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Thread: 2016-7 Houston Astros Off Season

  
  1. #31
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    Re: 2016-7 Houston Astros Off Season

    The Astros lost yesterday to the Miami Marlins by a score of 4-2. Not terrible in the grand scheme of things but where Houston was disappointing was in the pitching staff. Not all the staff but parts that you didn't expect would struggle. Francis Martes started yesterday's game and he only last 1/3 of an inning giving up a run on 2 BB's and hit with his lone out recorded via strikeout. AJ Hinch pulled Martes after 30 pitches I suspect because he didn't want to mess with his top pitching prospect's confidence. Martes is listed as #20 on the MLB top 100 prospect list so this outing can be chalked up to spring training, first start nerves. Martes had pitched 3.2 innings, all in relief, so far this spring. The other guy you might have some concern over was Will Harris. Harris came on in the 3rd inning and like Martes he gave up 2 BB's and a hit unfortunately that hit was a 2 run dinger by Miami's Derek Dietrich. Harris was able to finish the inning but the damage had been done. Harris was arguably the best (read, most consistent) reliever out of Houston's bullpen last season so it was a little disappointing to see him get tagged in a close game with runs. If you didn't think Harris was the best guy in the Astros bullpen last year then you would definitely have to say it was Chris Devenski. Devenski struggled some as a starter but coming on in long relief he was pretty much money last year. He showed some of that moxie yesterday as he took over after Jordan Jankowski pitched the 4th. Devenski came on in the 5th and he pitched 3 scoreless innings for Houston allowing 2 hits with no runs, 1 BB's with 3 K's. Pretty good afternoon's work for CD. Marlins pitching confounded the Astros bats allowing just 2 hits on the day with 3 BB's and 7 K's. Houston's 2 runs came on an RBI Triple by Reid Brignac that scored AJ Reed who led off the 6th inning with a walk. Collin Moran followed Brignac with a ground out to 2B that scored Brignac from 3rd. That was pretty much it offensively for Houston yesterday. The batting order has so many goose eggs in the line score it looked like the eggs had formed an army and were about to march forth and take over the world. All they accomplished was to conquer the Astros box score. Not a terrible game as it featured some good pitching by both sides but Miami's 5 pitchers used yesterday were better than Houston's unlucky 7.

    Dallas Keuchel makes his spring debut today and let's hope he is as sharp as Lance McCullers was in his first start the other day.

    Opening day is now exactly 3 weeks away!

    Here's an article from Astros.com which talks about new Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell's arrival at spring training where he will be a guest coach.

    http://m.astros.mlb.com/news/article...t-astros-camp/

    Who is this Reid Brignac guy? In the last 5 Astros games in limited playing time Brignac has gone 4-10 with 6 RBI's. Among the hits was a triple and a HR. So who the hell is this kid? Brignac is a 31 year old shortstop who made his MLB debut in 2008 while with the Tampa Bay Rays. He played 5 seasons with the Rays but prior to spring training in 2013 he was picked up by the Rockies. In May of 2013 Brignac was traded to the Yankees for cash. Brignac played 17 games for the Yankees when he was released in June. Later that month he signed a minor league contract with Colorado. He spent the remainder of the season at the Rockies AAA team. After the season he became a minor league free agent. In 2014 Brignac was signed by the Phillies organization. He made it through half the season when he was placed on the DL with a high ankle sprain. In August he was designated for assignment and he chose to become a free agent after the season ended. Brignac spent 2015 in the Miami Marlins minor league system and in 2016 he was with the Braves until May when he was designated for assignment. This offseason Houston signed Brignac to a deal with the idea of adding depth to their minor league system. Brignac is seeing a lot of playing time this spring because of all the players Houston has participating in the World Baseball Classic. While his numbers are very good he will be in Fresno playing for the AAA Grizzlies. Don't feel too bad for Brignac because he has been in a relationship with former Playboy Playmate Lauren Anderson with whom he has one child.


