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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 2012 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2012 Astros Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Astros County.

1) How many at-bats do you see Jason Bourgeois getting?  How many steals?

That’s an excellent question. The outfield situation for the Astros is very fluid – any three of seven guys could earn a starting job out of Spring Training: Jordan Schafer, J.D. Martinez, Brian Bogusevic, Jason Bourgeois, Fernando Martinez, J.B. Shuck. And that doesn’t include the possibility of Brett Wallace raking in March and pushing Carlos Lee back to left field. Bourgeois got 43 PAs in September, when it was pretty clear the Astros were trying out Schafer and J.D. Martinez – so I’d say that he gets 200-300 PAs over the season, unless something drastic happens in Spring Training. Since he could be used as a pinch-runner, I’d pencil him in for 20-30 steals, as well.

2) Offensively, it’s hard to get excited about the Astros.  Maybe Schafer finally comes around.  Maybe Carlos Lee gets mono from Livan Hernandez and misses 162 games.  Yet, without trying too hard, I’m actually excited about Jose Altuve. Think he has an outside chance at a 10/20 season.  Am I delusional or is that realistic?

I’m excited about Jose Altuve, as well – it’ll be interesting to see what adjustments he can make after getting a half-season with the major-league club, but I don’t think a 10/20 season is unrealistic at all. In 53 games, he had seven homers, and he hit .327/.386/.481 in the minors, so he has – at least over the last two seasons – a track record of extra-base hits.

3) J.D. Martinez sounds like he should be on a cop drama, but at least he’s not J.B. Shuck, who sounds like he invented some piece of farm equipment.  Is there something I’m missing on Martinez?  Can he be productive?  Hit over 20 homers and .300?

All J.D. Martinez does is hit. I personally have a man-crush on Martinez, so I’m biased, but this was a 20th-Round pick who won two minor-league batting titles, and had a .959 OPS in Double-A before getting called up to Houston. The knock on Martinez is his knees – he’s had some sort of arthritic condition in his knee (which may be perfect for a team who needs a DH in 2013), and is presumably why he dropped to the 20th Round. With Martinez, at every level to which he has advanced, he has needed a little bit of an adjustment period before he goes back to knocking the cover off the ball. And when he’s not raking, he catches drug mules and delivers snappy one-liners with his sunglasses in hand.

4) 1.32 WHIP and 190 Ks.  That’s what I have down for Bud Norris for 2012.  Any chance he beats those numbers?

That sounds about right. I’d be less surprised if he broke your 190K benchmark, because he’s spent all offseason talking about throwing 200+ IPs. If he can just replicate his 2011 K/9 rate, but hit the 200IP mark, he’ll have his 190 strikeouts. He brought his walk rate down quite a bit (from 4.5 to 3.4 BB/9) from 2010 to 2011, and if he can do even a little bit better, his WHIP should stay about the same. Norris also had a very consistent .299 BABIP, so the 1.32 WHIP looks solid.

5) What is the best way that Astros management show fans that they won’t become Drayton McLane / Ed Wade part II?
A)  Forbid everyone in the Astros organization from wearing hairpieces.
B) Pay laid-off NASA engineers to launch Carlos Lee into orbit – triggering little-known “We don’t have to pay you if you’re outside the Earth’s stratosphere” clause.
C) Require Astro catchers to hit.
D) Free Nolan Ryan brand steaks for everyone when Astro pitchers are pounded like meat by the other team

I’m very interested in the Astros actively taking steps to ensure that Carlos Lee cannot physically make it to the stadium, so I’m going with B.

  1. Steve says:
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    Awww. Just followed the link to C). So many happy memories.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Steve, You had a great comment about OPS on the original…

  2. Tony says:
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    ha the JB Shuck comment had me rolling, farm equipment!

    He comes and gives hitting lessons at my high school, he’s a stand up guy, went to a high school nearby, is a pro and still comes back and helps out the area schools, played his college ball at Ohio State, not too many guys would do that…..

    So funny seeing his name in my fantasy baseball daily news haha.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Tony, That’s hilarious… JB gives a Shuck.

      • Tony says:
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        haha yep

  3. SwaggerJackers says:
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    @Grey: First auction mock – 10 team. What do you think?

    C J.P. Arencibia 1
    1B Prince Fielder 30
    2B Robinson Cano 31
    3B Mark Reynolds 8
    SS Jose Reyes 24
    2B/SS Howard Kendrick 11
    1B/3B Ryan Zimmerman 19
    OF Brett Gardner 15
    OF Nick Markakis 9
    OF Shin-Soo Choo 12
    OF Adam Jones 15
    OF Lucas Duda 1
    UTIL Dexter Fowler 1
    P Tim Lincecum 19
    P Adam Wainwright 12
    P Brett Myers 3
    P Zack Greinke 16
    P Sergio Santos 4
    P Daniel Hudson 11
    P Jordan Zimmermann 8
    P Brandon McCarthy 3
    P Javy Guerra 2
    BE Huston Street 2
    BE Scott Baker 2
    BE Kendrys Morales 1
    Total: 260

    Pretty disappointed with my outfield. If I had Jay Bruce or Cruz instead of Markakis, I’d feel better about it.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I agree with what you said… I think you’re light on power… Your pitching looks solid though…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Okay, I love that site… There goes my next two hours…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @royce!, Method Man samples Dick Van Dyke! Okay, going on two and a half hours on this site…

      • royce! says:
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        @Grey, And Modest Mussorgsky! I don’t know who that is but I will in another few minutes!

      • royce! says:
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        @Grey, Had family visiting all day and avoided getting wrapped up in the site, but dammit, now I’m down the rabbit hole, trying to find the version of Pictures at an Exhibition that Method Man samples at the start of ‘Tical. It’s clearly a synthesizer, so maybe it’s some moog album? Not sure why I need to know this, but it seems important. Maybe for when I go on Jeopardy and Wu Tang samples is a category? “What is Willie Mitchell’s ‘Groovin’?”

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          @royce!, The It Was A Good Day sample is nuts. I never realized how similar it is. That means there were people out there that heard Ice Cube’s song and were like, “He ripped off that song” Granted the people listening to both probably don’t have a huge crossover.

          • royce! says:
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            @Grey, I’m surprised that Diddy never used it to counter criticism for his rapping over slightly modified versions of popular songs. Then again, he’d be opening himself up for the additional criticism that he doesn’t write his own lyrics, so it makes sense.

            I busted out the Isley Brothers cover of Summer Breeze earlier today, it being unseasonably hot as hell and all. I love that shizz.

  4. duder says:
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    Looking to bolster my keeper situation but playing for this year. Can keep whoever I pick for the next three years. Here are my choices around pick 78 in the snake:

    M.Moore
    Dee
    Bumgarner
    Pence

    How would you rank them over the next 3 years?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Pence, Bum, Moore…

  5. yuuup says:
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    Quick, Victorino or B. Upton?

  6. Here are some more trades sent my way
    Grey we start off with the famous 4 for 2 trade or 4 bench players for 2 starters

    Evil Empire – Hindenburg Disaster
    Erick Aybar
    Melky Cabrera
    Johan Santana
    R.A. Dickey

    [ View Trade ]

    Asdrubal Cabrera
    Gio Gonzalez

    Lets see what is next Gray – The bowel movement trade offer – after a full course taco bell meal

    Stanton Islanders – Hindenburg Disaster

    Bryce Harper
    Joe Smith
    A.J. Burnett

    (View Trade)

    Ryan Howard
    Jonathan Papelbon
    Matt Moore

    The famous maybe I will be drunk trade and accidently hit the for trade button

    The Goat Herders – Hindenburg Disaster
    Jason Kubel
    Justin Masterson

    [ View Trade ]

    Jesus Montero

    by now you all get the idear

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Mr Baseball, Ha! — I enjoy the “famous maybe I will be drunk trade and accidently hit the for trade button” one a lot.

  7. Steve says:
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    Couple of classic tidbits from ST today – Rickie Weeks is hurt and Miggy booted the first ground ball hit to him at 3rd.

  8. Wilsonian says:
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    Mr. Grey, sir, I posted a question in the forums about my 16 Team H2H roster. If you get a second, could you take a gander at it? I didn’t want to fill up this thread too much. Thanks!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Wilsonian, Looking now…

      • Wilsonian says:
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        @Grey, thanks for your input and confirmation that I didn’t totally bomb the first real draft of the season.

  9. Steve says:
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    Saw on Twitter that Madson has a little bit of elbow inflammation but has seen the doctor and it’s nothing to worry about. #heardthatonebefore

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Blech

  10. Steve says:
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    And Corey Hart having knee surgery, out 3-4 weeks. What were these Brewers doing in the offseason?

    Maybe Braun has stopped sharing the juice around.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Steve, Yup, saw that. Weeks is rubbing off on everyone.

      • Steve says:
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        @Grey, Why are you guys not in the LABR AL or NL auction leagues this year? Were you too mean to Karabell and Berry?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Honestly, I think so…

          • Steve says:
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            @Grey, Sheesh. If true, that’s lame.

  11. B.o.B. says:
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    10 team H2H league…what you think of my draft?

    3B – Longoria (10)
    1B – Fielder (11)
    SP – Lincecum (30)
    OF – Hamilton (31)
    SS – Andrus (50)
    OF – Bruce (51)
    SP – Gallardo (70)
    2B – Utley (71)
    SP – Bumgarner (90)
    OF – A Jones (91)
    SP – Gio Gonzalez (110)
    SP – Zimmermann (111)
    CL – Brian Wilson (130)
    SP – Anibal Sanchez (131)
    CL – Marmol (150)
    CL – Motte (151)
    Util – Lind (170)
    SP – Fister (171)
    SP – Wandy (190)
    SP – Jonathan Sanchez (191)
    SP – Vance Worley (210)
    C – Wilson Ramos (211)
    SP – Peacock (230)

    Think it’s pretty solid, thoughts?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @B.o.B., Team looks real solid. Like the picks. You’re probably a little light on speed but that could be made up off waivers. Pitching looks fine.

  12. JJ Mac says:
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    Hey Grey. Love the site, thank you for you expertise.

    Just wondering, I can’t find J.D. Martinez on your top 300 list. Is your man-crush not strong enough to fit him in there or did I just miss him.

    If he’s not on the list what ranking would you give him? Thanks for the help in advance.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I’m not excited about him, the writer for Astros County, who responds to my question, is excited.

      • JJ Mac says:
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        @Grey, Whoops, damn. No wonder I got such a bad score on the reading comprehension section of my CTBS test. Thanks.

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