2018 Houston Astros Depth Chart
In a downtrodden year for the AL West, the Houston Astros reign supreme. The second time was a charm for the organization as they claimed their first World Series championship a season ago. This was the first time the organization favored a playoff birth in over a decade, and the patience with evolving their talent groups keeps them on pace for contention in 2018. The title claim helped the team bolster a good destination for free agents. The Astros uplifted their starting rotation with the additions of Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. Their prospect collection started to immerse themselves within the game, focusing on team baseball over individual statistics. The team is clocking on all cylinders as the team recreates their end-of-season push for strong playoff positioning.
|Catcher||Brian McCann||Martin Maldonado||Max Stassi|
|1st Base||Yuli Gurriel||Tyler White||J.D. Davis|
|2nd Base||Jose Altuve|
|Shortstop||Carlos Correa||Marwin Gonzalez|
|3rd Base||Alex Bregman|
|Left Field||Tony Kemp|
|Center Field||George Springer||Jake Marisnick|
|Right Field||Josh Reddick|
|Designated Hitter||Evan Gattis|
With the arm talent in the rotation, it is hard to select a top contributor. All five starters favor double-digit win marks, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished within the organization in decades. Spelling top pace is Justin Verlander with 15 wins. Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton are right on his heels with 14 wins a piece. Morton is the interesting storyline because he finished last season at the 14-mark. Amongst the starters, he favors the lowest amount of losses at 3. He will gain a couple more opportunities to best his career season he had a year ago. Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander are the pace setters for strikeouts, both reaching impressive totals over the 255-mark. Efficiency from the starters is also a big benefactor to earned run averages. All starters are below the 4.00 level, also marking for a franchise first. There is limited use for the bullpen with all of the team’s starters representing distance plays. When called upon, Robert Osuna and Brad Peacock have been the most favorable relievers. Hector Rondon only has 15 saves on the season, but he has had limited opportunities, which places a thumbs up to offensive production.
The size of the infield is on par with the shortest collection of players. Alex Bregman is listed at a generous 6′ and Jose Altuve stands 5’6″. Regardless of their size, both feature a power element that is rarely matched in the pound-for-pound discussion. Bregman and Altuve are both batting near or above .300, with Bregman out to a slight lead in on-base percentage at approximately .400. Carlos Correa has seen a sharp plummet in his statistical contributions. His pace for at-bats is trending towards last year’s clip, but predictability likely leads to his tame season in 2018. Last season he batted above .300 and he has failed to reach the .250 this season. Minor injuries could also factor into this limited production, but he will likely finish below last year’s efforts.
The outfield continues the extension of the homegrown names. George Springer, Derek Fisher, and Tony Kemp were all waivered through the minor league system. Springer was the quickest come-up through the organization and has reworked his game to feature short-game consistencies. His speed is an element that is shared by Tony Kemp. The two present havoc on the base paths and have high percentages in successful base steals. Fisher and Tucker are still getting their feet wet. This tier can be occupied by some of the flex, infield back-ups, limiting the need for heavy usage on younger players. Both will run through the system at a slowed pace, reducing the need to cover the basics and increasing the value to the organization over time.
When at full strength, the team slots their players within perspective roles. For example, the designated hitter almost always bats at the 4 or 5-slot. Altuve has shared the leadoff role with Springer, flopping on match-up basis. Altuve and Springer are both run generators, but their speed is too good to ignore in a leadoff role. Correa is back to batting order fluctuation until he finds his stroke. There is always a log jam at the top of the order and the tail end usually is comprised of utility players or spot starters. Many of the teams’ role players feature defensive success at multiple tiers, once again creating favorable match-up additions.