Two years ago, then-Astros GM Ed Wade traded Lance Berkman to the New York Yankees. That trade turned out to be the snowball that started the Astros on the avalanche towards full rebuilding. Since then, the club has traded Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, Wandy Rodriguez, J.A. Happ, Carlos Lee, and other bits and pieces to rebuild a farm system that was a wasteland comparable only to the surface of Ganymede.
These trades resulted in the Astros acquiring the following players:
Jimmy Paredes, Angel Sanchez, Brett Wallace, Enerio Del Rosario, Wes Musick, Jonnathan Aristil, Mickey Storey, Jason Stoffel, Henry Sosa, Josh Zeid, Jonathan Singleton, Jarred Cosart, Juan Abreu, Paul Clemens, Brett Oberholtzer, Jordan Schafer, Domingo Santana, Jed Lowrie, Kyle Weiland, Kevin Chapman, D'Andre Toney, Jobduan Morales, Matt Dominguez, Rob Rasmussen, Carlos Perez, David Rollins, Asher Wojciechowski, Joe Musgrove, Ben Francisco, Francisco Cordero, Blair Walters, Matt Heidenreich, Coldon Cain, Robbie Grossman, Rudy Owens and two Players To Be Named Later.
Say that ten times fast. That's thirty-eight players in exchange for a mere handful. There can be no doubt that the result is a vastly improved farm system, especially when coupled with smart waiver-grabs, international signings, and smart drafts.
I thought it would be fun to come up with a roster solely comprised of players traded for during the past two years. My best shot is below the jump...
Jobduan Morales (C), Angel Sanchez (2B, SS), D'Andre Toney (OF), Jordan Schafer (OF)
- Jarred Cosart
- Brett Oberholtzer
- Paul Clemens
- Rudy Owens
- Kyle Weiland
Juan Abreu, Josh Zeid, Henry Sosa, Enerio Del Rosario, Sergio Escalona, Kevin Chapman (SU), Francisco Cordero (CL)
That leaves Cain, Heidenreich, Walters, Musgrove, Wojciechowski, Rollins, Rasmussen, Stoffel, Storey, Aristil, and Musick in the minor leagues. For the most part, these guys are in their very early twenties or younger, so I figured to give them some development time and play the older guys. Some of these guys have higher upside than those ahead of them on my depth chart, though, and I expect them to work their way to the majors very soon.
I'm batting Grossman leadoff because he might have the best on-base skills of the entire lineup. Meaning, he should take plenty of walks and he can steal some bases so he's ideal for the "one" spot. Paredes is batting second because his extremely high contact rate and low strikeout rate should allow him to move Grossman forward with bloops and bops. Wallace looks like a good three-hole hitter because he should be a high-average guy. Ideally I'd like more power, but there aren't any sure-fire 30-HR guys on this roster, so I opted for experience and upside. Singleton is a great guy to hit behind Wallace because of the oomph he provides to knock guys in.
I flipped between batting Lowrie or Santana fifth, but I opted for the guy with more experience. Santana should strike out a ton, but when he hits the ball, it could go a long way. So I think I'd prefer to have the hitter more likely to get on base (10.3% BB rate for Lowrie) hitting in front of him.
I opted for Perez in the seven hole because he is reputed to have good on-base skills and doubles power. In the 8th spot, Dominguez will have the opportunity to improve his hitting in a low-pressure lineup spot. Hopefully, his bat will catch up with his wonderful defensive skills. In the 9th spot, I would play Francisco against left-handers and Schafer against right handers. This would take advantage of their platoon splits, and both guys can run some, which will put more pressure on the pitcher as the batting order rolls around back to the top.
So then I asked myself: Do I like this lineup better than the current Astros roster? The answer is YES. In a perfect world, I'd rather have J.D. Martinez in LF and Jose Altuve at 2B, but that's not allowed in this exercise. But since the current roster does not include an injured Lowrie or Jason Castro, the upside provided by the lineup above is more exciting to me. Additionally, the Astros current pitching could not be much worse than it is already, so I'd opt for the one above as well.
What do you guys think?