Tag: Chron

Houston Astros: 5 Young Arms Who Could Help Fix Their Pitching Problems

Entering the season, the pitching staff for the Astros was suppose to be a strength for this team but after two weeks the results have not been good outside of Brett Myers. The Astros have a team ERA of 5.57, which makes the team 28th out of 30 teams.

This was partially expected as some of the Astros pitchers, like Wandy Rodriguez and Bud Norris, is perennially slow starters and usually get it together the second half of the season. However, there are some pitchers within the Astros organization that could potentially help the Astros pitching staff.

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MLB Power Rankings: Ebbets Field and the Top 50 Stadiums in Baseball History

With the addition of MLB Network and expanded coverage on ESPN and other networks, a baseball fan can literally watch hundreds of baseball games each year from their own home. That said, nothing beats attending a game in person, as it is as much a part of summer as anything.

I have the privilege of living in the Chicago area and going to several games each year at the baseball mecca that is Wrigley Field, and with so many stadiums being rebuilt in the last decade it is one of the few classic stadiums still standing.

Baseball went through a stretch in the 1960 and 1970 when “cookie cutter” multipurpose stadiums were all the rage, and because of that there was an era of stadiums that were uninspired to say the least.

Still, there have been some truly great stadiums over the years, and what follows is the 50 greatest stadiums in baseball history.

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MLB Opening Day: Bob Feller and the 10 Most Amazing Opening Day Performances

On Thursday, March 31, baseball will make its long-awaited return with its traditional Opening Day.  It will be a day when fans just sit back, relax and enjoy the game before the divisional rivalries cause battles in the bleachers.  With the epic pitching matchup of CC Sabathia vs. Justin Verlander kicking off the season, it’s sure to be a great 2011.

In other games, careers will be made while others may end due to injury.  Fans will laugh, cry and cheer as their favorite players have (hopefully), amazing first games.

Some Opening Day performances have been good enough to be marked in the annals forever, including one notable one by Bob Feller (pictured at left).  To celebrate this long-standing tradition as well as Feller’s accomplishment, here are the top 10 most amazing Opening Day performances in history!

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MLB Power Rankings: The Late ’70s Astros and the 10 Ugliest Uniforms of All Time

One of the biggest parts of the business side of baseball for MLB teams is branding and merchandise. Every few years the majority of the teams will tweak or completely overhaul their uniforms as a way to provide fans with new merchandise and to keep their image fresh.

The problem is that the majority of sports teams at one point in time have run out some pretty ugly uniforms, like this Astros uniform from the 1970s.

These are the top 10 ugliest uniforms in MLB history.

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Houston Astros: What to Expect from Brett Wallace

Over the past 20 years, first base has been a strength for the Houston Astros, especially when a team replaces a player like Jeff Bagwell with Lance Berkman.

However, Berkman was traded last season, and a new era begins in 2011 with highly touted prospect Brett Wallace.

Almost immediately after the Astros traded Roy Oswalt to the Phillies they traded one of the pieces in that trade, Anthony Gose, to the Blue Jays for Wallace. With the Astros basically throwing in the towel on the 2010 season, they gave Wallace his first regular playing time at the major-league level.

It wasn’t exactly a fairy tale, as Wallace struggled to a .222 batting average with two home runs and 13 RBI.

Even though 2010 was tough for Wallace, the Astros are giving him another chance; he will enter this year as the starting first baseman.

This is what Astros fans can expect from Brett Wallace in 2011 and beyond.

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Houston Astros: Ranking Biggest Trade Bait on the Roster

If spring training is any indication how the season will go, the Astros will most likely be sellers come trade deadline time.

The Astros have given up 108 runs in 17 games, 20 more runs than the next closest team in the Grapefruit League. They are sitting currently in last place with a record of 5-12.

Even though they have struggled, they do have some players who could be attractive to teams and could help them make a push for the playoffs in 2011. Now, I don’t expect all these players to be traded, but I think the Astros would be willing to move them if the price is right.

