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Predicting Astros Lineup and Rotation


With each and every Astro now in Kissimmee (for the last time), baseball is officially back.

Sure, the real games don’t start until April, but the next month will be huge in providing clarity for a team Vegas has as the favorite to win the American League pennant.

The top of the order and rotation are both fairly set in stone, but it’s the rest of the roster that has some shaking up to do.

Let’s take a pre-Spring Training look at a viable lineup and rotation for your Astros come April 4th at Yankee Stadium.

Courtesy of USA Today

Carlos Correa- Courtesy of USA Today

Projected Lineup:

  1. Altuve– Best on-base man on the team. Silver-slugger at 2nd base. Will set the tone every game
  2.  SpringerРLooking forward to a full year from Springer. Has 30/20 potential
  3. Correa– 2015’s AL Rookie of the Year. Superstar. Like Springer, has power/speed combination
  4. Rasmus– Lefty free-swinger to break up the string of three-straight righties to start
  5. Gomez– The prize of Luhnow’s acquisitions last year. Last solid on-base guy in the lineup
  6. Gattis– Right-handed masher. Gloves not needed
  7. Tucker– I think he wins the 1B battle out of camp. Reed may push him at a later point
  8. Valbuena– Incumbent 3B. Not exciting at all. Extremely “pull” hitter
  9. Castro– Biggest weakness in the lineup. Stud behind the plate, not so much with a bat in his hands

I think Hinch’s decision out of Spring will be very interesting. He has to balance the lefties/righties throughout the lineup or else late-inning relievers will eat them up. It will be inherently righty-heavy up top because your 3 best hitters are all hitting from the right side. But after that, it gets interesting.

Courtesy of USA Today

Dallas Keuchel- Courtesy of USA Today

Starting Rotation:

  1. Keuchel
  2. McHugh
  3. McCullers
  4. Fiers
  5. Fister

The reigning AL Cy Young winner is your opening day stud. McHugh and McCullers will follow up, with McHugh bringing consistency and a great cutter, and the young gun in McCullers attempting to close out the weekend series. Fiers and Fister fill out the rotation. Both bring veteran leadership and plenty of innings under their belt. Fister was a late grab who I think will force Feldman to long relief.

Bullpen:

Long reliever- Feldman

Lefty specialist- Sipp

7th inning- Neshek

Setup Man- Gregerson

Closer- Giles

Courtesy of USA Today

Ken Giles- Courtesy of USA Today

The prized acquisition of this offseason was securing the services of Ken Giles, a fireballer traded from the Phillies for a boatload of Astros prospects. His presence undeniably helps the team’s bullpen, as everyone can move down an inning and help with greater depth overall. Gregerson has always best been used as a setup man, and he gets to go back there this year. His slow pitching style is meant to play to contact, which isn’t what you want in the 9th inning.

 

These are all very early projections. Injuries and a full month of playing in Kissimmee could drastically change this prediction. However, I think the gist of this team is unlikely to change. The core is built on your top 3 hitters and Keuchel, McCullers, and McHugh. Since adding a potentially elite closer, the bullpen should improve on a season that saw them set fire to the world early on but struggle down the stretch.

 

We’ll check back in April to see just how right (or how wrong) we were. Until then, enjoy the fresh dew on the grass that is March baseball in Florida.

 

 

 

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