It’s Monday, so we’re throwing out the questions and second guesses while wondering if teams from the NFL and major league baseball from the same market have ever drafted #1 in the same season. The Texans face a quandary this week while the Astros have narrowed their choices down to seven. What are the chances they’ll both draft success stories? Or both draft busts?
Meanwhile, on to some Monday morning quarterbacking…
What Bo knew and when he knew it.
- Manager Bo Porter moved rookie George Springer down in the lineup on Sunday “to a spot where he doesn’t feel the pressure”, continuing by saying “sometimes you have to protect them from themselves.” Maybe I just don’t get it, but isn’t this a little backward? Shouldn’t Porter have realized on April 16 (when Springer came up) that putting him in the top of the order might create undue pressure? Wouldn’t it have been a better scenario to start him in the six hole, let him get his legs under him, then move him up? Did Porter just adopt the “protect them from themselves” principle this week or did he just not follow it back on April 16?
Indecision leads to onslaught.
- As solid as he’d been for the first six innings, Dallas Keuchel should have never pitched to the third batter in the seventh inning Saturday. First clue: Control had been stellar. No walks in first six innings. Second clue: Eight straight balls to lead off the seventh. Third clue: The history shows that as Keuchel tires, the more hits — and walks — he allows. It’s understandable that Porter might be hesitant to take the ball out of the hands of arguably his best pitcher right now and put it in the hands of the gas can du jour, but with all the emphasis on numbers and analytics, wouldn’t Bo have had access to this insightful info?
Jonathan Villar. Tie him up?
- The “locking up” rumors have subsided in recent weeks as players associated with those rumors (i.e. Robbie Grossman, Matt Dominguez) haven’t played up to par. But another player quietly is settling into his role without a lot of fanfare or lights. Villar has hit ninth all season out of the limelight, but is hitting .255, while leading the team in HRs (5), OPS (.852), not to mention extra base hits. At 23 (yes, he just turned 23 this week) and with the shortstop heir apparent Carlos Correa likely a couple of years away at least, Villar could be a good candidate to lock up…at least for a few years. Because he was signed as an amateur free agent, he didn’t have one of those huge signing bonuses, so the Astros could offer a team-friendly deal to a player that could play several more years in Houston.
Jose can you Abreu?
- If you want to Monday Morning Quarterback on Jeff Luhnow, take a look at the Astros’ near-miss in the Jose Abreu signing. Depending on the report you care to believe, the Astros were among the top three finalists for Abreu, who ultimately signed with the White Sox for six years, $68 million. The key to the deal is that he can opt out after three years, or when he becomes arbitration eligible. If he continues at his current pace, that is almost guaranteed.
Monday lightning round.
- Pitcher most likely to still be in the rotation in September: Keuchel, Brett Oberholtzer, Collin McHugh.
- Your best guess at the player with the most walks for the Astros. (You may be surprised.)
- Scott Feldman returns to the rotation Friday. Which pitcher should leave the rotation? And where should he go, to Oklahoma City, or to the bullpen?
- Two Astros’ regulars have not committed an error this season. Any ideas which two?
- Borrowing from Dan Peschong, what does Porter mean when he says — referring to George Springer — “…sometimes you have to protect them from themselves”?
- And, just some trivia for you. In 2013, the Astros used 26 pitchers, 10 of those started games. In 2014 — through 31 games — Luhnow and Porter have used 19 pitchers with seven of those started games.