Presenting the Houston Astros, evidence it could be worse

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 29, 2013 - 1:14 PM

Carlos Pena, who signed with Houston in the offseason, might get a lot of practice at showing his frustration. The Astros have lost 213 games over the past two seasons.

Photo: EVAN VUCCI • Associated Press ,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Houston Astros might be better than people think this season, which isn’t saying much because many believe they could become the first team since the 1962 Mets to lose 120 games.

As bad as the Twins have been the past two seasons, losing 99 and 96 games, Houston has been worse, dropping 107 and 106. Now the Astros have switched leagues, moving from the relatively forgiving National League Central to the richly talented American League West.

“We will outperform the expectations,” Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow told CBSSports.com this spring, knowing those expectations aren’t exactly huge.

The team’s projected payroll is about $25 million. The top returning player stands 5-5 — second baseman Jose Altuve. The expected cleanup hitter, Carlos Pena, batted .197 last year. The biggest offseason pitching acquisitions were claiming Philip Humber off waivers and signing Erik Bedard to a minor league deal.

It could get ugly fast. Of Houston’s first 41 games, 31 come against teams that finished above .500 last year, including two series apiece with the Rangers, Athletics, Angels and Tigers.

The Astros will take their lumps, knowing the team that finishes with the majors’ worst record gets the first pick in the following year’s draft, along with a higher draft spending limit.

Houston took advantage last year, signing two premium first-round talents in shortstop Carlos Correa and pitcher Lance McCullers. The Astros hold the first pick for this June’s draft, and they are a good bet to hold it again in 2014.

Through the draft and trades, Lunhow is 16 months into an unapologetic rebuilding project, and frankly, the Astros needed it. From 1997 through 2005, the Astros made six postseason appearances — a stretch much like the Twins had from 2002 through 2010.

But Houston’s veteran core got old, and expensive free-agent signings (see Carlos Lee) weren’t the answer. So after buying the team in November 2011, Jim Crane hired Lunhow away from the Cardinals and let him focus on long-term fixes.

“We want to develop the best young talent in baseball and get this organization to the point where we can consistently compete,” Lunhow told MLB.com. “It’s as simple as that. We want to do it as quickly as possible.”

There’s a price to pay for this, of course. The Astros drew 1.6 million fans last year, ranking last in the National League. Now, fans can either watch first-year manager Bo Porter mold talent against long odds in the majors, or they can turn their attention to an improving farm system.

Delino DeShields Jr., who stole 101 bases last year, will soon make his way to Class AA. Corea and McCullers could make their way to Class A Quad Cities. So cheer up, Astros fans, there’s always Iowa.

  • related content

  • Chart: Astros futility

    Friday March 29, 2013

    A closer look at futilityFacts about the Astros:• They are 111-213 over the past two seasons, a .343 winning percentage.• Their $25...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
ArizonaJ. Collmenter (10-8)000
MinnesotaR. Nolasco (5-11)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 4 Suspended
Kansas City 2
Baltimore - W. Chen 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - M. Pineda
Kansas City - D. Duffy 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
Seattle - J. Paxton 6:07 PM
Toronto - J. Happ
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 6:08 PM
Detroit - K. Lobstein
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Houston - N. Tropeano 7:05 PM
Texas - D. Holland
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
Arizona - J. Collmenter 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
LA Angels - C. Wilson 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
San Francisco - J. Peavy 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Colorado - T. Matzek 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Chicago 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 2 2nd Prd 1:33
NY Islanders 2
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Detroit 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Washington 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
St. Louis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Colorado
Colorado 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Arizona
Arizona 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close