Dan separates the wheat and chaff on the Astros’ 2013 roster

Chip is working in Southern California this week and Dan Peschong checks in with an interesting look back at 2013. Indeed, it was a season to “see what we’ve got” and Dan cites the cream that is rising to the top and the plain ol’ riff raff.

• •• ••• •• •  

At the major league level, the Houston Astros 2013 season was nothing short of a catastrophe in team performance and in fulfilling even the minimal expectations of fans entering the year. Almost all of the organizational success occurred farther down the food chain in the minors; very little occurred at the major league level to warm even the most optimistic fan’s heart.

One thing that did occur is that 50 different players wore the Astros uniforms last year, so in a biblical sense there were attempts to separate the wheat from the chaff (not that we are burning up the refuse players in unquenchable fire).  The following is a shot at categorizing those 50 men who wore the uniform in 2013 based on their performances.

Gone, gone gone

(13) The final decision for a bunch of the players occurred during the season or in the short time since the last game of 2013. This covers a mix of those released and those traded.

Released or Lost off Waivers Carlos Pena, Ronny Cedeno, Jimmy Paredes, Rick Ankiel, Travis Blackley, Erik Bedard, Phillip Humber, and Xavier Cedeno

Traded – Bud Norris, Justin Maxwell, Fernando Martinez, Wesley Wright, and Jose Veras

Good as gone

(8) These guys may still be in the organization in 2014, but the fact that none of them appear on the 40 man roster highlights that none of them are considered a part of the future.

Brandon Laird, Cody Clark, Wade LeBlanc, Jorge DeLeon, Edgar Gonzalez, Trevor Crowe, Matt Pagnozzi

Last Chance Saloon

(6) There are probably more guys in this category than I mention below – but these are the guys who are on their last shot with the organization from my point of view and might be gone soon if a trading partner could be found. Lyles, because of his age and potential might not be on this list in Luhnow’s eyes – but how many more 5+ ERA years can he post before they give up on him

Lucas Harrell, JD Martinez, Brett Wallace, Marwin Gonzalez, Jordan Lyles, Rhiner Cruz, Hector Ambriz

Not Enough Data

(14) These are guys who have not played or thrown enough to end up either on the Last Chance Saloon list or the Good (for now) list. This season is important for them as they try to make a mark on a wide open club. Some of these guys will not even make the team out of spring training, but some may make their career.

Dallas Keuchel, Brad Peacock, Jake Elmore, Paul Clemens, Max Stassi, Jose Cisnero, Kevin Chapman, Josh Zeid, Chia-Jen Lo, Jonathan Villar, LJ Hoes, Josh Fields, Marc Krauss, David Martinez

Good (for now)

(6) These are the folks who look like sure things to start the 2014 season and play significant time. There is no way I can say that any of the 50 Astros from 2013 are “untouchables” – but these are the best bets from last season.

Jared Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer, Jason Castro, Jose Altuve, Matt Dominguez, Chris Carter,


(3) Not sure where to put a few guys.

Part of me wants to put Robbie Grossman in Not Enough Data – but there was something there that made me think that he might be Good for Now.

Brandon Barnes on the other hand has played too much to be a Not Enough Data guy and too inconsistent to be Good for Now – but I don’t think he is a Last Chance Saloon guy either.

In one way Carlos Corporan may be a good for now guy – does a good job behind the plate and has some pop – but it is possible that Stassi could bump him. I’m kind of hoping that Castro takes over 1B and Corporan and Stassi split the C duties.

So – looking at the 50 guys who played for the Astros last year – do you agree with the classifications and where do you place people? Are you amazed that I put only 6 people in the good for now category? (Maybe some of you are amazed that I could find 6).


33 comments on “Dan separates the wheat and chaff on the Astros’ 2013 roster

  1. So Much Chaff.
    Jake Elmore was such a disappointment. May be more Last Chance Salloon than insufficient data. I think you have done a good job here.
    Remember last February when we said that this would be a year to evaluate what we have? Who knew we would be so bad? 51 wins? That kind of production made evaluations easier.
    Cannot wait for Strom to get ahold of these pitchers. Can he help Cosart with his delivery and command? Can he get one more pitch into Folty’s repertoir? Can he find something in Trop and Wojo to push them into the majors with authority. Can he take Mark Appel’s stuff, and make him into an animal on the mound, because that is all he is lacking. Can he harness and transfer Ober’s animal instincts to the bullpen staff, because Ober has the heart of a lion? Can he make Lucas Harrell mad enough to want to pitch, rather than taste whine for a living?
    Will Jeff Luhnow look at Dan P’s breakdown and run to the ATM and buy Cho-Choo-Who-Knew. Is George Springer house hunting in the Greater Houston Metropolitan area?


    • Old pro – you are absolutely right – they have a lot of arms on the cusp and the right kind of coaching could give us a monster rotation in a couple years.
      And if Springer is not starting 2014 here and buying a place to live…. Luhnow better start selling his because the natives will be storming the castle.


      • Dan, read my last entry on the Ausmus discussion. It refers to an article this morning in Astros.com about Strom and Heidenreich. That is why I talk so much about Strom and our pitchers, who I think have been starving.


      • With Houston’s history of great AAAA players, I’d let Springer rent until he puts up the monster numbers in MMP. If he does it here, then load up the moving trucks.


