We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2011 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2011 Astros Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Astros County.
1. I’m having a hard time thinking Chris Johnson will be as productive over a full season as he was in a little over half of a year. What’s your take?
It’s certainly reasonable to assume that Johnson won’t have as strong of a 2011 (that .387 BABIP is dangling in the edge of ridiculousness). So once pitchers figure out his strengths (hitting while ahead in the count) and his weaknesses (hitting things other than fastballs), he’ll be due for some regression. But I hope not.
2. I’m a sucker for strikeouts. I wouldn’t mind seeing something other than strikeouts though. Which brings us to Bud Norris. Can he shave a run off his ERA in 2010? Maintain his 9+ K/9? Lower his walk rate?
The best way for Norris to improve is with his consistency. He had six starts last season in which he didn’t make it out of the 5th, and six starts where he pitched 7+ innings. He’s going to have to be more efficient, and that’s going to come with not walking guys, something he did quite a bit in 2010. Norris only had one start in which he didn’t walk a batter and four more where he only walked one, and seven starts where he walked 4+ batters. With pitching coach Brad Arnsberg in his second season, I think Astros fans expect him to improve.
3. Brett Wallace’s been passed around more than a spliff at a Cypress Hill concert. Can he settle in at 1st base and be productive in 2010?
Ha! Something that I like to point out regarding Brett Wallace’s frequent-flyer status is, look who he got traded for: Matt Holliday, Michael Taylor, and Anthony Gose – a player who the Blue Jays were apparently foaming at the mouth to get. But whether he’ll be productive in 2011? That’s what keeps Ed Wade up at night. He’ll be given a chance, but I’m not sure how long his leash will be. The Astros have more OF options in the farm system than 1B options. So if Wallace struggles in Spring Training, Carlos Lee will be your huckleberry at 1B.
4. Hunter Pence looks like he’s settled into a solid 25/15 man, +/- 3 on either. Can he have one of those improbable 35 homer seasons and surprise everyone?
It’s possible. He’s been pretty consistent in the 15% range as far as homers and flyballs, but he hits a lot of grounders. That’s a short left-field at Minute Maid Park, so if it’s going to happen anywhere, he’s in the right spot.
5. Chris McGarry is playing Ed Wade in the Moneyball movie. Any truth that Ed Wade’s toupee will be played by Robin Williams?