All offseason, and in numerous articles expressing shock that the Astros actually won a game against the Yankees, we've seen the same, tired joke. "I've never heard of any of these guys." Let's look at the credentials of some of the 2014 Opening Day Astros.
Jason Castro - In his first full, healthy season, Castro was an All-Star. What's that? He was only there because the Astros had to have a representative? I guess putting up the 2nd highest WAR among AL catchers isn't worthy of note.
Jesus Guzman - Despite calling one of the worst hitters' parks home for the past three years, and only playing part-time at that, Guzman is 10th over the last three seasons in 1B WAR in the NL. That's in only 910 plate appearances. No one else in the top 15 has fewer than 1000 plate appearances.
Jose Altuve - Altuve was an All-Star in 2012. Over the past two seasons, he's second among ML 2nd basemen in batting average (qualified batters) and 1st in stolen bases. Not to mention the national recognition he received from the How Many Altuves phenomenon.
Jonathan Villar - Ok, so he's only played half a season, but what a half season it was! There was the amazing steal of home, and the infamous butt-slide. Not to mention being a top 100 prospect coming up.
Matt Dominguez - In his first full season, Dominguez was 8th in HR among ML 3rd basemen.
Dexter Fowler - Fowler is a six year veteran, finished 8th in ROY voting in 2009, and led the league in both triples and CF fielding percentage in 2010.
Chris Carter - Carter was ranked as high as 11th as a prospect coming up. He challenged the all-time record in strikeouts. And he finished 15th in HR in the majors last season.
Scott Feldman - Feldman was in the top 1/3 of starters ERA last season among qualified pitchers.
Chad Qualls - Qualls is a former closer for Arizona with 9 years in the majors and World Series experience.
Matt Albers - Albers has a 2.77 ERA over the last two seasons and is an 8 year veteran.
Jarred Cosart - Cosart took a no-hitter into the 7th inning in his major league debut and was a top 50 prospect coming up. There's also the twitter stuff he got a lot of attention for this off-season.
Brad Peacock - Peacock is another guy who was a top 50 prospect very recently.
Jesse Crain - Crain was an All-Star last season and is 8th among AL relievers in WAR over the last four seasons. He finished 8th in ROY voting in 2005. AS A RELIEVER!
My point in this isn't necessarily that the Astros have a world-beating roster this season. My point is simply this: If you haven't heard of any of the players on this roster, you haven't been paying attention.