Opening Day is upon us. A year we weren’t sure was going to be played in full, if it even happened at all, is now about to begin and the Houston Astros are set to embark on their 61st season as a franchise.
The Astros are still the American League West favorites heading into the 2022 season.
The biggest question facing the Astros this off-season was answered as Carlos Correa, one of the best and most clutch performers in franchise history, made a stunning choice to sign with the Minnesota Twins.
It is undoubtedly a big loss and arguably the biggest loss of all their recent franchise departures — George Springer, Gerrit Cole, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, etc. — considering not just Correa’s talent but his impact on the clubhouse.
The plus side is that after two years of missing future hall of fame ace Justin Verlander, the Astros re-signed him and he has looked every bit himself. He didn’t yield a run until his final inning of Spring Training against the Washington Nationals when he gave a up a bases loaded single with no outs that scored two runs.
He then proceeded to strike out one of the best hitters in the game in Juan Soto, got ageless wonder and power threat Nelson Cruz to fly out and then struck out power hitter Josh Bell. Verlander leaves spring training with a 1.32 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 15 strikeouts vs. four walks in 13.2 innings pitched. You can’t ask for much more than that.
So now that we know that the roster for the 2022 season is set, let’s look at what the biggest strengths for the team are heading into the year.