3 Astros Things To Watch In COVID-19's 2020

By , SportsRadio 610
(SportsRadio 610) -- With the Astros back at Minute Maid Park to train for the upcoming 60 game season, here are three things that all Houston Astros fans should be apprised of during the year of COVID.

Alex Bregman has emerged in recent years as not only a fan favorite in Houston, but a top talent on baseball’s biggest stage. Whether in the box or in the field, Bregman has shown that he has what it takes to play at an MVP level. 

However, this display of baseball mastery tends to not show up for Alex until two months or more into the season. 

In Bregman’s 2016 rookie year, he scared many into thinking he was a bust with a 0-17 start that ultimately became 1-32. He would go on to finish his first season with a .264 batting average. 

At the end of June in 2017, Bregman’s second year in an Astros uniform, he was batting only .247, which included an abysmal month of June in which Bregman went 17-79 at the plate. 

Four seasons into his career, Alex Bregman has a batting average of .263 for the months of March through May. 

Even more eye widening, is the fact that Alex bats .271 during the first 81 games of a season compared to that of .302 for his second half performance each year. 

To put it bluntly, this cannot happen in 2020. There will be no time for Bregman to find his groove, no time to make adjustments. 

As Bregman steps into the box in late July, he must be ready to perform if Houston hopes to make a run in the postseason.

In case you have been living under a rock, it was discovered that the 2017 champion Houston Astros used sign stealing techniques that ultimately resulted in losing first and second round picks for two years. 

For a team that spent years losing 100+ games to build one of the games best farm systems, this puts the future of the team in jeopardy as prospects dwindle and fade away. 

The Astros’ 2016 first-round pick RHP Forrest Whitley is staring down the barrel of what some would call a “make or break” year. 

The 22-year-old six-foot-seven-inch right hander has been regarded as Houston’s top prospect for the last two years. 

Now four years removed from draft day, and the farm system’s future in doubt, it is undoubtedly time for Whitley to live up to the hype. In 2019 Whitley pitched 24.1 innings in Triple-A and saw his ERA balloon up to 12.21. 

Keep your eye on Forrest as he takes the mound in training opportunities later this month. There is a possibility we see the kid called up for an Astros end of season run, especially if injuries become a factor.

Speaking of injuries, a fan-favorite is looking to make his return to the mound this year

after rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. 

Lance McCullers Jr. went under the knife in late 2018, but all reports point to a full recovery for the right-hander. The Astros starting rotation will welcome McCullers back with open arms and high hopes as they desperately try to fill the void left by Gerrit Cole, who finished second in the Cy Young voting to teammate Justin Verlander in 2019.

McCullers etched his name into the hearts of Astros fans forever by throwing 24 consecutive curveballs to six different Yankees for the final six outs that sent Houston to the 2017 World Series. 

A healthy and productive Lance McCullers Jr. is essential for the Astros to find success in 2020.

Baseball is on the horizon. 

The shortened MLB season will bring rule changes, nuances, and talks of asterisks. 

One thing remains the same, the Astros roster is one of the strongest on paper. Houston has the potential to make a third World Series appearance in four years, no matter how many games are on the schedule.

Tyler Milner is a producer for SportsRadio 610.
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