I apologize for the delay in getting this article out but with Christmas, family time, and the proverbial drinking that goes along with the first two, I simply haven’t had time….
The newest Astro, Bill Hall, is also probably the biggest offseason acquisition the team will make. Hall is slated as the everyday second baseman but as long as Keppinger is on the team, I’d expect Hall to see ample time at third base and left field as well.
The biggest question is whether Castro can draw enough walks and hit enough to stay in the #2 slot. It would be nice to sandwich the middle of the order with left-handed bats.
Compared with the 2010 lineup, this one looks like Murderer’s Row. Other than Bourn and Castro up top, every player has a chance of hitting 20 homeruns.
Last year, shortstop and second base were enormous holes when looking for power. However, regular second baseman Jeff Keppinger led the team in AVG (.291) and OBP (.351). Replacing Kep with a guy owning career values in these two categories of .250 and .297 may make the power increase inconsequential.
Also, if Castro can’t reach base often enough, the Astros will need a new #2 hitter and Keppinger filled that role extremely well in 2010.
Despite the possible hole at the #2 spot and the lack of left-handed hitters on the 25-man roster, Houston should inevitably score more runs. And with what should be an above-average rotation, that should mean a good competition in the NL Central. The disconcerting part? I had to use the word ‘should’ 3 times.