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Houston Astros

2013: 51-111, fifth place.

Manager: Bo Porter (second season).

He’s Here: RH Scott Feldman, CF Dexter Fowler, RH Jesse Crain, RH Jerome Williams, RH Chad Qualls, RH Matt Albers, 1B Jesus Guzman and LH Raul Valdes.

He’s Outta Here: LH Erik Bedard, CF Brandon Barnes, RH Jordan Lyles, RH Philip Humber, OF Trevor Crowe.

Projected Lineup: CF Dexter Fowler (.263, 12 HRs, 42 RBIs, 19 SBs with Rockies), 2B Jose Altuve (.283, 5, 52, 35 SBs, 31 doubles), 3B Matt Dominguez (.241, 21, 77), C Jason Castro (.276, 18, 56), RF L.J. Hoes (.282, 1, 10, 7 SB with Orioles and Astros), 1B Marc Krauss (.209, 4, 13) or Jesus Guzman (.226, 9, 35 with Padres) LF Robbie Grossman (.268, 4, 21), SS Jonathan Villar (.243, 1, 8, 18 SBs), DH Chris Carter (.223, 29, 82, led majors with 212 Ks).

Rotation: RH Scott Feldman (12-12, 3.86 ERA, 132 Ks with Orioles and Cubs), RH Jarred Cosart (1-1, 1.95 in 10 starts), LH Brett Oberholtzer (4-5, 2.76), RH Brad Peacock (5-6, 5.18) or RH Lucas Harrell (6-17, 5.86), RH Jerome Williams (9-10, 4.57 with Angels) or LH Dallas Keuchel (6-10, 5.15).

Key Relievers: RH Jesse Crain (2-3 0.74, 46 Ks with White Sox), RH Matt Albers (3-1, 3.14 with Indians), RH Chad Qualls (5-2, 2.61 with Marlins).

Hot Spots: The Astros brought in Guzman for an upgrade at first base, but a big spring by Krauss has made him the front-runner to start the season there. Whoever wins the job out of spring might not have it for long. If top first base prospect Jon Singleton gets off to a good start in Triple-A, he could be elevated to the majors soon. Houston had a league-high 29 blown saves last season, but thinks that offseason upgrades to the bullpen should help turn things around. The group received a blow with news that All-Star reliever Crain will likely start the season on the disabled list after biceps surgery.

Outlook: The Astros fielded a team with an MLB-low payroll under $30 million last season and finished with a franchise-record 111 losses for their third straight 100-loss season. Now that they’ve restocked their once-barren farm system, they’ve started spending money to add pieces to pair with their up-and-coming players and should be better in 2014. Their most notable offseason addition was Feldman, who signed a three-year, $30 million contract to lead the rotation. They also boosted their dreadful bullpen by signing Crain, along with Qualls and Albers. They upgraded the lineup by trading for center fielder and leadoff hitter Fowler, and this could be the year that intriguing prospect George Springer arrives in Houston. The 24-year-old outfielder had 37 homers, 108 RBIs and 45 stolen bases combined in Double-A and Triple-A last season, but will start the season in Triple-A.