Power Ranking Every Player on the Houston Astros' Roster

Brandon Croce@@BrandonCroceAnalyst IJune 29, 2011

Power Ranking Every Player on the Houston Astros' Roster

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    After 79 games the Houston Astros are sitting at 28-51, which is good, or bad, enough for the worst record in MLB. This season has been a struggle for players and fans but there is talent on this team.

    Now that we are at roughly the halfway point of the 2011 season, it is a good time to evaluate the Astros' roster. This is how I would rank the 2011 Houston Astros' active roster.

24. C Carlos Corporan

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    Carlos Corporan was called up in the beginning of June to replace the injured Humberto Quintero and has played in every game but two since then. However, the saying quantity does not equal quality applies here.

    Corporan is hitting only .122 so far this season with two RBI. He also has struck out 17 times in his 41 plate appearances. Quintero is expected to start his rehab stint at the start of July and once he is ready to return will most likely send Corporan back down to the minors. 

23. RP Fernando Abad

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    Fernando Abad has bounced between Triple-A Oklahoma City and the Astros in his second season with the team. The time down in the minor leagues looks like it worked because since he has been recalled on June 15th he has made four appearances and only given up one run.

    His record currently sits at 1-4 with seven holds and two blown saves and even with his good stretch of appearances his ERA is still 6.11. The lefty is still young and will go through some growing pains but has shown to be an effective arm out of the bullpen. 

22. OF Jason Michaels

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    Jason Michaels spent some time on the DL in the early going of 2011 and may be attributed to his slow start. The reserve outfielder hit less than .200 in the first two months but has started to turn things around hitting .268 in the month of June. 

    Michaels has dropped a bit in the depth chart because of the strong play by Jason Bourgeois but he still provides a nice veteran presence in the clubhouse for the Astros organization.

21. RP Enerio Del Rosario

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    Another young pitcher coming out of the bullpen, Enerio Del Rosario has struggled with his consistency this season. In the month of May, he appeared in 11 games and didn't give up a single run. Fast forward to the present month of June and it has been a completely different story as he has appeared in eight games, giving up 12 earned runs for a 10.45 ERA.

20. RP Aneury Rodriguez

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    Aneury Rodriguez came to the Astros this spring in the Rule 5 Draft and has spent time coming out of the bullpen and in the starter role. He got his opportunity after Nelson Figueroa was sent down to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

    Just like most of the young pitchers with the Astros he has had his up and down moments but looks much more suited coming out of the bullpen. I think he would really benefit from some time down in Oklahoma City but unfortunately because he was a Rule 5 pick he must stay on the Astros active roster all season.

19. C J.R. Towles

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    Catcher J.R. Towles started the season splitting time as starting catcher with Humberto Quintero because Jason Castro went down with a season ending knee injury. He started the 2011 season strong and after April he was hitting .364 with two home runs.

    Those two home runs were better than his entire 2010 season and tied his 2009 season total. Many thought maybe things were starting to click for the once highly touted prospect but things quickly changed once the month did. His average has dropped to .195 and he has only one home run since April.

18. RP Sergio Escalona

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    Sergio Escalona has been one of the better pitchers coming out of the bullpen for the Astros this season. The 26 year old lefty has appeared in 26 games and currently sports a 2.08 ERA. He has allowed only one earned run in his past 16 appearances. 

17. SP J.A. Happ

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    J.A. Happ came over as the main piece in the Roy Oswalt trade last year and many fans had high hopes for him entering 2011. This season though has been a struggle for the lefty as he has a 3-9 record with a 5.54 ERA.

    Like Del Rosario, May was much kinder to Happ who looked like he might be putting things together going 2-2 with a 3.31 ERA. However, June has been a disaster as he has gone 0-3 with a 7.88 ERA. The talent is still there but his stock has certainly dropped in the first half of 2011.

16. SS Clint Barmes

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    Clint Barmes came over to the Astros this past off-season in a trade with the Rockies. The Astros brought him here because they were hoping to get some power from the shortstop position.

    Unfortunately, this season has been a struggle for Barmes as he started the season on the DL and I don't think he has been able to get in a rhythm since. He is only hitting .218 this season with three home runs.

15. SS Angel Sanchez

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    Angel Sanchez got the chance to start the season as the starting shortstop with Clint Barmes on the DL. He didn't disappoint and provided a good one two punch with Michael Bourn at the top of the lineup.

    After April, he was hitting .301 with 15 RBI but has struggled transitioning back to being a bench player. His batting average has dropped to .250 and he only has two extra base hits in May and June after having five in April.

14. SP Brett Myers

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    Brett Myers looked like an ace the second half of the 2010 season but lost that magic to start 2011. The 30 year old struggled for the first two months of the season with his 1-3 record, giving up four or more runs in six of his first 11 starts.

    June has been much better for number 39 as he is 2-2 with a 3.71 ERA and threw the only complete game for the Astros this season.

13. RP Wilton Lopez

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    Wilton Lopez has been the primary set up man for Mark Melancon this season and has done a good job to this point. He has a 3.18 ERA with seven holds this season.

