Houston Astros Predictions
The Houston Astros will be making the switch from the National League to the American League in 2013. They were the worst team in baseball in 2012 while posting a club-record 107 losses despite playing in the weak NL Central division. Now, they’ll be playing in one of the toughest divisions in the majors in the American League West. They have new uniforms, a new logo and a new manager in Bo Porter.
Management is committed to staying the course and rebuilding through the draft and player development. Owner Jim Crane and general manager Jeff Luhnow enter their second season together and neither plans on spending big money in free agency. Houston fans can only hope the team grows sooner than expected, otherwise the Astros will be the punching bag in the AL West for years to come.
Jose Altuve (2B) – Named the team MVP after a breakout season in 2012, Altuve appears to be the future of the franchise. The second baseman hit .290 with 33 steals last season.
Tyler Greene (SS) – While he hit just .230 in his time between the Cardinals and Astros last year, Greene showed some nice power by hitting 11 homers in just 305 at-bats. He also stole 12 bases between both teams.
Justin Maxwell (CF) – Led the team in homers (18) and was second in RBIs (53) last season while playing in a career-high 124 games. He should only get better in his first full season as a starter in 2013.
Carlos Pena (DH) – Hit just .197 with 19 homers and 61 RBIs in 160 games for the Tampa Bay Rays last season. The Astros are hoping their new DH can find a way to hit for average again.
Brett Wallace (1B) – Finally showed off the power stroke that the Astros were hoping for by hitting nine homers in just 229 at-bats last season. He also hit 16 bombs in 86 games with Class AAA Oklahoma City in 2012.
Chris Carter (LF) – Hit .239 with a .359 OBP and .514 SLG with 16 homers over 218 at-bats with the Oakland A’s last year. He was the key piece in the deal that sent Jed Lowrie to Oakland this offseason.
Fernando Martinez (RF) – The 25-year old showed plenty of power last season by hitting 19 homers over 459 at-bats in his time between Class AAA Oklahoma City and Houston.
Jason Castro (C) – Hit .257 last year in his first season back from injury, including .281 in his final 61 games.
Matt Dominguez (3B) – A polished defensive player at the hot corner, Dominguez showed promise with the bat at the end of last year. Hit .284 over 109 at-bats with five homers for the Astros in 2012.
Bud Norris (RHP) – While Norris is a solid young starter in this league, it’s not good when he’s the Ace of your rotation. The right-hander is a combined 22-34 with a 4.41 ERA over the past three seasons.
Lucas Harrell (RHP) – After going 11-11 with a 3.76 ERA in a team-high 32 starts as a rookie, Harrell was named the Astros’ Pitcher of the Year in 2012.
Jordan Lyles (RHP) – At age 22, Lyles still has plenty of time to blossom into the starter that management expects him to be. He went 5-12 with 5.09 ERA over 25 starts last season.
Philip Humber (RHP) – His perfect game was the lone bright spot on an otherwise disastrous 2012 campaign with the Chicago White Sox. Humber went 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA over 16 starts and 10 relief appearances last season.
Erik Bedard (LHP) – The veteran left-hander went 7-14 with a 5.01 ERA with 118 strikeouts over 125 2/3 innings in 2012 with the Pirates. Bedard started 24 games last year for a second straight season, but he’ll likely never come close to reaching that 200-inning mark as durability is his biggest problem.
Jose Veras (RHP) – Went 5-4 with a 3.63 ERA in 72 games for the Brewers last season while averaging 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings. He becomes the new closer in Houston. Getting the ball to Veras will be in the hands of Xavier Cedeno, who didn’t allow a run in 16 of his final 17 games with the Astros last season. Also setting him up will be Hector Ambriz (1-1, 4.19 ERA).
5th Place AL West & OVER 59.5 Wins – The Astros cannot possibly be as bad as they were a year ago when they lost a club-record 107 games. They would only need five more wins than they had last season to top this win total, and I’m banking on them getting it. Still, Houston will do no better than 4th or 5th place in the AL West as it battles Seattle for the basement of this stacked division. There is some sneaky power throughout this lineup, but the rotation is little to be desired with Bud Norris as their Ace. It looks like yet another rebuilding year in 2013 for the Astros.
|2013 Houston Astros Odds|
|Total Regular Season Wins||O59.5 (-120)|