  2. I’d sign Choo even if it took a Carlos Lee type deal. it’s not my money. And if Santana forces his way into the lineup in a year or so, Choo can always go to left. I would not mind seeing an outfield of Choo, Springer and Santana.


  3. I just think $100 million is a bit much for Choo. Lee’s contract hamstrung us for a couple of years. I don’t want to see Choo’s do the same.


      • now dont get me wrong, i would welcome some FA signings that make sense and shore up some weak areas ie. the bullpen. but these need to be short term (1-2 years, no more than 3) and moderately priced. when we are ready to sign a big contract in future years, it should be someone in the 27 year old range that is 32 or so when the contract is up. you’ll get the most bang for your buck that way. no long term high dollar contracts to players that will be 36 or older when the contract expires and didnt live up to the big bucks the last couple of years. look at the angels with pujols and hamilton. do you really think he will be worth 23 million in 2014? how about 24m in 2015, 25m in 2016, 26m in 2017, 27m in 2018, 28m in 2019, 29m in 2020 and 30 million in 2021. Pujols will be 34 in january, 34!!! do you really think he’ll be worth 30 million a year when he is 41???? pujols may have been the best player in baseball in the recent past, but now he is aging and susceptible to injury (as we all are as we age). this contract will be pointed to for years as how not to do it. NO LONG TERM GIGANTIC FA CONTRACTS!! even signing pujols at 27 for 10 years gets you downhill years at the end of the contract, the angels signed pujols to ten years at age 33. bad move.


      • dan i am hoping for one more year of shakedown and evaluation in 2014, a competitive team in 2015 (with a few shrewd trades or acquisitions) and 2016 as the year that one or two players could put us in contention for the playoffs.


      • rj – I just think it is time for them to start bringing in talent to at least bridge the gap a bit. They could bring in three $10 million guys and still be the lowest payroll in the majors. If the right kind of guy is not available I don’t think they should grab someone they don’t like anyways – but if they can hook someone who can show the kids the right way to play (and is still worth a toot) what is wrong with that?


      • I think Choo can be that guy. Patient at the plate. A little power. Great OBP. My trouble with him is at 32, he’s starting to age. We give him 4 years, I’m fine with that. But six is too many.
        Unlike that pop song my daughters listen to, any deal with Choo is NOT all about the money. It’s about the length of the deal. And it’s about how the contract is structured. Give him $70 million to $80 million but front-load $18 million a year the first three years. For example, if it’s a 5-year deal, go $70 million and a then you’ve got $8 million a year over the last two years.
        Boras should even like this deal because money up front is worth more than money at the back end.


      • as i said , i welcome some FA signings that make sense and shore up some weak areas. but short term 1-3 years. no 7-10 year 100 million contracts. doesnt make sense at this time.


    • Choo is a different ballplayer. He won’t be too big to get around the field in five years. He’s a better than average defender. And as I said earlier, if we end up with too much talent, that’s a good problem to have. Then we make trades for help in areas we need it. 100 million is not the same money that it was when Lee signed. And why do we keep trying to protect our organization from spending money on real talent? We’re the 4th biggest city in the US. We deserve a real payroll!


      • It shows how tough things on the FA market (because the only guys getting there are over 30 or damaged goods). Choo has had solid numbers and he gets on base – a lot. Now whether he will walk as much in the Astros lineup – I don’t know. But he might be worth a shot, Just remember he turns 32 next season in July – so I think 5 years would be as far as I would stretch.


      • I don’t have time to research it, but have it in the back of my mind Choo is a hot start, slow finish guy typically. Does anyone know if that’s accurate for his career, or just 2013? I worry about declines due to age hitting those types of players hard.


    • Lee’s contract did not hamstring us for years. He produced for most of that contract. We got hamstrung by not having a farm system to supply us with young talent


      • The problem with Lee was that he never had enough tools to justify that much money – ever. If he had 5 years $70 million it would have been a decent deal.


      • I always find it interesting that many folks wanted to break the bank for Adam Dunn, but Lee’s .300/100/30-ish numbers were never good enough. Yeah, he tailed off, but most of the big-money guys do.


  4. Devin
    Actually for his career his second half OPS is about 60 points higher than the first half. Frankly last year his second half was just a little down from his first half.
    Anyways I’m not seeing that he is down that much in the second half.


    • Thanks Dan. I went back and looked and it was 2012 where he had a steep fall-off. In 2011 he barely played in the second half. His other years he was either better or just as good. I’d chalk it up as an anomaly at this point.

      As for overpaying him, I don’t think it’s a bad idea. I think he’s a marketable player in Houston far more than in a number of other cities with teams that would have interest. He plays hard and has skills the team sorely lacks.


  5. Dan P: A team that loses 111 probably has few keepers. I think your (6) Good for Now is generous. Also 20 out the door is probably close to accurate. So looks like two or more years before .500 record.


    • I can see the argument the other way on some of the players – some may argue that Cosart and Oberholtzer belong in not enough data – they did not start many games. But to me these are guys that are basically safe for now and considered building blocks for the next few years. Carter was another one hard to judge.


  6. Wow a lot of good food fro thought. I wish we could get teh real scoop on Springer, with his tools and numbers, it seems we are missing some part of the story here. I just saw an article that he may start in OK city the beginning of the year ???


  7. Kevin – interesting point – I would ask everyone to hold the Springer discussion for a few days as another post on that subject will appear from Brian T.
    And Kevin – as a guy with fat fingers – I totally understand your problem with the phones.


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