The first day of the 2019 Major League Baseball season is finally here. March 28 will be the earliest date that the season has opened in the history of the sport. The Houston Astros will be trying to recapture the World Series glory that they experienced back in 2017. They were disappointed to be knocked out of the playoffs last year before they made it to the World Series. The team is still loaded with talent. The Astros are the favorite to win their division once again this year. They just gave Justin Verlander a contract extension that is five years in length. Only three players have a higher annual salary than Verlander now does.
The Astros have come a very long way since they were losing 100 games with regularity a few years ago. They have built their team with a combination of shrewd drafting and making several stellar trades. They are now looked at as one of the best teams in baseball. That is not hard to understand when you consider they won the World Series in 2017. Their new season will get started in Tampa Bay against the Rays. The hitters on the Astros will have their work cut out for them. They will have to face Blake Snell. He won the American League Cy Young Award last year.
Justin Verlander was looked at by many people as a guy who was nearing the end of his career when he was still pitching for the Detriot Tigers. He had a bad year and his velocity was down a lot from where it used to be. However, the Astros traded for him anyway. The results were nothing short of spectacular. Verlander completely turned his career around. He has pitched brilliantly ever since he went to Houston.
Another great trade the Astros made was for Gerrit Cole. He had been the ace of the Pittsburgh Pirates for a couple of years. However, he also had a bad year that made the Pirates decide to trade Cole while they could still get something decent for him in return. The Astros were the beneficiary of the Pirates being quick to dump Cole. He has also been great ever since he put on the Astros uniform. The team is expecting very big things from both Verlander and Cole in 2019. They will need both of them to perform well if the Astros are going to make the playoffs.