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Legends On Deck

Game Of The Week: Astros vs Red Sox- July 5th

Matchup

The Astros and Red Sox will square off for the first time this season in a three game series in Boston. Historically, these two teams have faced each other just 23 times, with the Sox winning a dominant 17 times. However, this season Houston looks to be the better team, coming into the series with a 44-34 record and leading the AL Central division. The Red Sox sport a disappointing 34-43 record and are currently in the basement in the AL East.

Last Season

Astros: 

The Astros finished with a 70-92 record last season, coming in fourth place in the AL Central. At first glance that would look like a terrible season, but it was a step in the right direction for an organization that had lost over 100 games each of the previous three seasons.

Red Sox:

After winning 97 games and eventually the World Series in 2013, things took a downward turn in 2014. The Sox finished just 71-91, landing them in last place in their division and 25 games behind the Orioles, who won the AL East crown.

Managers

Astros:

After two unsuccessful seasons managing the Diamondbacks led to his eventual firing in 2010, A.J Hinch disappeared from the managing ranks for a few years and served as a the VP of Scouting for the San Diego Padres before Astros GM Jeff Luhnow came calling. Hinch was hired as Astros manager prior to this season, and has guided his young roster to a first place record so far in 2015.

Red Sox:

John Farrell, who served as the Red Sox pitching coach for several years, got his first taste of managing for the Blue Jays in 2011. In 2013 he returned to the Red Sox– this time as their skipper. He would lead the Sox to a World Series in 2013, but has since had a rough go of it. So far this season his team sits in last place despite spending boatloads of money in free agency this offseason.

Key Additions/Subtractions

Astros:

After years of losing and rebuilding, the Astros made a few moves to help aid their progression towards contention this offseason. They went out and got themselves a middle-of-the-order bat in big Evan Gattis, who they acquired in a trade with the Braves. In exchange for Gattis, Houston sent prospects Rio Ruiz, Mike Foltynewicz and Andrew Thurman to Atlanta. They also dealt longtime centerfielder Dexter Fowler to the Cubs in exchange for rotation help in the form of Dan Straily. The ‘Stros were also active in the free agent market, signing Jed Lowrie to play shortstop, Colby Rasmus for the outfield and solidifying their bullpen with Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek.

Red Sox:

The Red sox appeared to be the big winners coming out of the offseason. The signed big name bats like Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to huge deals. When they lost ace Jon Lester to the Cubs, they went out a remade their rotation. First they dealt slugger Yoenis Cespedes to the Tigers for righty Rick Porcello. Shortly after that they signed Justin Masterson, a former top prospect of theirs. Later in the offseason they would deal third basemen Will Middlebrooks to the Padres for catcher Ryan Hanigan. So far many of their offseason moves appear to have had little affect on the team’s record, as they still sit in last place in the division.

Top Prospect

Astros:

With the Astros graduating so many of their top prospects this season, such as Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, Domingo Santana and Michael Feliz, the title of top prospect now falls to former number one overall pick Mark Appel. Houston drafted Appel out of Stanford University back in 2013, passing on Kris Bryant. So far the pick looks to be a mistake as Appel has failed to reach the levels of success so many predicted for him. The 6’5 right-hander appears to have all the qualities of a good pitching prospect- size, polish, stuff- but has battled with control issues. So far in 2015 Appel has pitching 66.1 innings, compiling a 5.02 ERA. He has 50 strikeouts and 25 walks.

Red Sox:

The Red Sox top prospect is a player who I featured in a preseason post about potential breakout prospects– third basemen Rafael Devers. Devers is an 18-year old out of the Dominican Republic. So far in 61 games in A-ball, the lefty-swinging Devers has slashed .306/.336/.449 with 18 doubles and five homers. He edged out his Greenville teammate, Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada for the top spot as scouts have not been impressed with what they’ve seen after the Red Sox gave Moncada a $31.5MM signing bonus.

 

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Kirk Cahill

Contributing Writer at Legends On Deck®
Kirk is very knowledgeable of MLB's minor league system and brings a passion for writing about the stars of tomorrow. Kirk is also a contributing writer for MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net. He is a native New Yorker and lifelong Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @KirkC_.