2. Houston Astros
In the offseason Houston Astros field manager and general manager were suspended and later fired in the wake of a sign-stealing, cheating scandal. Now, the most hated team in baseball has a new manager in Dusty Baker, and a new-look rotation after losing Gerrit Cole to the Yankees.
Other than losing Cole, the Astros starting roster hasn’t changed too much from 2019, which is what makes them so dangerous. Is it good enough to overcome the shift in power from Cole going to the rival New York Yankees?
The Astros starting rotation will likely look like this for the 2020 season:
Obviously, losing Cole is a huge blow to their rotation, but it isn’t the end of the world. The top three pitchers in the Astros rotation are very, very good, especially the top two, but Urquidy and Pruitt are without a doubt a step-down and this will be the Astros weakness for the 2020 season.
Here is what the Astros lineup will likely look like for opening day:
- P: Justin Verlander
- C: Jason Castro
- 1B: Yuli Gurriel
- 2B: Jose Altuve
- SS: Carlos Correa
- 3B: Alex Bregman
- OF: George Springer
- OF: Michael Brantley
- OF: Josh Reddick
- DH: Yordan Alvarez
Their batting order is terrifying. With Altuve, Correa, Bregman, and Springer, et al. there are few if any easy outs for opposing pitchers.
Two of the last three years the Yankees and Astros have faced off in the ALCS, in 2017 it went seven games, in 2019 it went six games, both times it was the Astros who moved onto the World Series. Once again this is the most likely matchup for the American League Championship Series, barring Houston doesn’t implode from the pressure and scrutiny they face this season.