Found February 07, 2012 on The Sports Headquarters:

The worst team in the MLB last season is the first to be previewed for TSHQ. Over the next two months I will cover every team’s strengths and weaknesses, look at some potential impact prospects, and project how each team should fare during the 2012 season.

For the Houston Astros, they can only go up. The worst team in the league (record wise) is preparing to play their last season in the National League before they join the American League West in 2013. To put it nicely, if they plan on making the playoffs anytime soon they better move quickly.

Projected Position Players

C – Jason Castro (Backup: Humberto Quintero, Chris Snyder)

1B – Carlos Lee (Backup: Brett Wallace)

2B – Jose Altuve (Backup: Matt Downs)

3B – Jimmy Paredes (Backup: Chris Johnson)

SS – Jed Lowrie (Backup: Marwin Gonzalez)

LF – J.D. Martinez (Backup: Jack Cust)

CF – Jordan Schafer (Backup: Fernando Martinez)

RF – Brian Bogusevic (Backup: Jason Bourgeios)

The Good

This roster is young and is a bit of a hodgepodge of other organizations former top prospects. Jordan Schafer was acquired from the Braves at the deadline in exchange for Michael Bourn. While he was unable to break into Atlanta’s lineup he will have multiple opportunities (possibly years) to establish himself in Houston. Much like Schafer, Jed Lowrie joins the Astros after coming over from the Red Sox in exchange for reliever Mark Melancon. Lowire has showed plenty of potential in the past but to say he is injury prone would be putting it lightly. If Lowrie could stay healthy he could give the Astros a middle of the order hitter to stabilize their lineup. When Chris Johnson first broke into the Astros lineup two years ago, it seemed as though Houston had found a building block for years to come. Instead, Johnson wasted his 2011 campaign and now has to win a job at third base or else he will become nothing more than a utility bat at most.

The Bad

This lineup’s inexperience will likely be their downfall. To put it nicely, the Astros are a AAA team playing at the major league level. J.D. Martinez is projected to be this team’s big bat but at age 24 and with only 208 plate appearances under his belt, this season will be more or less a learning experience. There’s not much more to say other than this roster just needs to stack up against other major league teams in order to judge where they are truly at before they make any major decisions.

Projected Pitching Rotation & Bullpen

SP -Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Meyers, J.A. Happ, Bud Norris, Henry Sosa, Kyle Weiland, Livan Hernandez

RP – Wilton Lopez, Fernando Rodriguez, David Carpenter, Wesley Wright

CL – Brandon Lyon

The Good

J.A. Happ has shown flashes solid pitching during his time in Philadelphia, which was enough for the Astros to send them Hunter Pence for his services. Prior to last season, Happ went down with an injury and was unable to establish himself in their rotation. This season he could well develop into their number one depending on whether or not Wandy Rodriguez is on payroll come August. The bullpen is young, and there are teams with much worse options at closer than Brandon Lyon (who is also coming off of injury).

The Bad

Out of every starting pitcher on the roster, none finished with a record above .500 last season. Rodriguez was the only one at .500 with an 11-11 record. While the bullpen is decent, they will be overworked as this is one of the worst rotations in the majors. In addition to Lowrie, Kyle Weiland came over from Boston in the Melancon deal. The half year he spent in the AL East should prove helpful as he faces less dominant lineups in the NL Central. Still, during his time spent on the Sox, he looked like a shaky number five at best.

2012 Projection

Anything better than last place in the NL Central will be a moral victory for this young club. Luckily for the Astros, they have two players many clubs are interested in trading for: Carlos Lee and Wandy Rodriguez. Since this team is rebuilding, they can holdout as long as they would like before trading either of these players in hopes of getting the best package back in return Based on their prior trades (Lance Berkman for Mark Melancon; Pence for Happ; Bourn for Schafer; Melancon for Lowrie/Weiland) they seem to get underwhelming value for some of their better players. For Lee, they will likely have to eat a large portion of his contract in any deal involving El Caballo. Rodriguez, though, should bring in at least one potential major league ready player. Needless to say, this team has a long way to go.


THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Johnson looking for redemption in 2012

As the era of rebuilding resumes for the Astros this season, some young players may emerge as future core players; it will be too soon to tell on others and for some, like Chris Johnson, this is a very pivotal spring. Johnson no longer fits in the "too soon to tell" category. For the 26-year-old third baseman, 2012 is the time to determine whether he is an everyday Major...

Wallace ready to make difference for 'Stros

Having determined that they prefer for Carlos Lee to remain at first base, the Astros decided to instead move first base prospect Brett Wallace across the diamond to third. Manager Brad Mills said Wednesday that Wallace will get a serious look at third base this Spring in an effort to give him an opportunity to be in the lineup. "I think it's something that we at least...

Lowrie, Astros agree to 1-year deal for $1.15M

Jed Lowrie and the Houston Astros have avoided an arbitration hearing, agreeing to a $1.15 million, one-year contract. The team announced the deal Wednesday. Lowrie asked for $1.5 million in arbitration, while the Astros offered $900,000. His hearing had been scheduled for Friday. The 27-year-old shortstop was acquired from Boston on Dec. 14 along with right-hander Kyle Weiland...

2012 Fantasy Baseball: Bud Norris & the Houston Astros starting rotation preview

Bud Norris (credits below) For those of us in National League-only fantasy leagues, its our last shot at picking Houston Astros.Pardon me if I pass on their starting pitchers.The Astros had a team ERA of 4.51 last year and that included an ERA of 4.46 or worse from three of their regular starting pitchers.As for the offseason, Houston's big addition to the rotation was Livan...

Astros, Lowrie agree to deal, avoid arbitration

HOUSTON (AP) -- Jed Lowrie and the Houston Astros have avoided an arbitration hearing, agreeing to a 1.15 million, one-year contract. The team announced the deal Wednesday. Lowrie asked for 1.5 million in arbitration, while the Astros offered 900,000. His hearing had been scheduled for Friday. The 27-year-old shortstop was acquired from Boston on Dec. 14 along with right-hander...

Astros agree to 1-year deal with SS Lowrie

The Houston Astros and shortstop Jed Lowrie avoided arbitration by agreeing on a one-year contract. The deal was worth $1.15 million for Lowrie, who had requested $1.5 million while the Astros had countered with an offer of $900,000. Lowrie was acquired from the Boston Red Sox in the trade for Astros closer Mark Melancon. The 27-year-old Lowrie has been plagued by injuries in...

Hernandez looks to log 17th big league season

The Houston Astros added potential depth to their rotation with the recent signing of veteran right-handed pitcher Livan Hernandez. Hernandez has logged at least 175 innings in each of the last 14 seasons, and he'll be looking to spend a 17th year in the majors.

SS Lowrie, Astros agree to 1-year deal (AP)

Jed Lowrie and the Houston Astros have avoided an arbitration hearing, agreeing to a $1.15 million, one-year contract. The team announced the deal Wednesday. Lowrie asked for $1.5 million in arbitration, while the Astros offered $900,000. His hearing had been scheduled for Friday. The 27-year-old shortstop was acquired from Boston on Dec.

Astros agree on one-year deal with Lowrie

The Astros on Wednesday agreed to terms on a one-year, $1.15 million contract with shortstop Jed Lowrie that includes bonuses and incentives. The Astros were able to avoid the arbitration process with all their eligible players and have everyone under contract for 2012.

Astros, last arbitration player Lowrie agree on $1.15M for 1 year

Jed Lowrie and the Houston Astros have avoided an arbitration hearing, agreeing to a $1.15 million, one-year contract.

Astros and SS Lowrie agree to terms

The Houston Astros and shortstop Jed Lowrie agreed to terms on a one-year contract Wednesday, avoiding arbitration.

Astros sign Ruggiano, invite prospects to camp

The Astros added six more players to their Spring Training roster on Monday, signing free-agent outfielder Justin Ruggiano to a Minor League contract and inviting five of their top prospects to Major League camp.
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.