The Astros Of 2010 And Beyond

added 1/21/2010 by Dr. Bill McCurdy

This column is reprinted with permission from the Pecan Park Eagle

How many games will the 2010 Houston Astros win during the regular 162-game season? Spring training may alter some of your guesses, but it's hard to see this year as being anything other than what it needs to be.

The club has taken steps to rebuilding the talent-decimated farm system, but it will take three-to-five years to see how that works out. Meanwhile, I'm hoping General Manager Ed Wade and Owner Drayton McLane will resist throwing big-dollar, multi-year contracts at any more lead-footed sluggers or heavy-armed over-the-hill starting pitchers. Let's rebuild this club with good young prospects that develop within the Astros system.

If our professionals can't do that successfully, it says to me that our pros are really no better than us fans when it comes to signing talent. Given the money, any serious fan could find a way to throw one hundred million dollars at an established star. It takes a better knowledge base to draft and sign the kids who are going to grow into those star shoes in three-to-five seasons.

With as little comment as possible, here's how I see the 25-man roster of the 2010 Astros based upon the current 40-man list. Using five years from now (2015) as our developmental target line, I've bold-typed only those players who may have some future with the club by that time. Those who aren't bold-typed have either already convinced me we've seen their best and that their best is not good enough - or that they will be over-the-hill by 2015 and probably need to either retire or be traded before that time comes. I'm only looking at players on the current 40-man roster (as of January 19th):

2010 Houston Astros (Possible 2015 Astros in Bold):

Catchers: Humberto Quintero; J.R. Towles.
1st Base: Lance Berkman.
2nd Base: Kazuo Matsui.
3rd Base: Pedro Feliz; Chris Johnson.
Shortstop: Tommy Manzella.
Utility Infielders: Geoff Blum; Jeff Keppinger; Edwin Maysonet.
Left Field: Carlos Lee.
Center Field: Michael Bourn.
Right Field: Hunter Pence.
Utility Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic; Jason Michaels.
Starting Pitchers: Roy Oswalt; Wandy Rodriguez; Brett Myers; Brian Moehler; Bud Norris.
Spot Starters & Relief Pitchers: Felipe Paulino; Brandon Lyon; Wesley Wright; Tim Byrdak; Jeff Fulchino; Matt Lindstrom.

That's it for now. The club does have some prospects who are not currently on the 40-man roster, along with some nice younger pitchers on the 40-man roster who probably won't make the club by Opening Day, but could be around here in the very near future. It's just hard for us Astro fans to face up to the fact that our two current greatest stars, Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, probably have seen their better days as stars. 2010 is going to tell us a lot about Berkman's down year and Oswalt's lingering health issues of 2009. If those two guys don't come back strong in 2010, it's going to be an even tougher year at Minute Maid Park.

We'll revisit this topic at the end of spring training. Spring Training is always a place where someone, or something, stirs up a new batch of hope tonic. We won't give up hope, anyway. We will just have to place hope on a more realistic timetable. I like to think that the club is already taking that position and that it is now reinvesting in the long term as the place for big results.

No matter how you slice it, one thing should be blatantly obvious from the talent we have on hand: Reaching the World Series in 2010 is way off the table for the Houston Astros. I'd love to be wrong, but in the meanwhile, please don't bet the ranch that I am.

If you'd like to write an opinion on the 2010 Astros or a similar baseball topic, send an e-mail to bob@astrosdaily.com.