Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Making The Future Better Than The Past

1972 Alternate Logo

Go back to 2005. The Houston Astros have just played in their first and only World Series. They have just captured their first National League Pennant. Any Astros fan is riding high. We understand that Jeff Bagwell is having major trouble with his shoulder. But we have Lance Berkman moving to 1st Base. We have Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite and Roy Oswalt. We have a future HOF in Craig Biggio. The future looks bright and prosperous. That bright light in the future was an oncoming locomotive that we didn't anticipate as Astros fans. We couldn't overcome a slow start in 2006 and things started breaking down from there.

Go forward in time to 2011. 2005 is the last time that the team has made the playoffs. The Astros start the first of their 3 100+ loss seasons in a row. But the team is getting out of the penny pinching ownership of Drayton McLane. Jim Crane buys the team and agrees to move the Astros into the American League for the 2013 season. Crane also fires GM Ed Wade in November of 2011. He comes up with a member of the St. Louis Cardinals front office to name as the GM of the Astros, Jeff Luhnow.  Almost no one thinks that this is a good move for the team.

Now here we are in 2015. The Astros are going to be a strong team according to the experts in the future. Sports Illustrated has already proclaimed them World Series Champions in 2017. The farm system is rated in the Top 3 in almost every report that comes out. The Big League team is populated with youngsters. Jed Lowrie is the only position player over 30 on the roster.  Only 4 players from 2012 are still on the team in 2015, and one came back from a 2-year odyssey to Oakland, Lowrie. The other 3? Jose Altuve, Jason Castro, and Dallas Keuchel. The awards could start coming in for the Astros. SS Carlos Correa could be the AL ROY. Keuchel could be the AL Cy Young. Altuve is a perennial All-Star.

And if you think that the Astros are through with getting talented youngsters from the farm, think again. We have at least 15 players that are rated by scouting services who say that the players can have a long and successful career in the big leagues. Look for RHPs Mark Appel, Michael Feliz and 1B A.J. Reed to become major contributors next year. 3B Colin Moran has a shot at being on the major league roster as well. That is the #2,5,6, and 10 ranked players in the Astros farm system. The rest of the Top 10 will get more seasoning down on the farm. We don't need a bunch of 20 or 21 year olds in the major leagues right now. We have a glutton of prospects up the middle of the diamond. We have 3 SS in our Top 20 prospects, 2 2B, and 3 CF. That and lots of Starting RHPs.

I don't believe that Houston will repeat what the organization did in 2005 with missing the playoffs for the next decade. I do believe that the team has shown that they are young enough not to worry about the pressure of the playoffs. How is it that in the pregame before the Wildcard game with the Yankees that the players are jumping around, playing around, telling jokes and all around not being too serious about what is going on. The two major culprits of horsing around before the game? Carlos Gomez who hit a solo HR in the 4th, and Colby Rasmus, who hit a #ColbyJack in the 2nd inning. If the young players take their lead from the veterans who are staying loose and use that as their model of how to handle things, playoff baseball will become a regular fixture in Houston once again. The Astros can become a major player in baseball if they can continue to develop homegrown talent. Let's see if they can.


R.J. said...

I hope they keep this going. My only concern is free agency, and players usually want to get paid at some point. That's why I don't give the Padres much credit. For far too long, they've grown talent only to trade it away to the AL East for more prospects.

Brent said...

That is the hard part. You have to identify who are the core players and can keep their production while getting rid of those players that are the extra parts made better by the core players.

Zebster said...

And don't make too many mistakes when trading your excess prospects to fill holes. They're on the right track and congrats
For some reason I thought Lowrie went straight from the Sox to Oakland but my memory sucks