Astros’ lineups: A work in progress for 2014


BY CHIP BAILEY

Bo Porter has his opening day lineup. Unless the trend changes from recent seasons, it will be the first of many this year.

The important thing is that some of the changes and modifications coming this year would seem to be obvious. Timing should be the only question.

And, if you believe Jeff Luhnow, the trade deadline won’t involve shipping away players like Chad Qualls, Dexter Fowler or others to stock up the minor league systems.

While some lineup positions may be more stable this season — for example, Fowler should handle leadoff most of the time as opposed to the 2013 revolving door (8 different players) — Porter may still find himself experimenting with platoons and younger replacements from Oklahoma City (we can always hope).

So, today’s exercise is to do some experimenting of our own. First, Bo’s lineup for Tuesday’s opener:

And Porter’s rotation to start the season: Scott Feldman, Brett Oberholtzer, Jarred Cosart, Lucas Harrell, Dallas Keuchel.

The last couple of Aprils have been busy for the Astros, primarily due to injuries. But elbow, back or freak injuries aside, this Astros’ roster and lineup will be due frequent updates — even upgrades — throughout the year.

For example, Houston plays 28 games in April and will hit the one-third point of the season on May 16. By that time this could be one lineup that Bo turns in when the Astros host the Rangers in mid-May.

And, by the end of May at least, Porter’s rotation may have evolved into: Cosart, Feldman, Oberholtzer, Keuchel, Michael Foltynewicz.

And, an optimistic approach might propose this lineup by the All Star break:

  • Fowler CF.
  • Grossman LF.
  • Springer RF.
  • Castro DH.
  • Jonathan Singleton 1B.
  • Max Stassi C.
  • Dominguez 3B.
  • Altuve 2B.
  • Trade acuisition SS.

And, a rotation of: Cosart, Feldman, Oberholtzer, Foltynewicz, Alex White/Asher Wojciechowski.

Of course, this is all speculation, though it’s not far-fetched, illogical, unreasonable wild imagination.

  • Do you like Bo’s start-of-the-season lineup?
  • What’s your lineup for the one-third marker?
  • Take a swing at the rotation: Who’s likely to have the staying power and what will it look like come the All Star break?
  • Which one of the up-and-coming players (with no MLB experience) could be game-changers in 2014?
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17 comments on “Astros’ lineups: A work in progress for 2014

  1. The Astros maybe better served having Altuve lead off and Fowler bat third. I guess its all in the managers style.

    The optimal lineup is Fowler batting leadoff and Springer batting third, but the Astros are content with cheating Springer – who has earned his keep through stalwart performance – of future earnings, so be it. Hopefully he remembers it when his time comes.

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  2. Chip –
    First I would have two lineups based on vs. lefty or vs. righty pitchers based on the stats for these batters. Here are players with their lines against leftys or rightys for their career (only exception – I took Castro’s numbers from last season when he seemed to hit his stride).

    Versus Righty
    CF Fowler .258 BA / .355 OBP / .777 OPS
    RF Hoes .292 / .341 / .704
    C Castro .286 / .358 / .864
    DH Carter .220 / .304 / .756
    3B Dominguez .247 / .292 / .716
    1B Guzman .238 / .298 / .683
    LF Grossman .245 / .327 / .669
    2B Altuve .271 / .349 / .658
    SS Villar .240 / .316 / .627

    Versus Lefty
    CF Fowler .295 / .386 / .814
    2B Altuve .321 / .361 / .809
    LF Grossman .329 / .347 / .785
    1B Guzman .286 / .358 / .818
    DH Carter .219 / .339 / .755
    C Castro .242 / .324 / .738
    Dominguez .251 / .285 / .659
    Villar .250 / .333 / .673
    Hoes .259 / .306 / .669

    Based on history we sure look like we will hit better against leftys than rights – too bad there are about 3 times more rightys than leftys to face.

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  3. Per your other questions –
    I don’t think much changes in the lineup at the 1/3 pole unless there is an injury or trade. Maybe at the 1/2 way pole they will bring Springer up and he will be your #3 batter period.
    Rotation at the all-star break – I think Harrell falls out and Peacock picks it up. They should consider bringing Foly or Wojo up – but my hope is not too high for that.
    If they brought him up – Folty looks like a game changer to me and obviously Springer. I think Singleton might flop totally this season.

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  4. No, I don’t like the starting lineup because it does little to advance the team. It may rule out whether Grossman / Hoes / Guzman are capable of being starters.