  2. #32
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    Re: 2016-7 Houston Astros Off Season

    Charlie Morton made his 2nd start of the spring yesterday and he went 4 innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits with a walk and a K. Not bad. Certainly on a par with his opponent who started for the St Louis Cardinals, Michael Waca, who had basically the same stat line in 5 innings of work. You can tell itís getting close to opening day as pitchers are starting to go deeper in their starts. Houston lost 6-3 but it doesnít really matter as 1/3 of the Astros lineup is at the World Baseball Classic and they all seem to be doing just fine, thank you very much.

    Lance McCullers gets his second start today against the Mets at home at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. The Mets will counter with RHP Jacob DeGrom making his 3rd start of the season.

    Saturday Houston gave P Kevin Chapman his outright release and he was claimed off waivers by Atlanta on Monday. In the Article linked below more details about Chapman and an update on several pitchers who have been nursing some dings.

    http://m.astros.mlb.com/news/article...med-by-braves/

    AJ Hinch announced over the weekend that he wants to carry 13 pitchers into the regular season which means there will only be room enough for 12 position players on the roster. In the article linked below it breaks down how the Astros website feels about who that will consist of.

    http://m.astros.mlb.com/news/article...s-into-season/

    Last week I posted an article with a short video of Astros bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte giving a young fan a chance to throw off the mound in the bullpen. Yesterday when the Astros played the Cardinals Bracamonte was up to it again, this time getting a young fan to gear up and catch a couple of throws as the bullpen catcher. You may see Bracamonte become the fans most favorite fan if this keeps up.

    http://m.mlb.com/cutfour/2017/03/13/...son-in-bullpen

  3. #33
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    Re: 2016-7 Houston Astros Off Season

    The Astros beat the Nationals yesterday 8-2 behind some nice power hitting by C Brian McCann and prospect OF Jon Kemmer. Kemmer got his first HR of the spring, a 3 run dinger in a 5 run 3rd inning rally. McCann went 3 for 3 on the day and he was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle with 2 RBIís. Joe Musgrove started for Houston as he continues to battle for the 5th spot in the Astros starting rotation. He went 4 innings allowing 2 runs on 3 hits.

    http://m.astros.mlb.com/news/article...stros-vs-nats/

    In the article linked below it is revealed by Astros GM Jeff Luhnow that Houston actually could have gotten former White Sox ace Chris Sale who eventually ended up signing with Boston but it would have cost the Astros Alex Bregman. Luhnow was unwilling to trade away Bregman so no deal was struck but it also had something to do with the confidence the Astros have in their current stable of pitchers. It appears as if both Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers are healthy and rounding into shape for the upcoming season and the prospects for a strong staff are very good. Thatís not me saying that, itís new Astros catcher Brian McCannís assessment.

    http://m.astros.mlb.com/news/article...tial-for-2017/

    It is now 18 days until Astros opening day!!!

    The Astros made their second round of roster moves yesterday dropping the number of players currently in spring training camp down to 49.

    http://m.astros.mlb.com/news/article...r-league-camp/

  4. #34
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    Re: 2016-7 Houston Astros Off Season

    The Astros played splint squad games yesterday with one half the roster at home at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches behind starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel and the other half of the roster in Fort Myers, Fla playing the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Ballpark. In Palm Beach Keuchel threw 4 scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves as he continues to look like his dominating self from 2015. It is great to see Keuchel back and as good as ever. So far this spring Keuchel has pitched 7 innings in two starts with a 0.00 ERA and a WHIP of 0.57 with no walks and 3 K's. Vintage Keuchel for sure. The effort was nearly wasted as Houston went into the 9th inning trailing Atlanta 4-1 but a 4 run rally led by a two run bases loaded double by Derek Fisher to close the score to 4-3 and a two run walk off single by Jack Mayfield. Atlanta did not retire a batter in the 9th as 3 straight singles were followed by Fisher's double. The next batter walked to reload the bases and Mayfield's single ended the game.
    In Fort Myers Brad Peacock is hanging on for dear life in the race for the final spot in the Astros starting rotation and he needed a good, or better than good, outing to keep his name in the conversation. The situation is desperate for Peacock because he is out of minor league options as he is trying like the dickens to earn a spot on the Astros final 25 man roster. Yesterday he was okay, which is not what he probably wanted, as he went 3 innings allowing 4 hits and a run with no walks and one K. Peacock's ERA is not great this spring at 5.84 which reflects the fact he has struggled at times. Francis Martes had the outing Peacock was probably hoping for. Martes went 3 innings and he retired all nine batters he faced with 3 K's. Martes is also looking to crack the 25 and this is just what the doctor ordered for him and Peacock, Martes and 4 other pitchers combined to beat Boston 6-2. The Astros offense was led by the usual suspects when Houston is successful, Evan Gattis (2-4 with an RBI), AJ Reed (1-3 with an RBI), Teoscar Hernandez (2-5 with 2 runs and an RBI) and JD Davis who went 2-5 with an RBI.

