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Finally! It’s Springer time in Houston!


Yes, it’s Springer Time in Houston!

At long last, George Springer will suit up in an Astros’ uniform.

With 263 minor league games under his belt, the 24-year-old top prospect was called up to replace Robbie Grossman, who was optioned to Oklahoma City.

In another long-awaited decision, the Astros also parted ways with Lucas Harrell after another ho-hum start Tuesday evening.

Go ahead and say it: It’s about time!

Springer had hit his stride just a few games ago and left OKC in style, hitting a grand slam with a 3-for-4 night. He finished the season — presumably — hitting .353 and a .459 OBP.

So, go and and sound off…on Springer and Harrell.

  • Where will/should Springer hit?
  • Where will/should Springer play?
  • Predictions on his success?
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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in beautiful Colorado Springs, CO, and wakes up each morning to the tallest spot in the region, Pikes Peak. He is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 50 years. A native of another picturesque city, 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. Pastor Bosman came up with Chipalatta, and it has stuck.

59 comments on “Finally! It’s Springer time in Houston!

  1. Dan P
    April 16, 2014

    Thoughts on a day we were wondering would ever come….
    – Stick him in CF and the three hole. Or stick him in RF and the three hole. Either way he helps us a bunch.
    – Success? If he performs better than Grossman (.125 BA / .549 OPS) or Presley (.128 BA / .432 OPS)? Just kidding – he just needs to do what he has done at every level with solid BAs and excellent OPSs and we can worry about something else for awhile. I don’t expect him to come up and put up a 1+ OPS to begin with – but the bar for a team that has scored 3 or less runs in 10 of 14 games and has a team BA of .185 and team OPS of .605 is worm farm low.
    – I guess since they did not announce another move with Harrell’s that Clemens is staying up when Feldman returns… but does that mean that Clemens or Williams or Peacock joins the rotation?
    – Clemens and Peacock both pitches solidly when starting games down the stretch last season. It will be interesting if they go that direction or have the old guy – Williams be the 5th man.

    Like

  2. daveb
    April 16, 2014

    Wonder of wonders. Regardless of where they put Springer in the lineup, (got to be 3,4 or 5) it should mean that Altuve goes back to the two slot where he belongs. He’s over swinging at too many bad pitches. Putting him at 3 and 4 was the worst thing they could have done for him. One thing about Castro, while he did a better job against lefties last year, he should not be hitting clean up against them. He should be down in the order.

    No reason why Springer will not play right, with Hoes and Krauss sharing left for now. It’s time to give Hoes regular starts and find out if he can play. And if he can run the bases. And throw straight. If not, then give Wates a shot.

    Harrell looked kind of manic out there again last night. And he’ll probably say he had a pretty good outing. Ironically, the shifts saved him at least twice. His line for the night could have been much worse. He’s healthy, at least physically. Someone will pick him up.

    Like

    • Dan P
      April 16, 2014

      daveb – Surprisingly, Harrell said he mad bad pitches last night – I think that is a first for him. I wonder if someone will pick him up or not. The numbers and the attitude have to make him less desirable. Wait a minute, the Cardinals pick him up, sprinkle him with fairy dust and turn him into a 15 game winner.
      Weird with the team struggling so much to hit and get on base that Hoes – who had good numbers in very limited ABs hasn’t been getting more chances. (I’m betting the fact that he kept losing flyballs in the lights at his home park along with the stuff you mentioned got him glued to the bench).
      Presley has to wonder what he has to do to get released again – a .432 OPS just is too run of the mill on this club I guess.

      Like

      • Dan P
        April 16, 2014

        made – not mad

        Like

      • daveb
        April 16, 2014

        Yes Dan, I read the short bit on the Harrell release after I had posted pre coffee early this morning. Something tells me he’ll have something further to say at some point though. But if he’s looking for a job, now’s the time to say only the right things. He looked more like a young high school kid out there again. No mound presence. I think that did it in for him as much as anything else. Harrell will get a job somewhere, but if he acts like a tool, he won’t last long anywhere.

        Hoes must really be in the doghouse. I think his .888 OPS leads the team. Maybe he’ll get a chance to keep his head in the game playing left, which should be an easier position for him. Boy, but Grossman sure butchered the job out there.

