Is Houston a runaway favorite?

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By Houston Astros (https://twitter.com/astros) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
As the New Year kicks off it is time to start looking forward to the 2017 baseball season. I decide the best way to start is to look at the teams that are front runners for their respective divisions.

Today we are focusing on the Houston Astros. After two surprisingly good seasons the Astros likely come in to 2017 as the favorite to win the AL West. On paper they have one of the stoutest lineups in all of baseball with huge power from start to finish. On paper however is not where games are played.

Houston’s pitching staff is full of young live arms, but at times in 2016 they were inconsistent at best. Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Collin McHugh will be mainstays of the rotation with Joe Musgrove likely next in line. After that however it is yet to be seen who will follow. In baseball youth is a virtue, but with youth comes a certain unpredictability. Youth isn’t just found in the Astro’s pitching staff either, as their lineup will be one of the youngest in baseball as it was the last two years.

With young studs all over the infield and extra talent brought in this offseason it remains to be seen how the Astros will get everyone on the field. Players like Evan Gattis, Marwin Gonzalez, A.J. Reed and Tyler White will likely see extended time on the bench or in the minors due to the log jam of talent. With another year of solid defense and outstanding power out of guys like George Springer, Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman runs will come in bunches. Only downside to this offense is the amount of swing and miss that will be in the lineup.

Houston’s offensive prowess will carry them for this season and for the near term future, but will it be enough to overcome what was at times very shaky pitching is yet to be seen.

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