Wednesday, March 24, 2010

30 Clubs in 30 Days Recaps: Houston Astros

Today we continue our series previewing the 2010 season for the Cubs' NL Central foes. We have been recapping MLB Network's "30 Clubs in 30 Days", and today we will focus on the Astros' addition of 30 in 30.

Kissimmee, Florida is the Spring Training home of the Houston Astros.

Host Matt Vasgersian was joined by John Hart and Mitch Williams for this episode.

The Astros finished 2009 in fifth place with a 74-88 record. They were 17 games back of the first place Cardinals.

  • Pedro Feliz, 3B
  • Brett Myers, SP
  • Matt Lindstrom, RP
  • Brandon Lyon, RP


  • Chris Coste, C
  • Miguel Tejada, SS
  • Aaron Boone, IF
  • Darin Erstad, UT
  • Mike Hampton, SP
  • Jose Valverde, RP
  • LaTroy Hawkins, RP
  • Doug Brocail, RP

John Hart thinks that the Feliz signing was a good one because of the issues they've had at third base. Mitch thinks that Lindstrom needs to slow his delivery down.

The biggest change is that Brad Mills will take over as the Astros manager. The 52 year old Mills will be making his big league managerial debut, but he has managed at the minor league level including some time with the Cubs organization. Mills also spent 6 years as the Red Sox bench coach. Hazel Mae talked with Brad Mills:

  • Brad thinks the Astros are on their way to becoming a winning environment.
  • Consistancy is a key.
  • Any time you have some solid veterans, the young talented guys are able to see how professionals act.
  • Sitting next to Terry Francona and watching him manage for six years was "all the mentoring he could ever ask for."

Hart is not concerned about Lance Berkman's health because he thinks Lance can bounce back quickly. Mitch says that this knee cleanup will not take Berkman that long to come back from. Williams had a cleanup and was pitching 2 days later during his career.

2009 Team Pitching Stats:

  • Starter ERA: 4.79 (14th in NL)
  • Bullpen ERA: 4.13 (12th)
  • Opp. Average: .275 (14th)
  • Strikeouts: 1,144 (10th)
  • Blown Saves: 26 (15th, tied with the Dodgers for NL's most)

Roy Oswalt joined the guys:

  • He feels great. It's the first time in awhile that he has felt as healthy as he does now.
  • The ball is coming out of Roy's hand really well.
  • Oswalt likes to have a pitching coach who will correct one thing instead of throwing 4-5 things at you at one time. He doesn't like guys who harp on mechanics.
  • It's tough to have a bullpen that blows a lot of games because your team never really gets on a roll.
  • Some of the younger Astros' pitchers ask Roy questions. Oswalt thinks that Bud Norris will be a front line starter in the big leagues at some point. He says Bud has great stuff.
  • Norris' biggest thing is location.

Projected Rotation:

  • Roy Oswalt, RHP
  • Wandy Rodriguez, LHP
  • Brett Myers, RHP
  • Bud Norris, RHP
  • Brian Moeler, RHP

A lot of teams don't have a staff ace, but the Astros are one of the few NL clubs that do. If Oswalt is healthy, Mitch thinks he'll win 15-20 ballgames. Hart calls Rodriguez "filthy on left handers" and says he has one of the best curveballs in the National League. If Norris commands the ball, John thinks he'll take off. Brett Myers has great stuff when he's healthy and when his head is right.

Hazel chatted with Myers:

  • Myers doesn't think that the change from the Phillies to the Astros was that big of a deal. "It's baseball," he said.
  • It was an adjustment for Brett to come back from the bullpen to the rotation last year. Now that he has made that adjustment, he is looking forward for pitching with the guys in the Astros' rotation.

Projected Bullpen:

  • Bradon Lyon, RHP
  • Tim Byrdak, LHP
  • Jeff Fulchino, RHP
  • Chris Sampson, RHP
  • Alberto Arias, RHP
  • Closer: Matt Lindstrom, RHP

Lyon is waiting in the wings in case Lindstrom has any trouble. Williams said that Lyon is a pitch to contact guy. He does not strike out too many, but he doesn't walk guys and had a low ERA last year. Mitch prefers a power closer, so he gives Lindstrom the nod. Hart thinks the Astros setup core has yet to be settled. There are still some "lead-in" roles up for grabs.

2009 Team Hitting Stats:

  • Runs: 643 (14th in NL)
  • Average: .250 (8th in NL)
  • Home Runs: 142 (12th in NL)
  • Slugging %: .400 (11th)
  • OBP: .319 (13th)
  • Stolen Bases: 113 (4th)

Hazel Mae interviewed Lance Berkman:

  • Berkman's health may decide the fate of the team this year.
  • At the start of camp, Lance played through the knee discomfort, but the swelling continued so he went to see the team doctor.
  • He decided to go under the knife now because he didn't want it to linger all year. It was better to get the situation taken care of now.
  • Lance feels pretty good and is already walking on it. He plans to start swinging the bat in a week and a half or two weeks.
  • He thinks Opening Day is a realistic goal, but he won't jeopardize an entire season over one game.

Projected Lineup:

  • M. Bourn, CF
  • K. Matsui, 2B
  • C. Lee, LF
  • L. Berkman, 1B
  • H. Pence, RF
  • P. Feliz, 3B
  • T. Mounzello, SS
  • H. Quintero, C

Mitch admits that two years ago he said that Bourn would never be an everyday player at the big league level because he could not hit left handed pitching. Now, he has worked his behind off and has Mitch eating his words. Matsui is a veteran guy who understands the game. He is a perfect 2 hole hitter. John says that Carlos Lee is not just a power guy, he's an all-around good hitter. Berkman is a run producer with a lot of good years left in him. Hunter Pence is a very unorthodox player but he has a bat, can run, and plays good defense. Pedro Feliz plays great defense at third base. He's one of the best guys at the hot corner in the league. Hart thinks they have a very good defensive club.

Top 10 Prospects:

  • Jay Austin, OF
  • Jason Castro, C
  • Collin Delome, OF
  • Jonathan Gaston, OF
  • Chris Johnson, 3B
  • Chia-Jen Lo, RHP
  • Jordon Lyles, RHP
  • Tommy Manzella, SS
  • Jiovanni Mier, SS
  • Ross Seaton, RHP

Hart's thinks that Mier has a lot of upside. Lyle was drafted in 2008 out of high school and has a lot of upside as well. John thinks that Jason Castro has all the things you want to see from a catcher. Castro could be at the big league level as soon as this year, and John thinks he'll be the catcher in Houston for a long time.

Hazel talked with Hunter Pence:

  • Pence works hard and tries to win ball games.
  • Being an All-Star is something you can't really put into words. Last year he felt like a young kid again playing in the All-Star game.
  • The only way to get through soreness and get into game shape is to play 100% in Spring Training.

Mae also talked with radio voice Milo Hamilton:

  • Milo called Hank Aaron's famous home run. Hamilton says that the homer barely made it out.
  • This camp is fun because there are lots of battles for the roster.
  • The coaching staff and new manager are working hard.

Baseball Prospectus predicts that Houston will finish with a 77-85 record, in 4th place in the NL Central. John Hart has the Stros at fifth, and Mitch Williams thinks they'll fall to last place. Williams points out that they lack that depth to hold up if there are any injuries.

No comments:

Post a Comment