2006 Houston Astros Baseball Preview

Houston Astros Predictions – NL CENTRAL


The Astros may have finished 11 games out of first place in the NL Central, but they took the Wild Card and made it to the series but lost to the White Sox. The ageless Roger Clemens was a dynamic force during the season, but presently he’s unsigned and may not be coming back to Houston. That means a substantially weakened rotation.


Last season Houston pitchers held opposing hitters to a .246 BA, lowest in both leagues.

The Astros still have an impressive rotation with Roy Oswalt (20-12, 2.94 ERA), Andy Pettitte (17-9, 2.39 ERA) and Brandon Backe (10-8, 4.76 ERA). With 42 saves and a 2.29 ERA, Brad Lidge can provide fastball and slider relief.

Figuring out the fifth starter would be good. Wandy Rodriguez (10-10, 5.53 ERA) will be a solid fourth man on the mound.


The Astros are one of the weakest hitting teams in the league. You can argue that with their pitching staff, the team doesn’t need as much offense as others.

Still, the club has a string of .250-.260 hitters with not one of their players hitting the .300 mark. Morgan Ensberg (.283 BA, 36 HR, 101 RBI) and Lance Berkman (.292 BA, 24 HR, 82 RBI) provide the offensive punch for this team.

Five of the Astros’ hitters were victims of the “K” 100 times or more in 2005. How about taking a few more pitches?


This is a very good fielding team, making only 89 errors and fielding at a .985 clip.

The left side of the field, with third baseman Ensberg and shortstop Adam Everett, covers a lot of ground and makes quick, accurate throws. Berkman is a dependable first baseman, while Craig Biggio, at 40, still holds down the fort at second.

The outfield offers good coverage, especially in left and center.


• Manager Phil Garner’s team was 15 games under .500 and out of the post-season just two months into the season. Then he managed them into the World Series! What the--?
• Kudos to first time GM Tim Purpura who steadied the ship when all seemed lost.
• They didn’t resign Clemens—that’s troubling!


• Jeff Bagwell—the future Hall of Famer will probably be on the bench a lot, but if he can get healthy and play about 120 games that would be a big help offensively.
• Brad Lidge needs to forget his horrible post-season performance; chances are he will.
• Roy Oswalt—can you fill Roger Clemens’ cleats?


This team can do it again, but they’ll have a much easier time if they’re more patient at the plate. Like few other clubs, they understand that it really is a long season where anything can happen. Fielders on the club are getting old and slowing down—start thinking of the future.

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2006 Baseball Team Previews

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