Baseball Season is fucking back.
The grind of 162 starts with a late night west coast start and damn it, I do not care that I will be tired on Friday morning. The last time we saw our Stros play, well Jorge Soler and the Braves were celebrating a championship on our home field. That is two times in the last three years I sat in my seat and watched the confetti fall that wasn’t ours. I actually think this team is better than last years and has a chance to once again represent the American League in October. Yes, I understand Correa walked to Minnesota, yes I understand the Jays got better and the AL East seems like a gauntlet, yes I understand my Mariners (who I think are a wagon) are looming in the West along with a for right now healthy Angels team. But it doesn’t matter because what the last half decade has told me is that the American League runs thru the H.
(These rankings are on how I think they will finish the year)
30. Pedro Baez – Last Year: NR
The rocket is retired, but Mr. Baez might have an exemption card. The Click regime has paid Mr. Baez pretty handsomely for zero action. This spring training he was touched up every outing and was sitting 88-90. I talked to some #sauxes about him and woof. Anyway, I have him ranked dead last but could be used as a guy who go gets lefties out. Idk.
29. Taylor Jones – Last Year: NR
The heir apparent to Yuli Gurriel needs to get that back healthy. The kid is a monster and right now just needs to get back on the field in a fashion where his back doesn’t flare up. I have TJ pretty far down the list because I just see him as a swing guy right now and even then Diaz is going to get first base starts over him.
28. Rafael Montero – Last Year: NR
That other guy we got in the Graveman deal seems to be a sneaky get. The whiff and K percentages are low on his savant data but did the R&D department fix him? I want to take a wait and see approach before I buy some stock here.
27. Bryan Abreu- Last Year: 24
This has to be the year for Bryan Abreu. He has all the stuff, he is healthy and the time is now. He is still only 24 years old and been sidelined with weird injuries. I have him this high on the rankings due to the fact of I just simply need to see it. I think he is capable of making that jump, we just need to see the results.
26. Blake Taylor – Last Year: 14
Let me preface with this, this team is way DEEPER than last season. Blake Taylor back sliding from 14 to 26 gives me Aaron Rodgers on draft night vibes. Give me 2020 Blake Taylor who was NAILS and I’ll be stoked. Only lefty in the pen so he should see a ton of bullets.
25. Niko Goodrum – Last Year: NR
The new swiss army knife 2.0 Marwin for the Astros, I am pumped to see Niko in action. The change of scenery is always a factor with these ball players and there is no better spot than here.
24. Jason Castro – Last Year: 22
JC is just a consistent big league catcher. I love how he commands a game and staff and was Mickey Mantle last year as a PH or sub from the 7th inning on. He probably had one of the biggest hits in October history against the Red Sox last year to get us back into that series. Korey Lee looms but JC and Maldy are seasoned vets.
23. Chas McCormick – Last Year: 25
Chas, a dear friend of Apollo and a MAN WHO TAKES DADDY HACKS. Is fighting for the starting job at CF until Jake Meyers gets back from injury. We talked to Chas on Beyond The Diamond and he said he was working this offseason on cutting down the strikeouts. This rookie last year only had 14 tanks and played some pretty valuable innings down the stretch.
22. Jose Siri – Last Year: NR
I think Siri and Chas are interchangeable in their rankings due to the platoon split they will be doing until Jake is back. Jose Siri brings you flair, energy and legitimate speed/power threat when he is locked in. We saw it in October and I tell you what just let this kid be himself. We need that type of JUICE.
21. Martin Maldonado – Last Year: 17
Your resident off-season twitter troll comes in at 21 this season. We know he has a rocket for a right arm, his commanding presence of a catcher and pitch caller is second to none, but will we get some sustainable offense out of him is always the topic of conversation. Maldy does things on the baseball field that you can’t quantify on an excel sheet and I will always love him for that.
20. Ronel Blanco – Last Year: NR
DUDE ALERT. BUY ALL THE STOCK RIGHT THE FUCK NOW. Ronel is going to be a certified weapon and I am pumped to watch him pitch this year. $RBLANCO
19. Hector Neris – Last Year: NR
Neris is going to be a DUDE this year. His Baseball Savant page is sexy. Lot of red. Sneaky get by Mr. Jimmy Click. This feels like another Stanek signing.
18. Jake Odorizzi – Last Year: I guess I forgot to rank him
What a ricochet shot by me for not ranking Odo last season, hand up that’s on me. As the resident Jake Odo guy at Apollo, I have my dude at 18th just because they are some dogs in front of him. Jake is going to round out the rotation and eat a ton of innings that we need to keep all these arms healthy come October. He just has to hold serve.
17. Jake Meyers – Last Year: NR
He is the future at CF. He is coming off a nasty torn labrum injury but was just an absolute machine before that. The front office and Dusty Baker have made it clear he is their guy, but he needs to just get back healthy and not rush this injury.
16. Phil Maton – Last Year: NR
THE MAD MAN AND CERTIFIED OCTOBER SERIAL KILLER. Look, everyone knows I said we should have left him off the playoff roster in September. Hand up that is on me. Also kudos to me for saying he was going to be a dude and have the stuff to excel here in Houston but that’s not here or there. Maton-Stanek-Neris- Pressly is DAMN GOOD.
15. Ryne Stanek – Last Year: 21
I love Ryne Stanek not because he made look super smart last year but because he is just a genuine human being. If you haven’t listened to him on Beyond the Diamond here it is below. The guy is a stud on the mound, throws 100 and pulls the string on you. New dad power is only going to elevate him into a potential All-Star this season.
14. Jeremy Pena- Last Year: NR
JP3 is a superstar in the making. I will pull the curtain back for all those who have made it this far. At spring training, I talked to #sauxes and they can’t stop gushing over this kid. They think he can better than Carlos and I am pumped to watch. His biggest battle will be in his dome playing against the ghost of Correa and the revisionist history from the fanbase. Fall in love with JP3 because he will be the Rookie of the Year in 2022.