FanGraphs recently did a recap of the 2021 Houston Astros where Paul Sporer reviewed numbers for the Astros and made fantasy projections for 2022, some of which I agreed with and some of which I thought were less likely to happen or downright wrong.
My review of the Astros 2021 review by FanGraphs is below:
Best Buy: Ryan Pressly
His Take: Pressly will have at least 30 saves
My take: Surprised by Pressly only having 26 saves last season, Sporer expects a higher number this season and this seems on point to me. Pressly was 26-for-28 on save opportunities, but of the 14 “tough” save opportunities Astros relievers attempted Pressly had zero.
That means opportunities were available and if healthy there’s a good chance Pressly’s opportunities increase this season, perhaps up to 35.
On the Rise: Yordan Alvarez
His take: .270/30 HR/ 90 RBI, potential triple crown contender
My take: I’m one of Alvarez’s bigger fans and agree with the writer’s assessment that Alvarez “feels like” a .270, 30 homer, 90 RBI player and would even say he’s selling Alvarez a bit short, given that Alvarez came in at .279, 30 home runs and 104 RBI in 2021.
If he’s “on the rise”, shouldn’t his numbers exceed last season? That said, placing Alvarez’s upside as a Triple Crown Contender seems a bit unrealistic, too, as Alvarez wasn’t particularly close in any of the three categories in 2021.
Off the Radar: Cristian Javier
His take: Probably becomes a starter at some point
My take: I’ve beat the drum repeatedly that Javier belongs in the rotation as opposed to the bullpen and I think Javier’s 2021 numbers bear that out.
I largely agree with the writer that with Justin Verlander coming off Tommy John surgery and Lance McCullers Jr. injury history, along with other Astros pitcher’s maladies means Javier will see time in the rotation in 2022. The question is when and for how long.
His take: Alex Bregman will steal 11 bases
My take: I wholeheartedly disagree, for multiple reasons, with Alex Bregman stealing 11 bases. It’s a hot take, so I’m not crucifying the guy for taking a shot, but Bregman missed a good chunk of 2021 with a quad injury. Imagine Bregman injuring himself trying to steal a base in, say, May.
Then there’s the fact that manager Dusty Baker doesn’t send his runners, having only attempted 69 stolen bases as a team last season. Thirty-one of those were either Myles Straw or Kyle Tucker and there’s nothing to gain and a whole lot to lose.
In the writer’s defense, Bregman’s 78% career success rate means he may need as few as 14 attempts to get to the number, but given the risk/reward I would place a heavy lean on no.
ICYMI – Chas McCormick
His take: 20 home run potential
My take: I’m the biggest McCormick fan outside of Mr. and Mrs. McCormick, but couching McCormick’s 320 plate appearances as “hinting at full-season potential around 20 HR” is perhaps a bit of lazy analysis.
Ten of McCormick’s fourteen home runs came before the All-Star break, with only 4 post-All Star break home runs in 144 at-bats and McCormick’s slugging went from .514 pre to .382 post-All Star game.
Though Jake Meyers is out for an unknown time frame, I don’t see McCormick playing enough to hit 20 home runs, even if we see the first half power of 2021. Remember, Jose Siri with ill-experience, made several postseason starts over McCormick, much to my chagrin.
I would be happy to be wrong on this one, but lest we forget it took Chas 968 minor league at bats to hit 20 home runs.