Hey guys, it’s Ari Alexander and it’s been another successful week for the Houston Astros, who are barely behind the New York Yankees for the best record in baseball.
Let’s take a look at the team as they start to wind into the All-Star Break as a World Series contender yet again.
TO DERBY OR NOT TO DERBY
Yordan Alvarez, whose 25 home runs are tied for second in Major League Baseball, has acknowledged he’s been asked to participate in the Home Run Derby for the first time. Alvarez said he hasn’t decided whether or not he’ll participate.
If he does, he’ll follow Alex Bregman, who got into the derby in 2019.
If Alvarez does participate, he’ll have to unseat Mets slugger Pete Alonso, who has now won back-to-back derbies in 2019 and 2021.
HOW MANY ALL-STARS?
The Astros had a disappointing three All-Stars in 2021, especially after putting six into the game in 2019.
This season, there’s the potential Houston could place as many as seven on the All-Star team with up to three starters.
Jose Altuve has a wide lead in the All-Star vote at second base and should likely make his eighth All-Star team.
Yordan Alvarez is tied with Shohei Ohtani at DH in the vote. If Alvarez doesn’t get in as a starter, he’s a lock to make his first All-Star Team.
Kyle Tucker is among the league leaders in Wins Above Replacement. He won’t make the game on votes, but has a strong chance to make his first All-Star team as a reserve. Jeremy Pena also has a shot at shortstop.
On the pitching side, Justin Verlander has to be among the favorites to start the All-Star game, like he did in 2019. If he doesn’t start, Verlander is a lock to make his ninth All-Star team.
Framber Valdez is eighth in the American League in ERA, and second in the American League in innings. If Valdez gets named, it would be his first appearance.
Ryne Stanek *SHOULD* make the team, after lowering his ERA to a microscopic 0.63 in 2022. Stanek has now pitched 25 straight scoreless appearances and 22.2 straight scoreless innings. He’s simply one of the best relievers in baseball.
Keep an eye on the trade market as the Astros should be looking for a left-handed reliever, and possibly a versatile bench bat. There’s also the possibility they go after a cheap catcher, like Jacob Stallings to help split time with Martin Maldonado heading into the playoffs. Left-handed relievers to keep an eye on include former Astro Cionel Perez. After Houston traded him to the Cincinnati Reds in 2021, Perez has re-discovered his form this season for the Baltimore Orioles, pitching to a 1.00 ERA. Perez may make the All-Star team.
Houston as a logjam in the outfield now that Jake Meyers is healthy, and with Jose Siri’s specific skills (speed, defense), there’s a chance Chas McCormick could be on the trade block. McCormick has improved at the plate lately and has shown he can hit major league pitching and play all three outfield positions.
The Astros win streak was broken last night against the Royals, but they have one more chance for a win at home this afternoon before heading to face the Athletics for three games on the road starting tomorrow. Hopefully a new winning streak is about to get underway.