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MLB Spring Training 2011: 10 Things We’ve Already Learned About the Astros

The Astros are about two weeks into spring training and played their first game yesterday. I am sure no one wanted to start off the 2011 season like they did, falling to the Atlanta Braves 13-3.

However, after only nine innings of real baseball and a handful of practices, here are 10 things that we have already learned about this team.

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Houston Astros: Predicting the 2011 Opening Day 25-Man Roster

Even though it has been less than a week that the full squad has been at spring training, it is never too early to start looking at what the Houston Astros may look like on Opening Day.

Entering 2011, the Astros are a young team, as they are in the middle of a rebuilding process, but the lineup is pretty much set for this season.

Looking at the roster, there are really only two spots that are still up for grabs, and those are the last spot in the rotation and the backup outfield spot. With that said, here is what I see being the Opening Day roster for the Houston Astros.

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Fantasy Baseball 2011 Projecton: Will Clint Barmes Rediscover His Old Form?

Clint Barmes has been involved in the Rockies‘ rotating door at second base for the past few seasons. He’s had the opportunity to claim it as his own on many occasions, but after his 2005 breakout campaign (.289, 10 HR, 46 RBI, 55 R in 350 AB) was cut short due to a freak injury, he never quite regained his form.

Yes, he did hit 23 HR in 2009, but it came courtesy of a .245 average. Now, having been traded to the Astros in the offseason in exchange for Felipe Paulino, Barmes has a chance to rebuild his value for fantasy owners.

Still, he’s coming off a subpar season:

387 At Bats
.235 Batting Average (91 Hits)
8 Home Runs
50 RBI
43 Runs
3 Stolen Bases
.305 On Base Percentage
.351 Slugging Percentage
.263 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The average continued to struggle thanks to a below average BABIP. Over the past two years he’s posted a BABIP of .271 and .263. That’s the only reason that his average struggled, because he didn’t strikeout an exorbitant amount of the time (17.1 percent in ’10 vs. 17.3 percent for his career).

It’s easy to say that he should post a luckier number at some point, but an inflated fly ball rate doesn’t make that a certainty. He has a career fly ball rate of 47.7 percent, but he’s been above that each of the past three seasons:

  • 2008 – 48.9 percent
  • 2009 – 49.0 percent
  • 2010 – 48.9 percent

Inflated fly ball rates don’t lend themselves to tremendous luck. While it helps us to believe that his power is likely to rebound, especially in Minute Maid Park, from an average standpoint, it’s not a good thing.

The problem is, is the power really a lock? Yes, he hit 23 HR in ’09, but it came courtesy of an 11.0 percent HR/FB. For his career he’s at 6.8 percent and ’09 was actually the only season that he posted a mark above 7.7 percent. Assuming he’s going to hit 20+ HR would be a major mistake.

It all combines for a projection of:

.260 (117-450), 14 HR, 60 RBI, 60 R, 8 SB, .288 BABIP, .316 OBP, .420 SLG

Those are fine numbers, but they make him nothing more than a low-level middle infielder. There’s way too much risk involved in his average and no guarantee that his power comes anywhere close to his ’09 explosion. There’s nothing there to hang your hat on.

But what are your thoughts on Barmes? Is he a player you would target in ’11?  Why or why not?

**** Make sure to order your copy of the Rotoprofessor 2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, selling for just $5, by clicking here. ****

Make sure to check out some of our 2011 projections:


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2011 MLB Preview: Who Will Lead Houston Astros in Home Runs?

Now that Lance Berkman is gone and Carlos Lee is coming off a down year, the race is wide open for who will lead the Houston Astros in home runs in 2011. They no longer have that one player who can be expected to hit 30 to 35 home runs in a season.

When looking at the current Astros roster, there are three players who jump out that could lead this team in home runs this season. Right fielder Hunter Pence, left fielder Carlos Lee and third baseman Chris Johnson have the best chance.

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