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Houston Astros 2023 Season Preview

Kyle Tycker, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez | Credit: Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle

With the season starting today, I wanted to put some quick thoughts together as a preview for the 2023 season. The Astros are still the favorites in all of baseball right now and for good reason. Here are some thoughts below.

Off-Season Recap

Biggest Move: Jose Abreu

Abreu has been one of the best bats in baseball since he entered the league in 2014. The Cuban native has posted a .860 OPS and a 134 OPS+ with 31.9 WAR in 9 seasons. After winning rookie of the year in 2014, he won MVP in 2020. Last year, Abreu hit .304 with a .824 OPS and 40 2B, 15 HR, 75 RBI. While we all love Yuli Gurriel, Abreu is going to be a major upgrade offensively.

Re-Signed: Michael Brantley, Rafael Montero

The Astros put a priority on bring back Montero to keep the pen intact, which was one of the best in baseball and dominant in the playoffs. Michaeel Brantley was also brought back, which is a big deal. When healthy, Brantley is one of the most consistent hitters in baseball, batting .306 with a .832 OPS in an Astros uniform over the last four years.

Biggest Loss: Justin Verlander

This one is obvious. Losing the Cy Young winner is never easy. Fortunately, the Astros have some depth in the starting rotation, especially when Lance McCullers is healthy. Hopefully he will get back soon but a rotation of Valdez, McCullers, Javier, Garcia and Urquidy isn’t bad at all.

What I’m Confident In

Kyle Tucker – I am confident Kyle Tucker will continue to prove his worth and add reasons why the Astros need to lock him up. Maybe a bold prediction, but I think Tucker finishes top 5 in AL MVP voting this season. The only AL outfielders with a higher wRC+ over the last two seasons is Yordan Alvarez and Aaron Judge. Back to back 5+ WAR seasons and really coming into his prime. Big season coming for King Tuck.

Alex Bregman – We have seen Bregman have some ups and downs in his career, but his downs are still really good. I’m confident we will see All-Star level Bregman in 2023. Last year Bregman put up 4.5 WAR and a 133 OPS+. Bregman finished the season strong slashing .293/.395/.529 with 16 2B, 11 HR over the final 60 games. Like Tucker, I think Bregman is going to have a big year and get back to his All-Star days.

Yordan Alvarez – Since making his big league debut in 2019, Yordan has a 164 wRC+. That is third best in all of baseball behind Mike Trout and Aaron Judge. The dude just freaking hits. As long as he is healthy and the hand is good, Yordan will probably go for 40+ HR this season. He had some of the biggest HRs in Astros history in the post-season too.

Ryan Pressly – One of the most underrated moves in baseball when it happened, the Astros traded a couple prospects for who is now one of the best relievers in baseball. In an Astros uniform, Pressly has appeared in 218 games and has a 2.39 ERA with 279 K in 211 innings. He also has a 2.56 ERA in 38.2 innings in the playoffs. One thing we can count on is Pressly being a stud at the back end of the Astros pen.

There is a lot more I’m confident in too. Deep rotation, deep lineup, deep bullpen. The Astros have a really good team.

What I’m Excited For

Young Players – I feel this way every year but this year appears to be a little different. The Astros will have Hunter Brown in the rotation. Brown, the Astros top prospect, posted a 0.89 ERA in 20.1 innings last year. He is one of the favorites for AL ROY. The roster will also have other young players like Yainer Diaz, Corey Julks and David Hensley all getting playing time. The young players and rookie are going to be fun to watch.

Repeat – There hasn’t been back to back World Series Champions since the 1998-2000 Yankees. The Astros have just as good of a chance to do it as any others recently. As noted above, the one big loss was Justin Verlander but they also added a stud in the lineup in Jose Abreu and have some top prospects ready to contribute. It would be awesome to see the Astros repeat.

What I’m Concerned About

Health – I think this can be said for any team, but it’s already been little rough for the Astros. Jose Altuve will be out a couple months, Lance McCullers Jr. isn’t ready, Michael Brantley isn’t ready, Yordan was battling the hand issue early in the spring. I think the Astros have the talent to fill-in when guys get hurt, but when fully healthy, this is another 100+ win team.

What I think Will Happen

I think the Astros are going to win another World Series. I think they have one of the deepest lineups in baseball, one of the best bullpens, and one of the most underrated starting staffs. They should be able to win the AL West again and get back into October baseball. This quick preview didn’t even make much mention of the WS MVP Jeremy Peña, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve or the other studs on the team. This team is DEEP. But to make the “predictions” easier, I will put the team awards below:

MVP: Kyle Tucker

Cy Young: Framber Valdez

ROY: Hunter Brown

Breakout Star: Chas McCormick

Underrated Piece: Jose Urquidy

Record: 104-58

That’s my take on the 2023 season. Let me know what y’all think will happen or your predictions for team awards!

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