CHIPALATTA

All Things Astros and a whole lot more

MMQB: Lineup, #1, GA/AO, the clock and LR


Ah, yes, a day off. it’s the first one for the Astros this season and it give Bo Porter, Jeff Luhnow — and fans — the opportunity take a breath. So, let’s take a look at some things in the news, on the stats’ pages and the land of speculation.

 

Jose Altuve is home. Please leave him there.

  • If the Astros have found 2-3 pieces of the long-term solution, Altuve — it would appear — is among the core. Therefore, it should be easy to plug him into the right hole, let him play and go about the business of finding the other pieces. That would include ending the where-does-he-hit-today experiment. Experiment if you must with the rest of the lineup, but hit Altuve second and be done. That consistency makes Dexter Fowler a better hitter and base runner and it helps whoever hits third settle in as well. Where would you write in Altuve for the long haul?

Carlos Rodon or bust?

  • Earlier this year, NC State LHP Carlos Rodon was seen as the consensus #1 pick for the Astros in June. Now, it’s not as certain, with some projections pointing to various possibilities, including high school pitchers Brady Aiken or Tyler Kolek. Why? Rodon has struggled in some starts, though his overall stats seem solid. Unless he falls completely apart or is injured, Rodon will still be the odds-on pick in a couple of months. Mark Appel, Rodon, Cosart, Lance McCullers, Mike Foltynewicz, Oberholtzer (add any other names here) is starting to have a nice ring to it for 2015-17.

Harrell on the bubble.

  • Fret all you want about Lucas Harrell‘s first two starts, but with Scott Feldman on leave for a few days and a 13-game stretch starting Tuesday, Harrell is likely the guy…at least for a while. Still, his offensive teammates could help. With early departures in his first two outings, the Astros haven’t scored a single run while Harrell was in the game. It’s not much better for Brett Oberholtzer, who has been the beneficiary of only three runs in three starts.

By ground or by air.

  • If you’re looking for a reason for the higher success rate for Astros’ pitchers, look no further than the ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio (GA/AO). The Astros’ staff leads the American League (4th in the majors) with a 1.36 ratio. That ranking is true for starters and relievers, signifying there may be a philosophy in place for the organization. For the record, Jarred Cosart leads the league (1.89) and Dallas Keuchel is eleventh (1.25). Chad Qualls (1.67) and Matt Albers (1.50) lead Houston’s relievers.

Clock may be ticking.

  • That other guy is still incubating, but Jon Singleton may be hitting his stride in Oklahoma City. The product of the Hunter Pence trade — shaping up to be a doozy! — has eight hits in his last 17 ABs with three HRs and seven RBI. With anemic hitting at the major league level, it could mean the clock is ticking for Jesus Guzman, Marc Krauss, Chris Carter or even Alex Presley. Singleton in the three-hole ahead of Jason Castro would energize the lineup.

And, a Monday lightning round:

  • Best player long-term coming back from the Pence trade: Singleton, Cosart, Domingo Santana, Josh Zeid.
  • Player hitting <.200 most likely to get his stroke over the next 10 days: Robbie Grossman, Dominguez, Castro or Carter?
  • Finish the sentence: By July, the Astros will…
  • One team ranks lower than the Astros in runs scored. (Hint: This team has hit only one HR this season too). Which team is it?
  • Which one of these players is on pace for less than 100 K? Grossman, Villar, Dominguez, Castro or Fowler?

 

 

Advertisements

About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in Colorado Springs, CO, and is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 40 years. A native of Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. He came up with Chipalatta, and it’s stuck.

41 comments on “MMQB: Lineup, #1, GA/AO, the clock and LR

  1. rj
    April 13, 2014

    altuve should hit second and stay there period. by july you will see singleton and springer in the lineup. i’d like to see santana in LF once he is ready. 1. fowler cf 2. altuve 2b 3. castro c 4. singleton 1b 5. carter dh 6. springer rf 7. santana lf 8. dominguez 3b 9. villar ss looks like a pretty dang good lineup to me somewhere in the future and i think above average defense. pick three from krauss/presley/hoes/guzman to make room for the changes.

