Nobody expected the Houston Astros to be in a playoff position this late in the year, ISH Writer Adam Leightman breaks down how it happened.
Let’s flash back to March. Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, ESPN, and Fox Sports all picked who would win each division. Here is what each one said.
Five experts picked each division. Four of them picked the Astros to finish fourth and one picked them to finish last in the American League West.
The five experts all selected a different team to win the AL West and in their 30 team prediction, the Astros were selected to finish 25th, with a record of 72-90. Now, it’s August 26th and the Astros have 71 wins.
In the Fox Sports prediction, the Astros were predicted to finish fourth in the division. In the description, Ken Rosenthal said he was not sold on the pitching. They currently rank fourth in ERA, second in opponents BA, second in WHIP, and Houston ace Dallas Keuchel started in the All-Star Game for the star studded American League.
ESPN had 15 people pick division winners. Guess what? Nobody picked the Astros. They also started 23rd in the weekly power rankings.
Now that we have gotten the pre-season predictions out of the way, Let’s look at some of the remarkable numbers that the Astros have put up this year.
34-The number of come from behind wins the Astros have this year. The Astros simply do not quit during games. AJ Hinch put it best after sunday’s come from behind win against the Dodgers, “You need 27 outs to beat us… We don’t have a confidence problem. We don’t panic. We don’t pout.”
27.4- The average age for the Houston Astros roster this year. That is the youngest roster in the MLB this year. The Astros are using a lot of young players, but have veterans performing as well. Carlos Correa, 20, has been phenomenal since getting called up in June. The team’s oldest player, Chad Qualls, 36, struggled early in the year but has been lockdown since a stint on the DL.
119-The number of days that the Astros have been in first place of the AL West. The Astros have been great since April. They took the division lead on April 19th, and have been in the lead for almost all of the season. Since April 19th, the Astros have spent 11 days out of first place.
9-The Astros have 9 players with at least 10 home runs this year. Everyone has come through with big hits when needed this season. The Astros could potentially finish with 12 players in this category, adding Marwin Gonzalez (9), Hank Conger (8), and Jake Marisnick (6).
The Astros recorded their 71st win yesterday. The Astros won a total of 70 games last year. The year before that they won 55. It is remarkable how quickly Jeff Lunhow and A.J Hinch have turned this organization around.