The Houston Astros are badass. Entering the 2019 season, they have four players that, if healthy, can compete for the American League’s Most Valuable Player year in, year out. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and George Springer round out a core group of players as talented, if not more so, than any in Major League Baseball.
Jose Altuve is perhaps the league’s most beloved player. Weighing in at 5’6″, 165 lbs, the second baseman hits for both average and power, plays his position at Gold Glove caliber, and does it all for one of the best teams in the league. According to MLB jersey sales, Altuve’s jersey is the league’s second most popular (behind only the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who, let’s admit, has such an awesome looking jersey it’s unfair… I mean c’mon, #99? What are you, a video game character?). In 2018 Altuve had a slash line of .316/.386/.451, and finished 13th in the MVP voting.
Third baseman Alex Bregman, another star, is one of baseball’s most respected players. He’s also made headlines on a semi consistent basis, for both his excellent on field play, and his off the field personality. In 2018, it was reported that he learned Spanish in order to better communicate with his Spanish speaking teammates.
“I just think it’s part of life: try to be a good teammate,” Bregman told Forbes in a July interview. “You want to be able to communicate, you want to be really close to your teammates.”
In 2018, Bregman had a .286/.394/.532 slash line, and hit 31 home runs, 51 doubles and participated in the Home Run Derby. He finished fifth in the 2018 MVP voting.
Carlos Correa, the ‘Stros power hitting shortstop, had a bit of a down year in 2018. He hit a career low .239/.323/.405 with just 15 dingers, but he looks poised for a bounceback season. At just 24 years old, Correa has shown flashes of brilliance, and the importance of his position, combined with his size and athleticism make him one of the game’s most exciting players. To whit, he was an All Star in 2017, and won Rookie of the Year back in 2015. Look for a comeback season from Correa, who battled back soreness throughout 2018, which likely led to the drop in his production.
That brings us the outfielder George Springer. Springer is probably the least likely MVP candidate of the bunch, but he’s another supremely gifted athlete who could compete for an MVP with a breakout season. Last year he hit .265/.346/.434, which is in line with his career average. As a right fielder, Springer has big competition from the league’s reigning MVP, Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts, but Springer has shown flashes of brilliance over his relatively short career. He was sent to the All Star game in each of the last two seasons, and won the Silver Slugger award in 2017 when he hit .283/.367/.522, and a whopping 34 homers.
“When I took this job, I talked about our goal, which was to become competitive and stay competitive,” Astros president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow told MLB.com. “We were going to develop young talent. We were going to build capabilities across scouting and player development, research and development, sports medicine, etc. We’re not done accomplishing our goal, but I am pleased to report the state of our franchise is strong.”
No kidding. Houston has reached the playoffs in three of the last four seasons, and won the World Series back in 2017. They are widely regarded as one of the league’s most exciting teams, due in large part to their strong core. But will the Show Time ‘Stros get the respect they deserve? Only time will tell.