PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 12: National League All-Star Hunter Pence #9 of the Houston Astros, National League All-Star Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds and National League All-Star Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrate after defeating the American League 5-1 to win the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
When I started this year I had zero Astros players in my fantasy roster, but that was partly because I auto-drafted, and partly because, being in a league of Astros fans, the obvious choices went pretty early. Both Phil and I over the season have, however, tried to acquire hometown players whenever possible. Not to blow my own trumpet or anything, but I think I did better than Phil at this.
I've asked some of the league's participants to share their thoughts on what Astros players they have acquired over the first-half and what value they have seen out of them.
Myself: At the moment I have Bud Norris on my roster as the solitary Astro, but I originally started off with just J.R. Towles. His numbers were good, but eventually the small number of AB's he was getting meant I had to drop him, mid-May on the cusp of his 0-30 slump.
Next I snagged Brett Wallace on waivers in the first week of the season and sold high on him in early May. Before the trade he hit .353/.421/.500. Since, just .246/.332/.352. His low RBI and HR total really drag his value down as a corner infielder. There is better out there on the waiver wire. In two stints for my team Norris went 1-2 with a 3.46 ERA and 44 punchouts in 39 innings (6 starts), then 1-2 with a 2.90 ERA and 32 Ks in 31 IP (5 starts). Jason Bourgeois was a recent pickup after his first stint on the DL, but he is back there now, so has no fantasy impact there.
Norris should be one of the most bankable Astros players in the second half with his modest numbers and high strikeout numbers. The meager wins total is a headache, but the Astros should drag themselves out of the messy month-and-a-half tailspin they engaged in before the All-Star Break.
AllPhilla: Brandon Lyon (needless to say i dumped him early)
Wilton Lopez (put up a few good outings before he was injured)
Mark Melancon (picked him up after Lopez was injured, still have him, although he never has a chance for a save)
Angel Sanchez (on FIRE the first month of the season, as soon as i pick him up he tanks)
Jeff Keppinger (i had him for a week, had to fill other needs as i didn't know how often he would play
Brett Wallace (choosing between him and Placido Polanco is hard)
Carlos Lee (he was dropped and i snagged him as el caballo started getting a little hotter in June)
Reaction after the jump.
Sanchez's strong start to the season does seem an awfully long time ago, and looks like a total flash in the pan. Poor defense, terrible footspeed and a distinctly average bat have me questioning why Sanchez is getting any playing time at all. He did have marginal value during the month of April when he hit .301 and scored 17 runs and drove in 15 runs. Since then, not so much. He had 116 plate appearances that month, and has 106 in the two-and-a-half months since.
Wilton Lopez might have turned out to be a smart move as he was waiting in the wings if anything happened to Lyon. However, beating Lyon to the DL changed all that, and both have been superceded by Melancon, who in turn is being starved of save opportunities.
Native_Astro: I originally drafted Brett Wallace and had Jason Bourgeois off waivers before I dropped both. Outside Bourn/Pence not much there.
Pete in Hou: Wandy's my only one. Very mediocre overall for the first half.
STROFan18: I originally drafted Lee -and was immediately heckled by everybody- & Bourn. I dropped Lee in early June & he was picked up by somebody else. I've had Bourn as my #2 OF since the first game. Not many RBIs or HRs, but obviously his stolen bases have been very good for my team. I've gotten 2 trade offers for him, and declined both.
We've discussed Wallace and Bourgeois, but the trio of Wandy Rodriguez, Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn are the three real keepers. Bourn is a given considering everyone needs help with stolen bases and as the NL league leader he is best placed to provide those. Pence has good runs scored and RBI numbers on such a terrible team and it is a miracle Rodriguez has a 6-6 record on this team. If you get the chance to trade for any of these three, do it, because their production might jump if they are traded to a contender.
TideTurns: Sanchez for 2 days on bench. The only value for Astros players is the fact that I havent had any on my team.
Possibly a very solid strategy, since it has served the league's first-half leader very well. Kudos.