    Like

    • videoidget1
      April 14, 2014

      Totally agree that Altuve is perfectly suited for the 2-hole.

      I think you are spot-on with your predictions about GSpring and Singlepuff.

      Krauss is not getting all the starts at 1B against righties. Very telling. He’ll be gone by July, as well.

      Like

    • daveb
      April 14, 2014

      Springer is our centerfielder of the future. Santana has a gun. If he appears ready at any point while Fowler is still around, then Fowler should go to left and Santana to right.

      Like

  2. Dan P
    April 14, 2014

    Nice start to the week here Chip.
    – I would like to see Altuve somewhere other than the 3rd or 4th hole.
    – I pay no attention to college / high school ball – I have no idea who they should chase – it does not have to be a pitcher – though I think staffing up with pitchers makes sense as that is more expensive and more uncertain to chase in FA later on.
    – It would be nice to see the team put up more (some) runs up early for its pitchers. Losing 1-0 twice in one series is hurtful
    – One shift comment – Prince Fielder has to be hating it as the Astros were waiting for him a number of times this weekend – a couple sure hits yesterday taken away.
    – Getting groundballs is a good thing with Dominguez in place and Villar playing like a mlb SS. Altuve and whoever is at first have been OK too.
    – Pence trade looks like a super stocker to the organization. I rate them right now as Cosart, Singleton, Santana and Zeid – but that sure could move around in the next year or two.
    – Most likely to break out of slump? The best hitter in the bunch – Castro.
    – By July the Astros will …have to give psychological counseling to their pitchers if the hitters are still failing while guys are tearing up the minors.
    – Pure guess on which team is below the Astros in runs scored – Seattle.
    – On pace for less than 100 K – Villar?

    Like

    • Devin
      April 14, 2014

      I’m guessing Royals on the runs. It seems to me they have been struggling mightily. I would have guessed the Reds, but they put up 13 runs the other night.

      I watched Rodon v Clemson the other weekend. I believe the game was 1-0 Clemson heading into the seventh inning, where they did their damage. Last year, Rod on threw lasers that seemed to explode late…the way Oswalt’s did. In this game his fastball didn’t have the same life to it. The commentators noted it was more frequently in the 87 – 90 range whereas in 2013 he was 90 – 92 with normal periods of 95+. In the super regional and CWS he was throwing pure smoke.

      Like

      • Chip Bailey
        April 14, 2014

        Ouch! on Rodon. With that kind of velocity dropoff, something’s up. Injury, tired arm, change of mechanics, something. He threw 136 pitches in a game recently, which isn’t good and could also be a factor. Not sure what other pitch counts are, but hopefully, this was not the norm.

        If his velocity stays down, teams are going to want medical records or exams.

        Like

      • Devin
        April 14, 2014

        Those are typical pitch counts for him. Its hard to trust the gun readings from a broadcast. I’m sure most teams ignore and only trust the guns that their scouts carry…but the hitters were far more comfortable/confident than a year ago.

        Like

      • Chip Bailey
        April 14, 2014

        Apparently, it was in “the mid 90s” during a recent game against Duke.

        http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/04/11/3777580/decock-nc-states-rodon-takes-another.html

        Like

  3. Astro45
    April 14, 2014

    Only see the Astros vs. Rangers. First, for those Chron geniuses, it has been 11 days and Springer is still in OKC. Second, Altuve can protect Fowler provided he gets on base. Third, the pitchers have been spectacular, and if Cosart control improves – he is Hall of Fame material. Dominguez and Grossman must prove they are “Wallace” because, you can’t offer someone a long term deal and cut them in the same year. By July, SOMEONE will be hitting. He or they get to stay. K – Altuve probably because he is now walking at least on occasion. Finally, Santana is hitting ONLY .262 and is the WORST hitting OFer at OKC.

