Thursday, March 8, 2012

30 Teams in 30 Days: Houston Astros

2011 Record: 56-106, Last in the NL Central (and the MLB)

Key Additions: Jack Cust,Chris Snyder, Jed Lowrie

Subtractions: Mark Melancon, Clint Barmes

Off-Season Review: The biggest news of the off-season for this "club", if you can call them that, is that the team will be moving to the AL West in 2013. Other than that, the Astros just signed a handful of past their prime players, and shored up the Red Sox bullpen by trading Mark Melancon. Great Job guys, way to improve from last year's 106 loss team!

2012 Outlook: The most exciting days of this season for the Astros and their fans will be from June 4th until June 6th, otherwise known as the Draft. The Astros will be selecting first overall thanks to their 106 losses in 2011, and they seem ready to do so in 2013 again.

The club has not changed a whole lot since last season, and expect "Ace" Wandy Rodriguez to be traded come July, so this team could very well have a worse season then they did in 2011. You would think that with such a bad major league team, that the Astros farm system would be amazing,well, it isn't. They have a few potentially good players in the lower levels of their system, but not enough in AA or AAA that could help the team in 2012-2013.

With the inevitable trade of Wandy Rodriguez this season, and a rotation that lacks depth( J.A Happ is slated to be the #3 starter), the Astros rotation is definitely not good, ant that is putting it nicely. If the Astros want to contend in this decade, they need to develop some pitching prospects, and maybe then, they will be a little more respectable.

The offense is no better than the starting pitching, and it might actually be worse. The Astros finished 5th to last in runs last season, and only had one player that had enough at bats to qualify as a "Statistical Leader". Derek Lee is anchoring this offense (Yes, I cried too), and Brett Wallace, who was supposed to help bring this club out of misery, isn't guaranteed a starting spot. Wallace, and catcher Jason Castro are going to need to live up to all the hype that surrounded them during there prospects years, and try to help this miserable offense. New SS Jed Lowrie will need to try to be at his best, like he was for a short period of time last season in Boston, to prove to the Red Sox Front Office, that trading him was a mistake. If the Astros want to be able to contend in the American League come 2013, they will need to make major strides this season at the plate, or be stuck in the same place as they are now in future years.

The Final Count: 60-102

That record is being generous, as there is a very good chance the Astros do finish with less than 60 wins this year again. If the Astros want to contend this year, every single player on the 25 man roster will need to have career years, so the odds are stacked against them. I think anybody in the Astros organization would have to be happy with a 5th place finish in 2012, and have to start looking ahead to 2013, when they switch leagues, and get a "Fresh Start".

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