Going into the month of July, the Houston Astros find themselves five games back of the Texas Rangers in the American League West. They have underperformed their run differential a little bit, but overall they have been a very good team that just so happens to be in a division with another team that has just played extremely well in 2023 in the Rangers.
Not everything has gone to plan for the Astros, though. Yordan Alvarez's oblique injury has loomed large for an offense that has been decidedly middling this season. Other guys like Lance McCullers Jr., Jose Urquidy, and Luis Garcia have also been out with injuries of their own. There have also been other Astros that have underperformed expectations, but every team has at least a couple of those guys each year.
However, given the competition Houston has in the division from the Rangers and the lurking and motivated Angels, the Astros don't have a ton of time to start putting things together. In an ideal world, they will be able to make some additions at the trade deadline that provide the roster a big boost. Even if that does happen, Houston still needs a few guys that are definitely sticking around to improve.
Here are the Astros players that need to step up before its too late
It would be easy to identify the worst performing Astros and just point at them and say "these guys need to better", but there is more nuance to Houston's situation than that. Some of those type of guys are on this list to be sure. There are also guys that have been fine, but that Houston needs to take that next step to be realistic contenders to defend their World Series title.
Without further delay, here are the Astros that need to step up really soon.