We continue looking at the 30 MLB teams as they head into the 2021 season. And on this piece, we examine The State of the Houston Astros.
And check out our corresponding video entry on the Laracuente Ledger Network, The State of the Houston Astros.
Jake Odorizzi Signing
We begin our look at the Houston Astros with the most recent signing, Jake Odorizzi. Odorizzi is going to be extremely important to Houston’s ultimate goal of once again winning the World Series. Houston will be facing some tough times with their starting pitching as Justin Verlander is out for the season recovering from arm surgery. And more recently, Framber Valdez’s season is in question because of a fracture of his ring finger on his throwing hand, thus making the signing of Jake Odorizzi even more important to the Houston Astros.
Jason Castro Signing
Jason Castro will not be seen as an outstanding catcher, but he is solid enough. For Houston, they will likely be platooning Castro with Martin Maldonado. Castro will provide a good balance and mix being paired with Maldonado.
Pedro Baez & Ryne Stanek Signings
The signings of Pedro Baez and Ryne Stanek are very under the radar moves by Houston. Both relievers aren’t going to be listed among the standout relief core but are solid guys to have coming out of the bullpen.
Resigning Michael Brantley
The most significant move this offseason for the Astros was resigning Michael Brantley. Brantley was a vital piece for the ‘Stros in 2020. He was arguably their best player. And quietly, Brantley has been one of the very best. Brantley’s role in 2021 will be just as significant, if not more, than it was in 2020.
State of the Rotation
The Houston Astros rotation once featured Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Greinke. However, via injury (Justin Verlander) and free agency (Gerrit Cole), both are off the Astros roster in 2021. That leaves Zach Greinke as the de facto ace of the staff. And with good reason, Greinke is one of the more underrated aces in Major League Baseball. Now, the Astros rotation will feature Greinke, the aforementioned Odorizzi, Lance McCullers Jr, Jose Urquidy, and a battle to close out the rotation. Houston’s rotation should still be a strength for the club, even without Justin Verlander at the helm.
State of the Bullpen
When it comes to the bullpen for Houston, it’s no longer the threat that it was previously. Ryne Stanek, Joe Smith, and Ryan Pressly are going to be the most recognizable names in the pen. For the Astros to succeed in 2021, they will need good seasons across the board, especially their bullpen.
State of the Offense
The offense for the Houston Astros will be the best and strongest aspect of the team. Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Michael Brantley are among the league’s best players at their respective positions. If the Astros are going to make it back to the top of the American League West division, it will be by slugging their way back.
State of the Franchise
The Houston Astros are in an interesting position in 2021. As they aren’t seen as the force, they previously were. Losing George Springer is going to have a major impact on the overall team performance. However, they still have enough firepower to win the division potentially. With the Astros’ regression, they won’t have as easy a time claiming the division. The LA Angels and Oakland A’s are both going to challenge the Astros for the AL West.