Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2011 Fantasy outlooks: Houston Astros

  •  

For a time last year, the Astros looked like the worst team in baseball, which was especially discouraging for an organization that had stripped its minor-league system of talent in recent years, leaving only one elite prospect in Jordan Lyles.

But then their pitching staff started to come together. Brett Myers finally lived up to the potential that long eluded him in Philadelphia, and Wandy Rodriguez got back to performing the way he did in 2009, giving the Astros a steady top of the rotation that not even the midseason departure of longtime ace Roy Oswalt could disrupt. The strong finish for J.A. Happ, who came over in the Oswalt deal, only solidified the Astros' identity as a pitching-first team. And that's with Lyles still in the minors.

Follow us on ...
Get the latest news and analysis from the most informed Fantasy staff in the industry by following us on Twitter and Facebook.
@cbsfantasynews
facebook.com/cbssportsfantasy

Of course, pitching isn't everything, and until the Astros solve the other half of the equation, they'll have to fight to stay out of the cellar. They tried valiantly this offseason with the acquisitions of Bill Hall and Clint Barmes, but Hall is a one-trick pony who never could hold down a full-time job, and Barmes is a glorified utility player who hit .241 the last two years in Colorado. Neither figures to strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers.

And the truth is nobody on the Astros can do that anymore. Carlos Lee's steep decline and Lance Berkman's midseason departure leave the middle of the lineup with a hole that Hunter Pence, solid as he is, can't fill.

Hence, you won't see any Astros going off the board in the early rounds of Fantasy drafts, and unless young players like Brett Wallace, Chris Johnson and Jason Castro rise to the occasion and blow all projections out of the water, that doesn't figure to change anytime soon.

Bounce-back player ... Wandy Rodriguez, SP

Rodriguez actually bounced back over his final 18 starts last season, when he went 8-2 with a 2.03 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings. But by the time that happened, the Fantasy owners who drafted him had already cut him, cursed him and vowed never to touch him again. So they won't be thinking about his strong finish last season. They'll be thinking about how he let them down with a 3-10 record and 6.09 ERA over his first 14 starts. It's an emotional game, isn't it? If you can overcome your bitterness, you can capitalize on everyone else's by seeing Rodriguez's first half for the fluke it was. He didn't lose any velocity or command. He simply didn't get the results he should have gotten, as his .359 BABIP during that stretch would suggest. He offers the upside of a No. 2 starting pitcher for the price of a No. 4.

Bust ... Brandon Lyon, RP

Lyon came as a breath of fresh air to the Astros and Fantasy owners following the Matt Lindstrom disaster of early August, offering a high number of saves in a short period of time. But all the Lyon enthusiasts are forgetting one critical detail about him: He was the unreliable one coming into the season. He bombed as a closer for the Red Sox. He bombed as a closer for the Diamondbacks -- twice. He's usually not so bad in the beginning -- he's not a bad reliever, after all -- but over the course of time, his vanilla stuff just doesn't hold up when opposing offenses are in survival mode. And with live arms like Wilton Lopez and Mark Melancon behind him, he's far from untouchable. The Astros have an above-average pitching staff and a below-average offense, putting Lyon in position for cheap saves early. But sooner or later, the wheels will come off.

Sleeper ... Bud Norris, SP

Norris suffers from some of the usual shortcomings of young pitchers: He issues too many walks and has trouble pitching deep into games. But he stands out in ways that should attract at least some attention on Draft Day. His stuff speaks for itself. He struck out more than a batter per inning in 153 2/3 innings. He also showed improvement over the course of the season by pitching six innings or more in 13 of his final 17 starts, going 7-5 with a 4.03 ERA during that stretch. But he never did overcome his wildness. If he can learn to contain it -- as Jonathan Sanchez and, to a greater extent, Ubaldo Jimenez eventually did -- his strikeout rate would make him a Fantasy mainstay. As it is, he's just a hope and a prayer in the late rounds.

Houston Astros Fantasy Outlook
Projected Lineup Pos. Projected Rotation
1 Michael Bourn CF 1 Brett Myers RH
2 Clint Barmes SS 2 Wandy Rodriguez LH
3 Hunter Pence RF 3 J.A. Happ LH
4 Carlos Lee LF 4 Bud Norris RH
5 Chris Johnson 3B 5 Nelson Figueroa RH
6 Brett Wallace 1B Alt Ryan Rowland-Smith LH
7 Bill Hall 2B
Bullpen Breakdown
8 Jason Castro C CL Brandon Lyon RH
Top bench options SU Wilton Lopez RH
R Jeff Keppinger INF RP Jeff Fulchino RH
R Jason Bourgeois OF RP Mark Melancon RH
R Jason Michaels OF RP Wesley Wright LH
Rookies/Prospects Age Pos. 2010 high Destination
1 Jordan Lyles 20 SP Triple-A Triple-A
System's one true elite prospect getting rushed because of upside. Could win job this spring.
2 J.D. Martinez 23 OF Double-A Double-A
Late-rounder in 2009 has done nothing but mash in the minors. Could reach bigs by midseason.
3 Delino DeShields 18 2B Rookie league Class A
First-rounder in 2010 could follow in dad's footsteps as leadoff man, perhaps with more power.
4 Jonathan Villar 19 SS Class A Double-A
Key piece in Roy Oswalt deal doesn't hit well yet, but burner's glove makes him SS of future.
5 Brian Bogusevic 27 OF Majors Majors
Converted pitcher showed decent pop in minors. Likely to play key reserve role for big club.
Best of the rest: Mike Foltynewicz, SP; Jiovanni Mier, SS; Jimmy Paredes, 2B; Tanner Bushue, SP; Austin Wates, OF; Mark Melancon, RP; Ariel Ovando, OF; Aneury Rodriguez, SP; Fernando Abad, RP; Henry Villar, RP; Enerio Del Rosario, RP; Jonathan Gaston, OF; Thomas Steele, OF; Ross Seaton, SP; Douglas Arguello, SP; and Koby Clemens, 1B.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com . Be sure to put Team outlooks in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Blue Jays to extend qualifying offer to Melky Cabrera
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:03 pm ET) The Blue Jays plan to extend a qualifying offer to outfielder Melky Cabrera, CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reports Tursday.

