Astros no longer the worst

Houston will climb out of the MLB cellar for the first time since 2010

Updated: February 3, 2014, 11:59 AM ET
By Paul Swydan | ESPN Insider

George SpringerBrace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty ImagesGeorge Springer will make Houston much better in 2014, almost by default.
The Houston Astros have not been very good the past three seasons. They haven't cracked 60 wins, and have generally played an unwatchable brand of baseball while doing so.

This year should be different. Not only are some of their prospects about to graduate to the majors, but they have acquired some depth at the major league level. They won't be the worst team in baseball, and might not even be one of the three worst.

Addition by subtraction

During the past two seasons, the major league roster experienced quite a bit of turnover as the team experimented with different players. Some of those experiments have worked out, and some did not or have not. The opportunities afforded to Brett Wallace, for example, have largely gone for naught. J.D. Martinez and Marwin Gonzalez also have failed to make the most of their opportunities. Brandon Barnes has a nice glove, but it's hard to maintain a sub-.300 on-base percentage and be a valuable major league player.