    If you don't include the awful showing by the bullpen against Tampa Bay recently, where Lopez and Melancon combined to give up seven runs, Lopez has given up one run in his last nine appearances. Lopez is a hard thrower who has a lot of potential and it could be the start of a solid dynamic duo with Melancon.

12. RP Mark Melancon

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    Mark Melancon came over to the Astros last season in the Lance Berkman trade with the Yankees. He became the primary closer after Brandon Lyon went on the DL earlier this season and has held that role ever since.

    He has converted six of nine save opportunities this year with a 3.31 ERA and looks like he could be the closer for years to come for the Astros.

11. INF Matt Downs

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    Matt Downs has been playing pretty well this season and has seen a good amount of playing time, even if he doesn't have a set spot in the starting lineup. He has started at ever spot in the infield playing most of his time at third base.

    He currently is hitting .280 with six home runs and 31 RBI and has been a great bat coming off the bench. His versatility makes him valuable and at only 27 years of age still has some good years ahead of him. 

10. 3B Chris Johnson

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    Like J.A. Happ, fans had high hopes for Chris Johnson because he finished last year so strong. He struggled to start 2011 but looks like he may be turning things around. 

    After April, he was hitting only .185 but has steadily increased his batting average to .244 thanks to hitting .302 in the month of June. This is in part to getting at least one hit in 14 of his last 15 games. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come and he can replicate his second half success last year in 2011. 

9. SP Jordan Lyles

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    Jordan Lyles has been one of the bright spots of the 2011 season. The 20 year old was called up when Wandy Rodriguez went on the DL and when Wandy came back he took Aneury Rodriguez's spot in the rotation.

    Before his start against the Rangers on Tuesday night he has an ERA of 4.20 through five starts, striking out 19 over his past three starts. Even though he has a record of 0-2, he has pitched well enough to get fan's excited about the future of this starting pitcher.

8. OF Jason Bourgeois

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    Like Matt Downs, Jason Bourgeois doesn't have a spot in the starting lineup but he is playing so well it is hard not to have him in the game. This year he is hitting .353 with 17 stolen bases and causes nightmares for opposing catchers when paired with Bourn at the top of the lineup.

    Unfortunately, he landed on the 15-day DL with a quad injury which is especially bad because his speed is what makes him so valuable. Hopefully he can come back 100% after the DL. 

7. LF Carlos Lee

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    Carlos Lee got off to a very slow start this season but has heated up as we have moved into the summer months. In April he hit only .195 but has hit above .300 in both May and June. His batting average currently sits at .266 and he is second on the team in RBI with 42.

    Carlos Lee is by far the highest paid Astro as he is in year five of his six year, 100 million dollar contract and while he isn't quite living up to his monstrous contract, he is having a better year than in years past. 

6. 2B Jeff Keppinger

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    Jeff Keppinger has been a welcomed sight to Astros' fans since coming off the DL. He has taken over the starting gig at second base and has hit an impressive .336 while primarily in the top third of the lineup.

    Unfortunately for Astros' fans, Keppinger has been playing too good and will most likely be with a new team after the trade deadline. For the time being, he is one of the top Astros on the team. 

5. SP Bud Norris

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    Bud Norris is another young Astros' pitcher who has improved in the 2011 season, becoming quite the strikeout machine. He is one of the league leaders in K/9 with a 9.09 ratio and has pitched better than his 4-6 record.

    His ERA sits at 3.36 but he has dropped it over half a run in his past four starts from 3.95. Bud Norris, along with Lyles, gives fans hope for this rotation moving forward. 

4. 1B Brett Wallace

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    Brett Wallace has been having a great 2011 after struggling in the second half of 2010 with the Astros. Wallace came over as a spin-off trade of the Oswalt trade and this season has showed why the Astros wanted him.

    He is currently hitting .296 with four home runs and 22 RBI. He did hit a rough patch in June going 0-19 but has responded with a hit in the past four games.

    The first base position has been an example of consistency over the years with Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman manning the position primarily for close to two decades. Brett Wallace looks like he may be on his way in following in their footsteps.

3. SP Wandy Rodriguez

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    Wandy Rodriguez has been the Astros' best pitcher this year, hands down. The lefty is 5-4 with a 3.21 ERA and has become a real work horse for this staff going deep into games.

    This partially may be one of the reasons he had a stint on the DL but has looked very strong since coming back. I don't think this will be an issue for him going forward and is on his way to a career year.

2. CF Michael Bourn

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    The speedy leadoff hitter is off to a great start in 2011. Bourn is hitting .285 to start the season and has already racked up 26 RBI but his real value comes in stealing bases, which he has done 34 times already.

    Not only is he having a great year on the basepaths but he is playing some solid defense in centerfield, as he has to deal with Tal's Hill. If it wasn't for this next player's breakout season, Bourn would have the top spot in the power rankings. 

1. RF Hunter Pence

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    This was an easy choice for me for top spot in the Astros' power rankings. Hunter Pence is having a breakout year and one of the top right fielders in the National League.

    He is currently hitting .315 with nine home runs and 52 RBI. He leads the Astros in batting average, hits, doubles, home runs, and RBI and will most likely be the only Astro going to the All-Star game this year.