    16 Days until Opening Day!

  5. #35
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    Re: 2016-7 Houston Astros Off Season

    The Astros got bombed yesterday by St Louis 12-6 but starter Charlie Morton was not part of that problem. He pitched 5 complete innings allowing just 2 runs on 4 hits. One of those 4 hits was a 2 run home run by Jose Martinez to account for both runs Morton allowed. Encouraging to see as his innings increase is his continuing to be effective. So far the Astros starters have been very good to excellent with pleasant surprises coming from Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers. Doubts about how they would pitch following injury shortened 2016 seasons because of arm issues with both players had to be lingering. So far they both have quelled those doubts as both have been effective with no ill effects from their outings reported. The guys who pitched yesterday that really werenít very good are players who won't be on the final 25 anyway. Jordan Jankowski, Framber Valdez and Tyson Perez will all be heading to minor league camp soon so it doesnít matter that they combined to give up 10 runs on 7 hits with 7 walks and 4 Kís. The only other guy for Houston who pitched well besides Morton was Ryan Thompson who went 2/3 of an inning allowing no hits, no walks and no runs with a K. On the offensive side you have Jake Marisnick (2-3 w/ 2 runs and 2 RBIís), Josh Reddick (3-3, RBI), Colin Moran (1-2, run), Reid Brignac (1-2 w/ run) and Alejandro Garcia (1-3 w/2 RBIís and a run) lead the Astros attack. Jose Altuve in his first game with Houston after spending 2 weeks playing in the World Baseball Classic went 0-4 with a K.

    The Astros play Miami today with Mike Fiers starting for the first time in a couple of weeks after sitting out his last scheduled start with a sore hamstring. Heís in a battle for the 5th and final spot in the starting rotation which looks like a two man race between Fiers and Joe Musgrove who has been pretty impressive this spring. The thing that could be in Fiersí favor is his experience which is something a staff needs at the end of the rotation. Right now the rotation would be Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Charlie Morton, Joe Musgrove and Fiers. The guy who would be either the 2nd or 3rd man in the rotation, Colin McHugh has yet to pitch an inning in spring training. He came into camp with ďdead armĒ and heís slowly been trying to revive it. Heís been pitching on the side and in the bullpen and he could be ready to make a start or two before opening day but there is no guarantee he will be ready for the regular season. McHugh is not scheduled to pitch at least for the next 5 games which leads you to believe he will not be ready to begin the regular season. Based on their performances this spring I would anticipate the starting rotation as of April 3rd will be Keuchel, McCullers, Morton, Musgrove and Fiers. I would not expect the Astros to allow Keuchel to pitch a complete game as he did at Yankee stadium last year. Itís when his arm problems arose and it was foolish for AJ Hinch to allow Keuchel to pitch a complete game in his first start of the season in frigid temperatures at Yankee Stadium in early April. I would expect a more conservative approach to the entire staff to start the season.

    It is now 13 days until the start of the regular season!

  6. #36
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    Re: 2016-7 Houston Astros Off Season

    It's been a few day since I last posted. The USA won its first ever World Baseball Classic against a strong Puerto Rico team that was previously undefeated. The USA didn't just beat them they put a whoopin' on them winning by a score of 8-0. They got to the finals by beating the also previously unbeaten Japanese team. Nobody handed Team USA anything, they went out and earned it. In the semi's the Astros had no less than 6 players playing. Team USA had 3B Alex Bregman and P Luke Gregerson, Team Puerto Rico had Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltran, both of whom made major contributions to the success of the PR team to reach the WBC final. Japan had Norichika Aoki who was a solid contributor. All these players with be back in action this weekend as Houston will have all their projected opening day starters for the first time since the second week of spring training.

