Fred Faour: It is never boring in Houston sports

Apr 22, 2023; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez (59) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Fred Faour: It is never boring in Houston sports

No matter which team you follow, the Houston sports scene is pretty interesting right now, both on and off the field. Let’s take a look at the major teams:


Remember when everyone was panicking early on? Then all they did was take two of three from the Jays, swept the Braves, and now have taken two of three from the unbeatable Rays and they will return home with a winning record for a World Series rematch with the Phillies. It’s business as usual on Crawford. There was never any reason to panic, and they will only get better from here. Jeremy Peña, Alex Bregman and Jose Abreu will improve as the season goes on, and at some point Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley will return. Framber Valdez has just two wins but his ERA is better than last season (2.25 vs. 2.82). Hunter Brown and Cristian Javier have been solid and both should get better. Luis Garcia and Jose Urquidy need to be better – they should – and at some point Lance McCullers Jr. will be back. Give Garcia credit though, he has been great his last two starts. The Astros are still the gold standard for Houston sports and that will not end this season.


So, on the field? Not so much. But this is an intriguing off-season that will culminate with Thursday night’s NFL Draft, where they hold picks No. 2 and No. 12 in the first round. They made a popular coaching hire in DeMeco Ryans, who has assembled an interesting staff. But the draft will be interesting and a key to how much they can improve next season. Are they married to a quarterback at pick No. 2? If Bryce Young is off the board, as he will likely be, the team might be better off taking Will Anderson Jr. and looking at an Anthony Richardson or Hendon Hooker with their second pick. Right now, Will Levis the Vegas favorite to go No. 2. He looks the part and has all the tools, but his accuracy is a big issue. Looks and sounds like Mitch Trubisky? But maybe he develops the accuracy. C.J. Stroud is the other QB being mentioned, but there are questions about his game as well. Richardson would be a long-term project, and Hooker will likely miss some of the season after being injured last year, but he has all the tools and developed into a player that helped his team beat Alabama last season. He is older than most prospects, but looks pro-ready once he is able to get on the field. Just as important will be what they do with their second round pick and two thirds. They have holes all over the roster, so this will be a critical few days. At least this will be interesting.


These guys have quietly been adding potential future stars in the draft over the last couple years. The big news is they hired Ime Udoka as head coach. Udoka, a former player, was well-respected as a coach and his only top job came with the Celtics in 2021-22, where he lead them to the NBA Finals before losing to the Warriors in six games. He was suspended all of last season over a controversy involving a female employee. So there is baggage there (see, never a boring time in Houston sports) but on the court the man can flat-out coach. The next big moment for the Rockets? The draft lottery. They are one of three teams with the best odds to land the No. 1 pick, which will be highly touted French superstar Victor Wembanyama. If they somehow land him to pair with what they have already acquired, Udoka will have a lot to work with Year 1.

See? Houston sports is always interesting, even if the Astros are the only real winners.

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