        It would be nice to find another guy to play the outfield with an adequate left handed bat, who can also play some defense. Presley and Krauss are not great options.

        Like

  3. Astro45
    April 16, 2014

    Glad to see Springer. He earned a spot. Singleton is not far behind if he keeps it up. Harrell was given every chance. If you can’t cut it, you can’t stay. I give up on how to translate a .353 to MLB number, but over the course of the season, he should hit his “weight” which improves the team (205).

    Like

  4. Dan P
    April 16, 2014

    And it is a small sample size – but my Lord, Chris Carter is doing what I did not think was possible – he is now striking out more often than last season (21 Ks / 44 ABs) and he has 0 HR and 1 RBI, so he is not even balancing it out a bit.
    Maybe he needs Lasik or maybe a lobotomy.

    Like

    • BrianT
      April 16, 2014

      If Carter is mainly a DH, I can think of any number of Redhawks hitters who could take his place. Austin Wates anyone?

      Liked by 1 person

    • daveb
      April 16, 2014

      Maybe he needs to hit in front of Springer.

      Like

  5. Mr. Bill
    April 16, 2014

    I suspect the 5th slot will initially go to Williams. But we have Peacock, Clemens, and many others waiting in the wings, so he will have to perform at the top of his game to keep it. The Astro’s horizon is coming into view.

    Like

  6. BrianT
    April 16, 2014

    Can Singleton be far behind? What about Foltynewicz?

    I understand Grossman was sent packing as much because he has options as his horrid numbers, but how long do we keep Alex Presley? After all, there are other OKC outfielders who are clubbing the ball.

    Like

  7. JohnM
    April 16, 2014

    Chip, I was hoping for success for Presley, as he’s a Neville Tiger and Ole Miss Rebel. Still a chance.

    Like

  8. Steven
    April 16, 2014

    Well I guess the 10 game theorem wasn’t as far off as some might have suspected….

    Like

  9. kevin
    April 16, 2014

    There is an Astro GOD!. Springer needs to hit 4th period let him learn and grow and play every frigging day, Bring up Wates, send Krauss down he stinks. let Clemens or Peacock take the 5th spot, Williams is old news. Carter needs to go Bye Bye, bring up Singleton, put him in the 5 hole and let him grow, Next year Correa at SS Ruiz at 3rd. I’m feeling IT!!

    Like

  10. 1oldpro
    April 16, 2014

    I think Springer should be in center because Fowler has not recovered from his sickness, but I think they will put Babe in RF.
    I think he should hit third in the order but they might put him in fourth.
    I predict he will lead the team in walks if they don’t get some other hitters to hit. Why would you face Springer with Carter and Dominguez sucking behind him.
    Why would they not get Singleton up here? He is absolutely murdering LH pitchers right now and Krauss’s stats are worse than Grossman’s. They could just send Krauss to OKC.
    I guess they are going to do this a step at a time. Maybe the team is hoping Springer picks everybody up and they rise with his presence.
    I so wish I could read Brent Strom’s mind right now and find out what he thinks of Mallee and Porter.
    It turns out that Lucas Harrell really is 2014’s Humber. What a huge mistake it was to keep him.
    The Astros team batting average this morning is .185 and that is 38 points behind the 29th ranked team in the major leagues. Amazing. The fact that Fowler’s illness and Castro’s foot could send this team into such a freefall after two games points out how fragile the team is. They need Springer’s heart as much as they need his bat.

    Like

  11. videoidget1
    April 16, 2014

    FinallyX2!!

    Like

  12. videoidget1
    April 16, 2014

    Once again, Krauss is not employed against RHP. He won’t be “employed” much longer.

    Like

    • daveb
      April 16, 2014

      Unless he goes on some kind of a tear, he’s not long for the club. Just depends on if Singleton keeps kitting in OKC.

      Like

  13. daveb
    April 16, 2014

    OP, I think Springer should be in center too, although for now, he’s the most talented guy to put in right and he’s got the arm for the position. I’m looking forward to the day where Santana is in right, Springer in center and Fowler or an in house guy plays left. We’ll have several options for the third outfield position coming up soon.

