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Old 01-18-2020, 02:25 AM   #1
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Houston Astros: A Redemption Story (2011)

The Houston Astros are loathed in the baseball world right now. Cameras, trash cans, buzzers, cheaters, asterisks, suspensions, firings. These are the buzzwords that surround the franchise at the moment.

In 2011, other sorts of unenviable adjectives described the Astros. Garbage, Lastros, Trashstros (that has a double meaning now), minor-league, putrid. The list goes on-and-on.

What if, in December of 2011, the Astros never hired Jeff Luhnow? What if Jeff Luhnow were never there to hire A.J. Hinch, who hired Alex Cora?

In this universe, the Astros will hire a different candidate, which will be addressed in the next post. It will be the job of that candidate to win...and to win the right way.

This save starts with the 2011 season, although the story begins in earnest in the twilight of 2011, when I will take over control of the Astros. For the 2011 season, historical lineups and transactions are on. That will change on Dec. 7, 2011, when I will take that off, and run the Astros as I see fit for the rest of the decade. The goal? Can I win as much (or more) and as quickly as Jeff Luhnow and his regime did, but my regime will do it correctly, with no cheating.

The next post will be a rundown of the events of the 2011 season in the sim. The post after that will be an introduction of Houston's new GM (while I'll be pulling the strings, it will be through the name of a very realistic candidate the Astros pursued in real life). After that we'll meet the team, and continue the story from there.

If you like the idea, bang the thanks button. Only do it once though. Twice will cross up the signs.
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Old 01-19-2020, 01:56 PM   #2
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AMENDED: I was originally going to start in 2011, because I found a way at one point in testing to get the draft classes to line up correctly (in historical if you try to switch the draft to June it is one year ahead of real life). Somehow, I can't get that to work again, so our story will actually begin with spring training 2012. Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers, the first two draft picks of the Luhnow regime, are already in the system. Suboptimal, but not that big of a deal.

We'll introduce the new GM and manager of the Astros in the next post.
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Old 01-19-2020, 02:24 PM   #3
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It is the beginning of a new era at Minute Maid Park. Jim Crane, who recently bought the Astros from longtime owner Drayton McLane, introduced the new leaders of the Astros in a press conference downtown yesterday. Andrew Friedman, the former General Manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, will be the President of Baseball Operations and General Manager of the Houston Astros. Friedman, a native Houstonian, said that he couldn't turn down the opportunity to return home and rebuild the Astros.

"It's a dream come true," Friedman said. "I'm proud of what we did in Tampa Bay and I'll miss lots of people there, but I grew up watching the likes of Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell in the Astrodome. I look forward to building a winning team here and return Houston to the winning it was used to during my childhood."

Friedman is known as a sabermetric and forward thinker within baseball. He helped lead the low budget Rays to a World Series, and has turned them into a consistent winner despite a diminutive payroll.

Joining Friedman in Houston will be former Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, who has been tabbed as the newest manager of the Astros. Hickey was the Astros pitching coach in 2004 and 2005, two of the most successful seasons in Astros history, including the franchise's only World Series appearance.

"It's an honor that Andrew and Mr. Crane would consider me for this job. I look forward to getting to spring training and getting to work," Hickey said.

Hickey certainly faces an uphill battle. The Astros finished 56-106 last year, the worst record in Major League Baseball. Friedman faces a challenge as well, as he is responsible for building that roster despite having one of the worst farm systems in baseball.
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Old 01-19-2020, 11:09 PM   #4
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Opening Day Roster, State of the Franchise

Catcher: (Age)

Jason Castro (24) - Castro will get a bulk of the playing time behind the dish. However, he'll be monitored closely after missing the entirety of the 2011 season with a torn ACL. A first round pick out of Stanford in 2008, the front office hopes Castro can be a franchise backstop.

Chris Snyder (31) - Snyder, a native Houstonian, will be the backup catcher. The long time Arizona catcher has a fair amount of thump for the position, and is a competent timeshare with Castro.

AAA Depth: Carlos Corporan (28)

Notable Prospects: N/A

First Base:

Carlos Lee (35) - The owner of the largest contract in Astros history shifts to first base in 2012. Lee is in the final year of an albatross 6-year, $100M deal.

AAA Depth: Brett Wallace (25) - Wallace has disappointed in 2010 and 2011, losing his former top prospect status. There's time for him to turn it around, but the clock is ticking.

Top Prospect: Jon Singleton (20) - The prize prospect of last year's Hunter Pence trade, Singleton will hopefully develop into a middle of the order bat. There's lots of power there, but lots of swing-and-miss too.

Second Base:

Jose Altuve (21) - Altuve was serviceable after being called up in June of last season. The diminutive second baseman has an impressive hit tool and plenty of speed, but he'll have to develop some power if he wants to stick around for the long haul.

