|C||J.R. Towles||SP 1||Roy Oswalt|
|1B||Lance Berkman||SP 2||Wandy Rodriguez|
|2B||Kaz Matsui||SP 3||Brett Myers|
|3B||Pedro Feliz||SP 4||Brian Moehler|
|SS||Tommy Manzella||SP 5||Bud Norris|
|CF||Michael Bourn||CL||Brandon Lyon|
|RF||Hunter Pence||RP||Matt Lindstrom|
|IF||Jeff Keppinger||RP||Tim Byrdak|
|OF||Jason Michaels||RP||Chris Sampson|
Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.
|Key Additions||Key Losses|
|SP||Brett Myers||Free Agency||SS||Miguel Tejada||Free Agency|
|RP||Brandon Lyon||Free Agency||RP||Jose Valverde||Free Agency|
|3B||Pedro Feliz||Free Agency||RP||LaTroy Hawkins||Free Agency|
Top Prospects: Jordan Lyles (P), Jason Castro (C), Jiovanni Mier (SS)
The Astros posted a very poor campaign in 2009, finishing in 5th place in the division with a 74-88 record. This performance cost manager Cecil Cooper his job with about 2 weeks to go in the season. The team was not good on offense, but did have a few bright spots. CF Michael Bourn really came into his own, posting a .285 batting average with 61 steals and 97 runs scored. LF Carlos Lee hit .300 with 26 HR and 102 RBI. RF Hunter Pence had his best year so far, hitting 25 HR and stealing 16 bases along with a .282 batting average. On the pitching side, SP Wandy Rodriguez posted an excellent year, going 14-12 with a 3.03 ERA and 193 strikeouts in 205 innings pitched. And closer Jose Valverde recorded 25 saves to go with a 2.33 ERA.
Unfortunately, the top performers were not nearly enough to counteract some of the poor performances across the field. Starters Brian Moehler, Russ Ortiz, Mike Hampton and Felipe Paulino made 80 starts between them, and all posted ERAs over 5. 2B Kaz Matsui played solid defense, but hit .250 with only 9 HR and 19 SB. The Astros were also reliant on Geoff Blum to man 3B for most of the season, where he hit .247 with 10 HR. There appeared to be a severe lack of ability at some positions, at least for what you would expect out of a team trying to contend for a division title anyway.
Team Outlook for 2010
The Astros made a few moves this offseason, but almost all of them were to plug holes that were either made by outgoing free agents or that had already been there previously. Brett Myers is a good low-risk high-reward type pitcher, and will hopefully be able to return to his 200 innings pitched form. They have improved their defense at 3B and SS with Pedro Feliz and rookie Tommy Manzella. They will hope for a rebound year from both 1B Lance Berkman and SP Roy Oswalt.
For me, this team just doesn’t look like it is going to score enough runs. They have essentially black holes at C, 2B, and SS. 3B is really not a lot better either. The back end of the bullpen (Fulchino, Byrdak, Sampson) is not bad, but it’s not particularly amazing either. This really appears to be a team that is middling at best within their division.
Fantasy Outlook for 2010
The Astros’ outfield is the best place to find solid fantasy players, as all three (Lee, Bourn, and Pence) are all ownable in all league formats. On the pitching side, SP Wandy Rodriguez is the best of the group, and SP Roy Oswalt is a player I might take a chance on, as he has performed in the past, just not this last season unfortunately. 1B Lance Berkman is also someone to watch, although he will start the season on the disabled list. The best sleeper of this bunch is probably Brett Myers, as he could potentially post a 200 strikeout season if he returns to form. That’s a big if to me though.
Prediction for 2010
The Astros appear to have a plan in place on how to improve, but they’re not going to get there this season.
73-89, 5th in the NL Central