MLB.com's Peter Gammons reported today that the sale of the Astros will be approved in November 2011, under the condition that the Astros move to the American League, presumably to the AL West. This move will impact those of you in NL-only keeper leagues. Which Astros were worth keeping now that Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence were traded to the Braves and Phillies, respectively? Here is a list of players who are no longer available to be kept in NL-only leagues in 2012:
- Jose Altuve, 2B-Altuve hit .276-.297-.357 with 2 HRs, 12 RBI, 26 runs and 7 stolen bases in 221 at bats. This after hitting .361-.388-.569 with 5 HRs, 25 RBIs, 21 runs and 5 SBs in 35 games in AAA, and .404-.447-.601 with 5 HRs, 34 RBI, 38 runs, and 19 stolen bases in 52 AA games. I can see Altuve being a .300 hitter with 20+ stolen bases in 2012.
- Jason Bourgeois, OF-Bourgeois is a Michael Bourn clone on the base paths, as he stole 31 bases in 93 games, hitting .294-.323-.357 this season. The Astros shuffled outfielders in and out of the lineup after Pence and Bourn were traded, so Bourgeois has a shot to land a starting gig in 2012.
- Wandy Rodriguez, SP-Wandy-Rod had another solid season in 2011, going 11-11 with a 3.49 ERA, 4.15 FIP, and 3.72 xFIP in 191 innings. He struck out almost 8 batters per nine innings, and owns a solid 45% ground ball rate, so he could perform well in the AL, as his fly ball rate was just under 35%. A but concerning is the drop in his strikeout rate, which has dropped steadily since 2008.
- Mark Melancon, CL-Melancon saved 20 games in 2011, with a 2.78 ERA, 3.25 FIP and 3.14 xFIP. He struck out almost 8 batters per 9 innings, so he is not a dominant closer, but he did induce an extreme ground ball rate of around 57% this season.
For those in AL-only leagues, only Wandy Rodriguez will be draftable in 2012, although Altuve is draftable in deeper leagues.