Houston Astros: Mid-Season Report Card
Team: Houston Astros
Record: 33-61 (20.5 GB)
Biggest Surprise of 1st Half:
Pitching Staff- It’s not too often that the pitching staff is the biggest surprise on a team that is close to thirty games under .500, but the 2013 may be the exception. While no player on the staff has exceptional numbers, or an electric repertoire, the starters have held their own. According to Baseball Reference, the Astros starting pitchers have combined to record 8 “cheap wins” (a win in a game while failing to record a quality start). It appears that if an Astro pitcher wants to earn a “win” in a start, he must be able to hold the opposition to under three runs, a tough task to do in a loaded AL West. Through the first half, Houston is scoring an average of 3 ½ runs per game, which ranks them 28th in the MLB.
Biggest Disappointment of 1st Half:
Offense– At the halfway point in the season, it should come as no surprise why this team has struggled thus far, the hitting. Compared to the rest of the league, Houston ranks at the bottom (or close to it) in almost every offensive category such as runs (14th), batting average (last), OBP (last), and SLG (last). Also, through the halfway point of the season, not a single batter is hitting over .300. The 2013 Houston Astros as a team are completely lost at the plate. With the inability to score runs, coupled with a very average pitching staff, things are not looking great in Houston.
Jason Castro– With very little surprise, Jason Castro has stood out as the MVP through the first half of the season. The lone All-Star, Castro is having a productive year at the plate, batting .270, 12 HR, and an OBP of .332. Castro, along with DH Chris Carter, is one of the few hitters on this team that is able to produce any pop for the lineup.
Prospect Ready to Make an Impact:
Jarred Cosart– After a very impressive big league debut (8.0 IP, 2 hits, 0 ER) on Friday, Cosart was immediately sent back to the minor leagues to allow him to stay on the same pitching schedule during the All-Star break. Cosart, who was drafted in the 38th round out of high school back in 2008, is expected to be back with the Astros very soon. Scouts have been raving about the 23 year old and scoutingbook.com claims he has arguably the best curveball in the entire Astro’s farm system. Keep an eye on Cosart’s command as currently he has a combined 4.8 BB/9 this season between the minors and majors. You may read the rest of the scouting report here
Contender or Pretender:
Pretender- While the Astros fight through what appears to be a last place finish in their first season in the AL West, don’t be surprised for them to be sellers again at the trade deadline. While the team is in full “rebuilding” mode, expect them to make moves such as possibly shipping off someone such as pitcher Bud Norris who could fetch a few minor leaguers from a team in contention who needs another starter. A possible trade partner could be the Texas Rangers as they are battling injuries to their pitching staff.
Overall Team Analysis:
Not good. Expect Houston to be active at the trade deadline as they may try to trade of few pieces of the current team to help them accelerate the rebuilding stage of the franchise. Also expect prospects such as Cosart and possibly Jonathan Singleton get a shot in the big leagues later this year, as the team will try to market next year’s team.