MLB Houston Astros

5 Houston Astros Storylines to Follow During Spring Training

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5 Houston Astros Storylines to Follow in Spring Training

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

As the newest member of the American League last year, the Houston Astros finished at the bottom of the barrel as expected. With one year under their belts, the Astros now have significantly more MLB experience are ready to become household names to fans.

While the Astros have not been to the playoffs in seven years, including three consecutive last-place finishes, they have been able to stockpile young talent through high draft picks over the last several years. Holding the no. 1 overall pick the last two drafts, the Astros have two of the best prospects in baseball in Carlos Correa and Mark Appel. After finishing with just 51 wins, which was the worst total in the majors since 2004, the Astros will once again have the no. 1 pick in 2014 draft.

The Astros should continue with their youth movement in 2014. Most of the players playing for the Astros at the major league level will be homegrown farm talent. Jose Altuve will probably be the most experienced player in the everyday lineup despite being very young himself. Although Altuve will probably be the team's best overall hitter, young prospect George Springer could crack the lineup on Opening Day. There is already a lot of buzz surrounding Springer, and his promotion to the starting lineup could be great news for a team looking ahead to the future.

With so many young players, the Astros will continue to need time to develop and mature. Here are five intriguing players for the immediate future in 2014.

Percy Chao is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @PercyChao, "Like" him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. George Springer's Arrival To The Bigs

Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Springer represents a five-tool prospect, the type of player that is rare these days. He has a very good shot of becoming the starting right fielder on Opening Day, and the type of impact he could make on the team could be very significant.

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4. Can Jose Altuve Maintain Consistency?

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Altuve has been playing second base for the Astros for quite a while now. Hitting around .285 with 30 or so steals, Altuve should continue to be a consistent producer for the team.

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3. How Will Jesse Crain's First Stint As Closer Go?

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros brought in Jesse Crain over the offseason to serve as their closer. Although Crain has never closed before, he posted a 2.10 ERA for the Chicago White Sox last season so he definitely is capable of shutting it down in the ninth inning.

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2. Will Scott Feldman Be Able To Lead Rotation?

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The Astros signed free agent Scott Feldman over the winter, and he will be expected to be the team's best starter this season. However, the Astros were 28th in the league last year in strikeouts and Feldman, who has been a ground ball pitcher over his career, will probably not help the team much in terms of getting key punchouts.

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1. Can Matt Dominguez Improve His Production?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Third baseman Matt Dominguez was a decent contributor last season, hitting 21 home runs to go along with 77 RBIs. While Dominguez needs to improve his batting average, his home run power and run production will go a long way towards helping the Astros.