A healthy Carlos Lee, an improved Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence and a strong performance out of the bullpen should keep the Astros in contention this year, so says The Houston Chronicle. Had Ty Wigginton been kept, I'd be much more optimistic at this point. A combination of Chris Johnson, Geoff Blum and Aaron Boone probably won't be able to make up the loss of Ty.
As we've noted quite a few times, Hunter Pence must cut back on his free swinging ways to be a more effective player. Michael Bourn may not be the player Ed Wade thought he was when he traded for him last November, but he still has skills that no other player in this organization can offer at the major league level. Both should improve from last year, and will need to in order for this team to compete as the Chronicle seems to believe it can.