At least from a fantasy perspective, there's a little more to get excited about in Houston this year. (USAT)
We continue our series of MLB fantasy previews, wherein we consider 4-5 key questions surrounding each team. Baseball is coming, gamers. Pitchers and catchers report soon. Fantasy owners report immediately...
As expected, the Astros took up residence in the AL West basement in '13, their first season in the Junior Circuit. At this time last year, there were but two Astros worth placement on mixed league fantasy baseball draft boards, those being pocket rocket second baseman Jose Altuve and closer Jose Veras. The good news for Astros fans is that, while reality still bites heading into the '14 campaign, the team's fantasy prospects have significantly improved. That was evident in a mock draft that we conducted with friends and family of Yahoo fantasy in January, where six Astros were drafted (Altuve, George Springer, Dexter Fowler, Jason Castro, Jonathan Villar, Chris Carter), and that doesn't include their expected closer to-be, Jesse Crain (more on him below).
Because of seven consecutive years of futility (finishing no higher than third in its division, including three straight last-place finishes), Houston has been able to compile a lot of high picks in the MLB draft. That has led to one of the league's most talent-rich farms at the moment. In the past two drafts, Houston had the top pick in each, nabbing shortstop Carlos Correa and starter Mark Appel, respectively. And, after finishing with a woeful 51 wins last season (worst win total in MLB since '04), Houston will again get the top choice among the '14 amateur crop.
So the promise of youth is the focus for Houston, and for fantasy owners looking to cash in on the team's talent offering for '14. The veteran Altuve is still the top roto commodity here, but five-tool outfield prospect George Springer is, perhaps, generating the most preseason buzz, as he was the second Houston player off the board in the above mentioned mock draft, this despite the fact that he may not see Minute Maid Park until the season is a couple months underway.
As we dive into the team's Pressing Questions, we'll use Springer as the springboard. Let's get to it ...Read More »from Pressing Questions: The Houston Astros