Welcome to a new feature at TCB! AstroBrit and I will be providing weekly Astros Fantasy Baseball coverage. Even if you are not a fantasy junkie like myself, there is a lot to be said about fantasy analysis of players. If you are not familiar with the Fantasy Baseball structure, I suggest you read this link. A lot of strategy is involved in fantasy. Think of yourself as the GM of your very own baseball team. If I were Ed Wade for a day, how would I go about putting together my team, especially sans salary cap? And there's the added benefit of drafting from the top of the pool, as opposed to rookies and rental guys. Instead of breaking down the entire league, Astrobrit and I are going to cover the Houston Astros specifically.
Our Astros Twitter League (if you care to follow along, I will post twitter handles at the end) drafts on March 28th. I have put together my pre-season Power Rankings of Astros players. To be completely honest and fair, the Astros do not rank very highly in Fantasy, as opposed to guys like Hanley Ramirez or Albert Pujols. However, some of the guys in our organization do rank as "sleepers" or "high-risk high-reward" kind of players.
Submitted for your approval, my 2011 Astros Fantasy Baseball Power Rankings (Top 10)
1.) Hunter Pence, RF- Hunter has been dubbed "Mr. Consistent" hitting for about .280 25 HR 85 RBI 10SB. He's around a 50th pick according to ESPN.com pre-season rankings, which means he'll go around the 4th or 5th round. Not a first choice at RF, but a solid later pickup, even more solid back up. Hunter is also a hometown favorite, so I imagine he'll go pretty high.
2.) Brett Myers, SP- Another one of those "Mr. Consistent" Type guys. 31 games of 6IP+ games. His ERA is a little bit higher than one would like for fantasy, but he strikes out consistently and does tend to keep the ball in the park. His WHIP hovers around 1.3 and will give you a TON of innings. Plus his Spring Training beard is freakin' sweet.
3.) Michael Bourn, CF- Stolen Bases Stolen Bases Stolen Bases. Oh yeah, Stolen Bases. Too bad his BA sucks.
4.) Wandy Rodriguez, SP- Not a guy you wanna take as a 3rd or 4th pitcher, but definitely a guy to keep in the rotation or on the back burner. Especially in the 2nd half of the season, when the Magic Wand gets hot. If the Astros falter by All-Star Break, I would suspect a move will be made for Wandy, and when he goes to (cough Yankees cough) a competing team, he'll be pretty valuable.
5.) Carlos Lee, LF- Laugh all you want. I have a hard time believing this as well, but El Bufalo cannot regress anymore than the embarrassing season he had last year. Carlos is projected between 21-26 HRs and around 100 RBIs. I'd take Ryan Braun or Carl Crawford over Lee anyday, but I could be tempted into settling for #45, especially off the bench. Just watch his nacho intake to AB average though.
6.) Brandon Lyon, RP- Projected 6-6 20 saves 54ks 3.12 ERA 1.27 WHIP. Owned in 99.7% of leagues already drafted. One of your safer Closer options, unless he loses the job to Wilton Lopez.
7.) Bud Norris SP- Ks all over the place (proj, 158). Especially when the Astros play the Cardinals. (see: metagame) ERA will be a little higher (4.92), and will not have as many wins, but then again, BudChuck may have his breakthrough year. Stifle your laughter please.
8.) (Sleeper Alert) Brett Wallace, 1B- I can count plenty of other starting 1B candidates that I would rather have, but as a card carrying member of Go Team Wallace, I really believe Brett is going to have a breakout year. ESPN has projected him a batting line of .250 15 HR 58 RBIs. Maybe because over the course of Spring Training I have become a huge fanboy (see my twitter avatar), I really believe in Brett this year. I would like to believe that he'll hit closer to .280 22 HR 70 RBIs. But then again, that's wishful thinking (see Albert Pujols writeup).
9.) Chris Johnson, 3B- Johnson is due to regress some, but is projected at .262/15 HR/52 RBIs. Unless he gets hot like last year, CJ may just be one player worth sticking on your bench.
10.) (Sleeper Alert) Wilton Lopez, RP- Native Astro predicts Wilton to be the closer by the end of the year. I have a mind to agree with him. Willy Lo is solid, and at times, lights out. His ERA should be on the low end of relievers, Ks in the middle, and WHIP should be pretty solid. Projected 50ks, 2.96 ERA, 5-2 record 1.06 WHIP. The steal of the draft as far as Astros are concerned.
Want to follow along? Check these guys out! @allphilla @native_astro @astrobrit (all TCB staff) @brentjwallace (no relation, although we do point out the obvious fact regularly) @robertincypress @chaserjames @strofan18 @peteinhou @bleutrinitty @tideturns