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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 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Astros Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of James from Astros County.

1) George Springer is getting a lot of attention after his monster season in the minors last year. Do you see his success carrying over into the majors and what should fantasy owners expect from him in 2014?

That’s the big question for Astros fans. Despite having one of the all-time minor league seasons, we have simultaneously told ourselves and been told by others to fear all those strikeouts (26.5% strikeout rate in the minors). And even though that’s been offset by a .952 OPS and a 12.2% walk rate, it scares us half to death because we — as Astros fans — have come to believe that we simply cannot have nice things. Obviously, Springer’s minor-league power/speed numbers are quite nice, but it’s trying to figure out what he will produce at the Major League level (because service time will be an issue for him, in the Astros avoiding Super-Two status) that is driving us insane. My prediction is a .260/.350/.450 line for 2014 with 15 HR/20 SB in 2014. And then 75 HR/120 SB in 2015. Babe Ruth + Willie Mays territory.*

*Not really.**

**But maybe.

2) One of my favorite speedsters is Jonathan Villar. Would you take the over or under on 40 steals in 2014 and why?

I would take the over, but not by much. Villar got 18 stolen bases in 26 attempts last season (albeit in just 58 games), but there were times that you could tell the game was a little too fast for him. The Astros reshaped their coaching staff this off-season to specifically bring in someone to work with both Villar and Altuve (Tarrik Brock and Pat Listach). Add-in that Bo Porter fired outfield/base running coach Dave Clark and took over the base running instruction himself, and I think you’re going to see Villar get 90% of the SS playing time, and become more comfortable with the game. If you had asked for an Over/Under on 35 steals, I’d happily take the over. Forty steals would be absolutely fantastic.

3) Chris Carter has nice power, but he’s kind of an average killer in fantasy baseball a la Adam Dunn. How do you see the Astros using him in 2014 and should fantasy players be buying?

Gah. I genuinely felt bad for Chris Carter last season. From 1962-2013, no qualified batter struck out at a higher rate than Chris Carter did last year (36.2% K%). That’s higher than Mark Reynolds in 2010, higher than Adam Dunn in 2012. I think the Astros are going to use him as much as they can, because there’s no reason not to give him every opportunity to succeed, but I think you’ll see him mainly at DH and 1B. I do think his numbers will improve in 2014, mainly because it’s hard for them not to, but I would buy on Carter (I wouldn’t buy on him early in your draft, mind you) because the power is clearly there.

4) Despite a low ERA in his ten games started in 2013, Jarred Cosart walked more batters than he struck out and that will cause a lot of fantasy owners to look the other way in drafts. What’s your take on the young pitcher and how do you see him progressing this season?

Aha! It’s well-documented that Cosart was seemingly an extremely lucky pitcher in 2013, what with his 1.95 ERA, 4.35 FIP, and .246 BABIP. That’s going to regress, and it’s not going to be pretty. But it might not be that bad. Cosart did see his peripherals improve when runners were on base, and he stranded an incredibly high number of runners. While I certainly don’t think he’s going to post a sub-2.00 ERA again, I think that he’ll perform a little closer to his FIP/xFIP numbers, which can still be a serviceable pitcher. Just keep the Astros’ offense in mind – Cosart isn’t likely to rack up a huge number of wins for your fantasy team in 2014. If you like Cosart, I’d stash him on your bench and wait for 2015.

5) Jeopardy! insulted the Astros this past fall when they referred to them as needing a “blowout preventer”. Which current Astro would you send to represent the team in an intellectual cage match with Trebek? …Are you a Jeopardy! man or a Wheel of Fortune man?

Yeah, that was messed up, Trebek. I’ve always been a Jeopardy! man, myself, but I’d gladly send catcher Jason Castro to stare down Trebek – he finished his degree from Stanford this off-season.

From Around The Web

  1. Alex says:
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    Is there any world where you would have starlin and villar near each other in value? dynasty league

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Alex: This is interesting to me. I’m a big Villar fan, but most of his value is tied to his speed, and speed can be acquired a lot of different ways in fantasy. So while Villar is going to help a lot of fantasy teams with his speed tool, Castro is a top 10 dynasty shortstop in my opinion and still a good deal ahead of Villar in dynasty. He just has the talent to help you in all five categories.

  2. MB says:
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    Should I trade any of these 3 OF for dominguez (need CI help)? been reading if everything goes right he could each high 20s in homers with a good avg (270-280)

    Pagan, Reddick, Torii Hunter

    This is a keep forever league if that matters. No prices.

    Thank you

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @MB: This is a cool question too…A lot of these Astros get lost in the fantasy shuffle. I could see losing Pagan for him and see what Dominuguez has got. I’d hold on Hunter and Reddick though.

    • Wallpaper Paterson says:
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      @MB: I’d rather have Hunter for 2014, but would take Dominguez over the other two.

