Our final roundtable for 2012 spring training will include a couple of questions from our twitter followers. As the season gets going and we do more of these, follower participation is not only nice but really encouraged. You guys who read our site and keep us going, we want to know what you want to talk about. Feel free to send any questions you might have. This week, the roundtable will discuss how different the 2013 team might look from this season’s version, who the ‘Stros might send to Kansas City for the mid-season classic, and how concerned everyone should be with Jordan Lyles’ struggles. Hope you enjoy and please comment below, positive or negative comments are welcomed as we are always looking to improve the process.
1) Question from Stephen (@stephennarron) While we’re all excited about 2012, the expectations are that we will start to see tangible improvement in 2013. Saying that, what do you guys see as our starting ten, DH included, looking like a year from now?
Alex – Really hard to say, it might be easier to say who isn’t on the club. Obviously Lee, Wandy and Myers are all history and Chris Snyder might or might not be back. It also depends on the development of Jimmy Paredes and Brett Wallace. The group I’d like to see is Singleton at 1st, Altuve at 2nd, Villar at SS, Lowrie at 3rd, Castro catching, Martinez in LF, Schafer in CF, Springer in RF, DH is Wallace and Bud Norris the opening day guy. I’m being overly optimistic about Singleton and Springer but this is a best case scenario.
Brian - This is a great question and will definitely depend on who in the minors will produce well enough to be called up late this year and who will win a spot next year in Spring Training. I will say that I think Villar will be in the minors this year and next year, making Lowrie our SS for next year. Same thing goes for Schafer in CF as I believe Springer will end this year at AA and begin next year at AAA. I also think Singleton will be called up to replace Carlos Lee if and when he is dealt. I’m not high on Bogusevic or Chris Johnson long term but CJ does not have a real threat to him at 3B in our system and we don’t have a RF in the minors close enough to the major league level to take over for Bogusevic (F-Mart will but he is likely a DH/LF). That being said, here is my 2013 Opening Day Lineup:
Greg - Projecting the 2013 Opening Day lineup is almost impossible. I have had enough trouble trying to figure out who is going to be in there this year. That being said, here’s my prediction (guess) LF J.D. Martinez, CF Jordan Schafer, RF Brian Bogusevic, 1B Chris Johnson, 2B Jimmy Paredes, 3B Jed Lowrie, SS Jonathan Villar, C Jason Castro, SP Bud Norris, DH Fernando Martinez
2) Question from Andy (@HouCounterplot) With such young guys, we don’t have a lot of players with high exposure and don’t know who might step up to be the leaders of the club. Who do you guys see in Kansas City this season representing the Astros as All-Stars?
Brian - I believe the most likely player on our team to make the All Star team (since every team must have a representative) is Bud Norris. He has gotten better each of the last few seasons. His K rate is excellent and will prove to be our best starter this year (since Wandy will likely be moved at some point). Other possible nominees for me would be Chris Johnson (provided he actually plays well this year) and maybe Jed Lowrie if he stays healthy. I cant see J.D. Martinez making it this year as even if he plays well, there are too many other established OF’s who will get the nod over him. My guess is Bud Norris is the Astros representative in the All Star Game.
Greg - This is another tough question. I don’t think any of the starting pitchers will make it because they will all probably have sub-.500 records. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Chris Johnson. People have been quick to write him off, but I think CJ will have a big first half.
Alex – I think we might have more options than most would expect. I can see Wandy and Bud as options, if Rodriguez is still here. Offensively I can see Lowrie at SS being a strong option or Castro, both are in positions were there isn’t a ton of competition. Altuve at 2nd would be a fantastic story and he could hit his way on the club, people love the guy and the story.
3) Final question of the spring, with Jordan Lyles getting hammered this past Saturday, once again, are you guys a bit worried about the young guy? He is still very young and expectations were that he’d start in AAA but given the hype from last year, are we let down a bit by his poor spring?
Greg - I will only be worried about Lyles if they decide to start him in the big league rotation. Although spring numbers don’t mean very much I think it is obvious that the youngster needs more time in the minors. His 5.36 ERA and 1.41 WHIP from last year would suggest as much. I will be disappointed if he makes the rotation after Livan Hernandez was released. Lyles took enough of a beating last year and more of the same could possibly shatter his confidence.
Alex – Like I wrote in my wrapup of Saturday’s game, not going to freakout just yet but I’m a bit taken aback by his struggles. I really thought someone would need to beat him out for the spot and instead he basically handed the the 5th starter job to Harrell. I’d like to see him have an ace type season in OKC to make sure this isn’t a bad sign of things to come. After last season, I do like the guy’s makeup so I think he will rebound nicely and we should see him in Houston sometime in 2012.
Brian – I am worried about Jordan Lyles. Let’s face the facts here, Ed Wade literally called up every player that he drafted/traded for that was near the MLB level at some point last year in an effort to save his job. It was nice to see Lyles pitch last year but he needs some more seasoning in my opinion. I believe a full year at AAA will definitely help him in the long run.
That will conclude our spring training roundtables but we plan to have one of these once a month to catch-up on the season as it goes. The ‘Stros will be young and energetic and while they will have their ups and downs, it should be great to see the kids grow. It should also be fun to see how Jeff Luhnow will begin to shape the club in the vision he saw when he took over.