2012 MLB Season Preview: Houston Astros

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Call to the Pen is kicking off our 2012 MLB Season Preview series by reviewing the Houston Astros.  We’ll be reviewing all 30 major league clubs in a 30 teams in 30 days format, going from worst 2011 regular season record to best.  Be sure to check back over the next month for each team’s 2012 season preview.

2011 Houston Astros Season Recap

Sept 22, 2011; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros first baseman

Last season, the Houston Astros were out of it, and that’s making it sound as nice as it can be. The ‘Stros were 40 games out of first place in the NL Central and finished with 50 more losses than wins (56-106). The only team to lose more than 100 games last season, the Astros were clearly the worst team in the division and had just four position players worth more than 2 WAR in 2011. In fact, two of those guys- stars Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence- were traded to contenders in the NL East. While the haul from the Bourn trade was less than adequate, Ed Wade was able to wrangle some nice prospects, including highly valued starter Jared Cosart, from his favorite trading partner; the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Houston Astros did not have a league-average pitcher in 2011, but Bud Norris managed to notch a 1.8 WAR season and struck out 8.52 batters per nine innings. Wandy Rodriguez was the subject of many waiver wire and trade rumors, and the magic in his wand was sapped in a down year that yielded a 1.5 WAR season. Newly minted closer Brett Myers matched that total last season in a team-high 216 innings of work, and it will be interesting to see what the mediocre innings-eater will achieve as the closer.

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Tags: AL West Aneury Rodriguez Boston Red Sox Brad Mills Brandon Lyon Brett Myers Brett Oberholtzer Brian Bogusevic Bud Norris Carlos Lee Chris Snyder Clint Barmes David Carpenter Ed Wade Enerio Del Rosario Henry Sosa Houston Astros Hunter Pence J.A. Happ J.D. Martinez J.R. Towles Jack Cust Jared Cosart Jason Castro Jason Michaels Jed Lowrie Jeff Luhnow Jimmy Paredes Jonathan Singleton Jordan Schafer Jose Altuve Juan Abreu Justin Ruggiano Kyle Weiland Livan Hernandez Mark Melancon Michael Bourn Mike Gonzalez NL Central NL East Philadelphia Phillies Ryan Rowland-Smith St Louis Cardinals Tal Smith Texas Rangers Wandy Rodriguez Wesley Wright Zach Duke

  • astrosince1975

    Livan Hernandez will be in the rotation. Sosa, Weiland and Lyles are among those competing for the fifth starter spot. Personally I like Lucas Harrell in that spot.
    The bullpen will probably look a little different than you projected. Aneury and Del Rosario are probably longshots to make the Opening Day roster. Rhiner Cruz is a hard thrower that was a Rule 5 pick that could break camp with the big club. Although the rotation is weaker without Myers it will give one of the youngsters a chance to prove himself in the rotation. The bullpen will be deeper with Myers and actually doesn’t look bad.
    The offense will be the real weakness on this team. With the exception of Carlos Lee at 1B, young unproven players will be asked to man all of the power spots. J.D. Martinez could prove to be ready to help the team and I think Chris Johnson can bounce back from a dismal 2011. But the offense will struggle to score runs and the pitching isn’t quite good enough to carry the load. Best case scenario: Astros can slip past the Cubs and avoid another last place finish.

  • http://calltothepen.com/ SorianoJoe

    @astrosince1975 The projected line-ups and such are taken from the ‘Stros MLB site, Y! Sports, and ESPN. Not the most accurate, but I tried to stay neutral with that stuff.

  • astrosince1975

     @SorianoJoe   Forget about those other sites. Stick with the experts at FanSided to get the most accurate info!
    Rhiner Cruz was lit up today in his Astros debut. He will need to get it together to make the team.