Maybe Astros should be “out for the rest of the season”


Yep, cynical headline while wondering how many people are actually paying attention.

Left the house when the Astros were down 2-1. When I come back, it was 12-1 and I figured it was in the fifth or sixth. Only a few very random thoughts after watching the debacle of a baseball game tonight in Arlington.

  1. Maybe Jim Crane has actually done us all a favor by keeping games off television for most of this season.
  2. If Lucas Harrell wasn’t out of options, I’d drive him to Oklahoma City or maybe Corpus Christi myself.
  3. If baseball had a AAAA level, Houston could field one of the best teams in that league: Harrell, Wallace, Leblanc, Jimmy Paredes and …
  4. Would love to be a fly on the wall in Nolan Ryan‘s suite if Reid was in attendance.
  5. How many base hits does Jose Altuve have on balls that were actually out of the strike zone?
  6. Be honest: Were you remote-happy during the Astros-Rangers’ game? What were you flipping around to watch? (Maybe Steelers-Redskins?).
  7. It’s the time of year you hear about players “out for the rest of the season” due to injury (e.g. Marquis, Pujols). I’m guessing you’d like to nominate a couple of Astros to be “out for the rest of the season”.
  8. Why do the 2013 Astros make me start thinking of the worst-ever country music song titles?
  9. Yes, Jake Elmore pitched in the minors: all of 4 1/3 innings. Let the move-Elmore-to-the-rotation jokes begin.
  10. Finally, the Rangers outscored the Steelers 16-13.

And the answers to the stats’ quiz in the last entry:

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32 comments on “Maybe Astros should be “out for the rest of the season”

  1. 1. Crane knows what’s best and has our interests close to his heart.
    2. Think Miami would take a flyer?
    3. …still lose big.
    4. Nolan: “Swat that fly!”
    5. Enough to make it a habit.
    6. No TV here. See #1.
    7. I may be out for the rest of the season.
    8. I’d-a Wrote You a Letter But I Couldn’t Spell […]
    9. It could help if Elmore pitches and catches himself for the rest of the season.
    10. Astros could use a good kicker.

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  2. The one thing that has me as perplexed as anything is in the way Altuve has regressed at the plate……totally forgetting about working a count. At his age, he should be at least somewhat coachable. Until he stops swinging at everything, he’ll never take that next step and become a good hitter. His BB/K rate, OBP, SLUG and OPS are all down significantly from last year.

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    • My preseason prognastication was that he would regress some this year before becoming better next year, a bit of a sophomore slump if you will.

      That was before I saw his swing rates this year. He is entering a bad place at 35% swing rates at pitches out of the strike zone. Batting title type hitters won’t typically be above 25%, and you couple that with his insane contact rate and that tells you he is hitting a lot of pitchers pitches, and not as many hiters pitches. Definitely a concern going into next year. He was at 29% last year, so its regressed.

      I don’t ever expect him to be a guy that draws lots of walks, his rate at hitting pitches both in and out of the strike xzone tells me he won’t see many deep counts. he doesn’t foul off as many pitches as others. The only hope for improvement is too see him at least get back below 30% next year on O-swing. That 5% dropoff has also cost him a full percentage point on BB rate.

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    • And I’ll add that he has lost a full percentage point on percentage of pitches in the strike zone, down to 50.2. Pitchers know he is willing to hit their pitches too.

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    • It’s worth noting the pitchers are likely not feeling as though they need to challenge Altuve. Aside from the fact he’s very difficult to walk, there is no protection behind him in the lineup most nights.

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      • Devin, If he gets more selective and stops swinging at pitches outside of the zone, he’ll walk more and ultimately see more pitches, hittable pitches, over the pate.

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  3. Please forgive me for continuing yesterday’s post about Castro, etc. This winter, if I were Luhnow (and I am not), I would buy out his Arb years and play him someplace to get his bat into the lineup. But what I meant was “Catcher stats” can be deceiving. Last night, Corporan’s throw to second was ruled a stolen base, but in my opinion (opinion only) it was a bone head play (mental error). That will not show up in his stats, and end the end – the game was lost anyway. Again, only talking about how some stats can be deceiving, that’s all.

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  4. daveb, agree on Altuve. But is his “regression” more of playing down to the level of the rest of the team or is he truly not making progress? In truth, it’s probably a bit of both. He’s the only consistent hitter the team has but, remember, he’s only 23 and shouldn’t be the player shouldering most of the load.

    Astro45, was thinking just last night that it was time to put Castro at first for the rest of the season and see if that’s an option. May not be, but the Astros seem to be checking out everybody these days, so why not. If you want to keep Wallace in, then DH him or let him spell Dominguez once a week. With Corporan possibly out with those concussion-like symptoms, it may not be the time, but it’s something the Astros should consider. IMO.

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    • Chip, based on his 2013 BB/K rate, I think a lack of progress. Altuve could get to a place where his BB’s match his K’s. That alone would change his hitting stats significantly. When he was a bit more selective last year, he hit for a better average, but he also had quite a few more extra base hits. I expected him to continue to become more selective. Did not happen. Moving forward, we don’t need a singles hitter who will not take a walk. Altuve is my favorite guy on the club, but as Steven notes, I hope it just a sophomore slump.

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    • And fully agree on Castro at first. I think we all agree at this point that Wallace is just not the answer, even as we await the (no guarantee) coming of Singleton.

