I haven't written in a while, but that's more because there hasn't been much to write about. I'm still holding out hope that we trade for Randy Winn or Mike Cameron, but it's starting to look like we'll give Taveras a long look in Spring Training, and then probably go with Biggio / Lane / Berkman for much of the season. Remember, the Astros have previously gone with both Lance Berkman and Craig Biggio in center, so Lane is certainly an option.
Many of the 'projected lineups' for the Astros have something along the lines of
Ensberg / Lamb
I'll be the first to admit that batting order isn't that important; at most (batting your worst hitters first and your best hitters last) it might make a difference of up to around 5%. Over the course of the year, if you're the Boston Red Sox, that might make a difference of (900)(.05) = 45 runs. That's actually pretty significant - 45 runs / 162 games = 0.29 runs / game. So it doesn't hurt to try and 'maximize' your lineup. So that's what I'll try to do:
Biggio (his OBP is dropping and his SLG is rising, so I think it would make more sense to bat him 5th, 6th or 7th, but I'm pretty sure he'll stay at leadoff, and he probably should, initially)
Ensberg (he had his one great year batting 2nd in front of Berkman / Bagwell; maybe he just needs to see good pitches to dominate. Good OBP, too)
Berkman (our best hitter, by far)
Bagwell (hope he bounces back against lefties; still a good OBP)
Burke (he's a better hitter than Everett already)
Everett (might be able to steal to avoid the Ausmus GIDP)
If Burke puts up solid numbers for the first month or two of the season, I'd like giving him a look at leadoff and dropping Biggio to 6th. My main changes are batting Ensberg 2nd, since he should still maintain a good OBP even if he doesn't regain his '03 power, and batting Everett 7th or 8th, because he's simply not a good enough hitter yet to take advantage of his baserunning skills. A .320 OBP just doesn't cut it for a #2 hitter. If he puts up a .350 OBP, then fine.
The Twins signed former Astro Johan Santana to a 4 year, 40 million dollar deal. That's damn good, Twins, especially when Eric Milton and Kris Benson are getting big $$. Now Santana won't be a Yankee until 2009.
Spring training is coming soon. I can't wait.