As the 2014 pennant race starts to kick into gear, several teams have established themselves as contenders. These teams have shown the resiliency and experience to compete in their respective divisions, and look to be in the thick of things for the rest of the season.
On the other hand, other teams have fallen off, and instead are looking to 2015 and beyond for their chance to compete. In particular, I thought of four teams who won’t make noise in this year’s pennant race, but who have talented young players and strong enough farm systems to turn things around in the near future. None of these four teams have been to the playoffs in quite some time, but if a number of prospects work out, they have the chance to be perennial contenders very soon. I plan to take a look at each of these teams in detail as a four-part series. The first team I’ll be discussing is the Houston Astros.
The Astros last appeared in the playoffs in 2005, and have lost 100 games or more in each of the last three seasons. Although they presently sport a 40-56 record, good enough for fourth place in the AL West, many believe it is only a matter of time before their high draft picks are ready to carry the team.