Posted on: December 15, 2011 11:14 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 12:27 pm
By Matt Snyder
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.
The most interesting thing about our latest installment in this series is that I believe this would have been one of the better teams in the majors had we done the exercise three or four years ago. How good would a Johan Santana, Roy Oswalt, Freddy Garcia top three in the rotation have been a handful of years ago -- along with Lance Berkman, Hunter Pence and Bobby Abreu leading the offense? Alas, we're doing it now and some of that sounds far less enticing. Still, let's check it out.
1. Hunter Pence, CF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Ben Zobrist, RF
4. Lance Berkman, LF
5. Bobby Abreu, 1B
6. Chris Johnson, 3B
7. John Buck, C
8. Aaron Miles, SS
1. Johan Santana
2. Roy Oswalt
3. Wandy Rodriguez
4. Bud Norris
5. Jordan Lyles
Closer - Brad Lidge
Set up - Chad Qualls, Matt Albers, Troy Patton, Fernando Abad,
Long - Felipe Paulino, Freddy Garcia
Notable Bench Players
Ramon Castro, Carlos Guillen, Drew Sutton, Brooks Conrad, Brian Bogusevic
The trio of Pence, Zobrist and Berkman makes the front part of the offense look really attractive and Abreu offers decent protection for the Puma. Fitting in that two-hole would also do wonders for the development of the young Altuve. Can we assume health in this exercise, considering it's for fun? Sure, I will. So the starting rotation looks pretty good -- albeit not dominant anymore -- with Johan as the ace and Oswalt a good number two (remember, back issues hampered him last year). If Lyles isn't ready yet, we can plug in Garcia or Paulino as the five.
Lidge and Qualls aren't bad, but there is nothing in front of them worth much except two starting pitchers -- and, again, we may need one of the two in the rotation. The bottom part of the batting order isn't very good either and the bench is thin. But let's focus on what is really bad: The defense. I fought back and forth with whether to put Abreu or Berkman in LF, but either one is a bad choice. I just feel like Berkman can move better at this point. I also had to shift Pence to center, even though he's better suited in right. Miles is much better used at second base and he's not even really good there.
Comparison to real 2011
Well, the 2011 Astros were the worst team in the majors and in franchise history. This team isn't particularly good, but it's better than that. With that rotation, a decent back-end of the bullpen and some offense, these Astros should be able to work close to the 75-win range. One thing is for sure, they wouldn't be the worst team in the NL Central. I also feel like the best news for Astros fans is there would actually be some name players here to root for, after having seen the likes of Oswalt, Berkman, Pence and Michael Bourn traded over the past two real seasons. Still, you can't help but think that there are enough pieces here that the Astros could have properly built a real-life team that was still in contention in 2011 -- had they made the right moves.
Next: Los Angeles Dodgers
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Tags: Aaron Miles, Astros, Ben Zobrist, Bobby Abreu, Brad Lidge, Brian Bogusevic, Brooks Conrad, Bud Norris, Carlos Guillen, Chad Qualls, Chris Johnson, Drew Sutton, Felipe Paulino, Fernando Abad, Freddy Garcia, Homegrown, Hunter Pence, Johan Santana, John Buck, Jordan Lyles, Jose Altuve, Lance Berkman, Matt Albers, Matt Snyder, NL Central, Ramon Castro, Roy Oswalt, Troy Patton, Wandy Rodriguez
Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:37 am
By Matt Snyder
Six teams won Tuesday after scoring in their final at-bat, so let's stick with those as the theme of 3 Up, 3 Down.
Lyle Overbay, Diamondbacks. Amazing how things work out sometimes. Heading to the trade deadline, the Pirates were actually in the race for once and looked to upgrade at first base. They ended up trading for Derrek Lee, which made Overbay expendible. He was set free and ended up with Arizona. Now the Pirates have completely fallen out of the race after a miserable stretch and the Diamondbacks are in first place. Tuesday night, Overbay went 3-4 with all three of the D-Backs' RBIs, including a two-RBI double in the ninth off Roy Halladay. The Snakes beat the Phillies 3-2 and are now 3 1/2 games in front of the Giants.
Mark Kotsay, Brewers. He only got one at-bat, but that's all he needed. Kotsay came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and the score tied 1-1. He planted a Mike MacDougal offering into center field for a line drive, walk-off single. The Brewers extended their lead to seven games in the NL Central and have won 17 of their last 19.
Brian Bogusevic, Astros. Like Kotsay, all Bogusevic needed was one bases-loaded at-bat to produce a walk-off win, but unlike Kotsay, Bogusevic drove home four, not just one. Cubs closer Carlos Marmol allowed two singles and a walk before Bogusevic stepped to the plate with his team trailing by three. He went ahead and hit a walk-off grand slam to save the Astros from an eighth consecutive loss.
Arthur Rhodes/Tony La Russa, Cardinals. Rhodes was signed by the Cardinals to get left-handers out, yet he yielded a walk-off homer to the Pirates' Garrett Jones -- who is, yes, left-handed -- Tuesday night. Of course, members of the media who cover the Cardinals pointed out after the game it was the third straight night La Russa used the 41 year old and that Rhodes is best served in short doses. Tuesday, he got two outs to end the 10th and La Russa trotted him back out there for the 11th. Jones was the first batter Rhodes faced in the 11th. So who was at fault? You make the call. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have fallen seven games back of the Brewers and that race looks like it will be a mere formality quite soon.
Giants offense. In sticking with the theme, the Giants lost in walk-off fashion Tuesday night. Still, it's hard to blame the pitchers. The Giants got no-hit by a rookie -- with big upside, but it was still only his second career start -- for six innings before getting a solo home run from Cody Ross. In 11 innings, that would be their only run. They only had five hits. They've fallen 3 1/2 back of the red-hot Diamondbacks and are threatening to fall behind the Mariners for the least amount of runs scored in the majors. Something better change, fast.
Indians vs. White Sox. Are these two teams seriously in the race? This marathon game was a comedy of misplayed balls, stranded runners, poor baserunning, blown leads and pretty much everything else under the sun. Of course there was good from each side -- some timely hitting and good pitching performances -- but it was predominantly bad and I'd guess most fans of either team would agree. On the Indians side, Shin-Soo Choo was awful in right field, playing two balls into triples and misplaying a few others. They left 11 men on base -- including leaving them loaded in the 13th -- and got a bad outing from Ubaldo Jimenez. On the White Sox end, Will Ohman came in and walked two straight batters -- the second one forced in the tying run -- before recording his lone out of the game. A leadoff triple was wasted in extra innings when Brent Lillibridge was doubled off first on a lineout. Sergio Santos blew a save prior to that to send it to extras. Oh, and they left 15 men on base. But hey, the White Sox won and crept to within a half-game of the Indians for second place in the AL Central. So all is well that ends well for them. (Note: LOB numbers were by my unofficial count. I could be off by one or two. Regardless, it was bad).
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Posted on: October 13, 2010 8:09 pm
Astros outfielder Brian Bogusevic underwent minor surgery on his foot Wednesday, the team announced. The converted pitcher, who made his major-league debut with 19 appearances this season, had been experiencing pain and was scheduled to have a bone spur shaved down.
Bogusevic is expected to be ready for spring training.
-- David Andriesen
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