Showing posts with label Houston Astros. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Houston Astros. Show all posts

Sunday, October 04, 2015

The Future of Luis Valbuena and Third Base for the Astros

Luis Valbuena had a solid season with some potentially confusing results. He began the season as the Houston Astros primary third baseman after several seasons as a sort of super-utility player for the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs. In 2014, Valbuena showed signs of a power breakout by batting .249/.341/.435 with 16 homers in 478 at-bats. Well, the power certainly came on as Valbuena had slammed 25 homers going into the last day of the season. He hit 19 of those homers in the first half but with a disappointing boom or bust slash of 199/.285/.430 that limited his value to fantasy owners even in this low batting average era. It was enough to return him to a more limited role in the second half of the season, as he entered a platoon of sorts with Jed Lowrie and made the odd appearance at second or first base. He did bring his batting average up, he finished at .224/.311/.441 by batting .273/.364/.462 in his last 143 at-bats. Valbuena would be eligible for free-agency after the 2016 season and is unlikely to be re-signed as a starter.

There are not any standout third basemen in free agency this year. It seems unlikely that the Astros will make a free agent addition. The Astros do have some very interesting prospects that could play a role in 2016. The most familiar name is probably Colin Moran who came to the Astros via a trade in 2014 and has done nothing but hit since. Moran's first half was largely ruined by a fractured jaw suffered by an errant throw in May. He made up for the slow start with a blistering second half of the season in which he batted .333/.416/.526 and earned a promotion to Triple-A. GM Jeff Luhnow is a big fan of Moran - trading for him after seriously considering him with the first overall pick in 2013. Moran probably hits for a solid or better average in the majors but has not yet developed the power most managers like to see at the position.

Less well known but moving up prospect charts with a bullet is Tyler White. White was a 33rd round pick out of Western Carolina University. He has hit at every level and has more in-game power than Moran. He is not yet on the 40-man roster but is certain to be added after this season. He hit a combined 325/.442/.496 with 84 walks and 73 strikeouts on the season along with 25 doubles, 14 homeruns and 99 RBI. He is seen by many as a future first baseman but has played more at third base than first to this point. His bat looks extremely potent and there should be more power coming.

J.D. Davis is even less well known than White but he has the best right-now power of this trio of prospects. This season he hit .280/.370/.520 with 28 doubles, three triples, 26 home runs and 101 RBI in 120 games. He was a college first baseman and pitcher and has a plsu arm at third but is still learning some of the nuances of the position. He is the furthest away from the majors as things stand but if his glove continues to improve and he develops into a solid third baseman he could be at the top of this list in going into the 2017 season.

The guess here is that Jed Lowrie and Luis Valbuena will be the favorite going into Spring Training to renew their platooon at the position. But I expect Tyler White to make a lot of noise in the spring and either he and Moran could  complicate things going into the 2016 season. All things being equal, Moran probably gets the first real opportunity due to his draft pedigree but White probably has the most impact bat.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

St. Louis Cardinals Acquire 3B Pedro Feliz

Pedro Feliz has been awful this season. But the St. Louis Cardinals have reached the point of desperation at third base. Feliz has hit just .221 with four homers and 31 RBIs in 97 games for the Astros. He's been dropped even in deep NL-only leagues. However he should now be in the lineup regularly until the end if the season. He has also batted .288 in his career at Busch Stadium.

Feliz is probably of very little use to fantasy owners. David Carpenter, who was sent to the Astros, is probably far from helping as well. Carpenter was converted from catcher to relief pitcher recently. This year, the 25-year-old right-hander was 5-3 with a 2.36 ERA and 20 saves in 49 games at Class A Palm Beach.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Astros and Phillies Agree on Oswalt Trade

From Fox Sports in Houston

Houston - Major League baseball sources told FOX 26 Sports the Houston Astros have a deal in place to trade pitcher Roy Oswalt to the Philadelphia Phillies if Oswalt agrees to waive his no-trade clause.

Sources told FOX 26 the Astros have approached Oswalt. He is aware of the deal that is on the table and the club is waiting for his response.

MLB sources told FOX 26 the Astros and Phillies have agreed on the amount of money Houston will take back in the deal and the two teams have agreed on the players Philadelphia will be sending.

Oswalt is owed about $5 million for the rest of this season.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Lance Berkman (and his Owners) Still Suffering

As if the slump wasn't problem enough, Lance Berkman is now complaining of a sore wrist. The wrist is so sore that he was only able to take five swings in batting practice before Friday's game. He says he hurt the wrist on Thursday night during a check swing. I am certain we will hear about an MRI exam soon. A wrist injury can seriously impact a hitter. I would bench Berkman wherever possible (I'm sure he is already benched in many leagues) and start searching for a long term replacement. While I hope this is just a short term injury, my gut is telling me it will not be.

In addition to the wrist injury Berkman seems to have lost considerable faith in himself. He compared himself to Andruw Jones and other players who have mysteriously lost their ability to hit productively. He was also scheduled to move down to fifth in the order (shocking that this had not already happened) and that has to contribute to his depression.

“I can’t believe it took this long to be moved out of the three hole,” said Berkman. “I’ve been awful. It’s really the only logical thing. I’m sorry that I’ve forced Coop’s hand to this point."

"Hopefully this will work a little bit better for the team. I don’t know, but I’d like to think that,” he said. “But you know it’s certainly a scary place to be when you don’t have any answers and you don’t see really any improvement in your performance."

"The only thing (is that) in 2007 it was similar because I felt pretty terrible all the way through May. That was the first. I could be the next Andruw Jones,” he said. “I mean, it’s possible and it’s unexplainable.”