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Astros Musings: Looking Back Five Years Ago

codypoage
Sep 25, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; General view of a baseball before a game between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; General view of a baseball before a game between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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The transformation of the Astros roster has been interesting to observe in recent years.

Even just five short years ago, the Astros were baseball’s popular punchline. Gone were the days of respectability. The moments of glory under Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, and Lance Berkman felt like a distant memory.

Essentially the Astros franchise punched the reset button. The radical rebuild brought to you by new ownership, and general manager Jeff Luhnow was in full swing. Even more controversial than the rebuild was the change in leagues. Houston, or Texas for that matter, wouldn’t house a National League franchise starting in 2013.

For any fan of the game, it was simply a depressing time if you followed Houston baseball. Unfortunately for Astros fans, it was the closest to baseball hell as we could get without losing the actual franchise.

To help drive this point home, here is the Astros 25-man roster entering their final season in the National League and their actual WAR.

C Jason Castro; 0.9 WAR

C Chris Snyder; -0.5 WAR

2B Jose Altuve; 1.4 WAR

IF Matt Downs; -0.6 WAR

IF Marwin Gonzalez; -0.4 WAR

3B Chris Johnson; 0.6 WAR

1B Carlos Lee; 0.3 WAR

SS Jed Lowrie; 2.5 WAR

OF Brian Bogusevic; 0.0 WAR

OF Travis Buck; 0.2 WAR

OF J.D. Martinez; -1.0 WAR

OF Jordan Schafer; -0.7 WAR

LHP J.A. Happ; 0.7 WAR

RHP Lucas Harrell; 2.8 WAR

RHP Bud Norris; 1.7 WAR

LHP Wandy Rodriguez; 1.9 WAR

RHP Kyle Weiland; -0.2 WAR

LHP Fernando Abad; 0.2 WAR

RHP David Carpenter; -0.1 WAR

RHP Rhiner Cruz; -0.4 WAR

RHP Wilton Lopez; 1.3 WAR

RHP Brandon Lyon; 0.4 WAR

RHP Brett Myers; 0.0 WAR

RHP Fernando Rodriguez; 0.3 WAR

LHP Wesley Wright; 0.5 WAR

(The list can be seen in full from an April 4, 2012, article in the Houston Chronicle by Nick Matthews)

Pretty sad results, isn’t it?

You should now remember what I meant earlier. Major League Baseball may have been played in Houston in theory, but the final product was a far cry from what Astros fans have grown accustomed to in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Flash forward nearly five years, and this is an entirely different franchise.

The radical rebuild that was criticized by many, and rightly so at times, finally paid dividends. Jose Altuve and Marwin Gonzalez eventually developed into successful major league players. The farm system has churned out numerous players that help make this year’s Astros team a formidable one on paper. George Springer, Alex Bregman, and Carlos Correa automatically come to mind.

Trades that have brought in talent have also been beneficial. Even ownership has been willing to spend money on quality players such as Josh Reddick, Luke Gregerson, and Carlos Beltran in recent years. Then there are the under-the-radar transactions like Collin McHugh and Will Harris. Still waiting on that ace starting pitcher to come from within, though.

While the future is still unknown, the Astros could very well be entering the best era of franchise history. Of course, there are still plenty of ways that this franchise could screw this up. Or maybe they can actually find a way to make it better than our reasonable expectations.

Next: Astros Musings: Roster Flexibility Will Be Key

Take heed, though; this is clearly a far different team than their 2012 counterparts. These Astros are trying to build off the progress made each season since 2014. History will be the judge for the 2017 Astros. Maybe we can view this team in a positive way in five years.

**Statistics provided by Fangraphs**

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