    Like

  14. Becky
    April 16, 2014

    Although I’m thrilled to see Springer called up, I’m cautiously optimistic. I want him to *own* right field, and do everything to keep Porter putting him in the lineup everyday. He does strike out a lot, but there is no time like now to see him face
    MLB pitchers. His fate will be in *his* hands, so do us proud kid, and make your mark on this roster! As for Harrell, I’m sure he went out last night knowing he was gonna get the ax, and we will hear some trash talk now that he has been let go.
    Harrell wasn’t a good clubhouse guy, and I’m glad the guy is gone. I’d put Peacock in the rotation, and let him make a case for him to stay. Williams is not going to be a part of the Astros going forward, so I’d leave him in the pen. Clemens showed us
    a lot last night……the kid did alright! Since I won’t be able to see the game tonight,
    you guys let us what you think after the game! Thanks!

    Like

  15. shampain
    April 16, 2014

    Yippeeeeee finally Springer is here. I think he will play rf to begin with. Hitting third might be a bit too much pressure right off the bat, so i expect him to be somewhere in the 5 – 7 range. The way we are hitting though maybe they go for it right away. I hope one of the young guys gets the 5th spot in the rotation. Let em get innings and experience, Williams can be long relief and spot starter, the young guys are (hopefully) are on an upward swing Williams is just a spot gap, getting old and most likely headed in the other direction.

    Like

  16. Dan P
    April 16, 2014

    To put Springer’s K’s in perspective – he is running at 29% (K/AB) this season slightly under his minor league average of 31%.
    The Astros as a team are striking out 28% of their ABs, including the guy he is replacing Grossman (35%), Carter (48%), Guzman (31%), Fowler (29%), Villar (33%) and Castro (28%).
    We won’t mind having another player with 30% K’s if they actually do something worth remembering the other 70% of the time…..

    Like

    • Steven
      April 16, 2014

      From most scouts perspective Springer will strike out 28-30% of the time, but will counter that with a better than average BABIP because of his fast hands. He is pull heavy though, and major league defenses will be better at setting up for him. Keith Law wrote about him a few weeks ago – he said he expects .280 seasons despite 175-190 K’s, at least initially.

      It will be interesting with the growing use of the shift if he changes his approach. Maybe he loses a little power long term, but gains a few more hits by keeping defenses in their traditional positions.

      I know this, it will be fun to find out.

      On a sidenote I am still disappointed in the Astros decision to send him down a few weeks. I am happy they didn’t wait out the super 2 status though, which they could have easily done given how bad they are going to be, so this should make him and his agent a little happier, while still maintaining team control for the additional season.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      April 16, 2014

      Dan, the stats are figured K/PA, not K/AB. That makes his K rate 24.5 % and that is the lowest rate of his professional career, albeit a small sample from this year.
      I’m not being picky here, but I’m just saying that in past years his K rate was 28% and above, so the fact that it is down and the fact it is now AAA and not lower leagues is really encouraging.
      The Astros would be happy with a 25% K rate from him if his other stats and production matched the ones from his past. Remember the arm, the glove and the speed on the bases gives you so much more from him when comparing his stats to someone like Carter’s last season production at the plate.. When Springer hits a single, if he can’t stretch it into a double he can steal a base 75-80% of the time and that gives you a man in scoring position. A guy like Krauss or Carter can’t do that, and a guy like Krauss or Carter has trouble going from 1st to third or second to home and Springer is very, very fast running the bases.

      Like

      • Chip Bailey
        April 16, 2014

        oldpro, unfortunately, one reason his K rate may be down somewhat this season (in a small sample as you point out) is that teams were pitching around him and pitching him backwards. There were fewer pitches to swing and miss on. He’ll get challenged early on this week and next as teams try to find and exploit the holes in his swing.

        You can bet that teams have scouted him at OKC this year in anticipation of his promotion.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        April 16, 2014

        Chip, what you are saying is correct except for the fact that his coach in OKC has complimented Springer for not chasing balls outside the zone, which he had a tendency to do in the past. He also said that Springer has been hitting those backwards pitches to right field for singles when he was behind in the count rather than taking big swings and missing, like he was doing when his strikeout rate was 30%.
        So there is some real positive stuff going on with Springer.

