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Astros Fantasy Baseball Week 15: Calling A Team Meeting

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Its half-way through a season, your team isn't where you would want it to be, certain key players are not performing, and there is seemingly no end to your struggles. So what do you do? Call a team meeting. I could tell Dan Uggla to pull his finger out, question what Chris Carpenter has been doing all season, and perhaps fire my strenghth and conditioning coach for letting so many players slide onto the DL. 

If only. 

At least my team isn't batting Jason Michaels fifth, continues to find at bats for Angel Sanchez and sits its' first baseman against lefties for no particular reason. Brad Mills, that is several on you. Yesterday probably had you asking who or what is Brad Hand? Seriously? A rookie gets his first major league win and in the process makes a bunch of major leaguers look silly. 

As a bit of a joke I started sticking pitchers in my rotation solely on the basis that they were facing the Astros. That worked well right up to Jeff Niemann's start for the Rays. He got rocked for five runs in three innings, even if the Rays still ended up winning 14-10. 

At this point it is hard to see Astros players' stock sinking any lower. As regards to fantasy leagues, the pitching unit with the exception of Wandy Rodriguez and Bud Norris is mostly junk. 

But here are a few questions for this week that may help you decide whether or not to pick up any Astros on the waiver wire:

Why is Brett Wallace's RBI total so low?

Puzzling considering his season has been a success apart from the average HR total and sliding batting average as the season progresses. Are Runs Batted In really a meaningless stat? Well, um probably not. Wallace has a pretty meagre 22 RBI on the season 10 lower than the average major leaguer with the same number of plate appearances and pretty much the same number of runners on base. True, it cannot be easy batting behind Carlos Lee and at times Chris Johnson, but even that does not explain the meager total. Had Mills batted Wallace third and Pence fourth like he should have done months ago, we might not be talking about this, but here we are.

Verdict after the jump.

Verdict: If his splits stay where they are for the rest of the season it would be bizarre if he finished the season with 40 RBI. However, home run power is not going to materialize overnight. 

Will Bud Norris' breakout season continue?

Wednesday's game was sweet, not only because we notched a rare win, but because Bud Norris beat Charlie Morton, who was the more talked about breakout pitcher in the first half. Now it is Norris who is lasting the pace as the Pirates pitcher falls off the proverbial performance cliff. Morton's WHIP is way too high and his success is mostly down to his HR/9 number of 0.3, best in the NL, while Norris has done an all-round solid job. 

Verdict: Looking through his 18 starts this season there are a few average starts, but no really bad ones. Until he got pulled against the Red Sox, his stuff was mesmerizing. Give him a week off for the all-star festivities to freshen his arm and it should be more of the same. 

Would a trade affect any of the Astros' players value?

David mentioned this week that there is little chance Hunter Pence could pull off a batting title win. His .328 BA is second in the NL behind Jose Reyes, and as good as his production has been, I think it could get even better if he was slotted into a contender's lineup. A challenge like that would get the hot-headed Pence even more excited than usual, and frankly I'm surprised his numbers remain as good as they are batting in this lineup.

Same goes for Bourn, he could ramp up his runs scored if he was slotted into a team loaded with RBI guys. Even Brett Myers, who is now being linked with Cleveland, might benefit from a change of scenery, unless that happens to be Coors Field. Rodriguez is an odd one. If he moves, I would say his value goes down, as so much has been made of his success at Minute Maid Park, but maybe he proves us all wrong. 

Verdict: All bets are still off on whether the Astros will move their 'big' names, but a move of team/league would alter the value of any player, whether for the better or not. 

Should I put Jason Michaels in my fantasy team?

Just kidding.