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  5. Country music: Just think of the parodies. “There’s no use hang-ang-ing on, after all the wins are gone,” “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “Crane Took Everything but the Blame.” “Crane Got the Gold Mine, I got the shaft,” ” ARod, you Cheating Phart.” “He Stopped Loving Them Today,” “He’s Got a Ground Ball In His Hands,” “Astros, Please Take Your Bats To Town,” ” And That Makes Me the Winner.” It would be an endless list. And of course “Houston Astros, Louisiana Man”

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    • For the 2013 season I’m partial to:
      Just give it away
      There ain’t nothin’ in this house worth fightin’ over
      Oh, and we’re both tired of fightin’ anyway
      So just give it away

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  6. Wow Chip – you seem to be in the bad place that I was a few weeks ago, where cynicism rules. It is ironic that every time this team plays a bit better and gives us some hope (winning 4 of 6 to start the road trip with one of the losses in extra innings) it turns around with a total stinker that leads to a dive off the diving board.
    I watched the 1st inning and I have to say in that inning Harrell was totally unlucky with both the hits and with the same ump who was giving Garza strikes outside the strikezone missing one right down the middle at the knees that could have changed the inning. Mercifully I missed the 3rd inning debacle – was watching a movie with my son. But I did return to see Elmore retire the side in the 8th with a 80 mph fastball.
    Love the country western song titles above. I’m thinking about lines from songs:
    Patsy Cline – “Crazy, I’m crazy for cheering the Astros…”
    Tennessee Ernie Ford – “You cheer 46 years and what’s in your past, another year older and deeper in last…”
    Johnny Cash “Because their mine, I walk behind…”
    Don Gibson ” Everybody’s going out and having fun – I’m just a fool for staying home and having none – I’m the only one watching them on TV oh lonesome me”

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  7. As I have previously said regarding Altuve, he is now prime trade bait for Luhnow. He talked at the beginning of the year and even last year on being better at plate discipline yet he continues to swing at most pitches that are within reach. This is not the type of player that Luhnow has been drafting. As for the eleven runs, even the announcers said at one point the inning should have been over 10 minutes earlier if Villar had made the double play instead of dropping the ball. Also agree with an earlier poster, the steal of home was a bone headed by Villar again. And don’t forget the error by Dominguez to let the inning continue. I am not much of a fan of Harrell, but that inning was not entirely on him.

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    • Altuve could be trade bait, but we don’t have another guy to put at second. Then we really start looking like the Pirates or Royals of the past couple of decades. I think Altuve goes when we have a better guy to replace him, or, only if Luhnow gets a foolishly good deal for him.

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  8. I’ve lost track of how MANY errors Villar has made since they brought him up, but if he’s gonna be “that” guy at short he needs some help with throwing to 1st.
    We will get to see Max Stassi this week, they are bringing him up until Corporan
    gets the bees outta his head, after getting whacked last night. I saw last nights interview with Harrell….that guy is a rambling fool. I have fractured my back, and I don’t know which one is more painful…..the pain in my back or the pain of watching
    (listening) to these games. Altuve will be just fine, the poor guy has the weight of
    this team on his back everyday….

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    • Becky, Villar has been “that” guy as far as errors go. He has 6 in 23 games in the majors, which equates to 42 errors in 162 games. In his minor league career he had 163 errors in 534 games which equates to 49 errors in 162 games. The kid is an error machine – he is 22 years old – but he has not shown too much improvement over time.

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      • Then leave Marwin at short. Villar REGULARLY pulls Wallace off 1st. base, and
        even though the guy has a good throwing arm, he throws wide or high, nearly EVERYTIME. What good is a guy at short that commits errors that lead to big innings….ie last night. Sorry Dan, but that kid has NOT impressed me.

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    • Did Backe — I mean Harrell — REALLY say that he had a good stinker — I mean sinker — working last night?

      That eye-high, fluffy, no sink beach-ball is a hitter’s — I mean professional hitter’s — dream.

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  9. Becky – sorry to hear about your injury. Please heal up soon!
    Hey – will be happy to see Mr. Stassi up – hope to see Mr. Springer before his retirement party.

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    • As long as Martinez does not embarrass me now. And I’m excited about Stassi. I don’t really care if he hits during this short stint, but I’d like to see him look confident behind the plate. He looked like a catcher when i saw him in CC a couple of weeks ago. And I do hope you get better well before the home team.

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  10. Thanks for the news about David Martinez, Becky.
    And I’m not pushing Villar as the long time solution at SS – but its not hurting us to get a feel for whether he will ever even be a good backup.

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    • When Villar came up, I made a comment on Chron and got crushed. My original comment was, his numbers in the minors were not good and I hoped he improved. Jeter, Ripkin, and some others that I reviewed were not good fielders in the minors. But they tightened up in the majors. If Villar can do that, he can stay. Right now, he is fielding at Cedeno’s numbers. If not, he is just a younger Ronny Cedeno.

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  11. Not a bad game by Astros. Better team won. Look like Stassi was made a clown, and he had no reason to come off the base, but the base coaches can not be mute on plays behind a runner.

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  12. Astro45, agree. But you can’t blame a base coach on something that happens in a split second and on a play that the runner should have full responsibility for. If you watch the replays closely, you see Stassi reacting as if someone from the first base area is saying something, so it’s likely someone did say something like “get on the bag”. Even the announcers were mystified at first, calling it a “hidden ball trick”. There was no trick whatsoever to it. Just a good backup and reaction.

    At this level of the game — even at the AA and AAA levels — players have to play the game, but I’m still shocked almost on a weekly basis of what major league players don’t seem to either know or be able to do — e.g. put down a decent bunt or run bases — when they get to an MLB team. And this is not just a comment on the Astros.

    Astro45, not trying to argue, just think that play was entirely on Stassi. I’ll give him a break on this one since it was his first game, but he will likely be the first one to take full responsibility for the mistake.

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