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The Year of the First Rounders

The ducks and geese never left the Fens this year. They decided to stay the whole winter and just ignore the handful of days the water froze over. I, however, unable to fly south, have been hibernating. I don't know about you, but I think it is completely unnatural for the sky to be as dark as midnight at 4:30 in the afternoon. It disturbs the soul and molests the senses. The winter solstice has passed, and the North East is no longer stuck in a Tim Burton film. I'm up now. Soon I will be able to hear the fans at Fenway cheer whenever the Bloated-Payroll-Sox stumble into something good with dollar bills falling out of their pockets. I plan on going to some Sox games. I think I will try to go when they play the Braves so I can actually pull for them. As fun as going to a packed Fenway Pahk will be, I'm more interested to see what happens with the Astros' first rounders.

2012 looks to be the year of the first rounder. And I don't just mean the first overall pick. I want to see how Jason Castro's season unfolds. A lot of people around the Crawfishboxes lamented that the Astros picked Castro in the first round. I understand their thinking, but I also understand the Astros' thinking. There are worse things in the world than getting an everyday catcher who does everything he needs to do behind the plate as well as hit better than a league average catcher. Castro had solid minor league numbers while being rushed through the system but was not an eye-popping offensive player. The one thing I've always been excited about was his OBA, something that the Astros as a whole have needed to work on. Castro's had some tough luck, but he still has a chance to be the Astros' number one catcher for years to come.

After taking Castro, the Astros continued their up the middle trend when they took Meir. Unlike Castro, Meir has struggled pretty much every year as pro aside from his debut. Also like Castro, Meir's best feature so far as been his willingness to take a walk. Many are loosing faith in Meir...I'm am too. But I'm not ready to give up on a SS that was supposed to play good defense and have good power.

Next we have Delino Deshields Jr. What is going to happen with him? Like the Castro pick, many fans were disappointed when Deshields was selected, and like Meir, Deshields didn't have a very good first full year. He did, however, improve as the year went on, and he could very well show everyone why he moved up as high as he did in the draft.

Springer represents a change of pace. His selection made just about every Astros fan happy. Even the national media applauded the pick. Who could have a problem with taking a guy who is compared to Carlos Belran? We didn't see enough of him to learn anything last year, and he comes with the caveat of being "very raw" to temper our expectations (DDJ had the same caveat and was much younger, yet we the people were still pissed (not in the in the British sense)). His selection boosted our farm system's ranking without him even getting an at bat. If he struggles or just has a solid season many will be disappointed. I fear even that the ornery lot of professional farm-system-rankers might knock the system down a notch if he just looks meh in his first season. No pressure, Spring!

Castro could make 2012 more bearable and remove a question mark for years to come. Meir could still show his glove/power combo. Deshields could take one step closer to being an elite lead-off second baseman. Oh, excuse me. I have to sneeze...ah...ah...ah...ahbiggio. Springer could be a middle of the order bat that plays center field. The first round pick could very well be Jesus, Tim Tebow (wasn't that an Ewok's name in Return of the Jedi?), and or Babe Ruth. The difference between an ideal world where all these guys take steps forward, and the worst case scenario where they all falter is huge. Of all of them, I feel like Meir is the least important after the acquisition of Villar. I kind of hope that Meir improves his hitting but has to move to third since we are so thin over there.

What do you guys think? Am I the only one that thinks these guys are the difference between a great year and five more years of winter? What do you expect from these first rounders?

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