The story of the 2015 Astros will be focused on the surprise of Houston coming to prominence. That wouldn't have happened without two players, pitcher Dallas Keuchel and rookie shortstop Carlos Correa. They are both not only in the playoff hunt but in the hunt for the 2015 American League Cy-Young award and 2015 American League Rookie of the Year award.
Dallas Keuchel finished his home campaign in the regular season on Sunday, guiding the Astros to a 4-2 victory over the Rangers. With that win, Keuchel took his record to 15-0 at home - a first in Major League Baseball history. The lefty allowed 21 runs over 129 1/3 innings, he struck out 139, walked 28, and opponents batted .186 at home against Keuchel in 18 starts. Just to clarify again, Keuchel was the first pitcher in MLB history to 15-0 at home.
Keuchel's season stats reads as follows, 19-8 with a 2.47 ERA in 32 starts with 226 innings pitched, three complete games, 213 strikeouts, 49 walks, .215 opponent batting average, 1.01 WHIP, 2.85 FIP, 2.70 xFIP, and a 6.1 WAR.
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Keuchel leads the American League in Wins (19), innings pitched (226), and groundball percentage (62.3%). He is near the top in almost every other category: ninth in K/9 (8.48), eight in BB/9 (1.95), second in HR/9 (0.64), sixth in BABIP (.269), second in LOB% (78.9%), sixth in HR/FB rate (13.4%), second in ERA (2.47), fourth in FIP (2.85), third in xFIP (2.70), and second in WAR (6.1).
Keuchel has been the front-runner since mid-summer classic, Keuchel was selected to his first All-Star game and made the start of American League in Cincinnati. The Astros left-hander was also selected Pitcher of the Month three times in 2015.
The only question for the voters will be do they give to Keuchel or the Blue Jays' David Price. Price in neck and neck in numerous categories and leads in many key categories.
Price is 18-5 in 32 starts between the Tigers and Blue Jays, he has a 2.45 ERA, 3.25 xFIP, 6.4 WAR in 220 1/3 innings. It will be interesting to see if the voters go with the Astros' stopper or the Blue Jays' hired gun.
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Carlos Correa has been the sparkplug the Astros needed after the April surge passed in 2015. This weekend, Correa surpassed the Astros franchise record for home runs from a shortstop with 21 -- passing Dickie Thon's 1983 season. The 21-year-old also tied the Astros record for home runs by a rookie (Lance Berkman, 2000) with six more games to go.
Correa is batting .282 (102x362) with 48 runs scored, 21 home runs, 61 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, .349 OBP, and .866 OPS. More has been asked of Correa than your average rookie, he is batting in the three hole for much of his time with the Astros. He is in the top top in RBIs, stolen bases, BB% (9.4), ISO (.235), batting average, OBP, SLG, WOBA (.369), wRC+ (136), FanGraphs Offensive Runs Above Average (18.6), and FanGraphs WAR (3.9).
Correa has been asked to bat in three-hole like he didn't start the 2015 season in Double A Corpus Christi.
Another shortstop could surpass Correa for the honor, Cleveland's Francisco Lindor. Lindor leads rookies with a .320 batting average, and leads the American League with a .358 batting average since the All-Star Break. Lindor ranks in the top in OBP, multi-hit games, doubles, base hits, SLG, total bases, RBIs and extra base hits.
Both Keuchel and Correa has strong cases for their respective awards, it make come down to the Astros making the playoffs. We shall see.