MLB MLB Team News NL Central — 05 April 2010

2009 regular season record: 74-88, Fifth place, NL Central

Major Offseason Acquisitions: Brandon Lyon (DET), Brett Myers (PHI), Pedro Feliz (PHI), Matt Lindstrom (FLA)

Major Offseason Losses: Miguel Tejada (BAL), LaTroy Hawkins (MIL), Jose Valverde (DET)

Projected Lineup (2009 stats):

  1. CF-Michael Bourne (.285 BA, .354 OBP, 3 HR, 35 RBI, 61 SB)
  2. 2B-Kaz Matsui (.250 BA, .302 OBP, 9 HR, 46 RBI, 19 SB)
  3. 1B-Lance Berkman (.274 BA, .399 OBP, 25 HR, 80 RBI)
  4. LF-Carlos Lee (.300 BA, .343 OBP, 26 HR, 102 RBI)
  5. RF-Hunter Pence (.282 BA, .346 OBP, 25 HR, 72 RBI, 14 SB)
  6. 3B-Pedro Feliz (.266 BA, .308 OBP, 12 HR, 82 RBI)
  7. C-J.R. Towles (.188 BA, .250 OBP, 2 HR, 3 RBI)
  8. SS-Tommy Manzella (minor league stats: .289 BA, .339 OBP, 9 HR, 56 RBI, 12 SB)

Projected Starting Rotation/Closer (2009 stats)

  1. RHP Roy Oswalt (8-6, 4.12 ERA, 181.1 IP)
  2. LHP Wandy Rodriguez (14-12, 3.02 ERA, 205.2 IP)
  3. RHP Brett Meyers (4-3, 4.84 ERA, 70.2 IP)
  4. RHP Bud Norris (6-3, 4.53 ERA, 55.2 IP)
  5. RHP Felipe Paulino (3-11, 6.27 ERA, 97.2 IP)

Closer: RHP Matt Lindstrom (5.89 ERA 15 saves)

2010 outlook: Houston was one of the league’s least consistent teams in 2009, winding up in fifth place in the NL Central.

Despite one of baseball’s most depleted farm systems, the Astros actually appear to be making some strides.

Wandy Rodriguez and Michael Bourn were breakout surprises last season, and Hunter Pence made his first All-Star team.

Lance Berkman (who will begin this season on the DL) had the worst statistical season of his career, but still posted a .399 on-base percentage and drove in 80 runs.

Houston may be able to hit, but will the pitching be there?

Roy Oswalt also had a down year last season, but he and Berkman are reportedly rejuvenated due to the arrival of new skipper Brad Mills.

Like the Brewers, the Astros have plenty of question marks behind their top two starters.

Brett Myers came over from the Phillies in the offseason, where he missed much of ’09 due to a torn labrum in his hip.

He’s been a serviceable pitcher in the past, and the Astros are hoping a change of scenery can help him become a consistent starter again.

Young pitchers Bud Norris and Felipe Paulino enjoyed some success last season, and Mills believes each is capable of doing it on a regular basis.

The closer spot will be a place to watch, as Jose Valverde departed in the offseason in favor of Matt Lindstrom and Brandon Lyon.

Lindstrom will begin the season as the closer, but that could change if he struggles early.

2010 prediction: 80-82, Third place, NL Central

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