Yuli Gurriel slumped hard at the end, and Carlos Correa was fading badly at the plate until the playoffs came around. Oh, and AL Rookie of the Year Yordan Alvarez only played 2 games. In short, four of the teams best players had down years and their best hitter missed the entire season.
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Those five players combined for only 6.7 Wins Above Replacement (adjusted for a full 162-game season) in 2020, opposed to the amazing 24.1 Wins Above Replacement those players generated in 2019. That’s a 17-game win differential.
The Astros were a .500 team in 2021 with those five players struggling. If those guys return to 2019-levels, Houston will likely have the best offense in baseball. And they’d be an easy 90+win, maybe even a 100-win team. I’m banking those players will be closer to their 2019 performance than their 2020 performance.
The big question obviously is how Houston can replace George Springer. Carlos Correa or Jose Altuve might be options for the leadoff position, as could Myles Straw, who will get the first crack at replacing Springer in center field. Keep an eye on if minor leaguers Steven Souza Jr., Chas McCormick or Pedro Leon earn some ABs throughout the season. If one of those players can pop with opportunities at the plate, then the Astros could really be cooking on offense.
I think the Astros will finish with a 92-70 record and win back the AL West. There is just too much motivated talent on this team for Houston to sink back to .500 baseball. Expect a solid revenge tour from the boys in orange.