Monday, March 19, 2012

Houston Astros Preview/Prediction

Now that we got the division predictions done it is time to dig a little bit deeper.  Between now and the opener in Japan each team will get their own prediction/preview.  I am going to go in alphabetical order.

Our next post takes us down to Houston, where Carlos Lee and a bunch of people who no one really knows try to get out of the basement.  Hint it isn't going to happen!

Infield:  Jason Castro at catcher, Carlos Lee at first base, Josh Altuve at second base, Jed Lowrie at short stop and Jimmy Paredes at third base.

Um... Ok where do I begin?  Jason Castro is the Astros catcher of the future, but because this team is so bad he is also the catcher of the present.  He hit .205 in 2010 and missed all of last season to a torn ACL, so take that for what is worth.  Carlos Lee is somehow making $19 million dollars in this team, but he does still have some pop in his bat.  He did hit 38 doubles and drive in 94 runs last year, plus he will be hitting either 3 or 4 for this team so he should get RBI opportunities.  Altuve only walked 12 times last year in 221 plate appearances so we know he likes to swing the bat.  He did also hit a serviceable .276 and he has some speed.  I actually like him to have a good year, as long as he improves his patience at the plate.  Jed Lowrie came over from the Red Sox in the trade for a relief pitcher, and it still doesn't make sense to me that they did.  Now the Red Sox are having 31 year old Mike Aviles play short stop when they could be having 27 year old Jed Lowrie, who does everything batter and is cheaper.  Still confused on that one.  Paredes is a lot like Altuve actually.  He also has speed and hit for a decent average, but doesn't take many walks.  One of the two will make it this year and I don't think that Paredes is the guy.

Who will have the best season of these guys? Carlos Lee will have the best season of these 5, and it will be because he has more experience than all of them combined.  He has more hits, home runs, at bats, and everything else you can think of and because of that experience he will have the best season.  I don't think he will have a great season, but we have nothing to compare it with for the other four players.

Outfield:  J.D Martinez in left field, Jordan Schafer in center field, and Brian Bogusevic in right field.

J.D Martinez took over in left field last year after the Astros traded Hunter Pence to the Phillies.  He struck out in a quarter of his at-bats after the trade, but hit .274 and had 6 home runs.  Not terrible numbers for a guy who was seeing his first significant action in the Majors.  Jordan Schafer also came over in a trade, this one was for Michael Bourn.  He projects as the lead-off guy for the team because he did have 22 steals in only 82 games last year but the guy also hit just .242.  He has got to get that average up in the .270 to .280 range this year, and I think he will.  Bogusevic is the guy I put to start for the Astros in right field because it has to be somebody, and he was talented enough to be a first round draft pick a few years ago.  I do have a sneaky suspicion he doesn't finish the year as the starter, and they will bring someone up from the minors to take his job.

Who will have the best season of these guys?  Jordan Schafer will be one of the break out players on this horrid team.  He will get up to that .275 range and will steal 50 bases.  He will also hit at least one inside the park home run and have double digit triples.

Starting Pitching:  Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris, J.A Happ, Jordan Lyles, and Kyle Weiland.

This will be the best part of the team, as I have actually seen these guys play.  Wandy will not finish the year on the team, as he will be the easiest person to move.  He has a decent contract, and has 66 quality starts the last three seasons, which are not bad numbers.  I see a team that will be in contention that is light on pitching making a move for him, I.E the Toronto Blue Jays.  Bud Norris actually had an ERA under 4 last year, but went 6-11 because the Astros can't score any runs.  He struck out almost a batter an inning, and you could do a lot worse come fantasy season.  J.A Happ came over from the Phillies in the Roy Oswalt trade and pitched so bad last year he had to be sent to the minors.  I think this year he sticks with the team all year long and pitches much better.  He just needs to improve his control which is something he has been working on all off-season.  Jordan Lyles is only 21 years old, but he got 15 starts under his belt last year because the team had no one else as talented as him.  I think he improves on his 2-8 record but because the team behind him is so bad, will still have a pretty ugly win-loss record.  Weiland also was included with Jed Lowrie in the trade from the Red Sox, and he has a good shot of breaking camp with the Astros.  This will be his first full year in the Majors, but I have heard good things about him and am intrigued to see him throw.

Who will have the best season of these guys? Bud Norris will win double digit games this year, even with this putrid line up behind him.  His ERA will stay under 4 and he will be the Astros lone representative in the all-star game in Kansas City.  I do think Wandy will have a good year but I will be shocked if he concludes 2012 with Houston.

Bullpen: Brett Myers, Brandon Lyon, Fernando Abad, and Wilton Lopez

The roller coaster for Brett Myers continues.  Is he a starter?  Is he a reliever?  Is he a closer?  We don't know so we will keep jerking him around, just like everyone before him his entire career.  He also is the 2nd highest paid player on the team with an annual salary of 8 million dollars, or less than half of what Carlos Lee is making.  I like Myers and I think he will have a good season, it's just all about how many save opportunities he will get.  Brandon Lyon had an ERA over 11 last year and was put on the disabled list after 15 appearances.  He was supposed to close but they chose Myers instead.  I don't know how much confidence I have in him either.  Fernando Abad is the lefty specialist the Astros will have this year.  With a life time ERA over 5 that is not a good sign for the Astros, but again he will keep getting work because he is left handed.  Wilton Lopez has a ground ball pitcher which is always good because it means they won't give up a lot of home runs.  Only 6 in 73 appearances in 2011 does the trick for me.

Who will have the best season of these guys?  Brett Myers will excel in this role.... again.  The only issue is how many save opportunities he will have because I am afraid this will not be a good team.  I still see him getting to 30 saves though, but no more because of the lack of talent that will surround him.

Record 58-104 5th in the National League Central and the worst record in the Majors.

Next up:  Kansas City Royals

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