Thursday, March 2, 2017

2017 Astros - Projected

Time for our fifth (mostly) annual season projections. In case you missed the first few, here are links to 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016. To recap, 2012 was horrible (74 projected wins, 55 actual wins), 2014 was pretty good (72, 70), 2015 was close-ish (81, 86), and last year was disappointing (93, 84).

The same general disclaimer applies: "Now, anytime you put together projections the goal isn't necessarily to be perfect. You're looking for a likely outcome for each player, yes, but my goal isn't so much each player but the team as a whole. Some guys are going to have unexpected breakouts and some are going to deposit feces on their mattress, but the idea is that you can project a reasonable baseline of expectations for the team as a whole."

The big misses last season were with the pitching staff, as the offense actually finished within 6 runs of my projections. Keuchel's ERA was nearly a run and a half worse and he threw 50 fewer innings than expected. McHugh, Fister, and Fiers were all roughly a half a run worse. On the bullpen side, Giles and Sipp both fell off, as well. In all, the pitching staff underperformed our projections by 69 runs. Not so #nice.

This year, despite the moves to fortify the roster with extra veteran-y goodness, there are still a few questions in my mind: 1) Which version of our catchers will show up? Does McCann regress with age? Does Gattis continue his even year/odd year rollercoaster? 2) Do we finally get a full-time 1B? And if so is it Gurriel? 3) Does Altuve continue his exponential improvement? Can he break Bonds' single season HR record so we can all agree on the true leader? Can he be the first 80/80 hitter? 4) Which Keuchel shows up? McHugh? 5) Can our young pitching depth step up if and when they're needed? 6) What moves does the front office make mid-season?

With all that in mind, here's what our crystal ball is showing for 2017.

There is some rounding involved, so the individual totals may be slightly different than the team totals. Also, I don't pay much attention to saves, so, meh.

Again, so much of the Astros' success will hinge on the pitching staff returning to form. The AL West should be pretty competitive this season, so the team will have to come close to these projections if they want to play meaningful baseball in October.

As always, we welcome your thoughts in the comment section.