Last night the Astros suffered a tough loss, despite Justin Verlander hurling a gem, the Astros were shut out against the Twins, dropping their record to 17-12. With writing on twitter, and even seeing posts here, you would think the sky was falling and the Astros may as well slash down and rebuild (okay, that’s a slight exaggeration).
I was traveling yesterday with another baseball fan, and I was absolutely gushing about the Astros. We have one of (if not THE) most intelligent Front Offices running our team. We have a team that was a bad hop away from potentially winning it all in 2015, won it in 2017, made it to the ALCS despite being crushed with injuries in 2018, and in position to continue to do so for years to come.
Before I look too much into the bliss of where we are today, I wanted to take a second to look back to 2013. The Astros sputtered to a 51-111 record, bottoming out and being the joke of the league. It was interesting times with “Lastros” and “Houston, we have a problem” being the theme as we were the joke of the majors. The fans that still posted and talked, were mixed - either calling Crane out for being cheap/Losenow, or others who embraced the rebuild. It was the first time I actually cared about and followed minor leaguers (NiTro being traded away for nothing still breaks my heart). With a rotation headed by Jordan Lyles and his 5.59 ERA, and a supporting cast including a 34 year old Erik Bedard, Lucas Harrell, Dallas Keuchel, Bud Norris, we ranked #30 out of 30 in baseball with a 4.79 ERA for 2.1 WAR TOTAL (Tigers had a 26.1 with some Verlander guy). Unfortunately, even Altuve couldn’t save us from being ranked #30 offensively, again with a TOTAL of 2.1 WAR for the team (Red Sox came in at 36.6).
I looked back at the power rankings from the beginning of the season, and remembered we were in the top half in every position, hell we have quite a few where we have a legitimate argument for the #1 spot.
Our 2B, SS, 3B, LF, CF, and 2 Starting Pitchers, and multiple relievers have been all stars in recent years and could easily repeat. We literally are within spitting distance of our entire team being All-Stars.
We have Justin Verlander, who if he retired today would have a good chance at making the Hall of Fame. A rookie of the year, Cy Young winnner (although he should be a 3-time winner), an MVP with 200 wins.
We have Gerrit Cole, an All-Star, who under the tutelage of Strom has seemed to finally reach his potential.
We have the most lovable player in the game, Jose Altuve, who has had some bad BABIP luck to start the year, but is STILL producing at 26% better than league average. Who is on a Hall of Fame pace.
We have one of the most exciting players in the game in Bregman, who was complaining that he’s not hitting to his standards (He’s at a 143 wRC+!)
We have Carlos Correa, who finally looks to be healthy again, whose potential is probably higher than anyone else on the team.
Our outfield is stacked with Springer, Reddick, and Brantley all performing at All-Star levels.
Our “Closer” and “Set-Up” man are two of the best in baseball.
The best part of all of it? All of the core players other than Cole are locked down to continue making the Astros great. We have reinforcements on the way with the #1 pitching prospect, #5 overall prospect in baseball, and Yordan Alvarez who is doing his best Vlad Jr. imitation in the minors. Even that’s discounting the incredible depth, our utility player was an All-Star, we have players like Straw, Ivey, Buakaskas, etc - the list goes on and on.
I can honestly say, we’re the best team in baseball, and the future looks beyond bright. Just taking a moment to say, God I love being an Astros Fan!