The 2015 season may be a sign of things to come.
The Texas Rangers won the West, beating out the Houston Astros, who settled for a Wild Card spot. You can see these two Lone Star rivals battling it out for division supremacy from here on out.
The Rangers have a nice mix of veterans and youth, from future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre, Shin Soo-Choo and Prince Fielder to the next generation with Roughned Odor, Jurickson Profar with Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara waiting in the minors.
The Astros returned from the dead thanks to their youth movement, starting with the 2015 A.L. Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa. When you add in Mr. Consistency, Jose Altuve and George Springer, the Astros may only get better. Remember, they were just six outs away in the ALDS from knocking out eventual World Series champs Kansas City and advancing to the A.L. Championship Series.
One again, since I’m a pitching geek, it all comes down that. The Rangers go with Cole Hamels, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis as the anchors of the starting staff. Chi Chi Gonzalez will get a shot at earning a spot in the rotation and could be a fixture there for years to come. Plus, the Rangers are expected to get their ace, Yu Darvish, back at some point during the first half of the season.
But the Astros have a pitching staff you can’t sleep on with reigning Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh and Lance McCullers. Doug Fister could be one of those “under the radar” gets.
The bullpen failed the Astros down the stretch, allowing the Rangers to take the division title. You have to give the edge to the Rangers in this one. Shawn Tolleson, Jake Diekman, Sam Dyson, and Keone Kela have the ability to make it a five inning game. As far as what the Astros have bullpen-wise, we’ll see.
This is gonna be fun.
Written by C. James