    Like

    • Dan P
      April 14, 2014

      One thing to remember about Santana – the average player age at OKC is 26 years old and Sanatana is the second youngest (one month older than Torreyes) player on the Redhawks. Considering that – his .262 BA / .763 OPS is OK – I mean he is 3 years younger than Springer / 4 years younger than Wates.

      Like

      • Chip Bailey
        April 14, 2014

        Hmmm. “…the average player age at OKC is 26 years old”

        ——————————————————–

        Just noted this weekend as well that the Astros themselves have the youngest roster in the majors…averaging 26.7 years of age.

        Like

      • Astro45
        April 14, 2014

        My awkward point was ANYONE at OKC would be able to hit .189. Wates would have to lose 200 points. Yes, it is a small sample, etc. But I just get burned when you have to keep the same 13 position players, but move pitchers up and down at will. And change the batting order every 5 minutes. Why have a minor league team if you are going to find some silly reason to keep them down on the farm. I consider myself a baseball fan for over 60 years. During the last 4 years is the first time I spend more time reading about the minor leaguers (and love OldPros posts) because you just can’t get excited about the direction of the Astros again this year.

        Like

    • videoidget1
      April 14, 2014

      I like Cosart’s stuff too, however he is not consistent enough with his bender. Way too often his curve is just hanging there in the hitter’s eyes. When his curve is biting and down, however, it’s just plain wicked. Plus fastball with good location. Good cutter.

      Definitely a player to watch.

      Like

    • shampain
      April 14, 2014

      The 11 days was a count on when arb clock passed on him this year, not a prediction of when he would arrive. Still have super 2 status to pass. If HE was hitting .375 maybe he would be here, but that would need to be over a stretch of more than the 11 or so games played. Santana is young, wait and watch him develop. I believe the first post said “when he is ready”. I think Springer and Singleton will be here by july, probably sooner than that.

      Like

    • daveb
      April 14, 2014

      Hall of Fame material? I like Cosart too, but that’s a bit premature.

      Like

      • Devin
        April 14, 2014

        I think this is a reverse grass is greener situation. In my opinion, Cosart comes in a few rungs below Oswaltin terms of ability. To reach the HoF he would need to rack up some serious achievements. I would put it more in the potential all star category.

        Like

      • Astro45
        April 14, 2014

        Boy, you guys are tough. Will not even allow a little hyperbole on a guy after watching so many basement rats for past few years. O.K. so he needs to do it for another 20 years, I’ll give you that. But he was not overmatched with the Rangers #2 team (with all their injuries)

        Like

  4. daveb
    April 14, 2014

    I’ve got to see more at bats before I can determine where everyone should hit. But although Altuve has only struck out 4 times he’s still not working counts, he’s going up there swinging in the third or forth slot trying to score guys. In the long run, he’ll be much more successful being a tough out, and part of that working will be by extending counts. He’ll do much better in the 2 slot, and will grow his OBP. He’s also a good hit and run guy for Fowler, because he usually makes contact.

    Castro is off to a typically slow start against lefties, at 1 for 13. If he’s 2 for 26 against then in a couple of weeks, I start giving him days off against left handed pitching, or at least move him down. I think for right now, when there is a lefty on the mound, I put Guzman on the forth slot, allowing Altuve to stay where he belongs at 2.

    At some point, it will all be a moot point if Springer and Singleton and Stassi and Wates all keep hitting, maybe they’ll all get put on a charter and come up together.

    Wouldn’t that be fun.

    Like

  5. videoidget1
    April 14, 2014

    Not sure about Fowler as a leadoff hitter. His swing is very long and loopy. Just not sure if he can make enough contact over the long-haul to be a plus CF. We’ll see. He clearly didn’t have his best series against the Rangers.

    Like

    • daveb
      April 14, 2014

      Springer should be our centerfielder. But historically, Fowler is a better OBP guy than Altuve, so I’d leave him in the lead off slot. We don’t have another real option.

