The Astros go for the three game home sweep today against the New York Mets at Minute Maid Park and they have a chance to bat against Mets pitcher Chris Schwinden, who to this point has not proven to be a major league pitcher. Watching the Astros this season, just like the Mets, has proven two things. 1) Records in spring training mean nothing, just because a team plays terrible in the spring doesn't mean they will be as bad during the season. 2) Just because the casual baseball fan cannot identify many players on the Astros, it doesn't mean there are not good players on this team.
LF JD Martinez has gotten off to a very good start; his 19 RBIs were second in the NL to LA's Matt Kemp. 2B Jose Altuve is in the top ten in the NL in batting. Former top prospects Jordan Shaffer and Jed Lowrie are finally coming into their own in Houston and C Jason Castro is healthy and determined to be the prospect MLB thought he would be prior to his season ending 2011 injury.
The pitching staff has its concern. After Wandy Rodriguez, there is a considerable dropoff led by JA Happ and Bud Norris. Kyle Weiland, Lucas Harrell and Jordan Lyles have attempted to fill out the rotation to no avail. Teams will fatten up on the back end of the Astros rotation. Brett Myers has 6 saves in 8 games, but outside of Brandon Lyon, the team has inexperienced relievers.
What am I trying to say here? I think the Astros can get better as this season goes on. I see teams like the Cubs and Athletics dumping off players which could allow a team like Houston to finish with a better record. The pitching is slightly better than first thought, but will have to be more consistent for the Astros to remain at the pace that their at. I am not a huge fan of manager Brad Mills and his style, and time will tell if he lasts in Houston. It will be tough to avoid 100 losses this season and the team should lose no less than 90, but there is some hope that this team will improve before the season ends. Hopefully they strike gold with the first pick in this year's draft.