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2012 Houston Astros Season Preview; There but for the grace of god, go We...

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Lets first take a moment and praise all of the baseball fans out there who are about to pour their very hearts out for this team. Keep the faith Houston fans, this is a truly daunting task to root for this squad through 162 games.

2012 will be the darkest hour for this franchise.

To Astros fans everywhere; I wish you better days in the American League.

The overall outlook for 2012:

"If the Astros Lose less than a 100 games, Brad Mills will be manager of the year." - Marty Brennaman

There are a few things every big league team needs to do to avoid the history books. The 1899 Richmond Spiders posted a shockingly inept 20-134 to stand the test of history as the most hapless pro ball club. Now lets not go overboard; I expect the Astros to win more than 21 games and even more than the 29 wins it will take to avoid losing the most games in history. But it could happen, if the wheels truly fell off- yikes.

The Astros will need at least 41 wins not to be considered the worst team in the modern era, that distinction belonging to their expansion partner the '62 Mets. The chances of Houston leaving the National League as they entered it with 64 wins seems all but out of reach.

Key changes to this years roster:

The offensive production that Micheal Bourn and Hunter Pence brought to this team has simply not been replaced.

Jed Lowrie and Chris Snyder could (theoretically) be league average options shortstop and p/t catcher, respectively.

Kyle Weiland, received from the Red Sox this off season may be the only MLB ready prospect. He is tall and has interesting strikeout numbers, but is far from a sure thing.

Who concerns the Reds?

Wandy Rodriguez sports a career 9.4 SO/9, the rest of his splits are surprisingly pedestrian. Offensively; the 2011 Astros posted a .258/.311/.374/.684 with no hope of repeating that line this year. If our 14 games with the Astros are a struggle for our pitching staff, it will be a long season.

Interesting rookies for 2012?

Not really. Past the aforementioned Weiland the cupboard is pretty freaking bare. Fangraphs has ranked them the 27th minor league organization in baseball. The only two Astronomicals on BA's top 100; Jonathan Singleton and George Springer, should both start the season in AA Corpus Christi.

Historical connection?

Obviously, This is the franchise that handed us Joe Morgan the moment he became deliciously ripe. Nolan Ryan and Mike Scott were some of the first non-reds I respected as a young fan. This team dominated the early years of the NL central, winning the division 4 times in 5 years '97-'01. I don't have to tell any of you this, you were all there watching it too.

Former Reds on the roster:

Enerio Del Rosario; an entertaining Dominican reliever whom at one time i had high hopes for. So far he is having a rough spring, you could not call him a lock to break camp with the team right now but he will certainly be in the mix as the season wears on. Delino Desheilds Jr. plays second base and will hopefully be in AA Corpus Christi this year.

Okay, i am a tad computer dumb so I am going to publish this now, and let you guys wait until tomorrow to front page it.

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