The Houston Astros are cruising to their first American League West title, and now they welcome back Carlos Correa right in time for the stretch run.
Nobody is challenging the Houston Astros in the AL West, something that allowed the team to nurse ace Dallas kuechel and shortstop Carlos Correa back from injury. While Keuchel has been back on the mound for a while, Correa is now joining him on the active roster, finally back from a torn ligament in his thumb.
Correa gives the Astros another middle-of-the-order hitter as the team comes down the stretch run. Houston has gotten terrific seasons out of George Springer, Jose Altuve and others, but the lineup isn’t the same with Correa in the fold.
Before being injured, Correa played 84 games and hit .320 with 20 home runs and 67 RBI. The 22-year-old All-Star is arguably the best shortstop in the game, giving the Astros an absurd combination of he and Altuve up the middle.
Correa is one of the top fantasy players in the game as well, owned by 100 percent of players in almost every league. He remains a top option both at shortstop, middle infielder and utility. Coming back for the final month, he could sway plenty of races.
At 82-53, the Astros lead the second-place Los Angeles Angels by 12.5 games in the West. More importantly, Houston is sitting three games ahead of the streaking Cleveland Indians in the race for home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs.
The race is key, considering the implications it has in the AL Division Series. Barring surprise, the Boston Red Sox will win the AL East and be either the second or third seed. In other words, the loser of the race between Houston and Cleveland will draw Boston in the opening round, while the winner gets a considerably weaker team from the Wild Card contest. Right now, the Wild Card game would feature the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins in the Bronx.