2016 O/U Wins:
2016 AL West Odds:
Projected Starting Rotation:
Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Mike Fiers, Scott Feldman, Doug Fister
Jed Lowrie, Scott Kazmir, Oliver Perez, Chad Qualls, Chris Carter
Ken Giles, Doug Fister
Handicapper's Take: "The Astros came one win away from winning a playoff series last year. That breakout campaign came on the heels of a major, long term rebuilding project. Houston won only 70 games in 2014, on the heels of 51, 55 and 56 win seasons.
When a team that had won 70 games or less for four straight years suddenly morphs into a legit World Series contender, in theory, bettors are supposed to be able to make some serious money with that team. But that wasn’t the case last year with the Astros – they had a money losing regular season, followed up by a money losing six-game run in the playoffs. Plain and simple – the betting markets offered precious little value to support Houston last year and early indications are that the Astros might be overpriced once again, despite their plethora of young talent.
Houston had clear voids offensively at first base, center field and DH last year. They’re counting on improved production from in-house talent like Jon Singleton and Preston Tucker to fill some of those voids. Can Carlos Gomez bounce back from an awful campaign? Can George Springer cut down his strikeouts and emerge as a breakthrough star? What about Carlos Correia; a second year player who is routinely being compared with Hall of Famers? Houston’s +111 run differential ranked #3 in all of baseball in 2015, so it’s hard to picture that improving in any significant way.
But my bigger issues with the Astros come in the pitching department. Can Dallas Keuchel come close to matching the numbers from his Cy Young campaign? Are Collin McHugh and Lance McCullers capable of matching last year’s impressive numbers? Can an aging Doug Fister bounce back from an injury riddled campaign in Washington? The FanGraphs advanced metric projections show this rotation headed in the wrong direction. Houston’s bullpen, too, overachieved last year; no sure thing to repeat their success from 2015. This is a good team, not a great team, and the markets aren’t likely to offer many bargains to support them."
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