KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- What I like and don't like about the Astros:
What I like
• Hunter Pence, face of the franchise. With Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt gone, the 27-year-old Pence is the guy everyone looks to. That's fine with the Astros, because Pence has already won a reputation as a guy who plays hard all the time, and works hard all the time.
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• Drayton McLane, (almost) former owner. McLane's ownership hasn't been all bad, and it did include the Astros' one and only trip to the World Series, in 2005. But in the years after that, McLane resisted the rebuilding process the Astros needed, and in doing so he set the organization back. He has quietly had the team up for sale for a few years, but last November he made it official. It's not clear if there are any serious buyers yet, or if McLane will ever be able to agree on a price.
• Brad Mills, manager. People in the organization give Mills credit for not allowing the 2010 season to completely fall apart. Mills was a rookie manager who started 0-8, but the Astros played above .500 after trading Berkman and Oswalt in late July. "He was the reason we got it straightened out," general manager Ed Wade said.
What I don't like
• Who are these guys? The Astros have become an anonymous team, which is fine if it's full of great young prospects whose names we'll all know eventually. I'm not sure that's the case here.
• Jason Castro's injury. Castro was the 10th player picked in the 2008 draft, taken three picks in front of high school teammate (and now Astros teammate) Brett Wallace. He would have been worth watching this year. Unfortunately, Castro hurt his knee early in spring training and needed season-ending surgery.
• Carlos Lee, the $18.5 million man. Plenty of teams have bad contracts, but the Astros' rebuilding project would be easier if they didn't owe Lee $18.5 million for each of the next two years.
• Patience, anyone? Take a guess which hitter led the Astros in walks last year. Bet you didn't guess Berkman, since he missed the first three weeks of the season with an injury and was traded to the Yankees in July. But it was Berkman, with 60 walks in his 85 games for Houston. Michael Bourn was second, with 59 walks in 141 games.