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Houston Astros

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Projected WARMarket Value

30.2 272


19.2 173


5.6 50


Projected WAR by grouping is from Fangraphs’ depth charts.
Historically each win is worth ~$9 million on the free agent market

Projected Team

  • George Springer, CF
  • Alex Bregman, 3B
  • Jose Altuve, 2B
  • Carlos Correa, SS
  • Josh Reddick, RF
  • Marwin Gonzalez, 1B
  • Brian McCann, C
  • Evan Gattis, DH
  • Derek Fisher, LF
  • Justin Verlander, RHP
  • Dallas Keuchel, LHP
  • Lance McCullers, RHP
  • Gerrit Cole, RHP
  • Charlie Morton, RHP
  • A.J. Hinch

Health Check

“Three of the starting nine in the Astros expected 2018 lineup are over 30 years old. That number will climb to four when Yulieski Gurriel returns from hamate bone surgery, but even then, the majority of the lineup of the defending World Series champions are players in their 20s.

Marwin Gonzalez will turn 29 soon, so he’s the old man of this bunch. Jose Altuve, the 2018 American League MVP, will be 28 this year, and George Springer is already there. Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman aren’t yet 24 years old, and Correa is already one of the top shortstops in the game, while Bregman seems well on his way to entering that territory at the hot corner in only his second full season in the bigs.

The Astros have the kind of youth in a lineup that just won the World Series that rebuilding teams would love to have their hands on. And most of this core is going to be around for some time, as Springer won’t be a free agent until 2021, Correa 2022, and Bregman 2023. Altuve could have left sooner than the rest, but he signed a franchise-record, five-year, $151 million extension during spring training, keeping him around through 2024.

Sure, the pitching is a different story, as Dallas Keuchel is a free agent after this season, Justin Verlander’s deal is up the year after that, and Gerrit Cole, also under control through 2019, is more of a mid-rotation arm on a good team than the ace it was once thought he would become.

That’s not a worrisome hurdle, though — not when such a significant chunk of the lineup is young, productive, and in it for the long haul. The Astros have a head start on most of the rest of the American League, and it’s not just because they are the most recent world champs. It’s because they’re in a far more enviable position, with a far brighter future, than maybe anyone else in the junior circuit, and because of that there will be room to fill the holes that open elsewhere while the core does its thing.”

—Marc Normandin, SB Nation

Key Player

Alex Bregman will be 24 years old in 2018, and the former second-overall pick from the 2015 draft is in position to continue the star turn of the 2017 postseason. While Bregman’s actual playoff statistics weren’t memorable, the defensive decisions and key hits he did have helped the Astros get to and eventually win the World Series for the first time in franchise history.

He’s not just a few highlight reel defensive plays, though: Bregman batted .284/.352/.475 in his first full season in the majors. While that didn’t stand out in a lineup featuring eventual MVP Jose Altuve, star shortstop Carlos Correa, and fellow postseason hero George Springer, his OPS+ was fifth among qualifying third basemen, behind the likes of Justin Turner, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rendon, and Nolan Arenado. Bregman isn’t even as good as he could be yet, and he’s already coming in top-five at his position.

Further growth from Bregman would be huge, as much of the Astros’ lineup, potent as it is, is already at its peak. Their third baseman is young even for a young team, however, just like the shortstop to his left, and the growth they continue to show will likely guide just how successful the defending champions are in 2018.

—Marc Normandin, SB Nation

Best Case

The Astros just won the World Series. Now they have an entire season of Justin Verlander instead of just a few months, and also traded for Gerrit Cole to fill out a rotation that still featured Dallas Keuchel, the revamped version of Charlie Morton, and Lance McCullers. A whole lot of things can go wrong, sure, but that’s not what this section is for. This section is for reminding you that the defending champions have about as good a chance as you can of being repeat champs.

Worst Case

Of course, “about as good a chance as you can of being repeat champs” is a pretty relative statement, as the Astros still have to survive the grueling 162-game regular season, and will have to do so in a division that’s likely more difficult than 2017’s version. Yes, the Astros won over 100 games in 2017, so even a dip in that number would leave them in an enviable place, but I’m really trying to pretend I have something negative to say about a defending champion with a super productive and youthful core whose pitching is better than it was last Opening Day so just work with me here, yeah?