May 4, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros right fielder George Springer (4) is congratulated after scoring a run during the fourth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Opinion: Are the Houston Astros the worst team in baseball?

The Houston Astros are vastly regarded as the worst team in baseball. Currently owning a miserable 11-24 record and already nine games behind the Oakland Athletics, it isn’t hard to see why. However, before we simply disregard the Astros, I strongly believe there is some potential within the franchise. Call me crazy, but I think the Astros just need someone to spark their offense.

Take for example, the Miami Marlins. A rather average team last season, despite having Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez, they lacked that little something extra to turn themselves into a winning franchise. Having added some pieces to place around their stars in the offseason, the Marlins now lead in the way in the National League East.

In no way am I saying the Astros have stars of the same quality as Stanton and Fernandez, but they do boast some interesting players. Jose Altuve is a rather small and speedy second baseman. Not only does Altuve have the capabilities to create runs in the leadoff spot, he really could be an essential hitter in the lineup.

Altuve has always hit for a decent average and drawn a solid number of walks. After only 35 games, Altuve has continued to swing a consistent bat and already drawn eleven walks. Last season, Atuve stole 32 bases and he already boasts eleven steals thus far this season. If the Astros had some solid hitting behind Altuve, they could score some runs, and if the Astros can start scoring runs, they can win games.

What people don’t realize is the Astros do have some decent hitters to place behind Altuve. Jonathan Villar and Dexter Fowler are great hitters, and providing they up their game, could make for a pretty good middle of the lineup for Houston. As I’ve already said, the Astros simply need someone to spark their offense, someone to raise the morale and kick everyone into their best form.

The Astros may have found their spark too. Highly touted rookie outfielder, George Springer was recently called up to play in the big leagues. The other day, Springer launched his first home run in the majors with a swing that even Miguel Cabrera would be proud of.  The pitching staff has already proved they can be brilliant at times.

So, if young Springer can spark the Astros, they shouldn’t be rubbished as an easy victory anymore.


Tags: Houston Astros

  • Jay

    While Fowler and Villar are decent I hardly think they qualify as “great hitters”

    • Timmy Kennedy

      I see where you are coming from, however, I think in terms of Houston I think they can qualify as great hitters. Put Fowler in the middle of a decent lineup, providing Houston get their ‘spark’, he could launch 15 home runs, knock in around 80 base runners and swipe around 15 bags too. Given the normal production of the middle of the lineup from Houston, that would be great for them!

      Furthermore. Villar is some talent. As a rookie, launching five home runs and hitting 13 RBI and scoring 14 runs (given he was hitting at the bottom of the lineup for a while) in only over a month, whilst being in a lacklustre team is great! Again, if others can step up, he will to. If he can continue (if not better) his form, he could easily be a ‘great’ hitter!

      • Jay

        Please correct me if I misunderstand but if your point is that Villar and Fowler are great hitters that, provided they have lineup protection and that “spark”, could make Houston more than a league wide punching bag then they have to be great hitters relative to the rest of the league and not just “in terms of Houston”. In terms of Houston, Villar is a triple crown candidate but his .231 average and 34 strikeouts in just over 100 AB’s isn’t going to put him in Cooperstown anytime soon.

        I’m a huge Astros fan and I actually like Fowler and Villar as our CF and SS, respectively, but middle of the order linchpins they are not (in my opinion). Fowler is an average leadoff hitter and Villar could make for a decent 7-8 hole hitter given time but if they are expecting anything more from them I would think we have many more losses than wins in our future. Also, I don’t believe Villar is a rookie having over 200 AB’s last year with Houston (although the argument could be made that Houston is a AAA club).

        • Timmy Kennedy

          I think a hitter hitting well for his team does make him a ‘great’ hitter. And any player, no matter how good, simply can’t post good numbers if they don’t play in a good lineup. Not only does it limit their run scoring and RBI hitting chances, it massively lowers morale etc.

          Given that Fowler and Villar both hit in a very, as I said, lacklustre team, I don’t think it’s fair to judge on what they’ve done thus far. Rather, I think that if they hit in a thriving team they really could be great.

          • Jay

            Fair points. I don’t see the same amount of upside as you but I concede that judging them based solely on their performance with such a lackluster team isn’t a good measuring stick.

            I guess it comes down to how you define “great”. Being the best of a horrible group, to me, means just that. You can be slightly less horrible than everyone else or you can be truly great. The numbers still matter. I do recognize that OBP, RBI’s and runs scored will all go down without anyone else being a threat but they (and EVERY OTHER ASTRO not named Altuve) needs to cut down on their K’s to be a legitimate threat at the plate. It is one thing if you strikeout all the time but have a high OBP like Adam Dunn used to post. These guys aren’t Adam Dunn. They are barely Adam Everett.

            Villar could develop into a .260-.275 hitter with 15 home runs and 60-70 RBI’s. Fowler is probably slightly better based on his historical numbers in terms of BA but I doubt he will ever hit 15 home runs again outside of Coors Field. Those are respectable numbers for a center fielder and shortstop and might make them “great” as far as the 2014 Astros are concerned but, overall, that is really just a slightly better than average major league hitter (last years average BA was .255 which neither Fowler or Villar is hitting). You aren’t going to build a team around a .260 hitter with some pop and a lot of strikeouts unless you happen to be the Houston Astros.

          • Timmy Kennedy

            Very true. Value your opinion and your comments!

  • Patrick Green

    Good article, Tim. I think calling Dexter Fowler and Jonathan Villar “great” hitter is a stretch. Nonetheless, enjoyed this.

    • Timmy Kennedy

      I’ve been told several times now haha. My exaggeration may be down to my closet love for the Astros. Thanks Patrick! Loved your Pittsburgh one.

  • Leif Daddow

    The possibility of Matt Dominguez, Chris Carter, and George Springer hitting deep while having Fowler or Altuve on base should work. Those guys all can hit, they have a lack of confidence, put Villar and Singleton at the back end of the lineup and there is a chance to get runs in every at bat. If they would just gain the confidence and let the opposing pitching come at them like they have. It’s a recipie for big wins.

    • Timmy Kennedy

      Exactly. Their is much potential within the struggling team.

      • Jay

        I love the optimism, guys. Love it. Dominguez certainly surprised last year and Springer will be a stud (I’m convinced) but Carter… Carter sucks and you are crazy if you think Dominguez will ever replicate last year. 3B of the future is Ruiz and Singleton will bump Carter by June.