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Diving into the depths: Houston Astros

Jan 26, 2011, 3:00 PM EDT

Hunter Pence AP

This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.

Rotation
1. Wandy Rodriguez
2. Brett Myers
3. J.A. Happ
4. Bud Norris
5. Ryan Rowland-Smith
6. Nelson Figueroa
7. Wesley Wright
8. Jordan Lyles
9. Aneury Rodriguez
10. Cesar Carrillo

The scary thing is that this probably qualifies as the strength of the team. Myers will be hard-pressed to match his 2010 season, but a full season from Happ should help the group and Norris could take a bit of a step forward, though I still believe his future lies in the pen and the closer’s role. … I expect that the team will add a veteran to battle Rowland-Smith and Figueroa for the fifth spot in the rotation. Jeremy Bonderman, Rodrigo Lopez and Dave Bush are a few of the pitchers likely to be forced to accept minor league deals.

Bullpen
1. Brandon Lyon
2. Mark Melancon
3. Wilton Lopez
4. Nelson Figueroa
5. Fernando Abad
6. Jeff Fulchino
7. Alberto Arias
8. Aneury Rodriguez
9. Wesley Wright
10. Gustavo Chacin
11. Sergio Escalona
12. Sammy Gervacio
13. Casey Fein
14. Enerio Del Rosario
15. Henry Villar
16. Lance Pendleton
17. Chia-Jen Lo

Beyond Lyon, it’s a pen full of relative unknowns. However, Melancon and Lopez impressed after getting opportunities last season, and Arias could function as another solid setup man if he returns from shoulder surgery as hoped. Giving away Matt Lindstrom was a mistake, but the Astros should be OK here.

Catcher
1. Jason Castro
2. Humberto Quintero
3. J.R. Towles
4. Carlos Corporan

First base
1. Brett Wallace
2. Carlos Lee
3. Brian Dopirak
4. Koby Clemens

Second base
1. Bill Hall
2. Jeff Keppinger
3. Matt Downs
4. Angel Sanchez
5. Anderson Hernandez

Third base
1. Chris Johnson
2. Jeff Keppinger
3. Matt Downs
4. Oswaldo Navarro

Shortstop
1. Clint Barmes
2. Tommy Manzella
3. Angel Sanchez
4. Oswaldo Navarro
5. Anderson Hernandez

The infield is going to make a whole lot of outs, especially if Barmes bats second as anticipated. I don’t see Johnson as a long-term regular, and Wallace has an awful lot to prove as well. The Astros do have the option of playing Carlos Lee at first, but given that they haven’t upgraded their outfield at all, Wallace figures to get every opportunity to win the job. … I’m listing Keppinger as the primary backup at two spots, but he’s expected to miss at least the first few weeks of the season after toe surgery last month. The Astros could again seek to trade him once he’s healthy.

Left field
1. Carlos Lee
2. Jason Michaels
3. Jason Bourgeois
4. Brian Bogusevic
5. J.D. Martinez
6. David Cook

Center field
1. Michael Bourn
2. Jason Bourgeois
3. Jason Michaels
4. Brian Bogusevic

Right field
1. Hunter Pence
2. Jason Michaels
3. Brian Bogusevic
4. J.D. Martinez

I could have copied this depth chart from a year ago. Unfortunately, Bogusevic was a disappointment again last season and it no longer seems likely that he’ll turn into even a legitimate fourth outfielder. Martinez could be one candidate to step in if Wallace struggles and the Astros decide to move Lee to first base during the season.

  1. Charles Gates - Jan 26, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Anderson Hernandez’s full name is Anderson Mejia Hernandez, which means he is a Three Last Namer. This makes me root for him. People with three first names scare me.

    • docktorellis - Jan 27, 2011 at 12:14 AM

      It also means he might blow up in size at any moment and become a masher, a la fellow TLN Anthony Michael Hall.

  2. spudchukar - Jan 26, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    While we are one the Astros. Wouldn’t this be a great time to move them to the American League West? Their rivalries in the National Central really aren’t that restrictive. They could develop a serious one with the Rangers. C’mon MLB, balance the leagues and schedules.

  3. sometogethernow - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    what does boldface on some names mean?

  4. Rosenthals Speling Instrukter - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    This team looks just terrible. And I know terrible, I am a Padres fan.

  5. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    As long as the Astros can keep closing the roof, they’ll have a good home record. It’s for their opponents to hit the ball out in the face of hurricane force winds.

  6. kpyanc - Jan 26, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    And these clowns didn’t want Berkman back? After he was injured last year? And even injured performed better than Wallace? And then elected to keep that fat, out of shape Carlos Lee? Wade and McClain deserve to have Berkman have a hand in kicking their behind many times next season. I’m now a Cardinals / Phillies fan. The Astro’s have once again shot themselves in the foot. Enjoy your empty seats Drayton “who wants to be a champion” McClain! Oh that;s right, your throwing in the towel, hahhah!

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