2018 Astros: Roster Looks Historically Good

houston astros

Mark Lathrop

Monday, March 12, 2018 11:03 AM GMT

Monday, Mar. 12, 2018 11:03 AM GMT

The Houston Astros look to defend their World Series championship in 2018 with a loaded roster that is the envy of other MLB clubs. Mark Lathrop takes a look at some of the only questions to be answered as this team looks to repeat.

We will be breaking down each division team-by-team as we approach the 2018 MLB season to identify futures value and upcoming betting trends. Today, we will take a look at the defending champion Houston Astros out of the AL West. Houston blew past their 89.5-win total set in 2017 in route to winning the World Series for the first time and putting up 101 wins during the regular season. The Astros have one of the highest win totals for futures in recent memory for 2018, with a 96.5 mark currently at Bovada.

Pitching Staff

The Astros have six starters on their roster with a projected FIP under 4.00. That is incredible, and frankly a little ridiculous. Most teams that I have analyzed so far this year have just one or two starters with projected effectiveness this good. A pitcher like Collin McHugh, who put up over 3 WAR from 2014 to 2016 and is still great, has been displaced from the rotation and is now looking at a middle relief role. I don’t know what the Astros will do with him, or a pitcher like Brad Peacock and his 3.4 WAR 2017 campaign, but it appears they have an embarrassment of riches with starting pitching. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them gets traded to boost the farm system of Houston, but neither has a huge salary so them staying on the roster for luxurious insurance could also be in the cards. And yes, Justin Verlander is still on the team.

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Never give up. Never compromise. #NeverSettle pic.twitter.com/jlwDcNpWY3

— Houston Astros (@astros) February 7, 2018


The Astros have above-average hitting by wRC+ in every position on the field and DH coming into 2018. Along with the pitching staff, they project to have the top WAR in offense. The only decisions I see for them is who will start at first base, as Marwin Gonzalez and Yulieski Gurriel look to have a bit of a battle there. The only reason Gonzalez is available to be moved from left field is the emergence of 24-year old Derek Fisher, who appears to be another young star coming through the Astros' system with a great blend of power and speed. Fisher has shot through the Astros minor league system with a wRC+ averaging in the 130s and 30+ steals per season potential. And this player will likely be coming off the bench for the Astros for most of the season. I mean, really?

Wild Cards and Betting Trends

The AL West Division is the Astros' to lose yet again. If everyone stays healthy, this team could legitimately threaten the regular-season win record. They are first in projected WAR in pitching and offense and also have depth on the pitching staff to sustain the effects of a few unfortunate injuries. Right now the defending champs look like a juggernaut.

Current Win Total: 96.5Best Line Offered: Bovada
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