2013 MLB Team Preview: Houston Astros

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The Houston Astros are in complete rebuilding mode. It will take longer than most teams, because their farm system was completely bare of top-notch young talent. They traded every asset they had and now their farm system is better, but not anywhere near the top. Also, their top prospect, Jonathan Singleton, has been suspended for the first 50 games due to a failed drug test. It will be a rough season in Houston.

Will Houston set a new modern-day record for most losses in a season? Would you go to an Astros game, even if you were given a ticket? It’s insane you even have to pause to answer a question about receiving a free ticket to an MLB game…but, I still wouldn’t go.

Here is the 2013 MLB season preview for the Houston Astros.

2012 Win/Loss Record: 55-107

Key Additions: 1B Chris Carter, OF Rick Ankiel, DH Carlos Pena, P Philip Humber, P Alex White, P Brad Peacock, P Jose Veras, OF Trevor Crowe, C Max Stassi, P Erik Bedard

Key Losses: SS Jed Lowrie, OF Jordan Schafer, P Wilton Lopez, OF Brian Bogusevic, C Chris Snyder

Interleague Schedule: NL Central + Colorado Rockies

Projected Starters: Jason Castro, Carlos Pena, Jose Altuve, Matt Dominguez, Tyler Greene, Chris Carter, Justin Maxwell, Fernando Martinez, Brett Wallace

Projected Starting Rotation: Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell, Jordan Lyles, Philip Humber, Erik Bedard

Closer: Jose Veras

Fantasy DEEP Sleepers: OF Fernando Martinez/OF George Springer – Houston doesn’t have many players I’d own on my fantasy team, but if you’re in a 14-team AL-only league, or something as deep, Martinez is a guy who should be owned. He was called up at the end of the season and hit  .237/6/14 in only 118 at-bats. He was once a top-25 prospect when he signed with the Mets at 16 years of age. He’s been stuck in the minors for most of his professional career. It looks like he’ll play everyday, with Rick Ankiel serving as a at fourth outfielder. George Springer is one of the Astros top prospects and their top outfield prospect. He has been tearing up Spring Training so far, but his highest level in the minors is only Double-A. It’s a long shot he’ll make the team this season, but keep an eye on him.

Team Analysis: 2013 will be the first season in which the Astros will compete in the American League. Unfortunately for them, every team in the AL West are improved. First, let’s talk about how Houston’s pitching staff will be MLB’s worst this season. You have an inexperienced staff with Bud Norris heading it up. There has even been rumors that Norris is on the trade market, which will set the bar even lower. Jordan Lyles is the #1 starter of the future, but he’s not ready yet. Jose Veras is the team’s closer. He has five career saves in seven professional seasons…five! Second Baseman Jose Altuve was the team’s lone All-Star last season and will be the team’s representative this season, since every team must have one player on the squad. I like him, but he sticks out in the lineup. The rest of the roster all have at least one glaring home in their skill-set. Newly acquired duo of Carlos Pena and Chris Carter will both bat around .210 and hit 30 home runs. It’s hard to win games when you have two of those guys in the starting nine, but since those guys are two of the best players, they can’t go without both of them in the lineup. The Astros will be treated like a fraternity pledge in their first year in the American League. If they win 50 games, I will be utterly shocked.

Sportsbook.ag’s 2013 Wins Over/Under Line: 59.5 (Prediction: UNDER)

2013 Projected Win/Loss Record: 49-113 (5th in AL West)

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