Originally Appeared on VYPE
The 2019 VYPE Class 5A Preseason Football rankings are here!
Of course, the track team, I mean football team that made it to AT&T Stadium last season is back at No. 1. Fort Bend Marshall brings back a ton of firepower this season and should contend for the top spot. There is a chance that the Buffs could run into Huntsville again in the Regional Final, which would be a great showdown. Also making the list is Shadow Creek, which will have to replace some top players but could have the nastiest defensive unit in H-Town. Check out the rest of the Top 10 below.
No. 1 Fort Bend Marshall
The "M" Block is back after getting a taste of the bright lights of AT&T Stadium, reaching the state title game last Christmas. But it's different being the hunted instead of the hunter. Talk about star power. Quarterback Malik Hornsby showed off his feet and arm a year ago and emerged as a high-major DI prospect. Devon Achane is ridiculous out of the backfield. He's a weapon running, catching and returning. He's the most exciting player in Houston. The offensive line has a huge piece in Larry Moore (Texas Tech). On defense, teams must game plan around LB Warren Robinson, who will blow you up. The Buffs are No. 1 for now, but have a tricky non-district slate with an improved Eisenhower and Hightower on the sked. Manvel is the only test in district play. The only team standing in their way of a return to state? The Huntsville Hornets who lost to the Buffs in an instant classic and definitely want a rematch.
No. 2 Shadow Creek Sharks
Likely the best story in the history of Houston-area high school football. In their first year of varsity play, the Sharks ran the table in a tough district all the way to the state title game. That is setting the bar high. Coach Brad Butler says goodbye to bobble-head QB Jamarian George to graduation, but Kyron Drones gives the Sharks a different look. A more pro-style guy leading the offense. He can also run but his arm is what will wow people early. The offensive line will need some rebuilding and the WR corps needs to have a No. 2 and No. 3 emerge. Tight end Trent McGaughey needs to become a factor in the offensive plans as a national 2022 recruit. The defense is going to be salty with extra spice. LSU-commit Alec Bryant is unblockable on the edge, while K-State-commit Ronald Triplette stuffs the run. The linebackers? Forget about it. K-State-commit Jeremiah Harris and Warren Shankle lead a deep group. Defensive back Xavian Alford is a household name in recruiting circles. He will shut down an entire side of the field. The Shark bite was deadly in 2018 and should be again this year.
The list continues here
It's a new year for the Houston Astros as they return to action for their first game of the spring against the Washington Nationals on Saturday.
Every season we see some adjustments to the roster which means we also see some changes in leadership. As Astros fans, we're all aware of Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker's contract situations. Breggy could be gone after the season, and Tucker could follow one year later.
Which means it's pretty clear who the leaders of the team will be for the foreseeable future. Not only are these guys two of the best players on the club, but they're also under contract for several more years. In Altuve's case, through the 2029 season. For Yordan, he won't sniff free agency until 2029.
While these guys aren't your typical vocal leaders, they are both highly respected and lead by example. Leadership is something that's front of mind for Yordan this season, according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome.
On Yordan Alvarez the leader, one of two constants in a clubhouse bracing for change and the responsibility he wants to shoulder as a result - https://t.co/sZGlI5taBQ
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) February 21, 2024
Another way to be a leader is to do everything you can to be available for your team. Alvarez changed his diet in the offseason hoping it will help him stay healthy this year.
Manager Joe Espada said Alvarez is fully healthy and he plans on playing him earlier than normal this spring.
Currently, Yordan is trending down in games played for three straight seasons. But he's such a great player that he needs fewer games to put up massive numbers.
He finished 3rd in MVP voting in 2022, and he only played in 135 games out of a possible 162.
So with that in mind, how many games does Yordan need to play this year to win an MVP?
Plus, who's going to protect him in the lineup? With new manager Joe Espada in place, it's hard to know what the lineup will look like.
One thing we do know, Espada immediately named Josh Hader his closer when spring training began. He also told the media that he wants Jeremy Pena to know where he's going to hit every day when he comes to the ballpark.
Espada values players knowing their roles, and getting comfortable in their routines. Something very different from last season when manager Dusty Baker moved Pena all over the lineup throughout the season.
So what does all this mean for Yordan?
Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!
Catch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every Monday on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel.