I would like to start this with the disclaimer that I don't think that this is how the 2012 season will shake out for our Astros. This is what I tell myself, after shooting some antidepressants, could happen if everything works out. This is if the young players take steps forward, if players are healthy, and if veterans produce. I am finally falling in love with the WAR stat. It makes daydreaming scenarios a lot easier.
Altuve 2B: 2.7 WAR. I'm hoping he can hold his own with no time at AAA and have a season like Omar Infante's 2011. I also put him batting lead off because the Astros don't have a lead off hitter.
Castro C: 2.5 WAR. He's batting second because I think he will get on-base more than Schafer, Bogusevic or Paredes. He produces a season similar to Carlos Ruiz's 2011. (I doubt he would ever bat second, and I don't even know if his knee will affect his running.)
Lee 1B: 3.2 WAR. I expect him to have about the same value that he had this season except I think he will be a little better offensively and a little worse defensively. The true best case scenario is that Wallace claims first and Martinez claims left and the Astros have no idea what to do with Lee. But I don't want to be robbed of his last season!
Martinez LF: 3 War. Clack pointed out a player that Martinez could mirror eventually: Gabby Sanchez. I hope for above average defense in left with useful offense.
Bogusevic RF: 2.9 WAR. I hope he can pull this off by being an average hitter to slightly below average hitter with above average defense.
Paredes 3B: 2.7 WAR. I'm hoping he can put up numbers similar to David Freese did this season, even though he doesn't remind me of Freese at all.
Barmes SS: 3 WAR. Yes, in my dreams Barmes is an Astro in 2012, and his 2012 is pretty much the same as his 2011.
Schafer CF: 2.8 WAR. I really don't expect much from his bat, but I'm hoping that he can be similar to The Fielding Bible Award winner Austin Jackson, and earn his keep with good defense.
That brings the starting lineup WAR total to 22.8
And now the intimidating rotation:
Norris SP: 3.5 WAR. Bud develops more and becomes a solid number two pitcher, but even on the 'All Hope Astros' he's the ace. Maybe similar to Jon Lester's 2011 with fewer ground balls.
Wandy Rodriguez SP: 3 WAR. I hope that he makes some adjustments and can get a little closer to his 2010 numbers and maybe even match his 3.6 WAR from that year.
Myers SP: 2.5 WAR. I really don't think he can replicate 2010 again, but I hope that he can find the middle ground between his 2010 and 2011 numbers and have a solid season as the number three starter.
Lyles SP: 2 WAR. Maybe he should be in AAA, but this is hoping that he grows a little more and holds his own by producing similar numbers to what Livan Hernandez did in 2011.
So for the primary place holders in the rotation that's 12 WAR.
Who knows what the bench will look like for sure, but we will probably have the following key guys:
Downs 2B/3B/RF: 2.5 WAR. I hope he racks up 400 or 500 ABs as a super-sub. If he's a super-sub and not a starter it means Altuve, Bogusevic, and Paredes are doing well, so I hope he's a bench player even though I think he will be more reliable than most of the younger guys.
Sanchez 2B/SS: .5 WAR. I hope for the same as 2011.
Bourgeois OF: 1 WAR. Again, I will take more of the same.
So that's 3.1 WAR off the bench with empty spots to add some more. 3.1 plus the starting rotation's WAR and the starting lineup's WAR is 37.9 WAR. Can we cross our fingers and hope that the bullpen and the rest of the bench can add 5 or 6 WAR? Not in real life but in a fantasy go-Astros optimistic world?
Melancon RP: 1 WAR. It's possible. He could be a little better than this season.
Lyon RP: 1 WAR...If healthy enough to replicate 2010.
Lopez RP: .5 WAR. Here's hoping for more of the same.
That gets us 40.4 WAR with roster spots to spare in the bullpen and on the bench. Ah, if only we could count on all the players to perform as in my dream world, then the course of action would be clear and fun. A Jose Reyes or a Yu Darvish or a C.J. Wilson or a closer would be a good idea...cue that $50 million. But alas...all my optimism has been exhausted after writing this series of fanposts. There's none left to get me through the long cold winter...which I will be spending in Boston, so wish this warm-weather-Texas-boy luck, Astros fans.
Here's what is more likely to happen, knowing our luck:
Altuve 2B: .6 WAR. He has some crazy good hot streaks followed by some painful slumps where hits a lot pop ups and weak grounders. He spends a lot of time in AAA
Castro C: .3 WAR. Struggles as he continues to learn the league. A process made even more difficult by limited playing time as he recovers from his injury.
Lee/Wallace 1B: 2.8 WAR combined. All of that is Lee with Wallace contributing some negative WAR. Yay, Oswalt trade!
Martinez LF: 1.2 WAR. He struggles some but shows signs of life with the occasional strong month.
Bogusevic/Bourgeios RF: 2.4 WAR. Neither one is good enough to claim the spot as his own and both supply little power in right.
Paredes/Downs 3B: 2 WAR. Paredes really struggles and spends most of the season in AAA. Downs is solid but not as good as he was in 2011 but gets more playing time.
Schafer CF: 0 WAR. He gives us very little offense, and his defense is average at best.
Sanchez/??? SS: -.7 WAR. Sanchez gets way too much time at SS and kills his value. The mystery shortstop supplies a better glove, but we need Sanchez's 'bat' in the lineup.
That's 8.6 WAR for the 'Are you kidding me!?' team. And let's just assume that the rotation and the bullpen do the same as in 2011: 4.1 WAR. Grand total 12.7 WAR. The bench is over used because the starters falter and the Astros manage to clone Joe Inglett. Luckily, the bench adds 0 WAR instead of negative WAR. And you thought 2011 (21.4 WAR) was bad...