This article is part of our MLB Team Previews series.
2014 Houston Astros Team Preview
In the midst of a long-term rebuilding project, expectations weren't exactly high for the Astros entering 2013. On the heels of consecutive seasons with 106 or more losses, Houston was projected to finish near the bottom of the AL West standings after coming over from the NL Central. Sadly, the team went on to suffer its worst season in franchise history, enduring 111 losses to finish with the league's worst record for the third straight year. Of course, switching leagues wasn't the only reason the team took a big step backwards in 2013. The Astros' youth movement continued as fifteen players made their MLB debut for the club last season. The lack of experience was evident in many facets of the game.
As a whole, the offense struggled to score runs, posting the fourth-fewest total in all of baseball. They ranked last in the AL in several offensive categories, including OBP (.299) and SLG (.375). Astros hitters also lacked plate discipline whilst setting the MLB record for strikeouts in a season with 1,535. Baserunning was another issue for Houston, as the team was caught stealing more than any other in the majors. The numbers weren't any better on defense, as the Astros accumulated 125 errors during the season – another league high. Finally, Houston's pitchers carried the worst ERA (4.79) and WHIP (1.49) in baseball while issuing the most walks (616). The bullpen was particularly bad, lacking an established closer and reliable arms that could