- 2014 Finish: 70-92, 4th in AL West
- 2015 Key to Success: George Springer taking the next step
The Houston Astros at this moment are perhaps the most under-appreciated team in baseball.
Granted, the design drawn up by general manager Jeff Luhnow and assistant David Stearns is a long, drawn out process which leads to less relevance. Unlike the big market club, like Boston who can reload in the matter of months, Houston is forced to take the five-plus year approach.
For this long approach to work, Houston’s top guy needs to take that next step in his progression.
His name is George Springer and he needs to become a better all-around player.
During his first big league campaign, Springer smashed 20 HR in only 295 at bats (AB). The problem with his rookie season was the fact that the home run was basically the production one can point to on his stat-line. His .231 BA and insane 114 strikeouts were signs of much struggle.
He’ll have to increase his patience and start spraying the ball.
Witnessing Springer develop will mean so much for this deep talent pool across all levels of the organization.
Another guy to watch out for will be Collin McHugh who stepped up in a major way last season – 2.73 ERA and 157 K in just 154.2 IP.
Be aware of the arms of Carlos Correa and Mark Appel at some point in 2015. They’ll both need to bounce back after disappointing 2014 campaigns.
Nobody should count them out in 2015 for this is baseball and crazy things happen in baseball.
For Houston to contend Springer will need to near the 30 HR mark and cut down on the strikeouts; Mchugh will have to anchor an improved starting staff; Jose Altuve will of course need to duplicate his incredible 2014 that saw him lead the league in hits with 225; and a few early season call-ups need to shake the landscape of baseball.
Next: Seattle Mariners