As Astros’ season resumes, 5 things to keep an eye on

Major League baseball games return to the agenda this weekend. While many are watching races for the Triple Crown or the home run chase or the Wild Card chase begins to take shape, Astros’ fans are watching a different set of priorities.

For the Astros, the focus is on reconstruction, youth and progress. While the second part of the season kicks off Friday, the important names for Astros’ fans are Cosart, Singleton and Springer, rather than Norris, Harrell or Pena.

Here are some things to keep an eye on the rest of the season.

The trades.

  • Discussed before, but the next two weeks could be busy for the Astros. Will Houston be sellers for the fourth consecutive July trade deadline? Or will they surprise everyone and hang onto the veterans? Actually, the trades seem virtually inevitable. Prediction: 4 trades involving Bud Norris, Wesley Wright, Erik Bedard, Jose Veras and others.

The prospects.

  • How many of the top 20 prospects will Astros’ fans see in 2013? Jarred Cosart, Robbie Grossman and Brad Peacock have already had a taste. It’s reasonable to expect to some of this group: Jonathan Singleton, George Springer, Asher Wojciechowski and Jonathan Villar. Further, other promotions and progress will be worth keeping an eye on. Particularly, players like Mike Foltynewicz, Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers and the most recent draft class.

The TV deal.

  • Not that anyone really cares at this point in the hot summer, but it would be a slap in the face if the TV deal is finalized in late September. GM Jeff Luhnow has a big off season ahead, working to piece together a more competitive team. Jim Crane’s biggest — if not only — off season job will be to successfully completing the TV deal. Not only in Houston, but also throughout the region. Important. Critical.

The Biogenesis Scandal.

  • Doesn’t affect the Astros, you say? Sure it does. Even if no Astros’ players are implicated or suspended in the scandal, it will be important for baseball. In fact, it could result in more penalties than any other single incident or revelation in baseball history. While many fans are numb to dru g usagein baseball, it’s likely to raise more calls for stricter drug testing and penalties. Again.

The standings.

  • If the season ended today, the Astros would draft first in next June’s draft. Surprise, surprise! The question is whether the growing-ever-younger Astros make a Tony D-like “run” in the next 68 games or if teams like the White Sox, Marlins, Brewers or another team overtakes the Astros. Prediction: Astros finish with 30-38 “second half”.

What will you be keeping an eye on over the next 68 games?


32 comments on “As Astros’ season resumes, 5 things to keep an eye on

  1. Trades: I look to see a dump of multiple faces. Most of these guys will only bring prospects, but they do not figure into the immediate nor long term plans. Could be as many as 10. Prospects: So if 10 leave, might get to “read about” 10. TV: Live 6 hours from Houston so it is more than critical for me. Biogenesis: Might be a silver lining for Astros if contenders have to go shopping for replacements. Standings: Must be only person that wants the team to win as many as possible. The MLB draft is such a crap shoot that the order of the draft does not mean a lot. Scouting and luck (injuries) have so much to do with the future.


  2. Trade:Besides Norris who would want the other players?
    Prospects. Please do not rush them up to the majors. I would like to see them, but not at the risk of their being embarrassed.
    TV Deal. With Dwight Howard now a Rocket this might push through a deal as people are excited.( not till basketball season)
    BioG. no opinion
    Standings. Agree with Astro 45 on his take.

    Chip. Like your writings. I know you do this because you are a fan.


  3. Bud Norris, Wesley Wright, Erik Bedard, and Jose Veras can help some other teams now. None would probably fit into the future plans of the teams, so hopefully, they will bring the team a lot of good, young ball players, including a shortstop to suffice until Correa is ready and maybe a catcher, because I am not sold on Castro.
    Fans need to be thrown a bone and given a reason to visit MMP during the months of August and September. That means bring up prospects and let them get a taste of The Show now. Fans would rather see the future than watch the present.
    The TV deal can wait, because no one wants to watch the present team.
    (I am unimpressed by the current radio crew.)
    Houston can’t be part of the PED problem, because if there are any players using PEDs, the PEDs aren’t working for them.
    As for the next 68 games, I believe the team posts a 26-42 record to finish at 59-103, which should net them the number-one pick in the 2014 draft


  4. The Trades – I wonder if they will be single trades or package deals (like the Happ, Lyon, Carpenter trade). Is Pena tradeable or just cuttable?
    The Prospects – Of course – part of the prospect situation ties to the 40 man roster – but I guess if you are sending some away in trades you will have more room. I expect 4 or 5 more folks in between now and the end of the year – most in September.
    The TV deal – I could be way off base – but I think this will get resolved on a basketball schedule basis – there will be a lot of demand to see the Rockets with Hardin and Howard and I think that will drive the deal – expect that in November / December.
    Biogenesis – Boy if there is anybody cheating on the Astros – they should ask for a refund, because it is not working. I guess FMart was the only one we know about.
    Standings – Though the Astros started playing a bit better for awhile – I’m getting pessimistic for the stretch run. But – hey if Cosart keeps it up and Springer adds some spring to their step… your 30-38 could be right.
    I think they are about 50/50 to have the worst record this time.


