The Houston Astros really need 33-year old switch hitting 2B Kaz Matsui to stay healthy this season as they don’t have a legit backup to him with Geoff Blum platooning at 3B with Aaron Boone. Matsui played in 96 games for the Astros last season and he was 110 for 375 (.293 avg., .781 OPS) with 58 runs scored, 6 homers, 33 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. Matsui also needs to clean up his defense which was awful last season as he made 12 errors in only 94 games for the Astros at 2B while showing very poor range. Despite his flaws the Astros definately have no one better to play at 2B in 2009.
30-year old switch hitting Matt Kata will battle 31-year old lefty swinging Jason Smith for the backup middle infield job in 2009 for the Astros. Kata played in 118 games in AAA-ball last season and he was 97 for 396 (.245 avg, .670 OPS) with 50 runs scored, 8 homers, 45 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. Kata does have 238 games of major league experience in his career and he has a .242 batting average with a .677 OPS.
Jason Smith played in 22 games for the Royals last season and he was 6 for 28 (.214 avg, .500 OPS) with 6 runs scored and 1 RBI. He didn’t make any errors in 9 games at 2B last season for the Royals but he also showed poor range just like Matsui. Smith also played in 110 games in AAA-ball last season and he was 107 for 423 (.253 avg, .764 OPS) with 52 runs scored, 20 homers, 62 RBIs and 3 stolen bases.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 2009 SEASON: C-