Astros hope to get improved numbers from young sluggers

Offensive consistency lacking from Castro, Singleton and Dominguez last season

Astros hope to get improved numbers from young sluggers

HOUSTON -- With Spring Training about one week away, MLB.com will begin a series previewing the Astros categorically each day, leading up to pitchers and catchers reporting to Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Fla., on Feb. 20.

Among the areas we'll examine are new players on the club, prospects to watch as well as taking a stab at the projected starting lineup and rotation. The series begins with a look at players who are on the rebound, meaning they're coming back from injuries or down seasons.

C Jason Castro:  Coming off his All-Star season of 2013, Castro's numbers dropped across the board last season while establishing career highs with 121 starts (110 at catcher), putting any health problems behind him. Castro figures to drive in more runs and could hit for more power now that he's in a better lineup, but he'll have to cut down on the strikeouts.

1B Jon Singleton: Singleton showed some promise in his Major League debut last year by hitting 13 homers and driving in 44 runs in 95 games while drawing some walks, but he struck out at an alarming rate. The Astros have other options at first base (Evan Gattis), so the onus will be on Singleton to produce.

Jon Singleton on offseason

3B Matt Dominguez: Dominguez showed promise in his first full season in the Majors in 2013. Last season, he regressed defensively and offensively, hitting .215 with 16 homers and 57 RBIs. He's now battling with veteran Luis Valbuena for playing time, and a platoon might be the best situation at this point considering Valbuena is going to play.

RHP Brad Peacock:  The right-hander is expected to open the season on the disabled list after undergoing hip surgery in October. The good news is the physical troubles could help explain Peacock's inconsistencies last season. He looked terrific at times, but struggled to get through the batting order twice other times.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.