By David Miller @DavidMillerRant on March 29, 2014
We can all agree that the Houston Astros probably have the longest odds to win the MLB World Series in 2014. That does not mean they will be a failure this season however. It also does not mean that this will be a bad team. Actually whereas many of the big teams in the A.L. West have been sacked by injuries, the Astros are fielding a good and healthy team with a mix of veterans and young guys. They will be better than most think.
The acquisition of Fowler during the offseason was a big one for the Astros. He has been up and down a little bit in the way of numbers and production but he has game-changing ability when he is firing on all cylinders. This is a better atmosphere for his type of play than he was in while with the Rockies so look for more a more consistent season in 2014.
Early during Spring Training the Astros were looking to place Altuve here in the second spot again. The fact that Grossman found his way here is a testament to how hard he worked and how well he performed this spring. With a high batting average and an on-base percentage nearing .400, he was a great man to see in the second spot. If he can do anything close to those numbers this season, it will be a huge plus for the Astros.
Atuve is the best all around player on this team with the exception of Jason Castro who is on the same level at least. Altuve won't hit a ton of home runs but you know that you know he will hit. If his batting average is less than .290, consider it a bad year. He is that consistent and that good which is why he was the first to get a long-term deal from the Astros.
Castro is quickly growing into one of the best young catchers in baseball. He also is easily the most productive run producer on this team when he is fully healthy and in the game. Any thoughts of moving him to first base for health reasons are a little premature. He is the catcher for the team for now and should remain there unless concussion issues creep up again this year.
This spring Carter struck out less per at-bat than he has before. That might seem simple but with his power, that is a huge plus. Even when he strikes out a lot he is good for 25 to 35 jacks this year. If he sees the ball better, hits it the other way and doesn't strikeout as much he could really boost his run production overall.
The competition at first base this spring really turned out to be pretty simple. Krauss just outperformed everyone else and easily one the spot. In the future it might belong to someone else like Jonathan Singleton when he arrives but for now the job is rightfully Krauss' to lose. Look for a decent year from him that will be better if Carter has a good start.
He didn't blow up the baseball world in 2013 but Dominguez did show that he has some offensive ability. If he can take that to the next level this year, it would be a huge help to the guys above him in the batting order as well as the overall run production of the team. It is not all that unlikely that he will do just that.
Though the Astros might bring up George Spring to try and fill this spot around mid-season, Hoes certainly deserves the job for now. If he performs at a high level then it would be difficult for the Astros to want to replace him but that seems unlikely. He will more than likely find himself in at least a platoon by the end of the season if not sooner.
Villar is a good shortstop and puts up decent numbers. If he can pick up his offensive ability it would be a big deal with Fowler waiting at the other side of the batting order. Carlos Correa isn't ready to hit MLB just yet so Villar doesn't have to look over his shoulder until next year sometime.
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