  3. David says:
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    14 team 5×5 roto and can keep three, as you miss the rounds your 3 keepers were selected last year. Which 3 would you keep? Cabrera (1), Longoria (2), Encarnacion (5), Segura (23), Bumgarner (4), or Sonny Gray (15)
    Thanks

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @David: Miggy, Longo, and Segura for me.

  4. The Ghost of the Disappeared says:
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    Mike: I’m on the Villar bandwagon with ya… Just hope, we don’t get kicked off by the secret not being so secret. Think he could go early in RazzBall Leagues as he is a top 5 SB leader on the Lidless List.

    My Sleeper fellas in Houston are Castro ( heart of the order at catcher and solid BA) and deeper yet = Dominquez 3b a bench pick up for break out power shot

    Personal stuff — Mike, I would like to think, we have become friends now that we are talking regularly FBB.

    Well, I’m in a quandary and I thought, you might be able to assist me with it.

    Here it is. I have been asked to be in Mr Jay Wrongs league. Isn’t that exciting! I’ll tell you, it just takes my breath away. You must know how much I care for him and his work on here. After all, he is my STAR OF THE SHOW. So, I want everything to perfect when I go to his draft.

    First let me point out, I am a fashionable fella that likes statement dress at all times – I think, that’s important – don’t you?.

    So, I was curious and I thought, you could make some suggestions as to what I should wear to his draft. (Where I want everything to be perfect.) While, I would like to appear tastefully dressed for the occasion, I would be embarrassed to be overdressed (my natural proclivities do tend to drive me in that direction – you know, what I mean).

    Looking forward to any of your thoughts regarding this important (to me) matter

    Thank you for any help you may be able to offer me here.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @The Ghost of the Disappeared: yup, Castro is a another good one.

      Your comments are quickly becoming my favorite thing on the internet, but I’m afraid I won’t be much help in the fashion department since I pretty much wear jeans and a white T-shirt everyday with sneakers.

      How about jeans and a button down? The denim says “I’m casual” but the button down says “I care”. Or of course a Padres throwback shirsey would be cool…

      • James says:
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        @Mike:

        I wear jerseys for the worst players I can find for cheap on ebay or goodwill to drafts every year. This year it is a Cubs Fukudome jersey i got for $3 a few ago at goodwill, but in years past it has been Kazou Matsui (mets), David Bell (phils), and a bunch of other really random ones. It is better if you can find the real jerseys, but i have slummed it a few times with just jersey tshirts.

        The best part is that everyone in my league knows i buy them second hand (since this is about the only time all year i wear them), so we always talk about why anyone in their right mind would have bought the shirt in the first place (really Fukudome or Kazou Matsui?)

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          @James: wow David Bell. that takes me back. I always get that dude confused with David Duchovny

          • James says:
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            @Mike:

            Like I said, the most random ones I can find. you would be shocked what jerseys people bought at some point.

            The one i really want to find in the future is a Pagan jersey… in 10 years that will be hilarious.

              • goodfold2 says:
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                @Mike: go with matusz BAL, due to him having the worst season by a pitcher ever a few years back. i’ve been looking for a real cheap one myself. Is San Diego really that filled with thrift store MLB jerseys? Those are not easy to find in St.Louis at all.

                • Mike

                  Mike says:
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                  @goodfold2: I used to have a Phils Abreu one…too bad I can’t find it now

  5. Big Al says:
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    I’m with you on Springer getting 120 SB’s. I heard they have been working on his exceptional bunting skills to be on base so much to be able to get 2 SB each time and maybe 10-15 steals of home too. Obviously when your hitting 75-100 hr’s you need to offset that. Can’t get SB’s trotting around like that. I here they have a super tight stretch uniform for him like the ‘Flash” to cut air resistance too. Ahhhhhhh !!!!!!!! As I look to the future of baseball, technology will replace steroids nicely and the average game will be 23 to 19. Of course all pitching technology will be banned because there using magic or voodoo already. Offense in Baseball !!!! I dream the dream,,,,,,,,,,,,,Please type quietly as you reply. This reader is dreaming the dream…….

      • James says:
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        @Mike:

        He will get 600 at bats, so the 75 homers is only a small fraction of his 250 to hit over .400. He just needs to steal every other time he gets on. Not hard with the stros when the only way they score is if he gets on and steals every base.

        • Big Al says:
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          @James: Yes yes all very doable when your knocking in 3oo RBI’s. Would you like to order your World Champion Lastro’s. Excuse the miss type. World Champion Asstro’s Hat and T-shirt early ? Damn word correct. Good god I wonder what Giancarlo’s projections will be this year on the Mighty Marlins?

  6. Natty Boh says:
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    In a league where you have to draft one minor leaguer, do you think Springer is the guy?

