If a team in a rebuilding process is smart and gets the right pieces, it's not out of the realm of possibility that a team could be playoff bound after one to two years of rebuilding. Last year, the Houston Astros felt it was time to start over and traded away Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt and replaced them with young players like Brett Wallace and J.A. Happ. After these trades happened, the Astros actually started to play better and more competitive baseball down the stretch.
When talking about the NL Central, many people will talk about the improved rotation of the Brewers, the Cardinals led by Pujols and Holliday or the NL Central defending champion Cincinnati Reds led by reigning NL MVP Joey Votto.
However, there is one team that people are not giving a chance, and that is the Houston Astros. After the moves they made in 2010 and how they finished the year before, they are ready to turn this three-horse race for the NL Central in 2011 to a four-team battle.
Here are 10 reasons why the Astros will surprise people in 2011.