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2009 Houston Astros Baseball Preview

In 2005, the Houston Astros (86- 75) were in the playoffs and the following year they took the NL pennant. Since then, it's been pretty dry in Texas. Although the team managed to stay in the playoff hunt until the end, they didn't have the stuff to sustain a late-season run. This year, the club will have a tough time contending and they won't get much help from their farm club.

Hopefully number one starter Roy Oswalt (7- 10 W/L, 3.54 ERA, .253 BAA), who features fine movement on his diminishing fastball, will be healthy this season. He has a nice slider, good curve and nice changeup. Wandy Rodriguez (9- 7 W/L, 3.54 ERA, .256 BAA), one of two lefties, uses his tight curve and fading changeup to strike out opponents after establishing his fastball. Brandon Backe (9- 14 W/L, 6.05 ERA, .302 BAA) and Brian Moehler (11- 8 W/L, 4.56 ERA. .279 BAA) are inconsistent. Lefty Mike Hampton (3- 4 W/L, 4.85 ERA, .281 BAA) has been injured numerous times and missed a bunch of seasons, but he's a tough competitor and good athlete. Closer Jose Valverde (3.38 ERA, 44 SV, .225 BAA) has a mid-90s fastball that runs in on batters. He has control problems.

Lance Berkman (.312 BA, 106 RBI, 29 HR, 18 SB), the number three hitter, can power the ball to any field. Michael Bourn (.229 BA, 29 RBI, 5 HR, 41 SB) leads off but needs to be able to get on base more often to exploit his speed. Carlos Lee (.314 BA, 100 RBI, 28 HR) can hit both off speed and high-speed pitches with his quick, well-timed bat. Kazuo Matsui (.293 BA, 33 RBI, 6 HR, 20 SB) is a solid contact hitter. Hunter Pence (.269 BA, 83 RBI, 25 HR) offers power and run producing potential. There's speed on this team.

At third, Geoff Blum has decent range and a strong, accurate arm. At short, Tejada's range is declining. He's a respectable fielder. Matsui at second is sound defensively. Berkman at first may not have good range, but he possesses soft hands and a strong arm. Career backup catcher Humberto Quintero is a solid number two man. It's tough to tell if he can really be effective as a starter. Bourne in center is a fine fielder, while Lee in left is merely okay. In right, Hunter Pence uses his raw talented to make good plays.

In his first full season as a MLB manager, Cecil Cooper did a decent job. He even garnered some NL Manager of the Year votes. GM Ed Wade traded reliever Brad Lidge to Philadelphia after the 2007 season. Lidge went 48-for-48 in save opportunities with the Phils. Houston could have used him. Despite the gaff, Wade is an excellent baseball man who knows how to build teams. But he has to deal with owner Drayton McLane's stingy nature. That will make it tough for him for to create a contender.

There's not much depth in the rotation and there's precious little offense on this team. Houston has a weak bench and is especially weak in the backstop spot and in center. Cooper and Wade will have to work miracles for the Astros to make it to the post-season.

Check out the Astros other NL central division rivals, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros.

For more info on Houston check out the MLB website for the Astros.

 

2009 Baseball Preview

The 2009 Major League Baseball season is here and Maddux Sports once again has unveiled their annual preview of this years summer pastime. We go in-depth on all 30 baseball teams as well as our divisional predictions including order of finish. To find your favorite team click on the division links to the right. At anytime you can return to the 2009 baseball preview page.

09 MLB Division Previews


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