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A look at the competition: the houston astros

March 8, 2007

the 'stros 

2006 record: 82-80 (2nd in nl central)

additions: jason jennings (via trade), carlos lee, mark loretta, woody williams, richard hidalgo(non-roster invite)

subtractions: andy pettitte, roger clemens?, aubrey huff, willy tavaras (via trade)

the rotation has definitely been downgraded. it went from having three great starters in front of the rotation to one. before, it was clemens, pettitte and oswalt.

clemens was replaced with williams and pettitte with jennings. those new starters are not exactly equivalent as the other two. pettitte signed with the yankees and i think if the rocket comes back, he will be in pinstripes.

woody is an average starter that is 40 years old in his decline phase. jennings is a good left hander, but he is no andy pettitte.

the astros did grossly over pay for carlos lee (6 years and 100 million if you dont recall), but thats probably the only way to get a really good hitter these days.

sure he will hit 30+ homers and drive in 100+ rbis now, but will he still be doing that 3-4 years from now.

come on, he is not exactly a lean man now is he? the guy will not age gracefully.

he is a liability in the outfield, being average at best. i guess that is why he is penciled in as a left fielder.

no matter, his defensive flaws will be revealed and cost them a couple of games throughout the season.

lets make a comparison. manny ramirez is a great hitter, but he sucks as a defensive player at any position. they stick him in left field, right in front of the green monster and he still sucks (the wall shortens the field considerably, at least thats what i thought).

the rotation is decent, with the top three pitchers being good, and the ace, roy oswalt, is one of the best pitchers in the nl. the rotation should look like this: oswalt, jennings, williams, rodriguez, nieve

now, the lineup. it sucked last year, and it will not be that bad this season. luke scott is a promising player and so is chris burke. craig biggio is still around. dont forget about one of the best hitters in the game, lance berkman.

the x-factor if this offensive is morgan ensberg. on 2006, he hit .235 with 23 homers and 58 rbis. compare that to the great 2005 that he had: .283 , 36 homers and 101 rbis.

if he comes even close to his 2005 stats, this offense should at least be decent. add to that list another disappointment, jason lane. I had that guy on my fantasy team last season, the guy was a huge letdown.

he went from .267, 26, 78 (2005 stats) to .201, 15, 45 (2006 stats). that is is huge dropoff. again, if he can come close to what he did in 2005, the offense will at least be league average in runs scored and homers. fyi, I will not have this guy on my fantasy team again.

they still have two holes in the lineup with ausmus and everett. both are liabilities with teh bat, but are really good defensive players.

here is the projected 2007 lineup: biggio (2b), burke (cf), berkman (1b), lee (lf), ensberg (3b), scott (rf), everett (ss) and ausmus (c)

their bullpen is pretty deep and should be good. the only thing that might be a problem is brad lidge, his head is still not on straight. the guy must still be i shock from that great pujols moonshot a couple of years back and still has not recovered.

he needs to get his act together and go out there and pitch. he still got the guts, but is missing his brains/balls.

i see a couple of weaknesses with this team: the last 2 spots in the rotation, the last couple of spots in the offense and the defense. i dont think the starters will be good enough to get this team to the playoffs. williams is a 5 inning pitcher now (maybe 6), and youve got two young relatively inexperienced starters at the back of the rotation. i think that the bullpen will be gased from having to come in early for those guys. oswalt and berkman will not be enough for the astros to win the nl central, and maybe not the wildcard either.

2007 record prediction: 80-82 ( 4th in nl central)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 9, 2007 4:24 am

    Pettitte/Clemens 2006 : 21-19 with a 3.55 ER

    Jennings/Williams 2006: 19-18 with a 3.73 ERA

    The drop-off isn’t as big as you think. Also, Jennings is not a lefty.

    Carlos Lee might hit 50 HR’s with the short porch in left. Berkman should have a monster year.

    For all of Lidge’s struggles, Houston still converted 42 of 60 save opportunities, second in the NL.

    Mark Loretta will prove to be an important addition.

    Houston has finished outside the top 2 once since the Central was formed. As long as the important pieces stay healthy, look for that trend to continue.

  2. March 9, 2007 6:03 am

    sorry about that mistake, i somehow thought that the astros got the lefty that pitched for colorado(jeff francis).

    maybe your right for the next couple of years about lee. after 3-4 seasons, i think he will be just an average player that is getting a superstar’s paycheck. his physical shape does not look good, it looks like he will not age will. at that point, he will just be an average hitter with not much power and a bad glove. just my two cents, maybe im projecting too far into the future.

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