Altuve gets a little pat. Photo by Li Phil.
Houston Astros – Predicted Finish: Fifth Place, AL West
The Astros will be abysmal in 2013. I’d make a string of jokes about how bad they are, but I’m above all that.
No I’m not. Here’s a joke to highlight the futility of the Houston Astros in 2013:
"Did you hear that Houston’s baseball team doesn’t have a website? A: They can’t string three “Ws” together."
Not my best work, but then again, Astros players aren’t going to be your best bet in fielding a competitive fantasy baseball team. Take a look at their offensive offense.
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Their middle infielders: Lowrie and Altuve.
Lowrie has power, which might come in handy really late in drafts if you need to fill a MI slot. But he won’t stay healthy the entire season and it’s possible he won’t even stay in Houston.
Altuve has oodles of talent, but not many thought he’d reach his promise so soon. More on him in a moment.
Outside of these two there isn’t a single Astro worth taking a flyer on. Their outfield is an island of misfit toys, with the three above, plus J.D. Martinez and Jimmy Paredes all fighting for at bats. I suspect they’ll all get thrown out there to see which ones stick.
Matt Dominguez can’t hit, Castro is a second catcher, and there isn’t anyone else on the bench that could come out of nowhere to surprise.
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: None. I wouldn’t take a look at any Astros pitcher, including Bud Norris. Ambriz may win the coin flip and get the closer job, but how many saves will he get anyway, provided he holds down the job? Fernando Rodriguez is another option at closer, while Rule 5 pick Josh Fields could actually make late season play. Too many unknowns for very few save opportunities.
Fantasy Star: Altuve
Altuve is a little guy, but he hits the ball hard. Seven home runs will be acceptable when you’re talking 30+ steals. The gravy is the fact that he’s a high average kinda guy, and you can couple him with a slugger that might only hit .250 or so, but together they’ll add to your teams’ HR total and the average will balance out.
The knock on Altuve is the Astros’ themselves. Not being surrounded by a good team, his counting stats suffer. He won’t get as many runs as a typical leadoff hitter on a good team would get.
Second base is a thin position so Altuve will be a hot commodity on draft day. He’s only 22 so target him in dynasty leagues.
Fantasy Bust: Pena
Pena strikes out in a third of his plate appearances. Your average will be garbage if you can’t put the ball in play. His one trick was that he had power, but he’s older now and the power has faded. A one trick pony without that one trick is just a pony. Or something like that.
Fantasy Sleepers: Not in the Majors
There isn’t anybody sleeping on the Astros. Another way to look at it is that they all are sleeping. Whichever, It’s highly doubtful that anyone surprises and provides much fantasy value, except in 43 team leagues.
There are a couple guys in the minors though that might get a late 2013 call up and provide a little value. One such guy is Jonathan Singleton. He has tremendous raw power and actually has good pitch recognition, most other Astros can’t claim. He was sure to get a midseason call up until his value took a “hit.” He’s not worth a look until the stretch run now.
Jonathan Villar is a speedy SS that could make the jump if Jed Lowrie is moved. Really, that’s it.
2013 looks absolute terrible for the Astros both in real life and in fantasy, but I’m not judging, Houston fans. I live in Minnesota.
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