  5. There is so much veteran dead weight that needs to go its hard to know where to start. I would actually consider it a good sign if the Astros kept Norris and Veras but doubt they could get rid of some of the others for much more than a bag of sunflower seeds. Who could use Cedeno, Pena, Maxwell, Wright, Harrell, Ambriz, etc? Bedard might garner some interest. I would be reluctant to part with Norris unless they can get a prospect of the caliber of Jurickson Profar who is practically can’t miss and can address the gaping need at shortstop or the outfield. Last year the veterans did make some contribution while they were here but this bunch has been a complete bust. I really doubt Villar is anything more than another place holder at shortstop but how much worse could he be than what we have? Bring him up and give him a shot. Same for Springer although I have much higher expectations for him. I’m not so sure Singleton should get anything other than a cup of coffee in September. I think his suspension really set him back and since Wallace is doing a creditable job I don’t even see a compelling reason to bring Singleton to the MLB roster until he has some real success at AAA whether that’s this season or next.


  6. If Bedard and Pena are not moved it is because there are no takers. There was no reason to sign either to one year deals if they weren’t going to attempt to trade them during the season.

    Here’s a hypothetical: If the Yankees have to face Cosart, Wojo, and Folty to close out the season in pursuit of a wild card spot, do you think they will cry foul on competitive imbalance?


  7. Don’t care about the trades as much as I do who is being brought up. If we get to September and we are still playing Pena, Cedeno, or Bedard then we are just prolonging the experience of the guys who will be the future. Also, if Wallace falls off in hitting then he is just a blocking player. I’m tired of Peredes coming up and down. He needs to stay down. I guess I have gotten to the point in my Astros support where don’t want them to come in second in the Rodon sweepstakes.


  8. Cosart to start Tuesday………I *like* it! This is the end of the Lucas Harrell song,
    and I may be the only one here who thinks he is STILL a good pitcher…..just not
    for this team. TRADE ANYONE and get MLB ready guys in return. I still think
    things aren’t going to well in the clubhouse……..but it was nice to see Barnes
    it for the cycle tonight! The CSN deal isn’t even CLOSE to getting resolved. Becky


    • Becky, why would anyone give us ML ready players for the crap that we’ve got to give away? Norris might be the exception. Even Veras will not give us a ready kid.


      • You never know what other teams will give up………we can HOPE someone will
        give up a good player, or two for Veras or Norris. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Luhnow can work some magic………


    • True Devin – and he hit the snit out if that one. That and Barnes cycle were the highlights – the pitching was the lowlights.


    • Its good to punish a pitcher for a grievous mistake. Wallace is not hitting left handers this season but he has actually done reasonably well against them in the past and in his minor league career. This year has been a pretty small sample but this looks like something more substantial to me than a mere hot streak. I hope Wallace has turned the corner. If so, Pena can go and Singleton can catch up at OKC and not be rushed.


      • Wallace lifetime against ML lefties:

        BA .223, OBP, 272, SLG, .318, OPS .591

        That does not qualify as “reasonably well”, although it’s not nearly as bad as Castro.


      • Dave: The numbers don’t lie so my description of Wallace was perhaps a bit generous. But I think he is our immediate future. Lots of folks want to see Singleton but he is clearly overmatched in AAA. I think his suspension was a major setback for him and he probably should have repeated AA. Now Springer OTOH ought to be waltzing in here any day now; he is overmatching AAA and its not as if our outfield is crowded with studs.


  9. Every effort should be made to clean house of all the guys who will not be a part of the future. Won’t happen though, as 20 or more players on todays roster qualify! That said, I think we’ve got the first pick in 2014 almost a lock at this point. I don’t see a surge from this squad. Norris, if the deal is right, should bring quality. Otherwise, hold on to him. As for the other guys, we’d be getting long shot prospects in return, which is fine with me. I’d really like to see a 2014 roster made up primarily of guys from within the system, and a few short term, FA’s, rather than guys off the heap. Yes, spend 50 million and bring a certain level of credibility into the mix.


  10. Looks more and more that Norris is simply not the guy to throw a big game. Lot’s of scouts around his last two starts, and he’s stunk up the joint both times. Right now, he’s costing us real talent.


    • No, I don’t think so Becky. Recall his fondness for SF, whom the rumor mill had Norris linked before the AS break. I don’t think Norris has the mental fortitude to get it done at this level when the pressure is on.


  11. Chip I agree with your trade predictions and I hope they get a little quality back.

    I’d really like to see Villar and Singleton. Really bored with this lineup.

    I care. I’m really disgusted with the handling of this TV mess. I blame Drayton, this deal was made strictly to help with the sale of the team. The longer this goes on the more fans we will lose to the Rangers.

    If anyone on this team is using……they got ripped off.

    I can’t help it, I hate to see them lose day after day.

    Becky, you’re probably correct about the un-ease in the clubhouse.


    • Sandy…….I don’t see that “rah-rah-ree”, attitude this team
      started with when the season started, and a clubhouse can
      melt down faster than ice cream on a hot day. Porter rubs
      me the wrong way. Becky


  12. Not sure what to say when a team gives up 4 runs on 1 hit. And Castro helped cement the feelings against him – 2 passed balls leading to two of the runs.
    And I go crazy seeing Pena in the leadoff spot – making zero sense.


    • Dan: I suppose the only reason for the leadoff decision is that except for Castro at .334 and Carter at .327 no regular has an OBP higher than Pena’s .324. Pretty pathetic commentary all around. While the number is what it is Pena’s Ks are really dispiriting. Its telling that while the guy may know the strike zone its pretty obvious that when thrown a strike he can’t hit it.


  13. Two pass balls, one hit…..and the Astros LOSE 4 to 2. Bedard was running outta gas, but left the game with a no hitter in the 6th. Castro sucks behind the plate.


  14. Seems to me that the wheels are starting to come off now, with a tough schedule into August. Will be interesting to see the dynamics as they play out.


    • During the July/August swoon in 2012 it seemed like the team found a different way to lose every night. Hope this isn’t a repeat.


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