ESPN senior baseball writer Buster Olney has spent the last two weeks ranking the individual components of the teams in Major League Baseball. Today, he released his top 10 overall teams in baseball. The Houston Astros checked in at number six, right behind the Texas Rangers at number five and ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals at seven.
Olney noted that the Astros current rotation still raises questions. The addition of Ken Giles will strengthen the bullpen and full season of Carlos Correa will only help.
The top five included the Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants and the aforementioned Rangers.
The Rangers (88-74) finished ahead of the Astros (86-76) in the AL West standings by two games in 2015. Houston led the division for much of the season, only to have the Rangers storm back and sweep the Astros over a four game series in Arlington on late September.
Now looking at the rest of Olney's lists:
TCB has already put the story up last week, but Olney ranked the Astros rotation as just outside the top 10 -- joining Boston Red Sox as the first two teams out.
Buster ranked the Astros bullpen as the fourth-best bullpen in baseball. He notes that the Astros were missing one key element in their bullpen in 2015 and they've added that missing piece with Ken Giles.
Olney selected the Astros as the seventh-best infield in baseball with Rangers and Mariners also in the top ten. Previously in the offseason, he ranked Houston as having the best middle infield in baseball with shortstop Carlos Correa and second baseman Jose Altuve.
The questions with first and third base bring the Astros down, and Olney wouldn't be surprised to see the number two overall pick in 2015 Alex Bregman with the Astros in 2016.
Buster didn't select the Astros in the top 10 among outfielders. Instead he noted Houston as part of a group with the Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers that should be on the list but didn't make the cut.
Per Olney, the Astros have the fifth-best lineup in the majors. Buster highlights Carlos Correa and George Springer could easily make the Astros "the envy of the AL West."
Just like the starting rotation and the outfield, the Astros defense wasn't on the top ten for Olney. But like the two previous times the Astros were mentioned as one of the first few teams outside the top ten.
Olney notes that the Astros will enjoy a full season from George Springer and Carlos Gomez roaming the outfield.
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