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Understanding the Houston Astros


The Houston Astros have won 10 straight games and 14 of their last 15!
The Astros (18-7) are off to the best 25-game start in franchise history. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that they are the fourth major league team with a 10-game win streak in the first 25 games of the year after a 90-loss season. The most recent had been the 1986 Cleveland Indians.

Elias also notes that the Astros are 18-0 this season in games they have led. The next-best record in that situation, entering Sunday’s games, belonged to the Cardinals (17-2, .895). - ESPN

Original Story (4/22)

The Houston Astros are currently in 1st place in the American League West, with a record of 8 wins and 6 losses.  This despite the fact that as a team, they are hitting just .210, last in the MLB and lead the league in strikeouts.  However, they are 5th in the MLB in walks and 2nd in stolen bases.  Their 18 home runs is tied for 4th in baseball, yet they have a -1 run differential.  
Jose Altuve is having a decent start to the season, batting .288 with 5 stolen bases, but he has scored just 5 runs. 
Jake Marisnick leads the team in runs scored, 6, and hitting .361!  Originally part of the Jose Reyes/Mark Buehrle deal with the Blue Jay and Marlins, Marisnick was traded to Houston last season in exchange for Jarred Cosart.
Chris Carter, George Springer and Evan Gattis are killing the Astros, hitting a combined .130!  Springer and Gattis each have one home run, but Carter has yet to hit one out after crushing 37 homers last year.
Luis Valbuena, who was acquired this Winter from Cubs for Dexter Fowler, leads the team with 5 home runs, but it has lead to just 7 RBI.
Catcher Jason Castro continues to disappoint, after hitting .276 with 35 doubles and 18 home runs in just 120 games back in 2013..

Carlos Correa and Domingo Santana are the teams best hitting prospects, but it will probably be 2016 before we see them make an impact. 


But that is just half of the game, what about their pitching?

The Astros team ERA is currently 2.98, 5th best in the Majors.  Their 1.09 WHIP is also 5th best.  The staff has 113 strikeouts, which is good for 10th overall. 

Collin McHugh has been a HUGE reason for the Astros success and it dates back to August of last season.

to 4/21/15
13 11-2 10-0 84.2 1.91 70 19 18 11 73 3

Those are AMAZING numbers.

McHugh has won all 3 starts in 2015, and in 18.2 innings of work, owns a 2.41 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.  The Astros outscored opponent 17-5 in McHugh's starts.
Scott Feldman and Dallas Keuchel have also each made 3 starts.  Feldman is 1-2 while Keuchel is 2-0.  Feldman has an ERA over 5.00.  Houston has been outscored 13-5 in his starts.  Keuchel's ERA is just 0.90 and the Astros are 3-0 in Keuchel's starts, outscoring opponents 15-4. 
Houston has seen 5 starts from Asher Wojciechowski, Roberto Hernandez and Brad Peacock.  They have lasted 23.2 inning.  They clearly need to add to the backend of their rotation if they want to give themselves a chance to fight for the division. 

They selected Mark Appel 1st overall in the 2013 MLB Draft and he is currently pitching in AA ball.  No doubt he will join the rotation this season.  Getting crushed by minor league hitters.

The bullpen has been great, and according to FanGraphs is one of just three bullpens around the league with an ERA under 2.00. 
Will Harris and closer Luke Gregerson have combined to pitch 14.2 scoreless innings, with 16 strikeouts.  Tony Sipp has allowed a single run in 7.2 IP and Pat Neshek and Chad Qualls have struck out 20 hitters in 13.2 innings!

It is a long season and we have only just begun, but there are very few people who expected to see the Astros sitting in first place of the AL West at any point in the 2015 MLB season!  They have outscored opponents 40-17 in 8 wins, been outscored 31-7 in 6 losses.