Bargain Shopping in Houston

Over the last week or so we’ve done plenty of articles discussing the impending move of the Houston Astros to the American League and how it will impact those in the fantasy baseball community.  But no matter how many times we attempt to look on the bright side and find the silver lining in it all, there’s one common thing that seems to come through in every piece.  It’s like that early montage in the movie Major League where the Indians’ fan base is looking at their 40 man roster in disbelief — from some guy asking who Mitchell Friedman is to the groundskeepers’ claims that “these guys are sh*tty”.  There’s almost no love for the 2012 Astros and very little hope for the club moving forward.  However, just like the old fantasy adage (is there such a thing?) that states that even closers on bad teams can be good and helpful, the same can be said about everyday players from Houston.  Just because the team is in relative shambles, doesn’t mean that you can’t find some helpful players at a bargain cost.

The members of my 16 team, mixed roto keeper league still bring it up each draft day whenever they see an obscure name on my draft sheet.  We do a blind bid auction for our draft but everyone is together so before we assign players to the highest bidder, everyone gets a peek at the other submissions in sort of a sado-masochistic ritual where you always end up seeing one or two of your guys on another owner’s sheet for more money than you bid.  The year was 2006 and my big bids went towards building my outfield and starting pitching.  We start two at every position (6 OF, 9 P), so for my complementary second baseman and shortstop, I opted to put a whopping two bucks on the Florida Marlins middle infield.  Most people knew who Hanley Ramirez was, but had minimal faith in a highly touted rookie who’s attitude received almost as much attention as his skill set, but the room echoed with cries of “who the heck is Dan Uggla?”  By the end of April, everyone knew who they were and the number of trade offers I received for both was plentiful.

Now, I’m not saying that anyone on the Astros is going to produce like Ramirez and Uggla did that season, but the lesson learned is that for a buck in auctions, or a 25th round pick in snake drafts, you can afford to take the risk.  Both players were slated to play everyday and there was little on the farm to pressure them with thoughts of demotion with a slow start; no highly touted prospect breathing down their necks — just go out and play ball as best you can.  Well, the same can be said for a number of Astros as well.  As Jason Catania pointed out in his Houston Prospect Chatter, save for Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart, there is very little promise on the horizon for the Astros.  That means players like J.D. Martinez, Jose Altuve, and Jimmy Paredes will be shuttled out there, game in and game out, and each one has a little bit of promise — Martinez has developing power and can hit for a decent average, Altuve has great speed and a little bit of pop, and Paredes can swipe bases with the best of them.  The draft day investment will be extremely minimal as most other owners will automatically dismiss the no-names on a terrible team.  But in deeper roto leagues, everyday players who can atleast contribute well in one or two categories still have plenty of value.  And if just one of them blossoms into a top sleeper, then you’re even more ahead of the game.

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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site,, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at

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Ryan k

JD is one of those guys that’s gonna make good on a surprisingly flashy minors career. Numbers like Pence def on the horizon and enough ability to keep a war around 3.

Altuve is a utility man and his power won’t translate. Another maicer izturis or eckstein ain’t half bad though.

Wades no genius, his drafts were awful. Singleton is legit, Cosart is sorta like a bud norms type. Melancon is solid, Villar and Mier both will be worth waiting for, Springer has Mike Cameron tools and Paredes has the athleticism and bat control to be an exciting everyday 3B. Lot of there young guys will take a while, some until they’re 25-26 to really get going, but the team has a nice mix of tools and intangibles.