The first half of the 2014 MLB season has come and gone, but the Houston Astros are not the same team that took the field on opening day. Even though they do not have the wins to show for their improvement, the Astros are a better team than they were in late March. There are a few small successes that are obvious.
If you had watched the Astros on opening day and then missed every game until Sunday’s last game before the All-Star break, the first success you would notice is the youth movement that has taken place with the roster. General manager Jeff Luhnow has started the Astros’ long-awaited plan of bringing up the talented farm system to infuse the major league roster with young talent. The Astros have made a slew of callups which includes outfielder George Springer, first baseman Jon Singleton, outfielder Domingo Santana and infielder Kike Hernandez. Although not all of them are still on the team, the front office has showed the willingness to call the farm and bring up a young player.
The youth movement is the major success for the Astros in the first half of the season. For the last three seasons the fans have been waiting for everyday players to be called up from the best farm system in baseball. They have gotten their wish this season. Attendance has risen and there has been improvement in play on the field.
The small success for the Astros has been the starting pitching rotation. Dallas Keuchel has stepped up as the ace for the staff. The left-hander has had a breakout season thus far that he is looking to improve upon. Collin McHugh, who was a waiver claim in the offseason, has also been a nice surprise for the Astros. Jarred Cosart has improved mightily since early on in the season, learning how to pitch at the major league level with every start he takes.
The Astros still have some areas to improve, however, their willingness to call up young players should help with that improvement. There are also areas which may need to be changed from a coaching standpoint. That may not come until the end of the season, though.