The Houston Astros are heading into the 2017 season with a purpose much like that of the the 2015 season: get to the playoffs.
2017 is the Year of the Astros, Says the Ballclub
Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow, who was hired by Houston on Dec. 7, 2011, and is responsible for the new wave in baseball management of “Tear down, build up”, believes this team will go to new places this year.
“We knew we were going to go through a few lean years where we were going to accumulate some losses in the big leagues. We knew we were going to develop our own players and make sure they got to the big leagues and help us win here,” Luhnow said to MLB Network.
Luhnow reflected on the success of the ball club in the past few years.
“I think getting to the playoffs in 2015 was a little ahead of schedule,” Luhnow told MLB Network. “Last year, we had a winning team but didn’t get to our goal, which is back to the playoffs, and I think this year we are well positioned to do some damage.”
The Astros are coming off a season that saw the orange and blue finish the season with a record of 84-78, placing themselves at third in the American League West and missing the playoffs by 5.0 games in the AL Wild Card race.
One player who struggled a bit for the ‘Stros in 2016 was ace starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel. Last season, he ended with a record of 9-12 and a 4.45 ERA in 26 appearances and as many starts. In 168.0 innings, Keuchel gave up 168 hits, walked 48, struck out 144, and allowed 85 earned runs, partially due to the 20 home runs he surrendered during the season.
Keuchel, who is looking for a rebound season of his own, really likes the look of this Astros pitching staff.
“I see five professional ball players, and I say ball players because it’s not the prototypical pitcher,” Keuchel told MLB Network for the 30 Clubs in 30 Days program. “We’re not athletic, there is not a bunch of headliners, and we don’t mind that. We’re gonna go out and do our job, offense is going to put up runs. We know that. That’s gonna be the headliner of the season.
The Astros begin regular season play at 7:10 p.m. on April 3 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas for Opening Day 2017 as they take on the Seattle Mariners.