        Like

  17. Steven
    April 16, 2014

    -And P.S. – this Astros fan wish was fulfilled in that he will get more than enough PT to be right in the thick of the ROY running – which gives us something that ESPN cannot totally ignore.

    Like

    • shampain
      April 16, 2014

      amen on that

      Like

  18. daveb
    April 16, 2014

    I’m not too worried about the K’s. Springer had a .411 OBP in 2013, and during his minor league career, a .397. Mickey Mantle had a .373 during his teen years in the minors. Minor league OPS? Mantle .958, Springer .959.

    Now I’m certainly not saying Springer is going to be the next Mantle, but that K percentage is an overwrought stat if you also look at production. I like the .959 OPS from Springer. And I become even more impressed when I see the 1.010 in Corpus last year followed by the 1.050 in OKC.

    Springer continually adjusted and got better. Sure he’s going to strike out. But he’s also going to be a successful major league power hitter. Excellent OBP. Excellent OPS. Those are good signs.

    Like

    • videoidget1
      April 16, 2014

      Yes, K’s will be tolerated as long as GSpring’s OPS is tracking well. I’m not too concerned, either.

      And Porter really needs to just bite the bullet and write him in the three hole already. Altuve is NOT a 4-hitter, or a 3-hitter either.

      And they should sit Fowler from time-to-time and insert George in CF as often as they can.

      My $.02.

      Like

    • Steven
      April 17, 2014

      K’s will be disconcerting as he ages though. I don’t think they will be a factor for the next 4-5 years, but going into his 30’s if his approach doesn’t change some his stats will. At the moment he has age on his side, his hand/eye is incredible, and his hands are fast. He will make up for the lack of contact with better batted balls in play, but as he ages his BABIP will start to dip and he will go Adam Dunn.

      But hey, thats years down the road, right now, lets enjoy watching the kid.

      Like

  19. Dan P
    April 16, 2014

    Hey, let’s face it – though I was glad to see promotions over the years whether it was Cosart or Lyles or Altuve/JDM/Paredes and on and on – – this is the biggest promotion the team has seen in a very long time – maybe since Lance Berkman was brought up for good in 2000. He had a short call-up in 1999, then he spent a month at AAA and was brought up at the age of…..24…. after compiling a .330 BA / 1.042 OPS in the first month of the season. Too bad Springer does not have Lance’s batting eye – more like a 15% K rate – but still – interesting.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      April 16, 2014

      Good call….this is definitely the biggest promotion since Berkman. First time we’ve had a guy with legit 30/30 potential come up. Definite superstar in the making.

      Like

  20. tedf1948
    April 16, 2014

    I think we can look for Singleton getting here after the 19th since that is the magic day for his arbitration time.

    Like

  21. Dan P
    April 16, 2014

    Springer is batting 2nd and Altuve is batting cleanup? Really?
    Daveb – your favorite manager at work.

    Like

    • daveb
      April 16, 2014

      Dan, I think we were posting at about the same time.

      Like

    • Billy Castillo
      April 16, 2014

      AGAIN?! Is Bo *trying* to get himself fired?

      Like

  22. daveb
    April 16, 2014

    I just noticed Springer is hitting second tonight, Altuve still in the clean up slot. I’d love to see one of our crack Chronicle writers get an explanation on the line up from Luhnow. I can’t believe that my favorite manager has made this determination on his own. This organization should be a laughingstock.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      April 16, 2014

      If Bo was the manager of the 1997 Astros, he’d have had Tony Eusebio batting leadoff, Bagwell second, Chuck Carr batting cleanup, and Biggio 8th.

      Like

  23. rj
    April 16, 2014

    altuve as cleanup? are you kidding me. i guess their thinking is getting speed on base early. springer till he gets his feet on the ground and comfortable ought to be 5, 6 or 7. but maybe thats on a team with actual cleanup hitters available.

    Like

  24. Becky
    April 16, 2014

    Peacock to take Harrell’s spot on the roster, good for him!