    Sorry for going off script, but the big problem I have is that we don’t have anyone on our 25 without ? marks. We do know Cosart and Springer are potential all stars…but only one is going to face the Yankees and it won’t be on opening day (oddly, the fourth opening day of the 2014 season…which says to me the move to the AL was unnecessary).

    I’d like to see White in the rotation. I’d rather see Olberholtzer, Harrel, and keuchel be so consistent (and good) that there is no room, but I am not holding my breath.

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  5. Ho Hum. We don’t have much talent to trot out there right now. Dan, agreed, Singleton could become the first big bust of this new era. That’s why we should not get too excited about our great farm system. Most of the guys simply won’t make a big impact. Seems that Springer will be the first one up. I just don’t know how they can keep him down for long without pressure from all corners.

    I think Harrell survives in the rotation only until someone else is ready to take the slot. I expect the same erratic performance from him week to week.

    Too bad Crane is not throwing out the first pitch on Tuesday. I’m sure he knows what the reaction would be.

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  6. Sorry for going completely off script, but would love to see the Chipalatta’s do a position by position start of 2013 vs. start of 2014 comparison.

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  7. With this team, how about the first 8 position players that are dressed and out the clubhouse door. In order that Bo not be sterile, the starting pitchers will the determined alphabetically, and the relievers by birthdate. Sounds as good as any. And DanP, Zolotf is NOT working for me. To borrow from the movie Airplane, “I picked a hell of a day to quit sniffing glue.” And I wonder what went through Springer’s mind when he read about the Trout contract.

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    • Probably started thinking about what he’ll wear to the press conf announcing his signing to take over for Ellsbury in cf.

      The Cabrera contract made me gag. The Trout one made me wonder How the bills will get paid on some of these contracts. Remember when Arte Moreno said they could not take on any more salary? I think that was about $75m and zero playoff wins ago.

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    • Yes, that surely was the beginning of Lloyd Bridges and Leslie Nielsen’s new career in spoof movies. (“And quit calling me Shirley”)If I want to be happy I will shut off the Astros (yes I get Comcast) and crank-up Airplane or Hot Shots or Naked Gun…..

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  8. I like Bo’s opening day lineup. I think it puts the best players in the lineup in their best positions. That is, not counting Springer.
    I like Krauss at 1B against righties.
    I would like the lineup to be nearly the same at the one-third marker because that would mean we are playing decently.
    I think we will have one different starter and one different reliver by the end of May. Would like to see Folty work his way by july but he will definitely not get up before his extra year is secured. I see Lo coming up sometime. I think the only game changer we might have would be Folty and that would be in the bullpen this year.
    One last thing. Cabrera’s contract extension may be one of the dumbest things I have seen in a while. I am really coming around to Luhnow’s plan based on what other club’s are willing to do with their money. The Tiger’s had Cabrera’ s last 2 best year’s sewed up and the rest is downhill. That is just crazy money.

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  9. File this under “Just Wondering” – but I wonder if the draft pick might be another Appel when the Pirates drafted him. Not wanting to stay an extra year in the minors, might they opt to Not Sign and wait another year? Yes they lose a year (enjoy the college life), but have a better chance with a team that puts their best players in the majors.

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    • I don’t think that will be a major concern for two reasons. First, the #1 pick gets to sign with a team with the highest draft budget. Second, returning to school does not guarantee being the #1 pick the next year.

      Also, the agents will be working to secure a deal (like Correa) ahead of the draft. The danger, to us fans, would be for the Astros to misjudge a pick and take a lesser talent to save $2million upfront.

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  10. Yes but Appel only turned down #8 money to try to get #1 money from his favorite team the next year. Our pick would have to be willing to turn down #1 money this year and then have us have the first shot next year, too. or the Marlins, or the Twins or the White Sox. And an injury in college next year could cost him everything.

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    • I don’t know how accurate rumors are, but I read that Appel wanted $6 Million from the Astros, and he dropped to #8 – then signed a year later for $6.3 Million. But I noticed in the charts that it is mostly High School and College Juniors on the list. Normally, it is the lower picks that wait a year or two. (Again, just wondering)

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      • A lot of times the guys end up being lower picks because teams believe they will go to college first (for instance). That is why McCullers was still around when we picked in between the 1st and 2nd round.

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  11. For the FIRST time since the Astros were on TV……….most of us will not see them. I’m not forking over for MLBTV, so I can sit in front of my computer to watch them play…….I have a 50 inch TV, so I’ll just listen to the horrible radio guys.
    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    Liked by 1 person

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