    This past week Houston got quality starts from, in order, Mike Fiers, Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton. The only guy all week to struggle was Lance McCullers who pitched in Saturday's 4-1 loss to Washington. This was the first games played by Carlos Beltran, Alex Bregman and Nori Aoki since returning from the WBC. Carlos Correa did not play Saturday because he got sick while in LA for the WBC and he asked AJ Hinch for an extra day to recuperate and Hinch agreed. Correa will make his spring debut with Houston tomorrow. While we are hoping for the best from the offense those guys just didn't have it Saturday afternoon. The offense only generated the one run on just 5 hits with just one walk and 8 K's. The Astros stranded a whopping 15 baserunners on the day with Houston going just 1-7 with RISP.

    Lance McCullers set the tone for the day however. He pitched just 3.1 innings giving up 4 runs on 6 hits with no walks and 4 K's. McCullers gave up a run in the 3rd to give the Nats a 1-0 lead and then he gave up 3 more runs in just 1/3 of an inning in the 4th and that was all Washington needed to win the game. Houston had 4 other pitchers in the game Friday who did not allow a run. It was great to see Chris Devenski and Will Harris both have scoreless innings. Those two guys will be key coming out of the bullpen if Houston is to have any success. If you consider a bad outing as 4 runs allowed with no walks then McCullers qualifies but in reality 4 runs isn't terrible and the no walks is great. He was all over the strike zone but he couldn't close the deal often enough. The fact is, Houston's starting pitching is looking pretty good as opening day fast approaches and McCullers outing yesterday wasn't bad at all.

    Staying with the starting pitching for just another minute, Collin McHugh is scheduled to pitch his first spring training game on Monday against the St Louis Cards. AJ Hinch feels that McHugh will begin the season on DL while he builds up his stamina. See link below.

    http://m.astros.mlb.com/news/article...ay-for-astros/


    Dallas Keuchel was named as the Astros opening day starter for the 3rd season in a row. With Collin McHugh slated to begin the season on the DL here is the projected starting rotation for the Astros beginning the season.
    1. Dallas Keuchel
    2. Charlie Morton (or Lance McCullers)
    3. Lance McCullers (or Charlie Morton)
    4. Joe Musgrove
    5. Mike Fiers
    All these guys have looked pretty good this spring and even without McHugh they look like a formidable bunch. Brad Peacock looks like he will make the team as a long relief guy.

    The Astros lowered their ST roster by 5 players yesterday as the gave LHP CJ Riefenhauser his unconditional release while the Astros sent P Tyler Perez, P Jordan Jankowski, OF Jon Kemmer and OF Alejandro Garcia to minor league camp. This takes the Astros ST roster to 34 players with 8 days left before opening day. The Astros will need to be down to 25 players on their roster by opening day a week from tomorrow. The Astros have already told C Juan Centeno, IF Reid Brignac, IF JD Davis and OF Derek Fisher they would not make the big club roster but they will remain with the team this week. Brignac, Reid and Davis all have had excellent spring training and they speak of the depth of talent Houston has built within the organization.

    It is only 8 days until opening day!!!!

  7. #37
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    Re: 2016-7 Houston Astros Off Season

