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Out with the Old, In with the New...


So what did the Astros give up and what did they gain?

Looking at the year 2014, where do those players profile to be? 

2014:

Gone:

Jeff Keppinger, 2B, 34 years old:  Kepp is in his 2nd year of a 3-year, $15M deal with a contender as a backup infielder or with a crappy team as the starting 2B.

Hunter Pence, OF, 31 years old:  Pence finally hits free agency, a season after hitting 26 home runs for the first time in his career at righty-friendly Citizen Bank Park.  Gets overpayed by a contending team with an outfield vacancy.  5 years, $70 million.  The Astros miss him, but call it a good trade.

Michael Bourn, OF, 32 years old:  Bourn has won 3 more Gold Gloves and has had 3 more 60-SB seasons.  Still unable to take a walk, but agent Scott Boras has talked the Mets into investing, and he is in the 2nd year of his 6-year, $70 million dollar contract.  The Astros miss him, and call it a good trade.

Arrived:

Brett Oberholtzer, 3rd Starter, 26 years old:  Pitching to the tune of a 4.20 ERA, he is in his 2nd season in the major leagues.  He's harnessed his control problems a bit, and is now above league-average in K/9 for the first time.  Still years away from his statistical prime, the Astros are happy with their projectable starter.

Paul Clemens, 4th Starter/Swingman, 27 years old:  Clemens' strikeout rate is higher than buddy Oberholtzer, but career-long control problems have fans pulling out their hair.  He's already thrown a no-hitter, but his career ERA sits at 4.60.  30-something year-old fans nod to each other and say, "He's another Brandon Backe, only a little bit better."

Juan Abreu, Short Reliever, 30 years old:  Abreu is still what he was when he was acquired:  A strikeout-happy mop-up reliever who gives away too many walks.  His pitching is an adventure, and the Astros are looking for a trade partner.

Jordan Schafer, CF, 29 years old:  The 2014 Trading Deadline has passed, and the Astros have just traded Schafer for a pair of low-A starting pitchers in order to call up fan favorite prospect George Springer.  Schafer played CF defense well enough to make Astros fans say, "Michael who?" but he never was quite as exciting on the basepaths.  He did make up the difference by bashing 10 home runs a season, which Bourn never managed, but still, with Schafer scouts can only shake their head and talk about his massive tools prior to injury and PED suspension in 2008.

Jarred Cosart, SP, 2nd Starter:  Cosart finally begins to put it all together in 2012 in the minors, and makes his debut as a short-relief september call up.  In 2013 he gets called up in June and never looks back, posting a 3.50 ERA and striking out 7.5 batters per nine innings.

Jonathan Singleton, 1B/OF, 23 years old:  Singleton gets called up in June 2014 and by the trade deadline he is hitting 240/300/500.  He fits nicely into Left Feld, since Brett Wallace is posting a career year so far.  The Astros smile as the fruits of their labor ripen. Fans look back on Ed Wade fondly.

Josh Zeid, RP:  Zeid is throwing quality middle relief innings, and fans have quickly forgotten that he hasn't always been an Astro.

PTNL:  The Player to be Named Later in the Pence deal has been named NL MVP 5 times in 3 seasons, ensuring his enshrinement into the Hall of Fame.

Jason Stoffel, RP:  Like Abreu, Stoffel is currently infuriating management with his high-strikeout, high-walk performance in the late innings of close games.

Henry Sosa, 5th SP/RP, 30 years old:  Sosa finally got his chance as a major league starter and is an above-average 5th-starter in the majors, given his above-average strikeout-to-walk ratio.

 

Astros 2014 Lineup:

1:  George Springer, CF (.265 50-8-45-15) (half-season)

2:  Jose Altuve, 2B (.300 90-15-75-15)

3:  Brett Wallace, 1B (.290 90-20-100-0)

4.  J.D. Martinez, RF (.285 85-25-95-3)

5.  Jonathan Singleton, LF (.250 80-35-95-0)

6.  Jason Castro, C, (.280-50-10-65-5)

7.  Chris Johnson, 3B, (.260 60-18-70-0)

8.  Jonathan Villar, SS (.265, 60-10-65-15)

 

Astros 2014 Rotation:

1.  Bud Norris

2.  Jordan Lyles

3.  Brett Oberholtzer

4.  Paul Clemens

5.  Henry Sosa / Dallas Keuchel / Mike Foltynewicz / etc?

 

This is not a playoff-bound ballclub, so look for it to be improved further by free agency and trades.

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