Continue in 10
MLB Houston Astros

Houston Astros: The 5 Biggest Surprises Midway Through 2014

Houston Astros: The 5 Biggest Surprises Halfway Through 2014

Bo Porter George Springer
Getty Images

The Houston Astros are a work in progress. They still have a few holes in their lineup and issues with their bullpen, but they are a better team than last year. Yet, they are still not quite ready to compete. There have been many surprises for the ball club this season. Many of which no one could have predicted.

5. Collin McHugh

Collin McHugh
Getty Images

5. Collin McHugh

Collin McHugh
Getty Images

The December waiver claim has been a diamond in the rough for the Houston Astros. After bouncing around the minors with the New York Mets and Colorado Rockies, the right-handed McHugh has found a home in the Astros’ starting rotation. He has helped solidify a rotation that had big question marks coming into the season, and currently has an ERA of 3.22 with a little over 10 K/9.

4. Dallas Keuchel

Dallas Keuchel
Getty Images

4. Dallas Keuchel

Dallas Keuchel
Getty Images

The Astros signed Scott Feldman in the offseason in hopes he would be the ace of the staff. Keuchel decided that he was going to take over that role, and has already won eight games for the Astros, which is more than any Houston pitcher won all of last year. The southpaw is holding a 2.78 ERA, and is statistically one of the best pitchers in the AL this season.

3. George Springer

George Springer
Getty Images

3. George Springer

George Springer
Getty Images

Expectations were high for Springer after he was called up in April. The rookie outfielder struggled out of the gate but has taken off since. He has belted 16 HRs, which leads the team, and is also the team leader in RBIs at 43. His average isn’t as high as you would like to see at .246, but he is still young and maturing at the plate. Springer has shown power to all areas of the field, and will be a cornerstone player for the Astros shortly.

2. The Youth Movement

Jon Singleton
Getty Images

2. The Youth Movement

Jon Singleton
Getty Images

The Astros have made it a point to start the youth movement this season. Their deep farm system, along with a serious lack of talent at the major league level, has almost forced the hand of GM Jeff Luhnow to start calling up the top prospects. It started with outfielder George Springer and continued with first baseman Jonathan Singleton. Now, outfielder Domingo Santana will his shot at the major league level.

1. Jose Altuve

Jose Altuve
Getty Images

1. Jose Altuve

Jose Altuve
Getty Images

Altuve is perhaps the most underrated offensive player in the game and the Astros best hitter by far. He is a menace to opposing clubs. His MLB-leading 114 hits are 14 more than the next closest hitter. He has the second-highest average in all of baseball, first in the AL, at .347. Altuve’s 37 stolen bases are enough for, again, first in the AL and second in the majors. His 3.2 WAR puts him at No. 2 for second basemen.

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.