The Houston Astros have had miserable starts to the year the last two seasons, then they have gone on incredible runs to make the playoffs. This year seems to be a little different because while they have had a number of bad games, overall they have played mediocre ball most of the year. They've shown flashes of the greatness that took them to the World Series last year, but they can't seem to put together a consistent winning streak.
In the past, the Astros have been very conservative in bringing up their best from the minor leagues... and I've agreed with their philosophy for the most part, it's important to get these young players to properly mature into the major leagues. As shown in the movie Bull Durham, playing baseball is more than just pitching and hitting... there's the social and psychological part of the game that takes time to learn. Players need to mature physically, intellectually and even spiritually to be able to handle the bright lights of the major leagues.
HOWEVER, this year may have to be different... the Astros have an opportunity to win it all with THE greatest Astro of all time (Craig Biggio) who will probably play one or two more years and arguably the greatest right-handed pitcher in baseball history, Roger Clemens. I really believe this is Roger's last year and we MUST do everything to win the whole enchilada this year. I'm not saying bring up every potentially good player, but there are several players currently in the minors that are tearing it up and we should take a look at them to see if they can do a better job than the group currently on the roster.... for example:
- Hunter Pence - he is currently playing on the Corpus Christi Hooks (a team partially owned by Roger Clemens) and has hit 20 home runs in 81 games, that's a pretty good clip. But he's not just a home run hitter... he has a batting average of nearly .300 and has 93 hits, 18 doubles, 4 triples. He's considered one of the top prospects in the Astros organization. I think he should get a shot at showing what he can do. Since he is currently playing AA ball (and tearing it up), I think he should be moved to the AAA affiliate (The Round Rock Express) and see what he can do there for a few weeks... and if he continues to play at this level or better, bring him up to the majors. He certainly can be no worse than Willy Taveras, Preston Wilson or Jason Lane. We need some young blood injected into our lineup.
- Wade Robinson - He's a shortstop who jumped from A ball (Salem Avalanche) to AAA ball (Round Rock Express) this year! Wade is hitting .329 in 27 games at the Express so far... and his fielding is pretty good too. I would hate to lose Adam Everett's defense (he's considered the BEST defensive shortstop in the majors), but we need some offense!
These are just a couple of players that are worth taking a closer look and see what they can do... I'm sure they aren't the only ones. Astros GM, Tim Purpura needs to start making some tough decisions. Since he took over for one of the best GM's Houston has seen (Gerri Hunsicker), Tim has done very little to shake the boat and if he doesn't do something soon, it's going to sink and cost him his young career.
This is the Astros year! Purpura... get some of these young players up to the majors and see what they can do. I'm certain they can do no worse than what some of our players are currently doing. We need this for Clemens and Biggio! I'm hoping for a threepeat of the runs they have had the last two years, but this time... WIN IT ALL!