I know that Spring Training doesn't count for anything. I do, I promise. But I still can't help but be ridiculously encouraged and optimistic at how the Houston Astros have performed so far at camp.
If you know me, you know I'm not exactly an optimist. I'm more of a realist, so I recognize that despite the fact that there is talent on this Houston baseball team, they're nowhere near the level of play to make them likely contenders. But pssst....they look good. They look really good.
Yesterday Alyson Footer, the Sr. Director of Digital Media for the Astros posted a comment on Facebook about the team's record being a reflection of growing depth in the organization. I took the evening to think on that and frankly, I couldn't agree more.
Spring Training is when you are trying guys out. It's no secret that the Astros need to determine a starter at just about every position on the field. There were no set spots or guarantees going into this Spring Camp. The result of giving players a "tryout" during a ST games is that you are likely going to lose some games for the sake of taking a look at a player's ability in a given position.
So what does it mean when "taking a look" doesn't hurt your chance of winning? It means that the players they've picked up this off season and the young players the team is evaluating are good. Are they superstars? A few may be in time, but at this point, not really. But I don't want a superstar on the Houston Astros. I want a superstar team.
Evaluating the team's play thus far in March tells me that a superstar team could be only a season or two away. With a little luck, a little player development and a lot of heart, this team has more potential than I ever would have guessed six months ago.
As Spring Training is close to wrapping for the year, the Astros find themselves 11-9 (.550). Yep, that's a winning percentage folks. In fact, if you compare them to the rest of the NL Central they're currently playing pretty darn well- St. Louis 12-6 (.667), Cincinnati 10-13 (.435), and Chicago 10-13 (.435), Milwaukee 7-12 (.368), and Pittsburgh 7-13 (.350).
Take that for what you want, but I'll take it as a sign that Jeff Luhnow and company have things in Houston under control.