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At the beginning of the month, the Astros took advantage of the current rules allowing teams in September to expand their major-league roster by bringing up some key players from their AAA affiliate, the Round Rock Express. Bringing them up was beneficial for both the Astros and the players, as it gave the team a chance to rest key players down the stretch, fill some holes due to injury, and provide these young prospects a chance to show what level of performance they are capable of producing in the big leagues.
While Houston had a disappointing stretch of games this past week by dropping three-straight to division-rivals Oakland, this month has otherwise been very successful for the Astros. They continue to inch closer to their magic number to clinch the division, as well as staying in step with the Yankees for the best AL and overall record to secure home-field advantage for the playoffs. The success in September, in part, has been a result of these young stars being available and ready to contribute when called on.
Toro and Straw have taken advantage of their opportunities
Let's first take a look at some of the guys who are not as high-profile as the other two we'll get to later. Abraham Toro joined the team in late August to fill an infield spot while both Carlos Correa and Aledmys Diaz missed time with injury. His most exciting moment so far was when he delivered the only runs in a tightly contested game in Toronto against the Blue Jays, a two-run home run in the top of the ninth which would ultimately be the difference in a no-hitter for Justin Verlander.
Just hold on we're going home 🇨🇦#TakeItBack pic.twitter.com/cBxfZMqJhN
— Houston Astros (@astros) September 1, 2019
While that was one of his most significant offensive highlights, he has also been solid on defense, filling in at third base while Alex Bregman has covered shortstop for a recovering Carlos Correa. While he likely doesn't make the postseason roster, Toro has shown that should the Astros need a third baseman, whether due to injury or possibly in the years to come with players moving on to other clubs, that he could be their guy.
Another contributor this month has been Myles Straw. While I originally had him on the outside looking in with my playoff roster predictions, the frequency at which Houston has used him as a pinch-runner has shown that they consider him an asset for his speed on the basepaths. Straw alone has scored seven of Houston's 90 runs this month, many of which coming after he was put in as a runner late in a game. That's not to say that's his only strength; he's 4-for-9 at the plate this month and has shown strength on defense as well. Considering the bullpen is starting to get healthy, he could very well find himself on the Astros' bench in the playoffs.
Kyle Tucker has finally broken through
Many, including myself, were highly anticipating Kyle Tucker's call up in 2018. It, unfortunately, did not live up to the hype; as Tucker would end up going 9-for-64 and a .141 average, no home runs, and just 4 RBIs in his 28 games played in the second half of the 2018 season.
This year is an entirely different story, though, as not only did he have another terrific year in AAA to warrant another chance on the major-league roster, he has finally translated his minor-league success to the big leagues. He already has more hits (13) in his thirteen games in September as he did in his 28-game 2018 debut.
Not only has he been able to notch more hits, but he has also recorded his first and second career home runs along with six other RBIs to double his total from last season (eight versus four). Whether it was some bad luck or improved mechanics, the 2019 version of Kyle Tucker is vastly superior to what we saw in 2018.
Turn and burn! #TakeItBack pic.twitter.com/abH4KPhNJr
— Houston Astros (@astros) September 15, 2019
Yordan Alvarez is simply unreal
While the players mentioned above are all great in their own right, there is still one young player that has stolen the spotlight on Houston's roster. That is Yordan Alvarez. We're running out of superlatives and records for him to exceed. Had Alvarez been with the Astros from the start of the season, we may not only be talking about the best rookie season ever but one of the best overall seasons by a player, period.
Sure, roughly half of Alvarez's dominance this year came against minor-league talent, but he has been just as dominant in the majors since his debut on June 9th. When you combine his overall statistics between the minors and majors this year, you see an incredible .333 average, 48 home runs, and 146 RBIs. For perspective, although he has spent some time away with injury, the absolute best player in the game, Mike Trout, currently sits with a .291 average, 45 home runs, and 104 RBIs.
He has already locked himself in as the sure American League Rookie of the Year, but now the question is: what can he do with a full season in the major leagues? I am looking forward to seeing how he steps up to the big moments he could be put in during the playoffs this year. Can he deliver these same numbers against the absolute best in the game? I think so, but we will have to wait until October to know for sure.
WHERE did this ball land!? pic.twitter.com/H8bejMym4i
— MLB (@MLB) September 10, 2019
While the Astros certainly have one of the best set of veterans in the game, the last few months have been a chance to see what may be on the horizon for some of Houston's young talent that will likely be contributing towards more success for their team for years to come.
A lawsuit filed by one of the sons of the owner of the Houston Texans that had sought to have her declared incapacitated and have a guardian appointed for her was dropped on Monday, February 26.
Robert Cary McNair, Jr. had filed his application for appointment of a guardian for Janice McNair, 87, in November with probate court in Harris County.
But on Monday, lawyers for Cary McNair, along with others involved in the case, filed a motion in which they agreed to jointly drop the lawsuit.
News of the end of the case was first reported by the Houston Chronicle. Jeremy Fielding, an attorney for Cary McNair, told the newspaper the family made the joint decision to address these issues privately. Fielding said Cary McNair is concerned about his mother’s health and he had filed the lawsuit to protect his mother and not to “control her estate, as his brother Cal has incorrectly suggested.”
Attorneys for Janice McNair and her son Cal McNair, who is chairman and CEO of the Texans, had previously pushed back on Cary McNair’s claims that the elder McNair was incapacitated or needed a guardian to control her personal, financial, and medical decisions. Janice McNair became the principal owner of the Texans after her husband, Robert “Bob” McNair, died in 2018.
“Cal McNair is delighted that the frivolous lawsuit against his mother, Janice McNair, was dismissed today. He is relieved that she will not be burdened by an unnecessary medical examination nor placed under a repressive guardianship that would restrict her rights. She will continue to be actively involved as founder and senior chairperson of the Houston Texans,” Paul Dobrowski, Cal McNair’s attorney, said in a statement.
The decision to end the lawsuit came after Judge Jerry Simoneaux ruled earlier this month that Janice McNair would not have to undergo an independent exam to evaluate her mental capacity. Cary McNair’s attorneys had asked for the exam, arguing in court that her abilities to conduct business had been affected by a stroke she had in January 2022.
Details of what had prompted the guardianship effort had mostly remained private after some records in the lawsuit were previously ordered sealed by Simoneaux.