Yes, There Are Still Some Reasons to Pay Attention to the Astros
You might not realize this, but the Astros are still playing baseball. So before diverting all your attention to the Texans and whether J.J. Watt is going to get some snaps at tight end this season, here are a few reasons for you to continue watching or listening or reading about the Astros.
THE RACE FOR CARLOS RODON
The Astros are once again in a battle for the number one draft choice. It's rare for a major league team to get the number one pick three years in a row, but the Astros are trying to pull it off. But believe it or not, for as bad as the Astros have been, they have yet to sew this spot up and are battling the Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox for the pick.
The prize of the draft, so far, is a stud left-handed pitcher from South Carolina named Carlos Rodon. Rodon's the total package for a pitcher. He's big with a fastball that hit the mid-90s, a wicked slider, and he can locate his pitches. So while the team suffers now, by the end of the decade, the pitching staff could be anchored by Rodon and Mark Appel and could be competing for the best rotation in baseball.
WILL THE ASTROS ONCE AGAIN LOSE 100 GAMES?
Hand in hand with the quest for Rodon comes the Astros' quest to once again lose 100 games. Until three seasons ago, the Astros had never lost 100 games in a season. They are now on the verge of losing 100-plus games for the third straight season. With the coming of each season, fans think that there's no way this season could be worse than the last, but then the season starts and things are worse.
The Astros have lost with veterans. They've lost with rookies. Studs, duds and rejects. Bad pitching. Poor hitting. Inexplicable base running. Inept defense. If there's a way to lose a game, then the Astros have found a way to do it.
WILL THE CHRONICLE HAVE ANYONE COVERING THE TEAM
The Chronicle beat writer, Brian T. Smith, just moved to the Texans beat, making him the third writer to leave the Astros beat in three years. Jesus Ortiz is the back-up Chron beat writer, but he's still juggling the Astros and the Dynamo, so neither fan base wins. The Astros are a bad team, but the Chronicle's inability to keep a writer permanently on this beat is puzzling because, bad team or not, the Astros are still a major league team and covering the best of a major league team is still one of the coveted jobs in journalism.