Well its mid-March and it has been about a month since pitchers and catchers reported to spring training sites in Florida and Arizona. The upcoming season has been somewhat in the back of my mind lately and I think this is due to the fact that there is not much to look forward to, as an Astros fan, in the 2009 season. The release of Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA standings projections and Sean Smith's similar CHONE projections seems to bear me out in my lack of enthusiasm for this season.
Please do not mistake: I remain an avid baseball fan. There are few better feelings than coming home from work at the end of a long day and knowing that the odds are good that I can turn the TV on and find a game on somewhere (even if it is the Cubs, Yankees, or Red Sox). I remain a fanatic Astros devotee. I came of age in the early to mid 90s after the Astros had traded away the foundations of their 80s success. Glen Davis, Alan Ashby, Bill Doran, Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott, Jim Deshaies, Terry Puhl, Kevin Bass, Billy Hatcher, Gerald Young, the list goes on. By the atrocious 1991 season (when the Stros went 65-97 and averaged under 15,000 in attendance per game in the cavernous Astrodome) most of these players were either gone or on their way out the door. I went to games and followed the team on my Astros Buddy pocket radio every night as I fell asleep. My faithful fandom remained intact.
This upcoming season does not bode well though. The team has made no serious personnel changes aside from shedding Mark Loretta, Brad Ausmus, and Ty Wigginton and everyone else is a year older. Ausmus needed to go as he was past his prime as a defensive catcher and was an out and out liability at the plate, but Loretta and Wigginton had productive bats that will be missed.
The aging of Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee, and Miguel Tejada along with no significant replacements for Loretta or Wigginton (Geoff Blum will likely start at 3rd in what will probably turn into a platoon situation) and the fact that the Astros have, outside of Roy Oswalt, no starting rotation to speak of compute into a PECOTA record projection for 2009 of 67-95; second to last in the NL Central. The CHONE projections are hardly better: a record of 72-90, good for last in the NL Central and tied for worst in the MLB.
2009 PECOTA projections
2009 CHONE projections
By the most respectable SABRE-metric projections, the Astros look as though they will be the worst or close to team in all of Major League Baseball for 2009. Fans, I know, are supposed to say things like "well they play the games for a reason", but PECOTA and CHONE have both proven to be accurate predictors of a team's success in a given year and so my attitude for this season is glum.
I will do a full season preview closer to Opening Day. Until then I will be conjuring up beer posts and perhaps at some point an analysis of SMU's 2009 season schedule. Oh, if you want a Rangers preview, talk to Ty.
Tap the Boulevard is an SMU Football Blog, A Beer Blog, A Baseball Blog, A Music Blog, basically a blog about everything that makes life worth living. So sit back, relax, crack a cold one and enjoy our incoherent ramblings and gratuitous movie quotes.