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Are the Houston Astros underachieving this season? It’s a fair question to ask, considering the team’s current third-place position in the AL West with a 17-17 record. Injuries have certainly played a role as the team tries to replace star players like Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley, and recent injuries to pitchers Jose Urquidy and Luis Garcia have added to the challenges faced by the Astros.

But it’s not just injuries that have held the team back. Even prized free agent signing Jose Abreu has struggled, hitting a meager .224/.273/.261 with only five extra-base hits. In fact, he ranks last among all qualified first basemen in fWAR (-0.8). Alex Bregman has also had his ups and downs, Rafael Montero’s contract is being scrutinized, and many are questioning why the team didn’t add more starting pitchers for depth during the offseason.

At a combined $93 million over three seasons, the contracts for Abreu and Montero were a significant investment for the Astros. Some argued that the third year for both players was an overpay, but the hope was for two quality years before any potential issues arose in the third year. Unfortunately, Year 1 hasn’t gone as planned, and the Astros are facing some early-season challenges.

Despite these challenges, it’s still too early to write off the Astros’ season. With key players nearing a potential return in the coming weeks, the team has the potential to bounce back. Nevertheless, the offseason decisions and processes are worth examining and questioning.

In the end, the Astros have some work to do to get back on track, but there is hope for a successful season yet. Will they rise to the challenge and prove the skeptics wrong? Only time will tell.