Angel Sanchez (28) - He's your average backup middle infielder...

Top Prospect: Nolan Fontana (20) - Fontana had an impressive collegiate career, with an impressive on base tool. Impressive intangibles.

Third Base:

Chris Johnson (27) - Johnson hopes to bounce back from a putrid 2011 after an impressive rookie campaign in 2010. He's best served defensively at first base, but Carlos Lee's presence slides him across the diamond.

AAA Depth: Matt Downs (28)

Top Prospect: Matt Dominguez (22)


Jed Lowrie (27) - Acquired in an offseason trade with Boston, the Astros hope the oft-injured Lowrie can stay off the DL and live up to his status as a former top prospect. If he doesn't, shortstop is one position with a good outlook for the future.

Marwin Gonzalez (23) - A Rule V selection in the offseason, Gonzalez can switch hit and play across the infield diamond.

Notable Prospects: Carlos Correa (17), Jonathan Villar (20)


J.D. Martinez (24) - Martinez will get the nod to start the year in left field, but the clock is ticking. A bad start to 2012 could find him on the way out of Houston.

Justin Maxwell (28) - Maxwell plays good defense and has plenty of thunder in his bat, but he

Brian Bogusevic (28) - Bogusevic clearly won't live up to be the baseball player many thought he would be. The rocket-armed right fielder has just as much of a future on the mound as he does in the outfield...that's not a good thing.

AAA Depth: J.B. Shuck (24), Brandon Barnes (25), Travis Buck (28)

Notable Prospects: George Springer (22), Delino DeShields (19)

Starting Rotation:

Bud Norris (27)
Lucas Harrell (26)
J.A. Happ (29)
Jordan Lyles (21)
Kyle Weiland (25)

Disabled List: Wandy Rodriguez (33)

AAA Depth: Dallas Keuchel (24), Brett Oberholtzer (22)

Top Prospects: Keuchel (24), Vince Velasquez (19), Mike Foltynewicz (20), Lance McCullers (18)

The rotation leaves a lot to be desired, especially with the current longest tenured Astro in Rodriguez on the DL for the first 2-3 months with bone chips. However, there are a lot of desirable arms in the farm system.


CL: Wilton Lopez (28)
SU: Brett Myers (31)
SU: Wesley Wright (27)
MR: Fernando Rodriguez (27)
MR: Fernando Abad (26)
MR: Brandon Lyon (32)
MR: David Carpenter (26)
LR: Mickey Storey (26)

AAA Depth: Yikes

Top Prospects: N/A

Anyone that has success in this group will be shopped at the deadline...

Next, an update following the month of April
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:24 AM   #5
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1) St. Louis Cardinals 15-9
2) Pittsburgh Pirates 12-12
3) Milwaukee Brewers 11-14
4) Houston Astros 11-14
5) Cincinnati Reds 10-14
6) Chicago Cubs 9-16



- Claimed OF Tony Campana off waivers
- Claimed RHP Al Albuquerque off waivers
- DFA OF Brad Synder
- DFA 1B Mike Hessman


- Placed RHP Brett Myers (0-1, 9.00) on 15-Day DL with torn labrum
- Recalled RHP Henry Sosa from AAA Oklahoma City


- Placed RHP Kyle Weiland (0-3, 4.74) on 15-day DL with blisters
- Called up LHP Dallas Keuchel from AAA Oklahoma City


Jason Castro - .333/.410/.623, 5 HR, 17 RBI

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Bud Norris - 5 GS, 34.0 IP, (3-1), 1.59 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9

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Wilton Lopez - 9 G, 9.2 IP, 6 SV, 0.00 ERA, 12.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9

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J.D. Martinez - .206/.257/.330, 1 HR, 14 RBI
Justin Maxwell - .198/.235/.352, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4 SB
Brian Bogusevic - .157/.213/.271, 1 HR, 6 RBI


NL Hitter of the Month: Ryan Braun - .406/.448/.729, 9 HR, 22 RBI

AL Hitter of the Month: Kevin Youkilis - .344/.396/.742, 8 HR, 24 RBI

NL Pitcher of the Month: Madison Bumgarner - 6 GS, 6-0, 1.91 ERA, 9.0 K/9, 2.7 BB/9

AL Pitcher of the Month: Felix Hernandez - 6 GS, 4-1, 1.81 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 1.2 BB/9

NL Rookie of the Month: Logan Verrett - 9 G, 1 GS, 18.0 IP, 3-0, 0.00 ERA, 10.5 K/9, 2.0 BB/9

AL Rookie of the Month: Yu Darvish - 6 GS, 4-0, 3.03 ERA, 13.2 K/9, 4.7 BB/9

Last edited by LetsGoMocs; 01-20-2020 at 12:29 AM.
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