After two months of an MLB season, typically the true contenders for a World Series championship begin to come into focus. In the American League in 2017, one team has clearly separated itself from the rest of the competition: The Houston Astros.
Their 42- 16 record, so far this season, is already 14 games ahead of the pack in the AL West. This is a start very reminiscent of what the Chicago Cubs did a season ago, when they ran away with the National League Central division. Both teams are built in very similar ways: young powerful offenses, and solid pitching staffs that, when the offense isn’t clicking, are fully capable of carrying a team during the grind of a 162-game baseball season.
If Houston’s assault on the American League continues until September, then, undoubtedly, one of their everyday players will be in the running for the AL MVP, similar to the Cubs’ Kris Bryant who won it in the National League in 2016. The only tough part will be deciding which one of three Astros should win the award. Superstar shortshop Carlos Correa, who leads Houston in RBIs (39), would seemingly be the obvious choice. Centerfielder George Springer, who leads the team in homers (16), and second baseman Jose Altuve should also receive consideration for the MVP award. Altuve leads the team in average (.326) and hits (72) through 58 games this season.
On the mound, Dallas Keuchel looks to have rebounded from a subpar 2016 season following his Cy Young Award winning year in 2015. In 11 starts this season, he is 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA, putting his name right back in Cy Young contention this year. Lance McCullers, Jr. looks to have established himself as Houston’s clear number two pitcher. He’s 6-1 with a 2.71 ERA and a team-leading 81 strikeouts this season.
It is clear that the Astros appear to be on the same trajectory as the 2016 Chicago Cubs, in terms of regular season success. The only question will be: Can they do it in the playoffs like the Cubs did?