Houston Astros State Of The Union For 2016

The Houston Astros were the worst team in the Major Leagues from 2011 - 2013, where they topped the 100 Loss barrier for each of those seasons, underwent an ownership change, and also moved from the tough NL Central to the AL West. Last year the Astros finally turned the corner with the 2nd Wild Card Spot, won that game in New York and took the KC Royals to the brink of elimination before they lost. They are young, have a core nucleus of team controllable superstars and exceptional depth that they can use for upgrades. It is a great time to be a 'Stros fan.

The Houston Astros were the worst team in the Major Leagues from 2011 – 2013, where they topped the 100 Loss barrier for each of those seasons, underwent an ownership change, and also moved from the tough NL Central to the AL West. Last year the Astros finally turned the corner with the 2nd Wild Card Spot, won that game in New York and took the KC Royals to the brink of elimination before they lost. They are young, have a core nucleus of team controllable superstars and exceptional depth that they can use for upgrades. It is a great time to be a ‘Stros fan.

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer/Part Owner) 

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The Houston Astros are set to contend for the foreseeable future.  A 6 year stretch in which they revamped their entire Minor League System – and kept payroll down to grab top Draft Picks finally reeled in the teams 1st playoff spot in a decade in 2016.

After taking a 6 – 2 lead in Game 4 of the ALDS series against the Royals with  2 – 1 lead the Bullpen coughed up the margin – with the club also losing the next game to the eventual World Series winner.

It was a tough lesson to learn in the postseason – but it may be the 1st of many appearances in October in the near future.

The #1 task of acquiring a lock down Closer has been addressed in the recent trade for Ken Giles.  Yes it cost them Brett Oberholtzer, former #1 overall Draft Pick Mark Appel, and a few other prospects, but it also sets up the nucleus core for 4 – 5 more years.

The clubs offense featured 11 guys with double digit Homers in the lineup, and 2 others that fell just a dinger shy of the clip.

Carlos Correa was the 1st overall pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft for the Houston Astros. He came up in early June and proceeded to win the American League Rookie Of The Year Award with a 3 Slash of .279/.345/.512 with 22 HRs (led all shortstops in the MLB) and 22 Doubles in just 99 Games. This type of production will change the complexion of the team for the next 6 years. He is just going to be 21 for all of next season - and he looks exactly like a young Alex Rodriguez. In his 1st postseason action, Correa smacked 2 HRs in that pivotal game 4 of the ALDS for Houston, staking them to a 6 - 2 lead before the Bullpen gave up the game.

Carlos Correa was the 1st overall pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft for the Houston Astros. He came up in early June and proceeded to win the American League Rookie Of The Year Award with a 3 Slash of .279/.345/.512 with 22 HRs (led all shortstops in the MLB) and 22 Doubles in just 99 Games. This type of production will change the complexion of the team for the next 6 years. He is just going to be 21 for all of next season – and he looks exactly like a young Alex Rodriguez. In his 1st postseason action, Correa smacked 2 HRs in that pivotal game 4 of the ALDS for Houston, staking them to a 6 – 2 lead before the Bullpen gave up the game.

2016 should be no different.  The lineup looks solid with full years from Carlos Correa, George Springer and 2 time 200 hit man Jose Altuve, who may be the most underrated player in the Major Leagues.

Both Springer and Correa should crack 30+ HRs.  Evan Gattis, Carlos Gomez, Luis Valbuena and Colby Rasmus also have 25+ HR power.

With the power does come a lot of Strikeouts too.  The team had 7 players top the century mark in whiffs during the 2015 season.

With this amount of depth – that includes a surplus of Preston Tucker, Jon Singleton, Marwin Gonzalez and Jake Marisnick on the Roster, the organization also have trade chips that may net them a nice Starting Pitcher should they go through the trade route.

Keep in mind that Carlos Gomez and Colby Rasmus will both be Free Agents after next year.  Houston can’t offer Rasmus another Qualifying Offer next winter – although they could with Gomez.

General Manager Jeff Luhnow also re-signed Tony Sipp to help set up Giles with Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek.

The Rotation is also in good standing with reigning Cy Young Dallas Keuchel – and 19 game winner Collin McHugh coming back in 2016. 

Mike Fiers (who threw a no-hitter in 2015) and Lance McCullers JR. will solidify the back end, with veteran Scott Feldman and Brad Peacock being in the mix for the last spot on the Starting Staff.

Heading into the coming year there are a few other players who will be Free Agents after the 2016 too that the franchise needs to address.  Luis Valbuena, Scott Feldman and Jason Castro could leave after next campaign.

