July 6, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez (11) hits a single against the Milwaukee Brewers in the ninth inning at Minute Maid Park. The Brewers defeated the Astros 7-1. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros-2013 Fantasy Baseball Preview

The Houston Astros have a new look and a new division, but still maintain quite a bit of fantasy baseball value. Second baseman Jose Altuve proved a huge pickup last season off the waiver wire. Can we can expect more of the same from him this year and who else may emerge? Let’s talk to the Astros expert to find out. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes the greatest fantasy baseball value can be from the least of all MLB teams. While everyone knows the Yankees starters and their draft value can be easily overinflated, not many fantasy owners could name the starters for the Houston Astros. That means knowledge of the Astros and who’s getting a chance this year can be huge if they start to produce. Most sleepers that save seasons from the waiver wire come from lesser-known teams.

Houston is lesser-known, but they are also going through one fo the biggest changes this season even before considering roster moves. The Astros are moving from the NL Central to the AL West. To figure out what that move means and how it may impact the fantasy landscape, here’s our Astros season preview. For this write-up, I’m privileged to be joined by Greg Thurston of Climbing Tal’s Hill the Fansided blog dedicated to all things Astros.

We’ll look at the same nine questions for as many teams as possible as we lead up to the start of the season. So far, we’ve analyzed the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees. Now we turn to the Astros with the insightful analysis of Greg Thurston. The questions are in italics, and his responses are given to each of our nine big questions.

Starting 9

1.     Did your team do a good job this offseason?

I think the Astros did a pretty good job this off-season, sticking to the plan of rebuilding from the minor leagues up.

2.     Who is the key player to your team’s success this year?

Probably Jose Altuve. If he performs like he did last year we could see some improvement in the win column. Chris Carter could also be a guy that could make a big impact.

Feb 21, 2013; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro (15) during photo day at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

3.     Who is a position player many people may not know about who is going to have a breakout season?

I would have to say Jason Castro. He appears to be healthy (knock on wood) for the first time in a couple of years and he could be a nice late round pickup at the catcher position.

4.     What starting pitcher is going to have a surprisingly good season?

I’m hoping it’s Philip Humber. With the exception of the perfect game, he had a disappointing 2012. Look for him to rebound and get back to his 2011 form.

5.     How does your team’s bullpen look going into this coming year especially at the closer position?

It’s a mess!

6.     Who do you think is the most “over-rated” player on your team?

That’s a tough one because not many of our guys are rated very high. I guess I would have to say Bud Norris.

7.     Are there any rookies that will impact the team from the beginning of the season or as a midseason call-up?

Matt Dominguez will be the starter at 3B. He put up pretty good numbers toward the end of last season. Most of our top prospects are still a year away. So I don’t expect any of them to be a huge factor in 2013.

8.     What would be considered a successful season for your team?

Record-wise I would say losing less than 100 games would be a success. The real success would be having a few of the young guys take the next step and establish themselves as above-average big leaguers.

9.     What exciting things do you have coming up on your site this season?

Since the Astros are changing leagues this year we are running a series of posts covering each of the teams in the A.L. We also launched our podcast last week and will be doing a new show every Tuesday.

Special thanks to Greg for giving us his insight on Houston for this coming season. Make sure to add the Astros coverage to your daily FantasyCPR updates, or if you’re signed up for the Climbing Tal’s Hill daily updates add FantasyCPR under the “extras” section.

Come back throughout the coming weeks for more fantasy baseball previews from the baseball writers across the FanSided network. Click here for an index of all our fantasy baseball coverage.

Tags: 2013 MLB Preview Fantasy Baseball Fantasy Baseball Preview Houston Astros Jason Castro Matt Dominguez Starting 9

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