Saturday, August 25, 2012

What if?

I know that most of our readers are sophisticated enough to realize that a drastic rebuild was and is a necessary evil in order to get the Astros franchise as a whole back on the right track. However, browsing the comments section of the Chronicle, among other entities that, by necessity, cater to the lowest common denominator of Astros fan, reveals that a disturbingly large number of fans still lament "Should of kept (insert player traded away here)". So let's see what the team, and franchise, would like like if we "would of kept..." as we try to go back and undo every trade since the Oswalt deal. For this exercise we also need to assume that everyone whose contract has since expired decided to re-sign with Houston...because of course they would. We'll look at this scenario three way: how the major league club  would look, how the club's payroll would  look, and how the franchise's future (minor league system) would look.

Major league club

SP1 Roy Oswalt
SP2 Wandy Rodriguez
SP3 Brett Myers
SP4 Bud Norris
SP5 Felipe Paulino

CL Matt Lindstrom
SU Brandon Lyon
MR Fernando Rodriguez
MR Wilton Lopez
MR Rhiner Cruz
MR Wesley Wright
MR Fernando Abad

1B Lance Berkman
2B Jeff Keppinger
SS Angel Sanchez
3B Chris Johnson
LF Carlos Lee
CF Michael Bourn
RF Hunter Pence
C Jason Castro

BE Jason Bourgeois
BE Brian Bogusevic
BE Marwin Gonzalez
BE Matt Downs
BE Humberto Quintero

WOW!! Now that's a major league team, right? Ok, but how would that change the Astros' win-loss record? For simplicity's sake, we'll assume that everyone performs the same in Houston as they have away from Houston, and we'll use differences in WAR to add (or subtract) wins. Fair enough? Let's begin.

Pitching: Currently, Astros pitchers have accumulated exactly 0.0 WAR according to Baseball-Reference. The group listed about would be an improvement of about 6.3 WAR, with a good bit of that improvement coming from Paulino and Lindstrom, of all people. Oswalt has been worth -0.4 WAR for Texas this year.

Hitting: Surprisingly, the 2012 Astros batters have totaled 3.0 WAR. The Team of Awesomeness (patent pending) has put together 8.6 WAR, with 5.4 coming from Bourn, for an improvement of 5.6 WAR.

That's a total improvement of 11.9 WAR! Compared to our current record of 40-87, the Team of Awesomeness would be 52-75!!! Now that's a team that would command the respect of the rest of the league.


So, how much would the Astros be paying for this Team of Awesomeness? Just $93.7 Million! I don't need to expound on that, do I?

State of the Farm

The Astros current top 20 prospects, according to Jonathan Mayo, are:

1. Jon Singleton
2. Jarred Cosart
3. George Springer
4. Matt Dominguez
5. Jonathan Villar
6. Mike Foltynewicz
7. Kevin Comer
8. Joe Musgrove
9. Paul Clemens
10. Brett Oberholtzer
11. Delino DeShields
12. Asher Wojciechowski
13. Domingo Santana
14. Rob Rasmussen
15. Telvin Nash
16. Carlos Perez
17. Austin Wates
18. Robbie Grossman
19. Kevin Chapman
20. Rudy Owens

That impressive list of prospects has some experts saying that Houston could have a top 10 farm system next season, after ranking in the bottom 5 or so for the past five seasons. Without the trades of the past few seasons, only Springer, Folty, DeShields, Nash, and Wates would remain.

So to sum up, if the Astros "would have kept..." they'd have a 5th place team getting paid over $90 million while missing out on 15 of their top 20 prospects for the future.

Now, I know that rebuilding is a painful process. Nobody likes being a fan of the worst team in the major leagues, but don't take out that frustration on the current leadership of the franchise. The truth is that had the club not chosen to embark upon this painful journey this season would likely be almost as embarrassing, but with a much scarier outlook for the future.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As far as prospects go I would put Grossman and DDJ higher, swap Cozart and Springer. Little surprised he's that high on Comer as well but I can't really say I know that much about him. Carlos Perez is an intriguing prospect to me but I've heard some people who really like him defensively and some who don't.