The qualifying offer to Cabrera will likely be between $15-16 million, according to the report, but the team won't stop there. The Blue Jays are also expected to negotiate with Cabrera on a long-term extension, coming off Cabrera's two-year, $16 million deal.

Cabrera hit .301/.351/.458 with 16 home runs and 73 RBI before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a broken pinky earlier in the month.  


Wilson Ramos enjoying late-season power surge
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:40 pm ET) Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos had trouble finding his power stroke early in the season, but has re-discovered it en-route to eight home runs over the last 30 games.

"I feel good right now," he told the Washington Post. "I feel my power is back. Right now, I feel like I'm hitting better because the last two weeks was a little bit of a struggle. I can't think about my [offense]. I have to go out there and call my game, and if I hit that's extra for a catcher."

Ramos had just three home runs through Aug. 4, a span of 48 games. However, he leads major-league catchers in long balls since, bringing his total to 11 for the season. 


Anibal Sanchez could return as reliever
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:28 pm ET) Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez is set to throw off a mound again Tuesday, and the Detroit News reports that could be the last step he needs before returning from a pectoral injury.

Sanchez has not pitched since Aug. 8, but could be back before the end of the regular season, as a reliever. The timing of Sanchez's return likely will not allow him to be stretched back out as a starter for the postseason. 


Mets preparing to have too much of a good thing at catcher
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:21 pm ET) The Mets might have an overcrowding problem behind the plate next season, given the progress Travis d'Arnaud and prospect Kevin Plawecki have shown this season.

"If their potential starts to converge at the major league level, and it warrants major league time, then we'll have to make a decision," manager Sandy Alderson told the New York Daily News Tuesday. "But in the meantime, we're happy to have both of them. But Kevin has made a lot of progress, and obviously Travis has done well the second half of this season."

Alderson does not think either player is likely to be used in a backup or reserve role. d'Arnaud is hitting .277/.321/.480 in 177 at-bats since the All-Star break, while Plawecki is hitting .309/.365/.460 in 101 minor-league games while reaching Triple-A. 


Charlie Morton brought off DL for start
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:53 pm ET) Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton has been activated from the  disabled list ahead of his scheduled start against the Red Sox Tuesday, the team announced.

Morton will be making his first appearance since Aug. 15, when he suffered a sports hernia injury. 


Eddie Butler to join six-man rotation
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:20 pm ET) Rockies pitching prospect Eddie Butler will start Saturday against the Diamondbacks, MLB.com reported Monday.

Butler will be part of a six-man rotation for the final few weeks of the season, following the completion of the Double-A Tulsa season. Butler finished the season with a 3.99 ERA in 117 1/3 innings in the minors, and he allowed six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings in the majors before suffering a shoulder injury. 


Martin Prado heads to 60-day DL, ending season
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:05 pm ET) Yankees infielder Martin Pradowas placed on the 60-day disabled list Tuesday, after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. His season is over after 143 games. 

Prado hit .282/.321/.412 in 573 at-bats on the season. 


Jose Pirela added for final weeks
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:03 pm ET) The Yankees called up infielder Jose Pirela from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barrie Tuesday to replace Martin Prado on the active roster.

Pirela hit .305/.351/.441 in 130 games at Triple-A this season. 


Martin Prado undergoes appendectomy; season likely over
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:08 am ET) Yankees infielder Martin Prado's season is likely over after undergoing an emergency appendectomy Tuesday, YES Network reports. Further details are not known at this point.

Prado hit .316/.336/.541 with seven home runs and 16 RBI in 133 at-bats after joining the Yankees at the trade deadline. He is under contract for next season, and figure to be in the team's plans as a super-utility player. 


Oswaldo Arcia day to day with back injury
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:22 am ET) Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia is day to day after tweaking his upper back on a swing in Monday's 8-6 loss to the Tigers.

Arcia suffered the injury in the sixth inning and was replaced in the eighth by a pinch-hitter. After the game, manager Ron Gardenhire told MLB.com he hopes the injury is not a serious one, but should know more Tuesday.

Arcia is second on the team with 18 home runs in just 333 at-bats, while hitting .231/.304/.456 overall.


 
 
 
Rankings