Ken Giles, Doug Fister
Scott Kazmir, Chris Carter, Oliver Perez, Chad Qualls
The Astros did what all of the teams that want to announce they are contending do, they overpaid for a high quality reliever. Giles has the stuff to be extremely dominant in the closer role, but they did send a hefty price from their farm system. With that is the statement that they feel they do not need the system and can win right away. In losing Kazmir and gaining Fister it could be seen as a wash, and adding Giles over two lower quality relievers is probably a win. The Astros are a young team and should be looking at their progression as the biggest addition this year.
Projected Playoff Lineup
- Jose Altuve
- George Springer
- Carlos Correa
- Colby Rasmus
- Carlos Gomez
- Preston Tucker/Jake Marisnick
- Luis Valbuena/Matt Duffy
- Tyler White/AJ Reed
- Jason Castro/Erik Kratz
The top of the Astros lineup is probably the greatest combination of speed,power, and youth in the league. All three have 20/20 potential and all boasted an OBP over .340. Springer has the biggest power potential, but is prone to some strikeouts. However, he dealt with injury last year and still hit .276 with 16 home runs in 102 games, so the hope is a full season of health equals better production. Correa came out as one of the better hitters in the game in his 21 year old debut season. His ceiling seems to be as a high as any player in the league, and when you have two other strong teammates to build around him with it is going to be a problem for years. Rasmus also has power upside behind the trio adding 25 last year, as did Valbuena. The Astros do a solid job of stacking their lineup platoon wise at the bottom, and they should be able to get the most out of their depth in that regard. The key piece that would put it all together is Gomez. Gomez was just last year considered one of the ten best outfielders in the game. He dealt with injury last year, was traded and hit only .242 in 41 games in Houston. Gomez is 30 so a bounce back isn’t warranted, but he could easily find a medium as he hit .284 the two years prior. He has speed and still has decent defense, and it gives the Astros a strong core top to bottom.
McCullers will start the season on the DL, but the Astros do some depth established behind him. Scott Feldman and Wandy Rodriguez are both on the roster, and Feldman will probably spend a decent portion of the season making starts to keep the total distribution of innings for this team down. If McCullers can come back and progress he should be a perfect compliment to the CY Young Keuchel, and McHugh who had a really strong 2015. The depth, as well as the strength of Fister and Fiers to hold down the back end gives little to refute that the Astros should be able to get some decent pitching this year.
As mentioned, the addition of Giles really strengthens the pen. Luke Gregerson, as well as Tony Sipp and Pat Neshek already gave the Astros a decent back end, but now are talking about the potential to have a complete shutdown pen. They have strong potential for middle relief, and guys like Fister, Rodriguez and Feldman can fill some time as well and it gives little to hate about the Astros overall right now.
The Astros are in prime position to make a run at this thing. The emergence of youth with guys like Springer and Correa give them a core that will compete for years, and last year they got their first taste of the playoffs. They added a bit and with a better looking pen, and a deeper rotation it is tough to see this team losing grip of the division in the way that they did last year. You can find some decent odds for them to make a run at the World Series and I see 16:1 odds as worth making a bit of an investment in, as one of my three World Series future picks.
1st in the AL West
+1600 to win the World Series