KFFL answers some important fantasy baseball questions for each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the Houston Astros?
Is Carlos Lee done?
Lee, who'll be 35 in May, bumped his slugging percentage in the second half last season. If you glanced at his fly-ball rate and contact percentage, you wouldn't be worried. Unfortunately, on the whole he's making weaker contact and has an eroding BB/K, a combo that doesn't foretell a batting average close to his historical figures.
Just the de facto closer? Lyon
Sure, he has dual eligibility at first base and outfield, but as for production, it's "maybe" for the power and "uh oh" for the clip. Everyone has a buyable price, but Lee's would have to drop into the clearance bin to be a comfortable purchase.
Were Chris D. Johnson's and Brett Myers' numbers telling or false?
In a full season, the 26-year-old Johnson can approach 20 homers, and at least he's hitting in the middle of Houston's order. But despite his 24.0 percent line-drive rate, it's hard to think Johnson will sustain a .387 BABIP another year. His atrocious batting eye (0.16) continued his farm profile and predicts clip regression. Mixed? Cavernous bench spot, perhaps. NL-only? An OK gamble for the run production.
Myers' positives were realer, mainly boosting an already solid GB rate ... and a middling K/9. His dull velocity sustains doubt, though, and with his approach as a starter, how much more can he grow? It's best to save him for a mixed waiver wire and let another owner draft him.
Anything else going on in Houston?
Sort of. Brandon Lyon isn't in much jeopardy for the saves job barring a meltdown. Yay, Ryan Franklin-like, upside-devoid No. 3 closers.
Starting pitcher Bud Norris also took some steps forward after returning from right shoulder tendonitis. He still has control issues, but his dominance and slight ground-ball improvement doesn't hurt for potential bargain-bin jewels.
Though Lee is on standby if he stalls, first sacker Brett Wallace still has some prospect intrigue. Over his two Triple-A seasons, his power swelled. Maybe that arrives before his MLB batting average, which has a shaky BB/K base built in the minors.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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