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Welcome To Case's Column

Since this will be my first venture into the mysterious world of blogging, let me say a big welcome to all of you for joining me here. I'm going to call these blog meetings "Case's Column". I wanted to use "Corner", but that was already taken.

In these blogs, I'll just speak whatever is on my mind, but we will be playing within the rules here. I may pick a particular topic, point out an event, or shoot the breeze. I'm a little bit of an essayist at times, so I'll just speak what's on my mind, and I might tell a story or two. Or, I might spew out an opinion or three. There will be some serious moments, some tender, some poignant, but there will also be those moments that you'll just bust out laughing. But, hopefully, everything will be in good fun here. And, of course, I'll set aside a place here for your comments and thoughts as we go along here. So feel free to join me for the ride -- I sure as heck hope I'm doing this right and not making any mistakes.

Here you are. My very first blog page. Come on in and share in the experience. I'm interested in seeing where this is all going. And thanks in advance for dropping by!

Regards,

case44

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

What We NOW Know About Your Houston Astros

Posted 05-26-2012 at 09:20 AM by case44


Going into this season, many sportswriters and prognosticators and others had made their predictions for how things will turn out with Major League Baseball teams in 2012. When the time came to pick how the Houston Astros would finish, given that they are in a rebuilding mode and coming off their worst season in franchise history (and the only time they would lose at least 100 games, as they had 106), many folks were predicting that the 'Stros would finish with at least 100 losses this year in the National League's Central Division, with one publication picking 107.

Not this poster.

Oh, I picked Houston to finish last, but with just 98 losses. Any time a club rebuilds, no matter what type of prospects you have, you never know how things will turn out. By contrast, here are two other clubs facing a similar rebuilding mode:

Baltimore: The Orioles are off to their best start in many, many years, thanks in no small part to manager Buck Showalter and a bevy of fine, young players. After years of languishing in the cellar of the American League East, the O's are suddenly learning to win and rising up against their divisional opponents.

Kansas City: The Royals have stockpiled many good players through recent drafts under general manager Dayton Moore and are showing enormous potential. They just need to break through. So far, this season started slow, particularly at their home ballpark, but it wouldn't surprise me if these guys start turning the corner in what I still consider a wide-open AL Central.

Now, we have the Houston Astros. In the midst of their final season in the National League, their young players are opening some eyes throughout the league. This team has not yet allowed ten runs in any game to an opponent this season. They've supplied just enough offense to overtake the opposition, and they've been making plays that they need to the stay in ballgames. Their defense has been very good thus far. The batting order is already hitting more home runs than at this time last season. And the big success story has been what I've considered unexpected, and that's their bullpen. I did expect Brett Myers to be exceptional in his new role as the closer, and he's done very well with it. Brandon Lyon has rebounded from injury and Wilton Lopez has been phenomenal as the set-up man.

Jed Lowrie, acquired from the Boston Red Sox this last offseason, has stayed healthy for much of the regular season and has really helped the club in many ways, both offensively and in the infield. He's got the opportunity to be a top shortstop even after the Astros move to the AL next year. J.D. Martinez, an outfielder, made his first big splash in the second half of last season, and now, he is making the most of some great opportunities to show what he can do. Granted, he slumped for most of May after a very productive April but is showing signs of returning to form.

Starting pitching has, for the most part, been good in 2012. Wandy Rodriguez and Bud Norris have been very effective and are solid starters. Depending on how the team does in July, only time will tell if Wandy will be traded for young prospects or remain with the team if it has a chance to contend. And pencil in Lucas Harrell as an up-and-coming starter, having outdueled Dodger lefty Clayton Kershaw in Houston's most recent game as of this writing (a 3-1 win in L.A.).

So, 107 losses, eh? 106???!! These young guys are blossoming faster than other teams and faster than anyone would have expected. I had faith, however, and still will. If they learn to take care of business without going over their heads, they will contend sooner rather than later. And some people will say they are overachieving, but I say they are not. This is the real deal. They haven't completely arrived yet, but a lot of things are in good working order now. I believe many of the players on this current roster will still be with the club for a number of years to come, but I also believe that, as GM Jeff Luhnow has made a commitment to continue rebuilding the 'Stros' farm system, they will generate an infusion of players to make Houston a sustainable winner. Look for prospects such as Jonathan Singleton, Delino DeShields, Jr, and George Springer to eventually make a splash in the Astros' lineup in the years ahead.

More to come on this.
Posted in Uncategorized
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    Just saw the standings.
    permalink
    Posted 05-26-2012 at 12:34 PM by shoe01 shoe01 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by shoe01 View Comment
    Just saw the standings.
    Doesn't look like a 106-loss team to me, shoe. And I didn't even mention the success of 2B Jose Altuve, who is having a great year. If any Astro were to become an All-Star this season, it should be him.
    permalink
    Posted 05-26-2012 at 01:49 PM by case44 case44 is online now
  3. Old Comment
    It's definitely a contrast from last year.

    Hopefully they can have more success. Maybe then the league can move them back into the league where they belong...(perhaps very wishful thinking)...
    permalink
    Posted 05-28-2012 at 11:01 PM by shoe01 shoe01 is offline
  4. Old Comment
    From what I've seen, they've definitely improved. Some of these guys have some real All-Star potential down the line. Certainly worth watching.

    As long as they don't beat my Cardinals.....
    permalink
    Posted 05-31-2012 at 03:18 PM by malfunction malfunction is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by malfunction View Comment
    From what I've seen, they've definitely improved. Some of these guys have some real All-Star potential down the line. Certainly worth watching.

    As long as they don't beat my Cardinals.....
    Considering Houston's been a bad road team, when they get to Busch, I don't think you'll have anything to worry about.
    permalink
    Posted 07-06-2012 at 09:47 AM by case44 case44 is online now
 

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