Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images
October 05, 2017

Though they won the AL Wild Card Game just two years ago, the Astros have received a significant makeover since then, albeit not quite as radical as that of the team they beat, the Yankees. From an offense that set a post-1900 record with a 128 OPS+—one point better than the "Murderer's Row" 1927 Yankees—look no further than third baseman Alex Bregman and first baseman Yuli Gurriel, both of whim debuted in 2016 and took on key roles this year.

The 23-year-old Bregman, the second overall pick of the 2015 draft, hit .284/.352/.475 with 18 homers, 17 steals and a 127 OPS+ this year, playing a solid third base and helping to cover shortstop when a thumb injury sidelined Carlos Correa. Gurriel, a 33-year-old Cuban defector, took up residence at a new position, first base, and hit .299/.332/.486 with 18 homers and a 120 OPS+.

But wait, there's more! As Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. spent June, July and August being banged around when they weren't too banged up to pitch, Brad Peacock moved from the bullpen to the rotation and became their most reliable starter for a time; overall, he finished with a 3.00 ERA and 11.0 strikeouts per nine. With Charlie Morton and Collin McHugh as options as well, it's not a guarantee that Peacock will start in the Division Series, but he could be a factor in a multi-inning relief role, along with fellow righty Chris Devenski (2.68 ERA, 11.2 K/9) and closer Ken Giles (2.30 ERA, 11.9 K/9).

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