Fantasy Preview: Astros vs Angels 22 Sep 2017

Fantasy Baseball Preview of the Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim series starting 22nd September @ Astros.

There’s a reason why the Houston Astros was the most dominant team in baseball for the first half of the season.

In fact, there are many reasons. And unfortunately for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, they’re going to get to witness those reasons firsthand, when they face the Astros for a three-game series this weekend.

Ok let’s preview the games below

Right handed pitcher Charlie Morton will take the mound first for the Astros, as Houston manager A.J. Hinch begins to prime his starting pitching lineup for the postseason. Morton (12-7) is coming off a game in which he allowed one run on five hits and a walk while striking out seven against the Seattle Marriners. That snapped an 0-2 record, which included allowing nine runs over 17.2 innings in three previous starts against Seattle this season. Against Los Angeles, however, Morton has fared much better; has faced the Angels twice this season and is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA and 8:3 K:BB over 10 innings.

Morton would likely pitch behind Justin Verlander in any postseason rotation, but Verlander looks like he’ll take the mound for the second game of the series against the Angels. The right-handed pitcher has allowed all of six runs in his past six starts, recording five wins in that span starting in mid-August. He’s averaging over eight strikeouts per game, compared to just over one walk per game. In other words, he’s providing that dominant second pitcher behind Dallas Kuechel that the Astros were looking for when they first acquired him from the Detroit Tigers. The 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young award winner clearly has plenty left in the tank at age 34 and is quickly putting himself back in the conversation with the game’s elites.

George was right.

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And then, of course, Houston has second baseman Jose Altuve, who looks like a virtual lock for the American League MVP award. He’s capping off another monster fantasy campaign and is now up to 23 homers, 76 RBI, 31 stolen bases, 98 runs and a .350/.410/.564 slash line. He leads the majors with a .348 batting average, and he’s going to lead the AL in hits for the fourth consecutive season. He’s tops in stolen bases (31), to go with 23 home runs, a .409 on-base percentage, a .956 OPS and an AL-best 165 OPS-plus. He leads AL position players in WAR, both in Baseball-Reference’s version (7.8 rWAR) and FanGraph’s calculation (7.0 fWAR).

Ironically, Altuve is running away with the AL MVP award only because of a prolonged stint on the disabled list for Mike Trout of the Angels. Before he got hurt, we were watching Trout put together his best season in the majors, which is kind of amazing considering he’s finished first or second in the AL MVP race each of his five full seasons. And even though he missed a month-and-a-half of 2017 with that thumb injury, he’s still third among AL position players in fWAR (6.2) and fourth in rWAR (6.2). As for his numbers, he’s slashing .315/.452/.638, with 29 homers, 21 stolen bases and a 1.090 OPS in 102 games this season.

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