Three reasons why the Astros will keep improving this season

Some baseball fans may be surprised that the Houston Astros still own the best record in baseball. Not only are the Astros for real, they are just getting started.In demolishing the Twins 17-6 Wednesday afternoon, the Astros improved to 38-16this season. They are nowon pace to win 114 games, which would tie the 1998 Yankees for third most all-time.Wednesday’s win was Houston’s seventh straight victory. It raises the question whether ornot the Astros have already reached their peak. The simple answer is no, they most certainly have not.Here are three reasons why the Astros can still get better this season:Some players are just starting to heat upIt was a bit of a controversial decision to bat George Springer leadoff this season. The young outfielder had proven power, but had not quite reached the average and on-base percentage usually a sociated with a leadoff hitter.Le s than a week ago (May 25), Springer was batting .231 and had seemingly lost his power stroke. But in his last six games, Springer has racked up five multi-hit efforts, four home runs and seven RBIs. He went 4 for 4 with two solo home runs Wednesday, finally showcasing just how dangerous he can be at the plate.But Springer isn’t the only Astros slugger starting to find his groove. Third baseman Alex Bregman looked like a guy who needed a stint in Triple-A for most of the season, but he too has discovered a recent power surge.The 23-year-old slugger has collected six hits with three home runs and six RBIs in his last three games. He now has five home runs in his last 10 games after failing to hit a long ball until May 14.Guys like Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Marwin Gonzalez have been reliable offensive threats all season. Add Springer and Bregman back into the mix and this offense, surrounded by a number of other intriguing pieces, will be hard to slow down.Houston will almost certainly make a summer tradeThere have already been rumors circulating around the Astros’ desired starting pitching targets before the July 31 trade deadline. Guys like Yu Darvish, Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole have headlined the list, but even securing a solid No. 3 or 4 option would vastly improve this team’s postseason prospects.Out of the three, Archer would likely be the most intriguing. He has legitimate ace potential Cal Ripken Jersey if he is not already there and still has room to improve. Moving out of theAL East, where the ballparks seem to produce a few more runs than other divisions, may help Archer as well.Darvish seems like a longshot. The Rangers will not be sellers, and they won’t want to give up their ace to a division rival, so it would be supremely expensive to spring a deal for his services.Cole seems the most likely out of the three aforementioned players. He is still only 26 years old, has flashed ace potential, and the Pirates will not be contenders this season. Though Cole will also come with a hefty price tag, should be le s than Archer’s or Darvish’s.Some cheaper options like Ervin Santana, who is having a Cy Young-caliber season for the Twins, Sonny Gray or Alex Cobb could also help round out Houston’s rotation, which likely needs one more quality arm.Whether they splurge for an ace, or lock up a cheap steal, the Astros will almost certainly make a tradethis summer to further improve.They followed the new mold in baseballFor years, teams spent reckle sly, locking up high-priced free agents to huge long-term contracts. The Astros, for the most part, stayed away from such activities. Instead, they built up their farm system into an MLB powerhouse, and are now starting to reap the rewards.Teams like the Phillies have already learned the hard way from their spending mistakes. The Tigers may soon follow suit. But the Astros, like the Cubs last year, have a roster full of young top prospects who have turned into stars.The Cubs proved last year that patience pays off. Trying to quick-fix a team in baseball doesn’t always work. Sometimes a general manager has to make moves for the future and not just the present.The Astros, mainly because they couldn’t financially compete financially with some of the other teams, refrained from offering huge contracts, took their lumps, and now sit in an enviable position.There are no guarantees in baseball, but this Astros squad bears a shocking resemblance to last year’s World Series-winning Cubs team.