Houston Astros 2015 Predictions: The Optimist, Realist And Pessimist


The 2015 Houston Astros are an unknown quantity.  Seriously, a team like this has never been built before.  Houston has the potential to have legitimate power threats in the order 2-9.  Unfortunately, they have the potential for strikeout kings all throughout the order as well.  This makes the ‘Stros a tough team to project for the upcoming season.  I find my opinion of the club to fluctuate day-to-day even.  So, instead of a normal predictions piece, we’re going to take an outlook on the upcoming season from three different state-of-minds.

The Optimist

The Astros take their 19 game improvement from 2013 to 2014 and make another big jump from 2014 to 2015.  The atrocity of the bullpen disappears with the acquisitions of two reliable arms in Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek and the the continued development of Josh Fields.  Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel, and Collin McHugh prove 2014 wasn’t a fluke and that they are the real deal.

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Jon Singleton and George Springer take big jumps forward as they cut down on strikeouts and make an impact in the middle of the order.  Sure, we’ll strikeout a lot, but we’ll drop some bombs.  If chicks really do dig the long ball, Minute Maid Park will be the place to find a date in the summer.  Top prospects like Mark Appel and Colin Moran come up mid season and dominate, which shores up the back end of an otherwise reliable rotation and adds to the already overflowing offensive depth on the roster.  The emergence of Moran makes some guys expendable, which leads to the landing of a big name around the trade deadline.  A believed-to-be strong AL West proves not to be so strong, as the Texas Rangers don’t bounce back from their injury-riddled 2014 and continue to occupy the doldrums of the AL West cellar, the Athletics take a step backward after the departure of nearly all of their seven All-Stars from last season, the Angels fall back as the rotation proves too thin to hold up through a full season which leaves the Astros and Seattle Mariners to battle for the division.

 Result: 2nd AL Wild Card Winner

The Realist

The Astros are a much improved team, but they aren’t ready to compete for the playoffs just yet as they transition from a regular doormat to a perennial powerhouse.  They’ll hover around .500 for most of the season, but could take steps backwards if experienced veterans like Scott Feldman, Luis Valbuena, and Jed Lowrie find new homes in July to pave the way for faces of the future like Appel, Moran, and Carlos Correa.

The much improved bullpen does most of the help toward improving the record, as the Astros leap from the bottom of the MLB in bullpen ERA to the middle of the pack.  Breakout stars Altuve, Keuchel and McHugh prove to be steady ballplayers, but not the absolute superstars they were in 2014, which leaves the Astros void of a difference maker on the entire team.  A solid AL West keeps the Astros out of playoff contention, as the Angels, Athletics and Mariners all prove to be tough teams to beat.  All in all, a lot better team, but it’s a transition year to the eventual 2017 World Series Champions and not a playoff contending season many hope it to be.

Result: Anywhere from 78-83 wins

The Pessimist

Jeff Lunhow’s experiment for the season proves to be a disaster, as the Astros have guys up and down the lineup that hit .220 and strikeout too much.  Chris Carter proves his end of the season streak was a fluke, as he goes back to his 200 strikeout ways.  Jason Castro doesn’t recover from his poor season and continues to be a liability behind the dish.  Altuve, Keuchel, and McHugh all take steps backwards, as Altuve proves to be a slightly-above average second baseman and the two pitchers turn out to be total flops.  Houston has defensive issues as manager AJ Hinch tries to pack as many power bats into the order as possible and Evan Gattis plays the outfield, which leads to plenty of one run losses since the Astros can’t play small ball to scratch a run across.

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Appel continues his woes from last season and doesn’t make it to the big leagues until September call-ups, Moran comes up and struggles to an MLB game that is getting harder and harder to break into as a hitter every year.  Correa has a solid season, but the broken leg sets him back and he doesn’t sniff the major league roster.  The Astros end up finishing last in the AL West after the Rangers prove they were really just hampered by injuries last year and are still a good ball club, the Athletics continue to be competitive because Billy Beane is smarter than everyone else, the Mariners continue their rise to dominance behind Robinson Cano, and the Angels repeat another fantastic season.

Result: Anywhere from 68-72 wins

Nonetheless, whatever state of mind you have about the outlook of the upcoming season, it will be interesting to see how the Astros fare.

Next: Predicting The Houston Astros Final 25-Man Roster