March 26th, 2012
The Houston Astros endured their worst season in franchise history in 2011. They lost 100+ games for the first time in franchise history and the outlook looks even worse for 2012.
If there is any good news surrounding the Astros is that new ownership is determined to start over from scratch, which is the right thing to do with this team. This team has nothing at the Major League level and while it might take some time, the Astros need to do this right and not try to sign big-time free agents in hope of a quick turnaround. That never works.
Here is what the 2012 version of the Astros’ lineup should look like come Opening Day…
1. Jordan Schafer, CF
2. Jed Lowrie, SS
3. J.D. Martinez, LF
4. Carlos Lee, 1B
5. Brian Bogusevic, RF
6. Chris Johnson, 3B
7. Jason Castro, C
8. Jose Altuve, 2B
Sweet sassy molassy this lineup is bad. I mean, there’s bad, then there’s 50-feet of crap, and then this is this lineup. This is a lineup straight out of the movie Major League. Can’t you just see two construction workers reading the newspaper and saying “Martinez? Bogusevic? Altuve? Who the f^ck are these guys?
Unfortunately for Astro fans this isn’t a movie and this is what the Astros are going to roll out on a day-to-day basis. The Astros finished towards the bottom of most offensive categories in 2011 and that was with Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn playing in a combined 205 games.
The Astros will need some of their young players to step this year like a Martinez and Altuve. And they will need Lowrie to stay healthy, which is something he couldn’t do in Boston. I have always been a Lowrie fan, so I hope he does well in Houston.
While I don’t think Lowrie is cut out to play shortstop on an everyday basis, he will certainly bring a discipline to the Astros’ lineup, which is something they didn’t have last year. The Astros had a Major League worst 6.5 BB Percentage in 2011 and Lowrie’s career BB Percentage of 9.7 percent should help improve that.
If there is a breakout player of this group, it’s most likely Martinez. Martinez hit .274/.319/.423 with six HR’s and a .149 ISO in 226 PA’s in 2011. Bill James is really bullish on Martinez this year as he predicts an .820 OPS, 16-HR season out of him this year. That would be one hell of a season for the 23-year-old.
Another positive to the Astros’ lineup is the return of Jason Castro. Castro was lost for the entire 2011 season because of a knee injury and Houston really missed him. Astro catchers were really bad in 2011 to the tune of a .211/.257/.293 slash line. Castro should help improve on that in 2012.
The 2012 season should be the last one for Lee in an Astro uniform. The 35-year-old Lee did smack 18 HR’s and have a .788 OPS for the Astros in 2011, but his $18.5 million a year salary is a complete albatross. Look for the Astros to try to trade Lee during the season and get anything for him before he walks at the end of the year.
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