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What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional?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: April 17, 2011 11:07 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Grady Sizemore, Indians -- Off the disabled list, the Indians' center fielder homered in his second at-bat and also doubled, going 2 for 4 in his season debut for Cleveland. Sizemore missed 11 months with a knee injury. Cleveland also moved into sole position of first place in the American League Central with their win and the Royals' loss.
Josh Collmenter, Diamondbacks -- Making his big-league debut, the right-hander pitched two perfect innings in the 11th and 12th against the Giants and picked up the win when Stephen Drew drove in the winning run in the 12th for a 6-5 Diamondbacks victory. Collmenter struck out two and 22 of his 30 pitches were for strikes. Collmenter has a severly over-the-top motion that he learned throwing tomahawks in the Michigan woods.
Miguel Olivo, Mariners -- Seattle's catcher came into Sunday's game mired in an 0-for-24 slump, but after going hitless in his first three at-bats of the day, he singled and scored the winning run in the seventh inning of a 3-2 victory over Kansas City. Not only did Olivo break his slump, it helped break the Mariners' four-game losing streak.
Ryan Franklin, Cardinals -- The Cardinals closer blew just two saves all of last year and has already blown four this season, including Sunday's game against the Dodgers. He's converted just one save this season and is 0-2 with an 11.57 ERA.
Tommy Hanson, Braves -- Hanson pitched well enough in his five innings, allowing five hits and three runs, striking out nine, but it was his work with the bat that lands him on this list. In the second inning, with bases loaded and one out, Hanson missed a bunt and Eric Hinske was caught out at home.
Astros defense -- With a 6-3 lead going into the seventh, the Astros made three errors leading to three unearned runs in the seventh and eighth innings of the team's 8-6 loss to the Padres. Pitcher Fernando Abad made two errors on one play in the seventh inning and shortstop Angel Sanchez added another in the Padres' four-run eighth.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: April 10, 2011 1:36 am
By Evan Brunell
Russell Martin, Yankees -- Russell Martin's two-home run day early on proved a harbinger of things to come later that night with the other New York team. Martin delivered a soul-crushing blow in the fourth inning with a three-run blast off Clay Buchholz that erased the lead Boston had just taken. He would later cap off the 9-4 victory with a solo home run in the seventh for a total of four RBI out of the nine spot. He was helped by Eric Chavez's three-hit night in front of him.
Carlos Beltran, Mets -- Carlos Ruiz's pinch-hit grand slam probably belongs here as it was instrumental in taking out the Braves, but this was a game Beltran sorely needed after coming into the game with a paltry .190/.292/.286 mark in 24 plate appearances. Now, he walks away with a .240/.321/.560 mark. Yes, things change that fast in the early going, and Beltran's two home runs against the Nationals completely changed everything for the new right fielder, who tacked on three runs and three RBI as well.
Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers -- An absolute masterpiece tossed by the Japanese import completely blanked the Padres as Kuroda came within one out of a complete game. He ended up with 8 2/3 innings pitched, giving up just six hits and two walks along with four strike outs and of course, no runs earned. With 117 pitches on his resume and having coughed up consecutive singles, Kuroda's night was done. While Johnathan Broxton made it scary by loading the bases on a walk, he was able to nail down the win for Kuroda.
Travis Buck, Indians -- Buck had the worst batting line on the day as his ofer included three strikeouts. Buck is tring to battle for playing time in the outfleld and cling to a spot after Grady Sizemore's eventual return. While the oft-injured outfielder has talent, one has to wonder if the years of stops and starts due to said injuries have sapped all his potential.
Jake Arrieta, Orioles -- Arrieta followed up Zach Britton's shining example set in the first game of a doubleheader by falling flat with a dud. In just 3 1/3 innings, the rookie coughed up six hits and two walks en route to eight earned runs, including two home runs. While he did save face with five strikeouts, that's really searching for a silver line. Could Arrieta and his 8.68 ERA be jettisoned to Triple-A instead of Britton when Brian Matusz returns?
Fernando Abad, Astros -- Bud Norris was cruising and his Astros had a 4-1 lead entering the sixth. Norris would go on to surrender the lead by coughing up three runs, but at least it was still tied, right? Except reliever Fernando Abad came in for the seventh recorded an out and then gave up three straight doubles. No wonder, then, that two runs scored and Abad couldn't finish out the inning. Florida would go on to win 7-5.
Posted on: September 7, 2010 12:57 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2010 1:59 pm
If your team is out of the playoff hunt, September always seems to have one more treat for you -- the rookie road trip.
Every year in just about every clubhouse, rookies come into the clubhouse following the last game of a series to find their clothes replaced with some kind of embarrassing costume that they must wear until they get to the hotel in the next city.
Year after year it happens. A couple of years ago I was covering a team that had to scrap its plans at the last minute because the manager was mad and didn't want any merriment from a team following a loss, despite the fact the team was safely out of the running.
While some teams will have these kind of shenanigans earlier in the season, most wait until the end of the season because there are more rookies once call-ups are made. And then there's the whole question of who is a rookie, these pranks aren't like chicken pox -- you can get them more than once. Jeff Keppinger told me he had to do it three different times because of late call-ups and new teams.
Well, Keppinger didn't have to do it this season, but his teammates did. Astros.com's Alyson Footer got some great photos for her blog . Click to see Chris Johnson and Jason Castro as Saturday Night Live 's Ace and Gary, Henry Villar as Super Mario Brother Luigi and Fernando Abad as the ever-popular naughty nurse.
Footer also pulled up old pictures of Roy Oswalt in a Hooters get-up in 2001 and Morgan Ensberg in the same the year before.
It's great stuff from Footer and hopefully we'll see more of these from other teams in coming weeks.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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