Mar. 10, 2017
The Astros are the Bright Spot in the AL West
Going into the 2017 season, things on paper look extremely promising for the Houston Astros especially after the additions that they made to their team early on this offseason. Not only did Houston attempt to add more depth to it's starting rotation with Charlie Morton, they also locked up free agents, Carlos Beltran and Josh Reddick, and made a trade for former Yankees catcher, Brian McCann.
I won't go into depth about how the Astros catching tandum look like twin brothers, but in all seriousness, it would appear that all things in the AL West during the 2017 will run through Houston as long as everything goes according to plan and the club's key players stay healthy the entire year.
As it stands right now, one of the biggest bright spots on Houston's roster can be found up the middle in second baseman, Jose Altuve, and shortstop, Carlos Correa. In fact, you could make a case that both Correa and Altuve are one of the best, if not the best, middle infield combos in the entire league. Both players have great defensive instincts, the ability to make flashy plays, and you can't go wrong with the offense that either one provides either.
Another really bright spot for Houston heading into this season is in their budding outfielder, George Springer. Springer played in rightfield last season, but has since switched over to centerfield as he has the range to cover all of that ground and a stellar arm. Last season, Springer finished the year with 168 hits, 29 home runs, 82 RBI, along with a .815 OPS and looks to do the same this season.
Beyond those bright spots, another thing that Houston boasts over their rival competitors is depth. Going into this season, the team's motto should be: depth, depth, depth! Looking at their team on paper, it is amazing how many different options the Astros have at every position around the diamond and out in the outfield as well as in the bullpen.
Not only does that depth give AJ Hinch & Company plenty of different options everyday, it allows the team to use various players at different times in an effort to make a deep postseason run should they get there.
If you were to find one weak spot, which it's a minor one, it would be in the starting rotation. Many around baseball are panicking simply because they feel as though Houston doesn't have enough starting pitching depth, but the fact is that if, Dallas Kechuel, can return to his form from just two years ago and, Lance McCullers, steps up and provides a big boost to the middle of the rotation, Houston has a rotation that could go up against anyone.
Besides Keuchel and McCullers, the Astros also have Collin McHugh, the aforementioned Charlie Morton, Mike Fiers, Jake Musgrove, and Brad Peacock meaning that there are plenty of options to help get them through the season.
Hopefully with the right blend of young, athletic players and veterans, who can provide an unmatched level of leadership, Houston has a successful 2017. It certainly looks like they are the bright spot in the AL West on paper, now they just have to go out and prove it.
Who knows, maybe 2017 is the year that not only brings postseason baseball back to the city of Houston, but rewards Astros fans with a trip to the World Series.