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A look at the competition: The Houston Astros

March 21, 2008

2007 record: 73-89, 4th place in the nl central

IN: doug brocail,jack cassel, geoff geary, ryan houston, chad paronto, jose valverde, oscar villarreal, geoff blum, miguel tejada, reggie abercrombie, micheal bourn, darin erstad, yordany ramirez, kaz matsui (not all these guys will make the team; most likely, some will have to compete for a spot on the roster this spring training which is quickly coming to a close).

OUT: matt albers, craig biggio, eric bruntlett, chris burke, adam everett, juan gutierrez, jason jennings, mike lamb, eric munson, orlando palmeiro, troy patton, brad lidge, trever miller, chad qualls, dennis sarfate, luke scott

as you can see from the amount of players that have left and the new guys that were brought in, there was a huge turn over in the roster of this team. the problem is, I’m not sure it was for the better.

the astros basically traded their whole farm system and some damn good major league players for a shortstop that seems to be declining both defensively and offensively and its happening rather rapidly.

the astros’ problems last year was not because they could not score runs or close out games per say, but because their starting pitching was terrible. look for it to be the same if not worst this season.

the got roy oswalt and who? here is one of the potential astros rotations: roy oswalt, woody williams, shawn chacon, brandon backe and wandy rodriguez. really?

williams is a guy at the end of his career and he is a fly ball pitcher in the ballpark; interesting isn’t it? he did not fair too well last season and he won’t this season either. chacon was promarily a reliever last season; in fact, of his 96 innings pitched, only 19 1/3 innings came as a starter. his splits show that he was a good reliever last season but a bad starter. backe has potential but he keeps getting injured.

wandy is the only starter that the ‘stros can potentially depend on after oswalt. that’s it; who’s going to get the ball to valverde? you bring in a 40 save closer but you can’t had him the lead so what is the point? they traded away luke scott, a potentially potent left handed bat and a regular starter in the outfield who was young and cheap. burke is also gone; I don’t know if he could have been a starter, but he certainly was a good supersub. qualls and lidge are also gone, both intregal parts of the bullpen. they also way overpaid for matsui.

their lineup should be potent though with c. lee, berkman, pence, tejada. so, projected lineup for 2008 might look like this:
bourn, matsui, tejada, berkman, lee, pence, wigginton, towles. this lineup has great power potential but also potential to strike out a lot, much like the old cincy lineups.

verdict: they got a chance in this division, but not for a wild card. if the cubs, brewers and reds slip then the astros got it but I think a lot of things would have to go wrong with all three clubs and possibly the cardinals for the astros to make the playoffs. I don’t see this team being that competitive except in the nights roy pitches and maybe the nights what wandy pitches. my guess is that this team will win 74 games and lose 88.

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