Thursday, February 17, 2011

Season Preview : Houston Astros

The Team     The Astos' season started off badly and then it plateaued and culminated in the trading of long time ace Roy Oswalt to Philly. Its been a fair while since they were relevant in the NL.

The Good     Its tough to really come up with anything that is particularly good about the Astros. The rotation shows some signs of being a strength. Wandy Rodriguez continues to emerge as an ace and Houston will hope that JA Happ and Brett Myers can show greater consistency behind him and that Bud Norris can start to harness his stuff better. They could be a formidable group or a very average one.

The Bad     Many will see the corner infield spots as a strength for the club to build on but Brett Wallace continues to underwhelm (does anyone know how he got a reputation as a blue chip prospect?) and Chris Johnson strikes out far too much to keep that average up. Adding Clint Barmes and Bill Hall to the infield won't help that unit produce offensively either.

Brandon Lyon anchoring a bullpen doesn't fill me with confidence. He's made a career out of being the one they turn to when there's no one else better.

Best Case Scenario     The team needs Pence and Bourn to get their OBP's back around the .350 mark and use that speed to create offence. After that they desperately need Carlos Lee to get back to his .300/.350/.500 self because there is not a lot of upside in that lineup.

All hope lies in that pitching and if they play to their potential then this could be a .500 club.

My Prediction     Astros fans should continue to be glad they share a division with the Cubs and Pirates. Thanks to those two franchises Houston should be able to pad their win total and stay off the foot of the Central but they are a long way behind St Louis, Milwaukee and Cincinatti.

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