Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. 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.

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Clayton Kershaw goes eight strong for win No. 15
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:10 am ET) Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw had a no-hitter going against the Padres until the sixth inning. The ace surrendered his first hit to opposing starter Tyson Ross.

Kershaw went eight innings strong for the win at home on Thursday, improving to 15-3 on the year. The southpaw permitted one run on three hits and two walks while striking out 10 in a 2-1 victory. Of his 103 pitches, 69 were strikes. He improved to 15-3 on the year, matching Johnny Cueto, Wily Peralta and Adam Wainwright for the major-league lead in victories. 

Over his last three starts covering 25 innings, Kershaw has allowed five earned runs. He has gone eight-plus innings in seven of his last nine starts. He owns a 1.82 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP over 21 starts (153 1/3 innings). He will make his next start Wednesday at Arizona.

Kenley Jansen slams door shut on Padres
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:07 am ET) Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out two and worked past a walk in a scoreless ninth inning for the save Thursday night at home against the Padres. Jansen has converted 36 of 40 save chances, with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP over 52 1/3 innings of relief.

Tyson Ross goes the distance in losing effort
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:59 am ET) Padres pitcher Tyson Ross tossed a complete game but took a tough-luck loss to the Dodgers Thursday night, dropping to 11-12 on the season. The right-hander permitted two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out eight over eight innings of a 2-1 defeat.

Ross is 0-4 with a 2.67 ERA and 29 strikeouts over 27 innings pitched against the Dodgers this season. The offense has only backed him with two runs over that span. He'll look to bounced Tuesday at home against Milwaukee.

Travis Wood suffers 11th loss of the season
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:53 am ET) Cubs pitcher Travis Wood took the loss Thursday night at home against the Giants, dropping to 7-11 on the season. The left-hander permitted four runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out six over six innings of a 5-3 defeat.

Over his last two starts covering 11 1/3 innings, Wood has allowed seven earned runs. He owns a 4.91 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP over 26 starts (150 1/3 innings). He will look to bounce back Wednesday in Cincinnati.

Jason Heyward scores two runs Thursday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:50 am ET) Braves outfielder Jason Heyward scored two runs Thursday against the Reds.

Heyward singled twice during the game. He would come around to score in the third inning on a Justin Upton hit, and again in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly. Heyward finished 2 for 4, with two runs scored and one RBI. 


Santiago Casilla closes out Cubs
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:47 am ET) Giants reliever Santiago Casilla struck out two and worked past a hit for the save Thursday night against the Cubs. He needed only 15 pitches to complete a scoreless inning. He has converted 11 of 14 save chances, with a 1.59 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP over 45 1/3 innings of relief.

Madison Bumgarner fans season-high 12 in win over Cubs
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:45 am ET) Giants starter Madison Bumgarner twirled a gem Thursday night against the Cubs, striking out a season-high 12 for the win, improving to 14-9 on the season. The left-hander pitched seven strong innings and allowed three runs on seven hits and one walk. Of his 116 pitches, 79 were strikes.

Bumgarner has struck out nine-plus in three of his last four starts. Over that span covering 22 innings, he has allowed seven earned runs. He owns a 3.17 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP over 27 starts (176 innings). His next start will come Tuesday at home against Colorado.

Buster Posey shrugs off injury concern with four-hit game
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:39 am ET) Giants catcher Buster Posey shrugged off any injury concerns, reaching base five times Thursday night at Wrigley Field against the Cubs.

Posey doubled in the third, homered in the fifth, singled in the seventh and doubled again in the ninth. He finished the game 4 for 4 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI in a 5-3 victory.He is hitting .284/.345/.438 with 14 homers and 59 RBI over 425 at-bats.

Derek Holland could start Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:26 am ET) Rangers pitcher Derek Holland could make his first start of the season Thursday against the Mariners, according to the Dallas Morning News

Holland was able to go 87 pitches during his most recent rehab start. Following the game, he declared himself ready to pitch in the majors. The club will need a fifth starter Tuesday with Yu Darvish sidelined. Holland is being considered for that start. 

Holland has been sidelined the entire season after having offseason surgery on his knee. 


Justin Upton drives in three
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:03 am ET) Braves outfielder Justin Upton drove in three runs Thursday against the Reds.

Upton singled in two runs in the third inning, and drove in another on a sac fly. He finished 2 for 3, with one run scored and three RBI. Upton also walked during the contest. 


 
 
 
Rankings