Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Finding Keepers: Houston Astros

The Houston Astros are a franchise that has made the decision to go young and so that is going to limit the number of fantasy keepers on their roster that are proven stars but that doesn't mean that don't have keeper-worthy players.

OF Hunter Pence is this team's no-brainer when it comes to finding the keepers. At 27 years old, Pence is showing consistency and growth potential. He's hit 25 home runs in each of his last three seasons, batted .282 in his last two season and reached a career high in stolen bases with 18 in 2010. I think you know what you're getting with Pence and that is a very attractive quality in a keeper candidate.

OF Michael Bourn has averaged (per 162 games played) a line of 78/3/31/.263/50 compared to Juan Pierre's line of 92/1/44/.298/54. I was on the fence whether or not to call Pierre a keeper. I feel even less strongly about whether Bourn is a keeper. If you like the thought of a guaranteed 50 stolen bases on your roster then both of these players are probably keepers in your mind. Again, single-category dominance is definitely a factor when evaluating a keeper selection but Bourn will hurt you in four of the five standard scoring categories. It's a "no" for me.

Based on SP Wandy Rodriguez's first-half statistics (18 GS, 6-11, 10 QS, 1 ND, 4.97 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, 1.93 K/BB), Wandy was barely worth rostering. Based on his second-half statistics (14 GS, 5-1, 13 QS, 8 ND, 2.11 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 3.61 K/BB), he threw up some elite numbers. The question remains: Which Wandy shows up in 2011?

Best of the rest (non-keepers): SP Brett Myers had a very nice season (14-8, 3.14 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 180 K) for the Astros but should be very available on the cheap in almost all leagues. OF Carlos Lee hasn't cracked the 90/30/100/.300 mark since 2007 and only managed to put up a 67/24/89/.246 line in 2010. He should fall to the middle/late rounds of most drafts and could be a source of some very cheap power. In 94 games in 2010, 3B Chris Johnson compiled a very ownable line of 40/11/52/.308/3 and will probably be slapped with the season-killing label of a "sleeper" any day now.

The Astros roster has some other fantasy-relevant players but none that would be worthy of keeping unless your league uses very deep or complex keeper scenarios. If so, I truly would love to hear about them.

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