      Like

      • rj
        April 14, 2014

        hey daveb bet you arent getting snow or hail like we are here in tx. i think when springer comes up he will play rf and fowler will remain in cf. when fowler’s contract is up or he gets traded, then springer is cf for what i hope is many years. have a nice big drink of rum for all of us shivering here. cheers!

        Like

      • daveb
        April 14, 2014

        A bit of a tropical shower, but no hail. If we should end up at some point with an outfield of Fowler, Springer and Santana, that’s the way I’d leave it, from left to right. I think that gives us the better defense. From what I’ve seen, Springer is already a better centerfielder than Fowler, and Santana has too good an arm to waste it in left.

        Like

  6. 1oldpro
    April 14, 2014

    -Now that players are healthy I think Altuve should be in the two hole.
    -If Rodon has lost 5mph off his fastball, there are better guys out there. Nobody wants to draft a guy they think is hurt at 1.1.
    -Harrell needs a good start or they will Humber him.
    – the ground ball pitchers have been geting their ground ball fielded well by the infielders. The shift and the fielding have been good.
    -I think the clock is ticking for Krauss because there are more righty pitchers and that top prospect at 1B in OKC is a lefty hitter, a better fielder and is on the 40 man already. Singleton is hitting.
    Thanks to Astro45 for his nice comment about my minor league posts.

    Like

    • rj
      April 14, 2014

      i think everyone here appreciates your minor league posts oldpro, please keep em coming.

      Like

  7. Becky
    April 14, 2014

    NC State is about to pitch Rodon’s arm off……his coach left him in a game recently to throw 134 pitches. NOT a good way to treat your “ace”. Altuve needs to hit in the two hole……period. I’m perplexed by OKC having Springer man center field. If he’s gonna be in right field…….why not let him get used to it in the near future. As far as these guys not hitting, nothing much has changed from last year. No spark. Don’t know how you guys feel, but if this rotation (minus Harrell) keep pitching like this
    these guys could match up with ANY rotation in the majors. A real shame to waste
    the efforts of Obie yesterday,I keep reminding myself it’s only week three of the season………..
    P.S.Old pro…….keep the posts coming, you work hard so we don’t have to! 🙂

    Like

    • Dan P
      April 14, 2014

      Becky I love your optimism – but before the last series our staff ERA was over 5 and this very good 3 game series dropped it to 4.36, which is still 11th in the AL – and not near the top guys like Oakland (2.17 !!!!!! staff ERA) and Seattle (2.79). And the A’s and the M’s did that without facing us so far (a snide side comment on our hitting).

      Like

    • Dan P
      April 14, 2014

      By the way – the A’s have – Scott Kazmir (1.40 ERA .776 WHIP), who was playing for the Sugar Land Skeeters last season and Fernando Abad (former Astro) who has a 0.00 ERA and a 0.400 WHIP in 5 appearances.
      Just sayin’

      Like

  8. 1oldpro
    April 14, 2014

    So now I have time for the lightning round.
    -Best player long term from Pence trade. I’m going with Singleton, because he is the prototype 1B. Power, left handed glove, large size, and young. Also because he has been not moved around position-wise and is not a switch hitter and has been seasoned long enough to develop properly.
    -player due to come out of his funk: Castro because he will get more AB’s vs righties
    -By July the Astros will be out of the race and MMP will have been very empty.
    -Least runs scored- KC?
    -Less than 100 K’s-I’ll go with Villar because he is down in the order, so less AB’s

    Like

  9. tedf1948
    April 14, 2014

    I agree that Altuve should reside permanently in the 2-hole but from what I can glean from Porter’s actions, I believe he will continue move and shuffle the line up regardless of who comes up from OKC. He doesn’t strike me as a solid manager and he seems to act on whim.

    Like

  10. Lemongello Shooter
    April 15, 2014

    I agree that Altuve should be in the 2-hole…best suited for that spot now. I like Santana as the long term best from the Pence trade. By July, I will not have been to MMP again this year. And I think Bob Grossman will break out in the next 10 days.