    It is now 6 days until opening day!
    Yesterday Colin McHugh made his first spring start and, apparently, it looked like it. He pitched just 1.2 innings allowing 3 runs on 5 hits a walk and 2 Kís. There is no real reason for AJ Hinch pulling McHugh prior to him recording the 3rd out in the 2nd inning, he only threw 17 pitches, but this something Hinch has done in the past much to the chagrin of his pitchers, Iím sure. He didnít pitch horribly but Iím sure heís a bit disappointed on one hand while Iím sure he was glad to out on the mound at last on the other hand.
    Today will be Dallas Keuchelís final tune up before he makes his 3rd straight opening day start. The Astros will play the Marlins at the their home in Jupiter, Fla.
    The Astros website has a bit of a different look. No big deal but I havenít had time to decide whether I like it or not.
    After the last round of roster moves over the weekend the Astros are sitting at 34 players as the final week of spring training begins. They will need to be down to the final 25 man roster prior to opening day next Monday. The Astros have already informed 4 other players noted in previous post they will not make the final 25 so it leaves 5 more players who will not make the cut. Fortunately, for most of the guys not making the final 25 doesnít mean they are out of a job like the players in the NFL are when roster cuts are made during training camp. Baseball players just head to minor league camp and their dream of playing in the bigs is just put on hold for a while.

  8. #38
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    Re: 2016-7 Houston Astros Off Season

    I forgot to post this yesterday.



    I donít know whatís going to happen when the season begins but Dallas Keuchel looks like his old bulldog self. He pitched his final tune up before he is scheduled to pitch on opening day this coming Monday. He went 1-2-3 in the first inning but he struggled a bit allowing a total of 3 runs to the St Louis Cardinals in the 2nd and 3rd innings of yesterdayís game as he threw nearly 90 pitches in his 3.2 innings of work. He ended up getting the win yesterday as the Astros bats were at work banging out 14 hits and scoring 7 runs on the afternoon that ultimately gave Houston a 7-3 win over the Miami Marlins. Houston is looking like they are ready to begin the season despite the fact Keuchelís outing was not as sharp as you would have liked.

    On Monday the Astros optioned OF Preston Tucker to minor league camp. His brother, Kyle, got his first hit in spring training yesterday. It looks for the world that Kyle will eclipse his brother in the Astros organization. He is certainly ranked higher. Weíll see how it plays out but neither brother will be in Houston next Monday.

    It is only 5 days until opening day!

  9. #39
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    Re: 2016-7 Houston Astros Off Season

    The Astros rallied to beat the Cubs last night by a final score of 8-6. The rally didnít come late in the game it actually came in the 6th when Houston put up a 4-spot to take the lead. Neither starting pitcher, Lance McCullers or Chicagoís Brett Anderson can be happy about their final tune up game before the season starts on Sunday. Anderson when 5 innings allowing 3 runs on 8 hits, a walk and no Kís and two HRís. One of the dingers was a two run shot by Josh Reddick in the 2nd inning and the other a solo HR to Jose Altuve in the 3rd. McCullers went 4 innings allowing 5 runs on 5 hits 2 walks with 6 Kís with a HR by SS Addison Russell with a man on in the 3rd inning. Maybe we could forgive the pitchers here, after all, McCullers was facing the defending world champions while Anderson was facing a revamped Astros line up that is one of the favorites to go to the World Series this year. The Astros bats were certainly up for the challenge as every starter in the lineup except for C Brian McCann got at least one hit with Josh Reddick leading the charge going 3-3 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBIís including that 2 run shot in the 2nd. Evan Gattis was right behind Reddick as he went 2-3 with a walk, a run scored and 2 RBIís. Neither Reddick nor Gattis struck out in the game. In fact, and hold on to your seats because Houston as a team struck out only 2 times the entire game! No misprint here folks, 2 FREAKING TIMES! One K was by Carlos Correa and the other by the guy youíd think least likely to strike out on the whole team, Norichika Aoki. All this while working 2 walks a team and banging out 14 hits on the way to beating the Cubbies. Garrett Stubbs came in for Brian McCann in the 8th and he got in on the festivities in his own way. On what turned out to be the last play of the game with Kyle Schwerber batting for the Cubs. The Astros put the shift on to the right side of the infield for the left hand batting Schwerber who hit a popup to 3rd base side of the infield. Alex Bregman, who was playing his part of the shift near the 2nd base bag was racing to get to the ball but he was not going to make it before it fell in for an inning extending hit. Garrett Stubbs was johnny on the spot though as he raced out his crouch and hauled in the pop up just 5 feet in front of the 3rd base bag. The catch set a record as the longest run by a catcher to make a catch than anyone ever in the statcast era. Hereís the article and video from Astros.com;

