5 Reasons The Astros Remain a World Series Contender

While they've performed somewhat below expectations, the Astros still are a World Series favorite. Let's look at five reasons why.
Houston Astros v Miami Marlins
Houston Astros v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
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Yainer Diaz
Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles / Rob Carr/GettyImages

#5 Yainer Diaz has broken out

The Astros are 38-24 in games started by Yainer Diaz, a 99-win pace. Assuming his manager plays him, Diaz gives the Astros a great chance of winning a World Series. The rookie is hitting .273 with an .811 OPS this year. When he catches, Diaz is hitting .331 with an 1.012 OPS.

Astros pitchers have performed markedly better with Diaz behind the plate than Maldonado, and while Maldy will always catch Framber and JV, Diaz' success behind the dish means Maldonado can be pinch hit for.

Though its been a limited sample size, Diaz also has played first base three times. The Astros would be wise to get Diaz some reps while Abreu rehabs to see if he could feasibly handle first base if Abreu continues to struggle at the plate.

Though he should be an everyday starter, if Dusty remains (indefensibly) reluctant to play Yainer every day, he at worst provides bench depth the Astros sorely lacked last year en route to a title.