By Brad Berreman @bradberreman24 on March 9, 2014
The Houston Astros lost 111 games in 2013, and they’ve now topped 100 losses in three straight seasons. As could be expected fantasy baseball owners have done well to disregard most of the Astros’ roster during that time, particularly a pitching staff that had no one win more than seven games last year and also lost a potential fantasy asset (Bud Norris) to a midseason trade.
Here are my top five fantasy options for the Astros in 2014.
Singleton likely would have made his major league debut in 2013 if not for a 50-game suspension to start the season after testing positive for marijuana. He is competing for a job this spring, and it’s possible he’ll be Houston’s Opening Day first baseman. Fantasy owners should make sure he doesn’t start the season in Triple-A before drafting him, but I like Singleton as a late-round flier in AL-only leagues right now.
Carter found a full-time role with the Astros in 2013, and hit 29 home runs with 82 RBI along with a major league-high 212 strikeouts. Being such a one-trick pony creates some downside, but Carter’s power numbers are enough to make him draftable in mixed leagues and he is eligible at first base (61 games last season) and in the outfield (51 games).
The red flags with Castro from 2013 are an elevated BABIP (.351) and a strikeout rate that jumped to 26.5 percent, but otherwise there’s not a lot of fault to find with 18 home runs, 56 RBI and 63 runs scored in a mostly healthy season for the former first-round pick. His batting average (.276) is in line to regress, but 15 home runs, 65 RBI and 60 runs scored from a catcher shouldn’t be ignored and Castro may be a value in mixed league drafts.
Only the most hardcore fantasy owners knew that Dominguez finished in the top-10 among third baseman home runs (21-tied for eighth) and RBI (77-10th) in 2013. He will not help a lot in batting average, but with better luck (.254 BABIP last season) he can surely improve on last year’s .241 mark with comparable power numbers.
Fowler has an .880 career OPS at Coors Field, so not playing his home games there does not look ideal. Injuries have kept him from reaching 500 at-bats in a season, and a dismal stolen base success rate (67 percent for his career) is also a concern, but Fowler still has 20-20 potential for fantasy owners that can deal with a batting average that is not likely to stand out (.270 career).
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