    http://m.mlb.com/cutfour/2017/03/31/...record-catcher

    James Hoyt came into the game last night in the 5th in relief of Lance McCullers and he pitched 2 innings giving just one run on a solo HR by Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo. Jandel Gustave relieved Hoyt in the 7th and he pitched one scoreless, hitless inning. I mention that because both players were vying for the final spot in the Astros bullpen. Both guys, according AJ Hinch, were neck and neck in the race for the final spot but Hinch decided to go with Gustave. It had to be a bitter pill for Hoyt who is 30 years old and heís only spent parts of seasons in the bigs as he sees his opportunities wane as he gets older. In the article linked below it talks about the Hoyt -Gustave battle as well as announcing the final 25 man roster as it will be heading into Mondayís season opener.

    http://m.astros.mlb.com/news/article...astros-roster/

    The Astros close out spring training and the month of March with a second game in as many nights against the Chicago Cubs. Houston sends Joe Musgrove to the hill while Chicago counters with RHP Kyle Hendricks.

    Only 3 more days until opening day!!!!

  10. #40
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    Re: 2016-7 Houston Astros Off Season

    The Astros closed out the preseason with a loss to the Cubs but it doesn't really matter other than the fact that Joe Musgrove had a decent outing in his last tune up and a couple of relievers Houston will be counting on this season didn't. Musgrove went 4 full innings and didn't allow a run and he had a minor scare in the 3rd that he promptly took care of. His counterpart, Kyle Hendricks held the Astros scoreless in his 5 innings of work. The Cubs half of the 5th is when things fell apart for Houston. Tony Sipp just plain sucked. Sipp allowed 3 of the 4 runners his faced on a pair of singles and a walk. Ken Giles replaced Sipp and he walked in a run and allowed another to score on a wild pitch. Chesney Young singled with two outs scoring two more runs putting the Astros behind 4-0 at the halfway point of the game. Houston couldn't solve Hendricks but when he came out after the 5th he was replaced by David Rollins and it was then the Astros went to work on a comeback. Rollins hit Nori Aoki with a pitch and allowed singles to Derek Fisher and Reid Brignac to load the bases. It looked like Rollins would escape with no runs allowed when he got back to back K's on JD Davis and Tyler White to get the Astros to 2 out. Pierce Johnson replaced Rollins at this point and he allowed a 2 run single to Yuli Gurriel to close the score to 4-2 but that's as close as Houston got in the game. Michael Feliz pitched a clean 6th but in the seventh Will Harris messed around and allowed two runs to score extending the Cubs lead to 6-2. Houston answered with a run in the bottom of the 7th but that was the extent of the scoring as Chicago beat Houston 6-3.

    The Astros had a harder time than you might think making final cuts with guys like JD Davis and Reid Brignac having such a good spring. On the other hand, the Astros were blessed with a healthy spring which made the roster pretty easy after all. Here's an article from Astros.com talking about that healthy spring and giving us the final 25 man roster.

    http://m.astros.mlb.com/news/article...picId=27118380

    Dallas Keuchel is healthy and ready to take the ball tomorrow night. Check out this article from Astros.com about Keuchel's anticipation of making his 3rd consecutive opening day start.

    https://www.mlb.com/gameday/mariners...b=,game=490111

    This will be my final post on this thread. The Astros have had a good spring and the best thing about it is nobody got hurt. Not even the 8 players who played in the World Baseball Classic so heading into the season Houston is as healthy as they are going to be this season. The only guy not currently on the final 25 is Colin McHugh. He begins the season on the DL as he was slowed this spring by arm fatigue. He looks like, barring any setbacks that he will come off the DL with the next two weeks. Here are my predictions for the Astros this season. I believe they will rebound from a disappointing season of a year ago and end up winning the AL West with a record of 96-66. I think the Astros have enough pitching, offense and defense to get to the post season and fulfill Sports Illustrated's prediction that 2017 will be the year the Astros finally win their first World Series. Here is my forecast for how the

    AL West will shake out this season;
    1. Houston
    2. Seattle
    3. Texas
    4. Angels of Anaheim
    5. Oakland

    Enjoy the season!

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