Bruce Jenkins, of the San Francisco Chronicle says this:
Viewed in a certain light, the Astros don't look too bad: a few dead-pull rockets from Miguel Tejada, some bombs off the bat of Carlos Lee, inevitable excitement surrounding Hunter Pence, and the wondrous Lance Berkman. Mike Krukow, a rarity among announcers in that he really appreciates the other team's stars, did a revealing breakdown of Berkman as he tore apart the Giants' pitching last year, illustrating that Berkman, unlike most switch-hitters, has the same approach and strengths from both sides of the plate. Weaknesses? Almost none to speak of . . . But this is an old, old club, vulnerable to brittle defense with Tejada at short, Lee in left and Pudge Rodriguez, for all his apparent fitness, behind the plate. Plus, any team that lists 78-year-old Mike Hampton as a "key" is in real trouble. Hampton, likely to be on the disabled list by Tuesday, hasn't had a real big year since 2003 . . . And, yes, Russ Ortiz won the No. 5 starter's job . . . One of the classiest ballplayers in the business, Darin Erstad, will be invaluable off the bench . . . Roy Oswalt doesn't have much tolerance for steroid discussion, claiming recently that Alex Rodriguez' numbers "shouldn't count for anything. I feel like he cheated me out of the game." You wonder how he feels about Tejada, recently convicted on perjury charges regarding steroid testimony, and Pudge, targeted as a user by Jose Canseco . . . You'd like to think there's help on the way, but in a year featuring so many great young prospects around the game, the Astros' farm system is said to be bone dry.