This is where the organization needs to take from one strength to address another.  The squad could go with Preston Tucker and Marisnick to replace Gomez and Rasmus for 2017, but they have to assess if that will help them maintain being a contender for the playoffs in future years.

The Houston Astros finished second in the Majors with 230 HRs as a club in 2015, based on 11 guys with 10+ HRs - and 2 more players with 9. Houston will try to cut down on leading the American League with 1392 Strikeouts in 2015, that came from 7 different guys possessing over 100+ Strikeouts each. The squad also led the AL with SB in 121. As a sign of a complete team, Houston also led the AL in ERA for the year with a 3.57 clip.

The Houston Astros finished second in the Majors with 230 HRs as a club in 2015, based on 11 guys with 10+ HRs – and 2 more players with 9. Houston will try to cut down on leading the American League with 1392 Strikeouts in 2015, that came from 7 different guys possessing over 100+ Strikeouts each. The squad also led the AL with SB in 121. As a sign of a complete team, Houston also led the AL in ERA for the year with a 3.57 clip.

Jon Singleton is listed as the #1 player for the 1B position. He will have big power shoes to fill with the Astros having recently non-tendered Chris Carter.  Carter posted 90 HRs over the last 3 years for the Houston club as the predominant 1B.

Since whole Roster only averages 26.4 years of age in the coming year, there are a lot of Team Controllable Salaries.  Houston looks to be right around $90 MIL in payroll for the 2016 year.  This gives them the ability to spend another $25 – $35 MIL if they so wish to.

Jose Altuve is the most underrated player in the Major Leagues right now. The 2014 AL Batting Champion cracked 200 hits for the second consecutive season - and reeled in his 2nd straight Silver Slugger Award for 2B. The 5 FT 5 26 year old, also led the American League for the 2nd straight campaign in SB. The speedy player from Venezuela will make just $20.5 MIL over the next four years on a great valued extension that was signed before he really took off.

Jose Altuve is the most underrated player in the Major Leagues right now. The 2014 AL Batting Champion cracked 200 hits for the second consecutive season – and reeled in his 2nd straight Silver Slugger Award for 2B. The 5 FT 5 25-year-old, also led the American League for the 2nd straight campaign in SB. The speedy player from Venezuela will make just $20.5 MIL over the next four years on a great valued extension that was signed before he really took off.

The club still has 3 years left of Team Control on Keuchel and 4 on both McHugh and Altuve.  Houston also has control of Springer, Giles and Singleton for the next 5 years, while Correa and McCullers JR are not Free Agents until 2022.  The window to win will be for at least the next four seasons.

This was another great factor of the Giles trade.

Texas and Los Angeles are both aging rapidly with their Roster, and Seattle never seems to put it together.  The A’s are in the stages of a rebuild – and may not compete for the next couple of years.

Houston is lucky enough to broken free from the NL Central, where the Cubs, Cards and Bucs all had the best 3 teams in the Majors during the 2015 year.  The Astros are fortunate to have moved over to a more winnable AL West.

The sky is the limit with this club.  Having ALL – Star, Silver Sluggers up the middle with Altuve and Correa for at least the next four years is an advantage over the other clubs.  Springer’s ascent should also help the club up the ranks.

It makes all the suffering the fans endured for the 6 years prior worth it if they can cash in on their club for the next half a dozen years.

Luhnow’s job will be too keep upgrading the Roster towards making pushes for long playoff runs.

Dallas Keuchel was the best pitcher in the American League for 2015. He won the Cy Young by posting a league leading 20 Wins. 232 Innings and and worked to a 1.017 WHIP. The brilliant LHP is under team control for the next 3 years in Arbitration. The 28 Year old also finished 5th in MVP Voting, made the ALL - Star Game and reeled in his 2nd straight Gold Glove from the Pitcher Position. His 2.48 ERA was 2nd in the AL to David Price, and he led the Majors in WAR (7.2)

Dallas Keuchel was the best pitcher in the American League for 2015. He won the Cy Young by posting a league leading 20 Wins. 232 Innings and and worked to a 1.017 WHIP. The brilliant LHP is under team control for the next 3 years in Arbitration. The 28 Year old also finished 5th in MVP Voting, made the ALL – Star Game and reeled in his 2nd straight Gold Glove from the Pitcher Position. His 2.48 ERA was 2nd in the AL to David Price, and he led the Majors in WAR (7.2)

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A Big thanks goes out to our chief writer Hunter Stokes for preparing today’s feature post.

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Posted on December 19, 2015, in MLB Teams State Of The Unions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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