2007 Houston Astros Baseball Preview
The Houston Astros (82- 80) did not make it into the post season last year. In 2005, they won the NL Pennant and the year before they were in the playoffs. Will this year be part of a downward trend or will last year merely be an anomaly? We would bet this will be and here is why.
Andy Pettitte is gone but RHP Roy Oswalt (15- 8, 2.98 ERA) is back and that’s good news. RHP Jason Jennings (9- 13, 3.78 ERA), who has done exceedingly well in the inhospitable Coors Field, the home of his former team Colorado, replaces Pettitte. RHP Woody Williams (12- 5, 3.65 ERA), a 39- year old vet from San Diego, looks like a good signing. But after that, the rotation has two gaping holes. In 2006, closer Brad Lidge (1- 5, 5.28 ERA, 32 SV) did not repeat his 2005 performance of saving 42 of 46 with a 2.29 ERA. Can he come back? Set-up specialist Dan Wheeler is one of the best.
The big signing on offense was power man Carlos Lee (.304 AVG, 116 RBI, 37 HR). First baseman Lance Berkman (.315 AVG, 136 RBI, 45 HR) can clear the bases, while second baseman Craig Biggio offers some additional clout, having sent 21 balls out of the park last season. Still, the Astros’ .255 batting average was the worst in the NL last season. If the batting average doesn't improve this will be a team to fade with our baseball picks all season long. If you cant hit and cant score, winning games will be very tuff.
The team was first in fielding percentage at .987 and fourth in double plays. Adam Everett is one of the best shortstops in the game. The outfield may be an adventure with Lee in left and former defensive standout center fielder Willy Taveras gone and being replaced by utility man Chris Burke.
Manager Phil Garner’s contract has been extended through 2008. He’s got a good team and has proven to be an able coach.
The Astros have finished either first or second in 12 of their past 13 seasons. But with aging players and little offense there’s cause for concern. Will they flourish or flounder, grab our premium daily MLB predictions on a game by game basis.
For more info on Houston check out the MLB website for the Astros.