Houston Astros Hitters: 2015 Team Preview

Jul 12, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros right fielder George Springer (4) rounds second base during the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

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The Houston Astros have revamped their lineup when they acquired Luis Valbuena and Evan Gattis.  Now, the Astros have a pretty powered lineup with four hitters who have the chance to exceed 30 bombs this season.

Also, it seems like the Opening Day lineup is still in flux, but I believe that Jon Singleton will start at 1B, Chris Carter will DH, and Evan Gattis, Colby Rasmus, and George Springer will man the outfield.  As a result, I think we see big power numbers from all five hitters.  However, the Astros have a tough lineup to pin down with a lot of risky options and positional battles.

It seems like Jose Altuve has appeared in more of my articles than any other player because he offered such an interesting profile in 2014.  He finished as the top player on ESPN’s Player Rater, but I felt that he was more like a top 15 player this past season.  I currently believe that Jose Altuve should not be drafted earlier than the end of the second round, which means he will not be on my teams.

On the other hand, George Springer is a very great fantasy prospect even if he swings and misses more than any other player.  Some people may be concerned about his 33% K% or his Z-Contact% of 68.4%, which would have been the worst in the league by 5.5% behind B.J. Upton.  Z-Contact% is the percent of time that a batter makes contact with a ball in the strike zone when they swing.

While Springer’s plate discipline is concerning, his fantasy prospects should not totally affected by his whiffs, especially in OPS leagues.  I have George Springer as a top 50 fantasy option in 2015 because I see him going 30-20.  Again, here is a reference to his insane 59-game stretch as a rookie.

Like George Springer, the Astros are loaded with big power, big strikeout guys.  George Springer, Colby Rasmus, Chris Carter, and Jon Singleton will all likely strikeout over 30% of the time.  The Astros are a virtual lock to lead MLB in strikeouts, which means that it would be a great idea to start a fantasy pitcher against them.

Chris Carter should lead the team with about 35 homers, but the other sluggers should not trail that far behind.  Look for Jon Singleton to hit just above the Mendoza line, but crush 25 to 30 HR if he gets daily starts at 1B.

Tanner Bell of Smart Fantasy Baseball has created all of the projections seen in this post.  You can read about how he develops his projections here.  His projections are invaluable to this site.  You can also visit his site at www.smartfantasybaseball.com.