Houston Astros are the Team to Beat

Houston Astros
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Both New York Teams have gotten most of the headlines as the best teams in baseball all season long. Other headlines have been filled with teams going on surprising runs, such as Baltimore and Seattle. However under the radar, since July 1st I have thought the Houston Astros are the team to beat!

At the end of June, Houston took a trip to New York and beat the Yankees and Mets like big brothers who have been waiting for their parents to leave to teach their younger sibling a lesson. I did not think much of it, this was before the collapse of the Yankees, back when they were supposed to break every record in baseball. A week later however, I knew it was real, when the Astros swept the Yankees for a second time, this time in Houston.

Pitching: 3 Headed Monster

The Houston Astros have Cy Young favorite in Justin Verlander who apparently thinks it is 2012 the way he is pitching. Verlander is 16-3 with a 1.84 ERA, wow! Behind him are 2 young pitchers who have ace potential and are not afraid to show it.

Framber Valdez has been solid all season long in every start for the ‘Stros, giving Verlander a partner in crime. Valdez has pitched to the tune of a 14-4 record with a 2.63 ERA.

The third pitcher on the Astros’ rotation that has been impressive for the most part of the season is Jose Urquidy. The 4 year pro is having his best season yet, with a record of 12-5, even though his ERA is a little higher than you would want at 3.69.

The bullpen in Houston has done what you are supposed to do. Get outs and do not give up runs. Once the Astros take a lead, it is usually safe, not much drama for this team in 2022. Which is why I believe they are playing under the radar.

Pitching Stats

As a team the Houston Astros lead the American League in 7 pitching statistics:

  • 1st in Wins (85)
  • 1st in ERA (3.02)
  • 1st in Hits Allowed (923)
  • 1st in Runs Allowed (435)
  • 1st in Earned Runs Allowed (393)
  • 1st in Home Runs Allowed (111)
  • 1st in Strikeouts (1,195)

Yikes! I do not think there is one lineup out there looking forward to running into this team in the playoffs. The ‘Stros should be able to ride this pitching staff to the World Series, and from there anything can happen.

Hitting: 1 through 9

If this lineup can do 1 thing, it is hit. They hit for power, they hit for average, and they hit with runners on base. At the trade deadline, they added even more depth to their already deadly lineup by acquiring Trey Mancini. As if Jose Altuve, Yordan Alverez, and Alex Bregman really needed any help putting runs on the board.

The Astros are top 3 in the AL in 5 different statistics at the plate:

  • 3rd in Doubles (234)
  • 2nd in Home Runs (172)
  • 3rd in Walks (443)
  • 3rd in SLG (.421)
  • 3rd in OPS (.740)

Their only downfall is also being 2nd in the American League in strike outs with 981. If they can find a more discipline approach come playoff time, which will be difficult going against the league’s best pitching, they will have innings where they put up 5+ runs easily.

Houston Astros are the Team to Beat

The Astros are the best team in the league when it comes to stats. They have been flying under the radar all season long, and a part of me thinks that is exactly how Dusty Baker wants it.

As of writing this, Houston is 85-47 and has a 18.5% chance to win the World Series this year. After losing to the Nationals in 2019 and the Braves in 2021, both in dramatic fashion. I am here to declare the karma of the trash can scandal should be lifted. That and having Verlander healthy, makes me believe that the Houston Astros are the team to beat in the 2022 post season.

At the very least I expect this team to represent the AL in the World Series, even if they do not win it all.

(Stats and % chances provided by baseball-reference.com)

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Rowan Donaghey is a Sports and Betting Insider for Fantom Sports Industries. Follow him on twitter for daily content via

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