    Like

    • daveb
      April 15, 2014

      Shooter, I guess that’s a badge of honor, not having been to the park since July, or the July prior?

      Like

  11. 1oldpro
    April 15, 2014

    The way i see it, OKC and New Orleans were sick of each other after 8 games in 8 days playing the same team. David Martinez, Bobby Doran and Darin Downs gave up 14 runs for the Redhawks and Springer had two hits and a homer as OKC lost 14-8. OKC shifts to Colorado Springs tonight and Folty gets to try turning his fortunes around with the start.
    It was one of those nights for Corpus Christi as an early error allowed a run and various CC rallies got killed by caught stealing, getting thrown out at home and hitting into huge double plays in a 2-1 loss to Springfield. Adrew Aplinn had three hits and Fontana had two but the rest of the team had only two hits and that was the game. Luis Cruz and Ross Seaton both pitched well but it wasn’t to be.
    Lancaster completed the first daily losing sweep of the season for Astros Affiliates as they gave up the lead and lost 11-10 as Rio Ruiz had four hits and five rbis, but Appel, Minaya, Hauschild, Osborne and Cotton couldn’t get anybody out. Those pitchers combined to give up 16 hits and 7 walks. Teoscar Hernandez had 3 hits and 4rbi’s for the Jethawks, too.
    Quad Cities literally got snowed out.

    Like

    • daveb
      April 15, 2014

      Yep oldpro, but they’ve got a twin bill going tonight in Quad Cities, and they’re letting everyone in for free……not sure how the season ticket holders feel about that, but I wonder how many folks will show up? With an expected high of 46 and a low of 31 tonight, I think I’d stay home even with the free pass.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        April 15, 2014

        So, are you flying in for that free doubleheader? You’ve got to be missing the cold a lot. You can ride the huge ferris wheel and sit in the comfort of the #1 rated minor league park in the continental US and sip on some hot chocolate.

        Like

      • daveb
        April 15, 2014

        No, but if Harrell gets blown out early, I can switch over and watch the nite cap on MILB network. I’ll stick with the tropical breeze on my porch.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Lemongello Shooter
    April 15, 2014

    daveb,I’d love to get MMP…but living in Iowa just doesn’t make it feasible until vacation in August.

    Like

  13. daveb
    April 15, 2014

    My bad Shooter, I got the impression that you were staying away from the park. I hope when you finally get there in August, you’ll see a lineup something like this:

    8 Fowler
    4 Altuve
    9 Springer
    3 Singleton
    DH Castro
    2 Stassi
    5 Dominguez
    6 Villar
    7 Wates

    Like

  14. 1oldpro
    April 16, 2014

    OK, here’s the big news. Springer called up and Grossman sent down. Grossman had a real bad error tonight, am I correct there? Springer had 3 more hits tonight including a grand slam. He will be in the lineup on Wednesday, his major league debut. Springer finished in AAA hitting .350 and pitchers have been pitching him backwards or pitching around him. The last week he has seen few good pitches but every one in the strike zone he has been ripping.
    Tucker had 2 more hits for CC but the rest of the team only had 3 and CC falls again 2-1. Shirley with a good outing but takes the loss.
    Folty had a good outing going 5 innings and giving up four hits, but Rudy owens and Lo gave up seven runs in two innings as OKC holds on for an 11-9 win. Singleton and Stassi w/ 2 hits each.
    Quad Cities splits their double header tonight
    Lancaster tied 4-4 in the ninth, Correa with 2 hits.Update: Kemp and Teoscar Hernandez account for a ninth inning run and Jethawks win 5-4.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      April 16, 2014

      Shirley says: don’t call me Shirley!

      Like

  15. Becky
    April 16, 2014

    Harrell just got his walking papers……….a year too late. Can’t wait to see Springer in an Astros uniform tomorrow!!! 🙂

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      April 16, 2014

      Thanks Becky, you beat me to that one. G’night

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on April 13, 2014 by in Astros and tagged .
Follow CHIPALATTA on WordPress.com

Our Team

%d bloggers like this: