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.