The bar has been raised for the 2016 Houston Astros where their win total is concerned as they've proven that they're a World Series contender. Let's see where we're going with this MLB pick.
After his 20 win AL Cy Young season, Dallas Keuchel had reached elite level as the Astros ace. Not only that, Houston will eventually have to send in the Brinks truck as he's earning slightly over $500, 000 per season. If that isn't a steal for Astros management, I don't know what is.
Last season, Keuchel was 1st in wins in the American League, 1st in innings pitched, 5th in strikeouts,2nd in ERA, 3rd in the AL in Win% and 3rd in complete games.
He also pitched the Astros into the playoffs as he beat the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium to earn the Astros a Wild Card spot. In his first game of 2016, Keuchel must face these same Yankees; should be interesting for the MLB picks.
We can take it a step farther as Keuchel was 2-0 in the post-season with a 2.57 ERA while allowing the opposition to hit just .192 off of him. Someone is due for a raise and although Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are some of the main faces on this team, Keuchel is the leader of this squad and expect another near 20 win season from the native of Oklahoma.
The Astros are a team with a very deep starting rotation as Doug Fister ( 3.42 career ERA) and veteran Scott Feldman (can shut a team out at any time) are the #4 and 5 starters respectively. Hosuton was just 1 win away from having 2-20 game winners as Colin McCugh registered 19 wins in 2015. This is a team that does receive run support, but the pitchers capitalize on their hot bats.
You know when .313 is a low batting average for a player, the guy is a stud. Jose Altuve had a 2014 season which will be difficult to reach again, but this guy is a table-setter that can do it all. He's elevated his level of power and now is just about at the 5-tool player level.
Last season, Altuve started out slow and still finished with 15 HR, 66 RBI, a .313 BA, 38 SB, and 200 hits. The guy is a 5 feet 5 beast that helps the Astros get out of the gates fast and establish early game leads. It's difficult for any team to play catch-up and Jose Altuve is the reason for so many of Houston's wins. Looking forward for a better 2016 from Altuve.
AL Rookie Of the Year
I really don't think Carlos Correa's numbers do him justice as he had a spectacular rookie campaign. Correa finished up with 22 HR , 68 RBI, and a .279 BA in just 99 games. Correa also had huge numbers at Minute Maid Park in which he had 12 HR, 33 RBI, a .319 BA in just 185 at-bats.
Give this guy a full season and we could see an elite player. If not elite, a much better player and with the support that he has, that's all that this team needs as they have the perfect balance of hitting and pitching.
We really can go on and on as the Astros are very deep where power is concerned as Carlos Gomez mans center field. He had some spectacular seasons for Milwaukee.
Evan Gattis, who can play catcher or DH, is a master blaster, and I didn't even get to George Springer , Colby Rasmus, and Luis Valbuena. These guys all can hit 25 home runs or more in a full season, but it's good to know that manager, A.J. Hinch, has backup in case of injuries or the need for rest.
The total at MLB odds boards is high and the only issue that we have is Houston not tailing off at the end of a 162 game grind. This season, this team will eclipse the 87.5 win mark as there's a ton of depth and talent to support that claim. 'Over' is the pick.