So are the Astros in Trouble?
Not at all.
The biggest question mark coming into the year was Peña, who has absolutely lived up to the hype bring in the 98th percentile of Outs Above Average. Meanwhile, the guy he replaced has a .659 in Minnesota.
With the biggest question mark out of the way, who can stop the Astros? I will admit that a lot of the bats are cold, but they are slowly coming alive, and will get warm as the weather does the same.
When Altuve returns, I expect the team averages to go up. The only problem I see in the hitting department is with the catchers. Jason Castro is hitting .045 in the batting average department, while Martin Maldonado has only managed .089.
In what Maldonado lacks at the plate, he makes up for behind it. However, you cannot have two catchers that both cannot hit. One of them needs to be replaced for someone who can at least average something above .100. I do not know if the answer would come from prospect Korey Lee, or from a trade, but this issue needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
In terms of pitching, most of the rotation and bullpen has been solid, with the exception of Jose Urquidy who has a 5.95 ERA and Jake Odorizzi with a 6.00 ERA. However, Odorizzi had a great performance in his most recent start, throwing six innings and only giving up a singular hit.
I am very excited for his next start to see if he really figured it out. If he did, that could be a complete game changer for the club. Astros fans also forget that McCullers could be back in over a month.
If he and Verlander can stay healthy, the Astros will have one of the best rotations in baseball come October. However, this has too many “what-ifs”, and I think it is imperative that the Astros trade for a solid starting pitcher to solidify the rotation.
With Chas McCormick and Jose Siri both playing well in centerfield, I expect one to be dealt before the deadline, either for a starter or a catcher. If the starting rotation and the catcher hitting departments can be dealt with, the Astros will be a powerhouse to contend for the World Series this year and will continue the incredible dynasty they have already dealt.
The Astros are not in trouble, but the rest of the league will be if they can fix these minor issues.