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MLB Houston Astros

Houston Astros: 5 Things We’ve Learned Halfway Through 2014

Houston Astros: 5 Things We've Learned Midway Through 2014

Houston Astros Fans and Jason Castro
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We are almost at the All-Star break, and teams are starting to show their tendencies as where they are going to be for the rest of the season. The Houston Astros are no different. Here are five things we've learned about this year’s Astros so far.

5. The Deep Farm System is Producing Productive Players

Jon Singleton George Springer
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5. The Deep Farm System is Producing Productive Players

Jon Singleton George Springer
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The Astros made a commitment to rebuild when the new ownership took over. GM Jeff Luhnow has done a brilliant job filling out the farm system after being left with a solid foundation of George Springer, Jon Singleton and Jarred Cosart, among others. With other top prospects like Carlos Correa and Mark Appel lurking, the Astros' farm system will continue to pay huge dividends.

4. The Best Ballplayer for the Astros is Jose Altuve

Jose Altuve
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4. The Best Ballplayer for the Astros is Jose Altuve

Jose Altuve
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The major league leader in hits with 103, Jose Altuve also leads the AL in stolen bases with 26. Altuve has the highest average in the AL at 336, and gets penciled in all over the Astros’ lineup. HE also sports a .994 fielding percentage, which is good enough to put him in the top five in the AL at second base.

3. The Rotation is a Strength for the Astros

Dallas Keuchel
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3. The Rotation is a Strength for the Astros

Dallas Keuchel
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Each member of the starting rotation for the Astros has an ERA under 4.00. Collin McHugh and Dallas Keuchel have been the anchors for the rotation midway through the season, and are both statistically in the top 10 this season in ERA and WHIP. Jarred Cosart, a solid third option, is showing signs of improvement with his location and is going deeper into games.

2. The Bullpen is Still a Problem

Houston Astros Bullpen
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2. The Bullpen is Still a Problem

Houston Astros Bullpen
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With the signings of Jesse Crain, Chad Qualls and Matt Albers in the offseason, it was expected that the bullpen would see serious improvement from a year ago. However, injuries to Crain and Albers have diminished those expectations. Qualls has been solid in the closer’s role, but beyond him, it is hard for the Astros to trust anyone else in a bullpen that is, yet again, the team's major weakness.

1. The Team is Better Overall

Bo Porter
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1. The Team is Better Overall

Bo Porter
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Bo Porter has more talent on his roster this season. The Astros have won more games than the did last year to this point by playing better baseball. On June 23 of last season, the Astros were 29-48. This year, they stand at 33-44. That may not seem like much, but when you give both teams the eye test, it is clear this year’s team puts a much better product on the field. That is a victory for a fanbase that is looking for any kind of improvement.

Lucas Davis is a Houston Astros writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @LDinthe260, like him on Facebook or add him to your Google network.