Tha Sports Junkies 101

Houston Astros: The Best Team In Baseball

Houston Astros Roger K. Allen via


Sitting at number 1 in the power rankings, the Houston Astros have many key factors to contribute to that kind of success. And with their best record in baseball and commanding 11.5 game lead over the Angles in second, they are showing no signs of slowing down.

The Astros’ Offense

Some hot start the ‘stros have to this season. As a team, they are hitting a slash of .277/.345/.466 which is remarkable.

Second baseman Jose Altuve leads the way hitting a phenomenal .319 batting average. But Altuve leading the team in hits with 65 is not a surprise. You kind of expect those great numbers out of the 5’6” All-Star. The real shocker comes off the bench.

Utility player Marwin Gonzalez is finally holding is own. With a slash of .308/.401/.638, it’s kind of hard to imagine those kind of numbers off the bench. No wonder fans have been angry with manager A.J. Hinch about keeping him on the bench. Nonetheless, Gonzalez, a dark horse All-Star candidate, is another reason why the Astros are on fire as of late.

Another key part in the offense would be the offseason acquisition Josh Reddick. A .274 batting average is good and all but his .337/.452 OBP/SLUG is what stands out. Numbers like this coming out of the outfield and are not attached to the name George Springer is something the Astros have struggled with recently. And of course they are appreciating it now.

Carlos Correa – photo by Arturo Paradavila III – Image via

You can’t talk about the Astros offense without mentioning George Springer. Wednesday, Springer launched a 473 foot home run. The longest Astros home run in the Statcast era. Just another seam on the baseball of Springers contributions.

When offseason acquisition Brian McCann hit the DL with a concussion last week, many expected his spot in the

lineup to be the weakest which might cool off the Astros. But of course that was not the case. Juan Centeno filled McCann’s shoes nicely hitting 3 hits, 2 of which were home runs, in 7 at-bats.

Carlos Correa being named AL Player of May just sums it all together. Correa’s 7 home runs, 26 RBIs, .386 batting average and 1.130 OPS just blows everything up.

There’s power and contact balanced throughout the nine men in the lineup day in day out. Not to mention the production off the bench with Gonzalez, Centeno and fan favorite Jake Marisnick. The balanced offense, combined with the timely hitting and team chemistry makes for one dangerous recipe.


The Pitching

If you thought you can beat the Astros if you hold them down offensively, you got another thing coming.

Dallas Keuchel is finally showing us that the 2015 Cy Young Keuchel lives on. Despite missing a start, Keuchel’s 69.2 innings leads his team. He also leads the rotation in ERA, 1.81, hits allowed, 45, complete games, 1, walks allowed, 16, and many more categories. Keuchel, the ace of the squad, is back after a disappointing 2016 and is not showing any signs of slowing down.

Second in the rotation, and not too far behind early Cy Young talks with Keuchel, stands Lance McCullers Jr. With an ERA of 2.48 in 65.1 innings of work, McCullers is a great pitcher to have in that game 2 momentum-shifting-game in the playoffs. Earning AL Pitcher of May tells you McCullers can and will hold his own down the home stretch.

Chris Devenksi – photo by Jayne – image via

The back-end of the rotation seems to be a problem. Charlie Morton, Joe Musgrove and Mike Fiers have a combined ERA of 4.64. For a contending team, that is not a good ERA to have in the back of your rotation. Of course this isn’t a huge problem considering the Astros have the best record in baseball and it’s not even the All-Star break yet, but this will be a problem that may need to be dealt with by the deadline *cough Jose Quintana cough*.

But maybe not even. Perhaps when Morton and Musgrove return off the DL, they will improve that 4.64 ERA and Fiers can throw another no-hitter like last year.

The most impressive would have to be the bullpen. Getting the bulk of the innings out of the ‘pen is Chris Devenski. In 31 innings he has a 2.90 ERA with 47 impressive strike outs. He’s done a nice job filling shoes of the surprisingly struggling set-up man Luke Gregerson.

Surprisingly, Gregerson’s season is far from impressive. In just 20 innings of work, he’s given up 24 hits and 13 runs, all earned. Fortunately, his record is only 2-1, so the runs he does give up hasn’t cost them too many games. Expect the Astros to continue using Gregerson in non-save opportunities for a chance to improve and gain confidence. And if he continues to struggle and extends the game in a way the Astros do not want, there’s Devenski, Ken Giles, Michael Feliz, Will Harris or Brad Peacock who all have an ERA below 2.90.



The Astros hot start doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Having a better record at this point than the soon-to-be-World Champion Cubs last season, the Sports Illustrated predicted winner may come true. If the timely hitting and consistent pitching led by Altuve and Keuchel can continue, there’s no reason why this team can’t win their first World Series in franchise history.