The Astros have been busy inviting a lot of washed-up pitchers to spring training (Rick White, Scott Sauerbeck, Kelly Wunsch, Ben Weber) and 'flirting' with Steve Trachsel (he gets HAMMERED by righties; he would be a terrible fit at MMP). Let's look at what Baseball Prospectus's projection genius PECOTA thinks of the Astros pitchers:
Roy Oswalt: 213.0 IP, 3.67 ERA (seems like a high ERA, but he's thrown a LOT of innings)
Jason Jennings: 180.0 IP, 4.24 ERA (we certainly need a #2 like this, but he's no Pettitte)
Woody Williams: 116.0 IP, 4.79 ERA (flyball pitcher in MMP: yikes.)
Fernando Nieve: 72.7 IP, 4.51 ERA (pretty good, considering age)
Wandy Rodriguez: 56.7 IP, 5.74 ERA (not good)
Chris Sampson: 94.0 IP, 4.61 ERA (pretty good, considering age)
All in all, the starters look pretty mediocre after Roy O. Jennings should eat innings, but Woody and Wandy are both pretty bad. Hopefully Woody can do a little better than that, and Nieve / Sampson / Albers / Patton replace Wandy, who is not a major league starter.
Brad Lidge: 65.3 IP, 3.34 ERA (nice comeback)
Dan Wheeler: 54.3 IP, 3.61 ERA (kinda high, but can he really be this good?)
Chad Qualls: 60.0 IP, 3.91 ERA (looks about right)
Trever Miller: 44.7 IP, 3.87 ERA (one or Purpura's best signings)
Paul Estrada: 59.0 IP, 4.30 ERA (high K rate, young)
Pretty decent bullpen! No one is dominant, but that's a solid 5-some to build a pen around.
Baseball Prospectus also ranked all the farm systems for the major league teams. The Astros finished 28th out of 30, with only Hunter Pence and Troy Patton as good prospects. Unfortunately, I have to agree, especially when some of our best prospects (Brooks Conrad) are left to waste in the minors. Having Berkman and Oswalt around for 5 more years will certainly help, but if we want to be competitive in the division for the short-term, we desperately need some good drafts in the next year or two. A good CF or SS offensive prospect would be a godsend.
Andy, great posts lately.