    Like

    • shampain
      April 16, 2014

      now that i agree with

      Like

  25. daveb
    April 16, 2014

    Watching Marwin at short makes me wish Villar was out there. It’s still 4 -2 if Marwin is on the bench where he belongs. No range.

    Like

    • Dan P
      April 16, 2014

      Totally agree daveb – when the ball was hit I thought we were out of the inning but Marwin has about 2/3 Villar’s range

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        April 16, 2014

        Who would’ve thought Villar would’ve been considered a defensive upgrade before the season!

        Like

  26. Devin
    April 16, 2014

    The silver lining of Springer in the two hole is that he will get at least as many PA in a game as our cleanup hitter.

    Like

    • Devin
      April 16, 2014

      Also, Google indicates there is statistical evidence that your best hitter should bat second.

      Like

      • Dan P
        April 16, 2014

        I am more puzzled with Altuve as the cleanup hitter.

        Like

  27. Dan P
    April 16, 2014

    Why aren’t they having Villar run for Marwin as the winning run in the 9th?

    Like

  28. Becky
    April 16, 2014

    You haven’t lived ’till you have had to listened to Steve Sparks call a game….*UGH*

    Like

  29. Becky
    April 16, 2014

    For the first time since he came up…..I want to stangle Altuve, for getting picked off.

    Like

  30. 1oldpro
    April 17, 2014

    Disappointing game tonight. 0-6 RISP, two runners picked off, and Jerome Lucas Williams delivers another loss.
    Krauss woke up, Hoes didn’t and Carter was where he belonged on the pine. Never thought I’d prefer Villar’s defense to Marwin’s. Oh well, we’re gonna get ’em tomorrow, because we’re a .333 team!

    Like

  31. 1oldpro
    April 17, 2014

    Minor league report:
    OKC beat Colorado Springs 8-6 behind some great relief tandem work by Jose Cisneros, who cleaned up Jake Buchanan’s mess. Redhawks had 13 hits led by Singleton with a 2B, a 3B, and a HR. Wates, Meyer and Torreyes each had 2 hits and Zeid pitched a perfect ninth for the save. Valdes and Stoffeel also pitched perfect innings. Singleton’s homer was the winner.
    Lancaster crushed High Desert 10-0 tonight behind terrific pitching from Kyle Smith and Lance McCullers Jr. Jethawks 15 hits included 3 by Tony kemp and Perdomo and 2 each by Correa and Ruben Sosa, who showed up recently from OKC.
    Quad Cities got an 11th inning walkoff single from Chase McDonald who had three hits. Michael Feliz started and pitched four scoreless inings but had 3 BB. Evan Grills gave up 6H and 3 R in 3.2 innings and .Tyler Brunemann bailed him out of a jam and pitched 2more scoreless innings until Zach Morton pitched a scoreless 11th and got the win. Final score 3-2 QC over the West Michigan Whitecaps
    Records after today:
    OKC 10-4
    CC 8-4
    Lancaster 9-4
    Quad Cities 7-6
    Astros ace is pitching tomorrow!

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      April 17, 2014

      Actually, Grills only gave up 2 runs for QC.

      Like

    • Astro45
      April 17, 2014

      Thanks again, 1OldPro. If you keep writing like this, I want two (2) things. One is for you to start writing for the Chron dot com. (At least you proof your own words) And two, I think I want all the Astros to exchange jerseys with all the OKC players. We can then see how that works out.

      Like

  32. Becky
    April 17, 2014

    Chapman is the latest to get sent down He was sent down after tonights game………
    and I doubt it was a surprise to him.

    Like

  33. daveb
    April 17, 2014

    That was an ugly baseball game.

    Like

  34. Steven
    April 17, 2014

    Springer in the two hole is probably a better choice than Altuve. He is just as fast, works pitch counts better, and walks more often. Altuve would be a wonderful 8 or 9 hitter on a contender – hi contact guy with great speed.

    Like

    • Dan P
      April 17, 2014

      Springer in the 2 hole is not really a problem – but Altuve at cleanup just makes no sense to me. Of course nobody who should be in the 4 hole is hitting very well.

      Like

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This entry was posted on April 16, 2014 by in Astros.
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