Houston Astros State Of The Union Address: Fall 2013
By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @mlbreports
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The Astros had one of the easiest years to peg down in the game of baseball for 2013.
They were horrible early, traded away every possible Veteran that were making any kind of cash on the Major League Level, and then proceeded to be even worse after the ALL – Star Game.
The worst part of the campaign was left for the end, where they promptly lost their last 15 games – to finish with a record of 51 – 111.
It was their 3rd straight 100+ Loss season. But overlooking the obvious is that they actual drew a few more fans in 2013 – compared to 2012.
That was more a symptom of the club moving to the American League. At least they were not last in the league for Attendance, like payroll.
The franchise continues to pilfer the Major League Roster, and are building from Ground Zero. The Astros will draft 1st overall yet again in 2014.
Now there is talk that Jeff Luhnow and ownership are willing to spend about $60 MIL on 2014 Team Payroll. My thought is why?? The MLB is not enforcing anything on the club for sabotaging the last few campaigns.
Their school of thought is a more effective way to rebuild faster.
Much like the 1998 – 2007 Rays, 1992 – 1999 Twins and 2005 – 2010 Nationals, it behooves your team to be horrific for a longer period of time, as oppose to try to aid your franchise by signing Free Agents.
As of this moment, the club doesn’t have many players on the Major League squad that you can build around.
Jose Altuve looks pretty solid at 2B, but is he going to be a regular when Houston is finally competing again?
Chris Carter blasted 29 HRs, drove in 82 RBI – while showing a penchant for walking, but he also led the AL in Strikeouts. He is still a good stop – gap measure for now, and he may be able to improve every year.
Jason Castro at Catcher also looks like he could turn into an everyday player. 18 HRs, 56 RBI and a .835 OPS in 435 AB is great production from the position.
Carlos Corporan is a great backup Catcher with 7 HRs and 20 RBI in 191 AB.
Matt Dominguez (obtained in 2012 for Carlos Lee) might need another year to prove himself at the hot corner. You could do a lot worse than .241/.286/.690 – with 21 HRs and 77 RBI through 543 is decent power wise for a 3B.
He needs to learn how to draw a Walk.
The club must give Brett Wallace one more extended look. After starting an abysmal 1 – 26 (.043) – he was sent down to the Minor Leagues.
Upon returning, the slugger found his stroke in July and Aug, with OPS’s for .870 and .816 respectively. For the two months combined, Wallace also bashed 11 HRs and added 25 RBI in just 162 AB.
All looked well until he withered in Sept – with a .597 OPS again, during his 83 AB.
Wallace was traded back in 2010 from Toronto to Houston, for Anthony Gose. While he has struggle with a .242/.313/.704 Slash Line, he does possess 29 HRs and 102 RBI for his 971 AB.
He could definitely play some 1B next season.
Jonathan Singleton had a poor stint in AAA Oklahoma, and will need to do better than his .220 BA. He needs more seasoning.
The Astros also have Brandon Barnes listed as #1 for their CF position. He didn’t hit much of anything in 2013, with a 3 Slash Line of .240/.289/635 – with 8 HRs and 41 RBI in 409 AB.
What may be worse, is that Barnes only converted 11 of 22 Stolen Base Attempts as well.
2nd on the CF list is Robbie Grossman, who fared considerably better than Barnes, at .268/.332/.702. While the numbers don’t jump out at you either, the guy shows the ability to draw a Walk.
Hoes has great speed, and should be given an opportunity to make the 2014 Opening Day Roster. Ultimately, he may be better off as a 4th OF.
Marc Krauss is listed on http://www.mlb.com as the #1 Depth Chart player for the 2014 year. He did play in 52 Games for the Houston club in 2013, sporting a .633 OPS. I am not sure he can play next campaign in the OF.
They could always try George Springer, but I am not sure he is quite ready with just a half of a season in Oklahoma.
This is a spot where they could really use a Veteran in the OF. However, I would not break the bank for an ALL – Star.
If all of those aforementioned players hit their full capacity, the club would receive decent production.
The club simply has to stem the tide until they bridge the gap to 2012 1st RD pick Carlos Correa. The Shortstop held a .320/.405/.872 Slash Line in Quad City – with 86 RBI in 450 AB and 117 Games Played.
The team could add a couple of Veteran’s to take off the load of some of the youngsters in 2014. It has to be cost-effective, and with the Starter of relative young age too. Maybe a Zach Duke, Jeff Karstens, Clayton Richard, or maybe a bit pricier in Phil Hughes?
The club may also give Michael Foltynewicz a chance to make the team, as he has developed into their best pitching prospect not currently on the big club
The deal will have to be more of an incentive laden move than anything, and can’t exceed more than a couple of million.
The franchise will grow as the pitchers do. Mark Appel is still a couple of years away, and maybe the team will draft some more pitching with the 1st overall pick in 2014?
The Bullpen is always the last thing a team should fix, however it will be a breeding ground for guys like Paul Clemens, other failed Starters.
Lefty Kevin Chapman was the most effective guy out of the Relief Core down the stretch, posting 1.77 ERA in 25 Appearances, spanning 20.1 IP.
Chia-Jen Lo pitched okay with a 2.70 ERA at the end of August until the Twins blew up his ERA with a 4 – run Inning in early September.
All of the guys, and a litany of players from the Minors should field out the team.
If the team should decide to sign any of the Free Agents, they should only be 1 – 2 Year Deals, and continue to build from the Draft.
Guys that can play multiple spots, or OF and INF are very valuable to a young team that may want to keep trading in and out players.
Whatever happens this winter, it will probably be another long season for Houston in 2014.
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Posted on November 1, 2013, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @chuckbooth3024 on twitter, @MLBreports on twitter, AL West, anthony gose, brandon barnes, Brett Oberholtzer, brett wallace, bud norris, carlos correa, Carlos lee, Chia-Jen Lo, chris carter, Chuck Booth. fastest 30 ballgames, clayton richard, colton cain, houston astros, Houston Astros State Of The Union Address: Fall 2013, hunter pence, jarred cosart, jason castro, jed lowrie, jeff karstens, jeff luhnow, jonathan singleton, Jonathan Villar, jordan lyles, jose altuve, kelly johnson, Kevin Chapman, lucas harrell, Marc Krauss, mark appel, mark ellis, marwin gonzalez, Michael Foltynewicz, minute maid park, oklahoma redhawks, paul clemens, phil hughes, rajai davis, raul valdes, robbie grossman, roy oswalt, Rudy Owens, Skip Schumaker, tyler colvin, wandy rodriguez, willie bloomquist, Yuniesky Betancourt, zack duke. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Houston Astros State Of The Union Address: Fall 2013.