    • Big Al says:
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      @Natty Boh: Are you kidding me didn’t you read the comments above ? LOL….

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Natty Boh: hard to say without knowing more about the league and who else is available…if the catch is that they have to start the league in the minors, you also might have Taveras, Polanco and Baez available to you. I like Taveras more than Springer personally.

  7. scottsteelers says:
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    Hahaha. Loving that George Springer 2015 stat line. Nice read. Thanks!

  8. Ryan says:
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    I am in a 20 team h2h dynasty league. I need to drop 5 players to get my team down to 24 players. Which 5 do you suggest I drop?

    c evan gattis
    1b miguel cabrera
    2b brandon phillips
    3b evan longoria
    ss jurickson profar
    lf justin upton
    cf desmond jennings
    rf shane victorino
    util prince fielder
    bn michael cuddyer
    bn carl crawford/neil walker/michael morse/jp arencibia

    sp clayton kershaw
    sp yu darvish
    sp cliff lee
    rp jose veras
    rp sean doolittle
    rp dan delarosa
    p zack wheeler
    p dan straily
    p tanner roark
    bn matt belisle
    bn charlie morton
    bn garrett richards
    bn robbie erlin/mart thornton

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Ryan: Jeepers, since it’s a one catcher league I could see letting Arencibia loose…after that maybe choose between some of the relievers. I think you can safely cut Thornton. I kind of like De La Rosa so maybe Doolittle? Morton could go IMO. Richards and Erlin are both interesting, but I think Erlin would have to leapfrog Brothers to get saves. Arencibia, Thornton, Doolittle, Morton, Erlin would be my five. Good question man. Nice team too.

      • Ryan says:
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        @Mike: Thanks! Btw besides saves, do you see anywhere I need improvement in?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          @Ryan: anytime. Nothing that jumps out at me. Victorino and Phillips getting older, so replacing some of the steals numbers they used to give may start to become an issue, if that makes sense…

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          @Ryan: so you’re talking saves and steals…and, well, SAGNOF

          • Ryan says:
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            @Mike: would possibly dealing someone like jennings for billy hamilton be a wise move while jennings still has some name value?

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              @Ryan: eh, I don’t know. I’m not a big Jennings guy but nobody knows what Hamilton is really gonna do either. Obviously Hamilton will probably steal a lot more bases, but I think you can still get 20-25 from Jennings and at least he will chip in homers and RBI. I think I’d rather have Jennings, but it’s not like it would be an overpay for Hamilton either IMO

  9. mcBlunty says:
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    keeper league need to keep 7 breakdown is 2 H, 2P, 2 wild cards (either H or P) and an under 25 player of any position, these are my options:

    a pujols
    j hamilton
    j profar
    o tavares
    d gregorious
    c yelich
    m wacha
    m harvey
    a chapman
    g cole

    got a lot of young guys, is harvey worth keeping, i gave up a decent amount to get him last year to build around him right before he got hurt

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @mcBlunty: I ‘d go Pujols, Profar, Cole, Harvey, Taveras, Yelich, and either Chapman or Wacha with the last slot (I prefer Chapman since I think he might make really good trade bait for you when somebody needs to call for saves)

      With Harvey shelved and Oscar possibly coming up later, you’re biting the bullet for this year, but I think it puts you in a good spot for the following year. I wouldn’t drop Harvey in a keeper if I owned him.

  10. Brian says:
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    no mention of Altuve?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Brian: sorry, he didn’t come up (because he’s so short)…all kidding aside, what do you want to know?

  11. Alan says:
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    Okay I need some speed. Have Castro at SS and Lowrie. Cool to trade Lowrie for Villar? Dynasty implications.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @Alan: Yup, I’d do that

  12. Head to Head 7 player keeper league . I was offered Gerrit Cole and a 3rd rounder (approx. 147th overall pick after keepers) for Bumgarner. Thoughts on the deal ? Hesitation is Cole on innings limit down fantasy playoff stretch .

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @HockeyStops: I’m not worried about the innings limit, but I wonder if you could hold out for a better pick? If Cole is worth his $14 this year and that pick is worth about $9, then I feel like you are still coming out on the short end of the value stick slightly with Bumgarner projected to earn $25 this year. If you think you can get some good value at that pick, go for it…but if you don’t see any good deals coming to you at that pick, I’d just hold Bumgarner.

  13. goodfold2 says:
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    in what universe does it “bode well” for a pitcher that his strand rate was ridiculously high? this is more evidence that he’ll likely get a lot worse, not the opposite.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @goodfold2: yeah…Cosart gives me the shakes

  14. sideshow says:
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    what abut the closer situation?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      @sideshow: yeah that’s kind of a mess. looks like Crain, Fields, Lo, and Qualls in the mix…I wouldn’t touch it, but if I had to I would roll the dice with Crain or Qualls

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