Houston Astros Bold Predictions
Hot take season is coming to a close as Opening Day approaches, so we wanted to give a few bold predictions for the 2019 Houston Astros before the regular season gets underway.
Forrest Whitley will win American League Rookie of the Year.
It isn’t so far-fetched to think that the #1 overall pitching prospect can win Rookie of the Year. However, when you consider the other rookies in the American League (Vlad Guerrero Jr., Eloy Jimenez, Danny Jansen, etc.), it would be an impressive feat to be voted the best one at the end of the year. We know the prowess of young Forrest — we know that he already features 4 pitches graded as above-average MLB weapons. We also know that he is basically a lock to make his big league debut in 2019 (probably sometime in late May). My prediction is that he dominates in his debut outing and never looks back en route to winning American League Rookie of the Year.
This prediction relies more on the health of these three guys than their talent level — we know each of these guys is capable of putting up 30 HRs in a season and they need to average 33.3 between the three of them to get to 100. Bregman of course had his best season in 2018 where he played 157 games and hit 31 HRs. Correa and Springer each have their career-high HRs in seasons which were shortened by injury: Correa hit 24 in 109 games in 2017 and Springer hit 34 in 140 games in 2017. If Correa and Springer play about 150 games, there is no question they are both capable of putting up at least 30 HRs. Bregman seems as locked in as any player in baseball right now, so its not unreasonable to think he can repeat the power show he put on in 2018 and get to at least 30 HRs. The question is, which of the three is most likely to hit 40? AstrosFuture Predictions
Michael Brantley finishes in top 10 of AL MVP voting
Brantley has been a favorite of mine for a while. I was ecstatic when the Astros signed him to a 2 year, $32 million deal this off-season. He came off a very good season in which he hit .309 with 36 2B, 17 HR, 76 RBI. With Brantley moving to a more lethal lineup, I think he can improve on these numbers. It appears he will be hitting between some combination of Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa. If Brantley improves his numbers to a 45 2B, 20 HR, and a .300+ BA type season while helping the Astros win another 100+ games, I could see him garnering some mention for MVP.
Last year, two relievers received votes for the Cy Young Award. In 2017, one reliever received votes. While the votes typically go to closers, I think we see Pressly have a truly dominant season in the Astros bullpen in 2019. Following the trade from Minnesota he posted a 0.77 ERA with 3 BB/32 K in 23.1 innings. He was solid this spring too striking out 8 in 5 innings. If Pressly can come close to repeating these numbers over a full season, you could be looking at one of the best relief pitchers in all of baseball. In that case, I think he receives some votes for the Cy Young Award.
**Photo Credit: Richard Guill**