2011 MLB Preview: Houston Astros

Ryan GaydosSenior Analyst IMarch 13, 2011

LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 02: Oswaldo Navarro #26 celebrates with his teammates T. J Steele #92 Angel Sanchez #36 and Koby Clemens #91 after hitting an eight inning three run home run  during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 2, 2011 in Lakeland, Florida. The Astros defeated the Tigers 6-3.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

The 9 Innings Blog will be bringing you previews of every Major League Baseball team for the next 30 days. This is in accordance with our 30 teams in 30 days series. Today, we are bringing you the 2011 preview of the Houston Astros. The Astros are looking to bounce back from a less than stellar 2010.

The Astros finished up the 2010 season finishing 76-86 which was good for fourth place in the National League Central, finishing better than the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Their season included trades of franchise players Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman. In return, the Astros got very nice prospects in Brett Wallace and J.A. Happ from the Philadelphia Phillies.

Wallace is a big part of the 2011 lineup this season. Wallace is part of a young group of balllplayers that seem to be the future of the organization. However, the future doesn’t seem so bright for top prospect, catcher, Jason Castro.

Castro tore his ACL in a spring training game in early March and will most likely be out for the rest of the season. It is not the way anyone in the organization would have wanted his career to start out. Castro will not have to be replaced by either Humberto Quintero or J.R. Towles.

The Astros will have another less than stellar season. However, they won’t be dead last this year. I hope that J.A. Happ has a good year as well as outfielder Hunter Pence.

Key Addition: Bill Hall, 2B

Breakout Player: Brett Wallace, 1B

Prediction: Fifth NL West

CA: Humberto Quintero
1B: Brett Wallace
2B: Bill Hall
3B: Chris Johnson
SS: Clint Barmes
OF: Michael Bourn
OF: Hunter Pence
OF: Carlos Lee

Pitching Rotation
SP: Brett Myers
SP: Wandy Rodriguez
SP: Bud Norris
SP: J.A. Happ
SP: Nelson Figueroa

RP: Aneury Rodriguez
RP: Ryan Rowland-Smith
RP: Jeff Fulchino
RP: Fernando Abad
RP: Mark Melancon
RP: Wilton Lopez
CP: Brandon Lyon

CA: J.R. Towles
INF: Matt Downs
INF: Angel Sanchez
OF: Jason Bourgeois
OF: Jason Michaels

Top Prospects
1. Jordan Lyles, RHP
2. Delino DeShields Jr., OF
3. Jonathan Villar, SS
4. Michael Foltynewicz, RHP
5. Jovanni Mier, SS