The Astros are a team going in no direction, I can tell you that right now. But what do they have if they decided to rebuild?
They may have started a rebuilding process, acquiring Brett Wallace and trading Roy Oswalt. So, without Oswalt, what does the Astros rotation look like? Wandy Rodriguez has turned himself into a good pitcher, with a 3.60 ERA this season. Brett Myers had a very good year, with a 3.14 ERA. JA Happ, acquired from Philadelphia for Myers, had an ERA of 3.40. Nelso Figueroa had an Earned Run Average of 3.29, and Bud Norris 4.92. To me that looks like a very good Astros rotation. So, where did their problem lie?
In the bullpen, Wilton Lopez had a good season, with a 1.06 WHIP. Tim Byrdak had an ERA of 3.49. Mark Melancon, a former Yankee, 4.22. Brandon Lyon 3.12. The only relievers who had bad seasons were Matt Lindstrom and Jeff Fulchino. So, it looks to me like the pitching on the Astros were not the reason for their bad record. Now let’s take a look at some offensive players.
Carlos Lee had an off year, hitting only .246, with only a .291 OBP while playing left field. However, he did hit 24 home runs. Micheal Bourn hit .265 with only two home runs and 38 RBIs. Hunter Pence did have a good season, hitting .285 with 25 home runs and 91 RBIs. So that was their outfield, and it did not look too productive. How about the infield?
Chris Johnson had a surprise year at third base, hitting .308 with 11 home runs. One thing to be concerned about is he did make 18 errors. Tommy Manzella had a tough go of it at shortstop, hitting only .225 with one home run. Angel Sanchez, who was acquired from Boston, split time at shortstop and second base and did a nice job for himself. A career minor leaguer, Sanchez hit .277 for Houston. Jeff Keppinger had a pretty good year at second base, hitting .288 with six home runs. At first base, top prospect Brett Wallace has had a tough time, hitting only .222 with 2 home runs. Jason Castro ended up the teams starting catcher at the end of the year, but his season average was only .205.
So it seems to me that it was the Astros’ offense that did them in. If I had any one move they could make, it would be to trade Carlos’ Lee’s contract and get a few prospects.