Astros Musings: Looking Back Five Years Ago
By Cody Poage
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**