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Houston Astros Season Predictions | 2014 Season Betting Preview

2014 MLB Team Previews – Astros

For three consecutive seasons the Houston Astros have a set a franchise record in losses while posting the worst record in baseball, including a 51-111 finish in 2013.

And as the franchise continues its massive rebuild, the Astros will continue to have their work cut out this season.

Sportsbook’s Odds to Win

AL West: +5000
American League: +10000
World Series: +20000

With that, Houston needs to get better fast if they want to compete in a tough AL West division, starting with a few offseason acquisitions that could help the Astros in reversing their losing trend.

Probable lineup

1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Jason Castro, C
4. Chris Carter, DH
5. Matt Dominguez, 3B
6. Marc Krauss, 1B
7. Robbie Grossman, LF
8. L.J. Hoes, RF
9. Jonathan Villar, SS

The top of the order is probably one of the Astros biggest strengths this season, with the addition of leadoff man  Dexter Fowler, followed by Jose Altuve, Jason Castro and Matt Dominguez.

Fowler is an athletic center fielder who can get on base, and has good speed.

Altuve meanwhile, was a career .327 hitter in the minors, and shows the signs of becoming a viable big league hitter, batting .285 mark in the bigs. The 23-year-old is also quickly becoming a bona fide base stealer.

Bovada

Castro is coming off a very good and underrated season at the plate as well, and Dominguez’s  21 home runs in 2013,  tied him for eighth-most among third baseman.

Probable rotation

1. Scott Feldman
2. Jarred Cosart
3. Brett Oberholtzer
4. Jerome Williams
5. Brad Peacock

As for the Astros starting rotation, the acquisition of Scott Feldman on a three-year deal after a quality season with the Cubs, is the Astros’ biggest attempt of making a step in the right direction.

He will likely be followed in the rotation by Jarred Cosart, who posted an exceptional 1.95 ERA in his 10 starts last season.

Without a strong third man howevr, the Houston bullpen is likely going to get a workout, and that could present a real problem.

The pitching depth in the pen has got to be one of the Astros’ biggest weaknesses, as displayed last season with the Astros leading the league with 29 blown saves and a anemic 52-percent save conversion rate, which was the worst in all of the majors.

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However, if reliever Jesse Crain can get back into the mix once he’s healthy, it could help the Astros in a big way.

He was an All-Star last year, posting a 0.74 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 46 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings. He also had 19 holds and only one blown save.

Until then, 36-year-old Chad Qualls will hold the closer job, and with a little luck could be a solid choice by the end of the year.

In the end, while the Astros figure to be significantly better in 2014, due to additions like Fowler and Feldman, their fans shouldn’t expect too much this season, as the club continues to slog forward.

I think it’s safe to say that Houston improves by 10 games in 2014, but will again lead the AL in blown saves while likely still being in the mix for the worst record in baseball.

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