Note- This is the first of a new series I’m doing where I’ll be reviewing all of the rotations in the NL Central for 2012. If you’re looking for news, then scroll down- it’ll posted afterwards.
> We all know that the Astros just plain sucked in 2011. They were an MLB-worst 56-106, and finished a whopping 40 games out of first place to the Brewers in the NL Central.
While it didn’t help that they traded away their only position players who were worth something- Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn- at the All-Star Break, their pitching was one of the primary causes for their awful season. The starting rotation was nothing special, but their bullpen was worse. Every time their starter had tossed a solid outing and Brad Mills handed it off to the bullpen, you just knew they were going to blow it some way or another.
Anyway, I’m going to review their starting rotation now, and put them in order of how I think the rotation should go in 2012, along with their 2011 stats.
#1 starter- Bud Norris- 6-11, 3.77 ERA
Norris, in my opinion, is an elite pitcher just waiting to break out. He goes unnoticed because he’s on the Astros, but this kid has one of the nastiest sliders in the MLB. Since he’s a right-handed pitcher, that slider is near impossible for righties to hit, but it makes Norris vulnerable against lefties.
I consider him a strikeout pitcher. In 2011, he struck out 176 batters in 186 innings, with an 8.7 K/9 ratio. That was slightly down from his 9.3 K/9 in 2010, but his overall numbers were much better than 2010. But, he can’t let that strikeout rate drop anymore.
Anyway, Norris now has two full MLB seasons under his belt, which should set him up for nice year next year. But, his win-loss record might not show it, because I have a feeling he’s not going to get any run support.
#2 starter- Wandy Rodriguez- 11-11, 3.49 ERA
In 2011, Rodriguez was probably the Astros’ most consistent starter. Again, his record doesn’t show it (but no Astros’ starter record shows anything other than lack of run support), though. But, he’s already 33, and it’s rumored that the Astros might be shopping him to get rid of his large contract, so he may not be around too much longer.
I guess I haven’t seen Rodriguez pitch enough to determine what kind of pitcher he is, but, judging by the amount of home runs he gives up (25 in 2011), I’d assume he’s a fly-ball pitcher. But, he’s K/9 rate isn’t bad, as it was 7.8 in 2011. His K/9 rate has steadily fell over the past few years, though, which could show a possible decline.
Overall, I think Rodriguez still has a few good years left in him. They probably won’t all be with the Astros, though.
#3 starter- Brett Myers- 7-14, 4.46 ERA
After I did my best to praise the first two starters, I might not be able to do so with the next two. Myers had a great year in 2010, going 14-8 with a 3.14 ERA, and earning him the #1 spot in the rotation. But, he followed it up with an awful 2011, as seen by the basic numbers. He also became nearly a complete off-speed pitcher, with more than 50% of his pitches being change ups and curveballs, rather than fastballs.
Myers gives up enough home runs, as he gave up 31 in 2011. He’s pretty much a fly-ball pitcher, and his K/9 is just 6.7. He also gives up a lot of hits, giving up 9.4 per nine innings.
So I don’t think Myers has much left in him. But he’s on the trade block as well, so he may not be on the Astros for much longer either.
#4 starter- J.A. Happ- 6-15, 5.35 ERA
Happ just had a flat-out bad season. I used to think he had talent, but, after last year, I don’t know anymore. There was a stretch of eight starts in which he gave up at least four runs in each of them, which explains his high ERA. And, even when he did have solid starts, guess what he didn’t get? That’s right- run support.
Happ’s K/9 in 2011 was 7.7, and he gave up 21 home runs. I guess I don’t really know what kind of pitcher he is, but, whatever kind he is, he needs to get better at it.
I think Happ will bounce back in 2012, but not by much.
#5 starter- Jordan Lyles- 2-8, 5.36 ERA
Lyles was called up during the year to give him a taste of the big leagues, and I think he has potential. He has an extremely relaxed pitching motion, which usually means good things for a pitcher. I still haven’t seen enough of him, but I’m guessing he’ll break the rotation next year.
And that’s my review of all of them. There are a few more Astros starters who could break the rotation, like Kyle Weiland, but I think these are the five who have the best shot.
Overall, I think the Astros rotation will, like the rest of the team, once again flop in 2012. Aside from Norris, I don’t see much coming from them next season.
Anyway, come back tomorrow for another review- I’m thinking I’ll do the Cubs.
> Today, I heard that earlier this week Tony La Russa said at some lunch circuit thing that he did tell Jason Motte to intentionally hit Ryan Braun in the wild game in August.
That’s so typical of him, though. He lied and flipped out at the reporters after that game. So, after he retires, he comes out and tells the truth when he’s untouchable.
Needless to say I’m happy that prick retired. I’ve had it with his crap; I don’t care if he’s a HOF manager- he certainly doesn’t have the personality of one.
> And that’s about it. Sorry for calling TLR a “prick,” I don’t usually use language like that on BW. But trust me, I could have called him something much worse…
Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.