I don’t want to sound overly-harsh, but the Astros suck. Nearly all the team’s best players are past their primes (see: Lee, Berkman, Oswalt). Their pitching is mediocre. Their farm system is barren and they’re seemingly out of money, which is a particular bummer because they’ve got vacancies at both third base and shortstop and no obvious internal candidates (Sorry Houston fans, but Geoff Blum is terrible).
How bad is this team? Last season the ‘Stros finished 17 games out of first and gave up 127 more runs than they scored.
How bleak is the future? Only one Astros player made Keith Law’s list of top 100 prospects for 2009. Here’s what Law had to say about that sole prospect, catcher Jason Castro, slated at number 96:
This is how close the Astros came to being shut out of the top 100 entirely. One year after what might be the worst slate in Rule 4 draft history, Houston’s system has bottomed out and only their top pick in this June’s draft was even a candidate for the global list…. There’s not much star potential here, but the contact and on-base skills are not common in a catcher and he’s likely to move quickly once he gets to full-season ball.
It would take nothing short of a miracle for Houston to make the playoffs in 2010, yet Astros management shows no indication that they’re prepared to enter rebuilding mode.
So what does Houston need? To get a grip on reality. To hire some stat guys (or somebody who has some grasp of market principles). To trade everybody with any value and start rebuilding the farm system. To do it yesterday.