Houston Astros 2011 Preview

2010 Record: 76-86

2011 Projected Roster

  • Catchers: Humberto Quintero, JR Towles
  • Infielders: Clint Barmes, Chris Johnson, Bill Hall, Brett Wallace, Jeff Keppinger, Angel Sanchez
  • Outfielders: Carlos Lee, Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, Jason Michaels, Jason Bourgeois
  • Starters: Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, JA Happ, Bud Norris, Nelson Figueroa
  • Bullpen: Brandon Lyon, Mark Melancon, Wilton Lopez, Fernando Abad, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jeff Fulchino, Aneury Rodriguez

Notable Signings

  1. Clint Barmes: traded for Felipe Paulino
  2. Bill Hall: 1 year, $3.25MM
  3. Ryan Rowland-Smith: 1 year, $725K

Notable Losses

  1. Felipe Paulino
  2. Matt Lindstrom
  3. Brian Moehler

Top Prospects

  1. Jordan Lyles: RHP
  2. Delino DeShields Jr: CF
  3. Ariel Ovando: OF

Key Position Battles

  • First Base/Left Field: Carlos Lee vs. Brett Wallace vs. Jason Michaels – Two out of these three will snag the two spots in some combination. Although Carlos Lee had a down year and brings negative defense to the table(-1.8 defensive WAR in 2010) it will be hard for the Astros to not have him in the lineup simply because of the presence he brings to the core. Brett Wallace had a weak 2010 but has a lot of potential and Houston seems to like him a lot. Unless one really proves they can not produce Michaels will be nothing but a platoon partner. First Base/Left Field Pick: Carlos Lee & Brett Wallace
  • 5th Starter: Nelson Figueroa vs. Ryan Rowland-Smith vs. Jordan Lyles – Nelson Figueroa had a great year, for a late 30s journeyman’s standards, in 2010 and should be given the shot to be the 5th starter again this year; at least to begin. Rowland-Smith always seemed to have some sort of expectations each year with Seattle and much never came of it. He would be next in line if Figueroa falters too much. Jordan Lyles should get a look but considering he is only 20 years old and has a mere 6 starts at AAA he will still need some more seasoning; unless he blows people away during Spring Training. 5th Starter: Nelson Figueroa

Bad just got worse for the Houston Astros. A team which once was a bonafide contender in the NL Central is now only kept out of the basement because of the lowly Pirates. The Astros won 76 games last year and can be expected to regress this season. Their lineup will be highlighted by a handful of young talent including Chris Johnson, who had a breakthrough rookie campaign with 11 home runs and a .308 average, and Brett Wallace. As mentioned previously, Carlos Lee, will look to rebound from a disppointed 2010(by his offensive standards.) Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn should continue to grow and mature as ballplayers as well. Pence is now 27 years old, the magically age for major league baseball players and Bourn may just be the fastest man in the MLB, giving the Astros an extra dimension. The additions of Bill Hall and Clint Barmes really bring nothing more than average production to the table. The Astros rotation is now weaker as they will now be missing former ace Roy Oswalt for the entire season; he is now in Philly. The 2010 season was a Tale of Two Seasons for now-ace Wandy Rodriguez(4.97 1st half ERA vs. 2.11 2nd half ERA.) He will need to anchor the pitching staff as Brett Myers is due for a regression and the back end of the rotation is nothing to write home about. We will see how long Brandon Lyon can hold down the closer job before faltering but my guess is Mark Melancon will be the closer of the future and may have to take over sooner rather than later.

WTP Projected 2011 Record: 70-92

About jacarfagno

Live, Breathe, and Bleed Baseball
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