2012 Houston Astros Season Preview
There’s nowhere to go but up, right? With a 106-loss season under their belts, the Houston Astros are trying to look at the positives. They’ve got a new owner, a new general manager, and are rebuilding from the ground up. Manager Brad Mills is entering his third season at the helm and is leading the youngest team in the NL onto the field. At shortstop he’ll have Jed Lowrie, a switch-hitter acquired from Boston in the offseason that crushes left-handed pitchers. A full season in Minute Maid Park could bring the Stanford product over 20 HRs. Taking over for Michael Bourn will be Jordan Schafer, who was once ranked the #25 prospect in the game but has since fallen on hard times in the batter’s box. Schafer was traded to Houston in a five-player deal for Bourn at the trading deadline in 2011. A host of veterans have also been brought to camp, including baseball’s active leader in games started and innings pitched Livan Hernandez. At 37 Hernandez is looking for a spot in the rotation after going 8-13 last year in Washington, though he did have a 3.66 ERA in 2010 and has had a solid spring for the Astros. Losing Bourn and Hunter Pence wasn’t easy to swallow for Astros fans, but it was a necessary part of slowly bringing Houston back into the fold. Jason Castro, Jose Altulve, J.D. Martinez and Brian Bogusevic all look to impress in their first full season in the big leagues, and if they can succeed Houston will be back sooner rather than later.
2011 Houston Astros Season Preview
The Houston Astros began 2010 with promise, but things quickly turned south. An anemic offense led to a middle-of-the pack finish in the NL Central and they missed out on the playoffs for the fifth year in the a row. Even still, Houston has the talent to be a contender once again this season, ac thanks to some heavy hitters and a stable of reliable starters. The Astros offensive success this season will depend largely on what they can expect from two of their outfielders - Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee. Pence lead the way last year with 25 home runs and 91 RBIs, ac while Lee backed him up with 24 home runs and 86 RBIs. If both of them can continue to drive in runs while raising their averages, the Astros may see success. Houston also acquired second baseman Bill Hall this winter to provide some stability in the middle infield. Pitching may be a question mark for the Astros this year, but their stable of hurlers has potential and if they live up to expectations, Houston will do just fine. Specifically, the Astros will look to J.A. Happ to provide them with quality starts. The southpaw was brought over from Philly for Roy Oswalt and was solid for Houston down the stretch. Wandy Rodriguez is also expected to contribute, and though he only managed an 11-12 record in 2010, his 3.60 ERA and 178 strikeouts indicates that he appears poised to be an important part of the Astros rotation.
2010 Houston Astros Season Preview
In 2010, Houston Astros fans attending Minute Maid Park will be greeted by many of the same players who have helped launch late-season playoff runs over the past several years. Because the core of the club has been together for several seasons, fans know exactly what to expect from many of their stars. For eight straight seasons, pitcher Roy Oswalt entered the year as the 'Stros opening day starter, extending his franchise record. While the ace pitcher has put some mileage on his arm in recent years, the wear has done little to prevent him from baffling hitters with his collection of off-speed pitches. At the plate, sluggers Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman have also become models of consistency. Reliably driving in at least 100 runs apiece, El Caballo and The Big Puma will put Houston in position to win throughout the season. Outfielders Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn will be the difference-makers this year as they try to set the table for their big bats. Big contributions could mean that the Astros will be playing for a playoff spot when the temperature heats up in Houston this summer.
2009 Houston Astros Season Preview
The Houston Astros head into the 2009 season ready to end a string of "close, but no cigar" seasons. Since reaching the World Series in 2005, the Astros have come tantalizingly close to the playoffs for three straight years, but have just missed each time. Is 2009 the season that Houston finally overcomes those near-misses and gets back into the National League playoffs? Astros Manager Cecil Cooper will field a solid lineup that includes position players: Lance Berkman, Pudge Rodriguez and Carlos Lee. The 'Stros pitching staff includes Mike Hampton, Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez and Brandon Backe. If Houston's pitching staff looks sharp and the Astros are hitting then expect Minute Maid Park to be rocking in 2009 when the playoffs roll around.
2008 Houston Astros Season Preview
The Houston Astros are one of the most exciting teams to keep an eye on this year in the National League. After winning the NL Pennant in 2005 and losing the World Series to the White Sox, and then failing to make the postseason for the next two seasons, the Astros could be poised to make a big impact this year behind the hitting of Lance Berkman, a slew of new pitching talent, and the defensive skills and hitting of newly acquired Katsuo Matsui. 'Stros fans will fill Minute Maid Park this season to see if their team has what it takes to get back to the top of the National League.