Before the article expounds on a more detailed level, it must be clear to the readers that the problems of the Houston Astros will not be as serious as their opponents. This team is stacked in all positions, and injuries will likely be the only legitimate reason for them not to compete for the 2023 season. Yes, they did lose Justin Verlander, Christian Vasquez, and Trey Mancini, but their deep roster will be able to mitigate their losses.

Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Jose Altuve will continue to lead the charge in the batting department. Cristian Javier and Framber Valdez will need to raise their numbers to the level of an ace pitcher due to the departure of Verlander. Youngsters like Jeremy Peña and Chas McCormick broke out in 2022, and their role will likely expand in 2023. All these observations are positive for Houston, but there are some small holes they will need to address before Opening Day.

What will their starting rotation look like?

Manager Dusty Baker has a problem that many other squads do not have. He has six major-league-caliber starters, so he will decide who to remove from the list when Opening Day begins. Valdez, Javier, Lance McCullers Jr., and Luis Garcia are likely looked at into the No 1. to No. 4 spots in no particular order. With Verlander’s departure, Jose Urquidy or Hunter Brown will occupy one massive opening.

Urquidy is the more stable choice, as he was a starter for them last season, and he tallied a record of 13-8 with a 3.94 ERA. He has an excellent command of his pitches compared to most pitchers. Hunter Brown is the No.1 prospect of Houston, and he was impeccable when he was promoted last year. Brown is the better pitcher, but they may want to preserve his arm for the higher-leverage games and start Urquidy as the fifth starter.

Will there be any issues at catcher?

Christian Vasquez decided to depart from Houston and move as the starting catcher of the Minnesota Twins. Before the 2022 trade deadline, there were murmurs of Wilson Contreras headed to Houston, and it even extended to the offseason. They failed to acquire his services, so that they will have Martin Maldonado as their Opening Day catcher.

It was an average season for Maldonado on the plate, but his chemistry with the Astros’ pitchers gives him the upper hand. His durability has been fantastic, so he will likely catch over 120 games, but his backup is still a looming question. Yainer Diaz is the leading candidate to become the second catcher of Houston as the No. 3 prospect of the organization.

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How will the outfield shake out?

Chas McCormick and Kyle Tucker are the given outfielders who will start almost every day. Yordan Alvarez is also an outfielder but will likely receive many of his starts in the Designated Hitter position. Tucker owns right field in Minute Maid Park, while McCormick started at centerfield last season. Alvarez and Michael Brantley are still recovering from injuries, so it will be intriguing if McCormick will start at LF or CF this year.

A decision for Baker could be starting McCormick at LF and giving youngster Jake Meyers the opportunity to start as the Opening Day CF. Meyers has struggled at the early juncture of his career, but he needs the confidence to boost to revitalize his career. For Brantley, he flourishes more in LF, so McCormick will need to move back to CF if Baker decides to utilize Brantley more than Meyers.

How will the Astros adjust with Jose Altuve’s injury?

Joining the World Baseball Classic several weeks before Opening Day was a significant risk, and one heartbreaking outcome that can occur is incurring an unfortunate injury. Two stars suffered major injuries, namely Edwin Diaz and Jose Altuve. Luckily for Altuve, he will only miss the first two or three months of the season due to a broken right thumb.

It will become insurmountable to replicate Altuve’s numbers from anyone on the bench, but if there’s one team that can adapt to the given circumstances, it is the Houston Astros. Mauricio Dubon is the ideal option for manager Dusty Baker, and he will likely get the starting nod. In the batting order, their top six guys would still be formidable, as Baker can elevate Michael Brantley to the two-hole before it reaches Bregman, Alvarez, and the rest of the crew.

Youngsters David Hensley or Pedro Leon may get the chance at second base while Jose Altuve is recovering. Still, Dubon is the ideal option to start the season because of his experience and repetitions.