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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