Houston Astros have embarked on a journey that few teams have ever matched. Outside of the 1970’s Big Red Machine there have not been many teams that hold a candle to what the Cincinnati Reds did back then, and what the Astros are doing still today.
Everyone in Houston knows that the architect of this great adventure started with former general manager, Jeff Lunhow, but continued under Jim Crane’s leadership where James Click would assemble trade pieces to make sure that this team was still competing at a higher level.
So, the question is, are the Houston Astros a team of dynasty or a team of destiny?
I would say that they are both I will contend that this is one of the most perfectly crafted pitching staffs from starters to relief pitchers to every stand between the lines on the diamond and in a major league uniform.
There is an obvious narrative at the Astros had the fight for the last two seasons, and the only ones I could get rid of that narrative was the Astros. Believe it or not the Astros players I’ve never been concerned with those on the outside say.
This team has taken on the mantra of H-Town versus everyone, and they did not do it with puffed out chess, for an obnoxious confidence (well I am sure Yankees and Dodgers fans think otherwise) They did it with talents with the fearless attack on the baseball field, and an impeccable game plan and executed it to perfection.
The x-factor I have said all along this year and in the postseason was Dusty Baker, he put on a master class when it came to managing the bullpen and roster in a near perfect run through the playoffs. His comradery with his players and the respect he commands remains one of the catalysts in driving this team to a 106-win season and another World Series title. I look forward to taking a deeper look into Baker and his legacy in an Astros uniform.
This season you had Justin Verlander returned from a two-year hiatus where he did not even think he would compete at the level he did, but he clearly took off and sent into orbit. Another Cy Young candidacy for the 2022 season, looking even better than he did in 2019 when he won the Cy Young over, then teammate Gerrit Cole. Justin Verlander would nearly get to 20 wins on the season and move into 12th all-time in strikeouts, and No. 56 all time with 244 wins.
He is the only pitcher with a shot at 300 wins, but if anyone can get there it would be Verlander and his bionic elbow!
Another key player this year was Alex Bregman. The former LSU star fizzled out in the postseason in 2021 — dealing with a hand injury — and watched another World Series title slip out of his hands. Bregman responded by having another another great season and turn in one of his best postseasons ever. Which is something he predicted back in July.
Bregman threw a party at little Woodrow’s in EADO — not too far from Minute Maid Park — to announce a new barbeque sauce from his famous Breggy Bomb Salsa company. Bregman took the microphone and thanked the crowd for attending he looked at the crowd and said, “We’re going back to our sixth straight ALCS and we’re going to win the World Series.”
This is not even the whole story, offensively most of the season Yordan Alvarez was on an MVP tear until he hit a slump in the middle to late season. Despite that lull, the player Astro teammates call “Big Fella” ended the season with a traditional slash line of .306/.406/.613 and his advances slash line of (WRC+/WOBA/WRAA) 189/.427/52.1) and he will still come in 3rd place for MVP.
You may be scratching your head and say, “Wait H-town! Sir all this talk about offense and you have the following pitching records and arms that have been stellar all season long.”
A list of pitching accomplishments throughout the season:
· Framber Valdez 25 consecutive quality starts
· Ryne Stanek with the season ERA record 1.15 for a reliever
· Luis Garcia and Phil Maton throwing a perfect inning in one game
· Cristian Javier throwing a combined no-hitter
· Javier became the only pitcher in MLB history with 27 or more strikeouts and one or fewer hits allowed in a two-game span.
· Stanek set the Astros regular season record for ERA by a relief pitcher posting a minuscule 1.15 ERA
The list goes on, Rafael Montero, Hector Neris, and Ryan Pressly were absolute beasts. All of which were wildly successful in the regular and postseason. Pressly has become one of the top three closers in the game today. People will look back on this team and say that not only was this team a dynasty, but this team was a team of destiny. Due to a belief in themselves, they put their heads down, they put in the work, and they set a goal to go out and win another World Series for the city of Houston.
The run for this club has the potential to last all the way through 2027 and it does not appear that this team will give any ground going into the 2023 season. I look forward to diving into the team and offseason moves, stay locked in to Locked on Astros.
Brett Chancey is the co-host of the Locked on Astros Podcast. He can be followed on Twitter/Instagram @htownwheelhosue or @stros411 on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook.