Free Blog Weekend: Last of the consecutive #1 picks?


As the Astros perhaps put a cap on the consecutive #1 picks in the draft Thursday evening, the organization seems to finally be standing on its feet after years of having their legs knocked out from under them. Not running yet, but perhaps walking in the crawl, walk, run philosophy.

Here are some starters for your Free Blog Weekend conversation.

The Astros have two-thirds of a lineup.

  • It hasn’t been long ago that many believed Houston had only one or two quality major league players. Now, with the recent additions of George Springer and Jonathan Singleton, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find the holes in the lineup. Yes, yes, they’re still some holes, but night-in-night-out, the Astros are able to field a competitive lineup. Especially 1-6.

What’s left at OKC?

  • The major league club has robbed the heart of the batting order (Jonathan Singleton, George Springer) and a top pitcher (Collin McHugh), but there is still plenty of talent left to pluck. And, some holes left to fill through promotions over the next month. Realistically, these guys should see time in Houston before the summer is out: Michael Foltynewicz, Austin Wates, Domingo Santana and Nick Tropeano.

Want a preview of the 2017 rotation?

  • Your guess is as good as the next guy, but barring major injury or significant free agent addition, it’s quite possible the Astros’ entire rotation will have grown up in the team’s minor league system. Of course, there were similar hopes when Roy Oswalt, Tim Redding, Wade Miller and Carlos Hernandez were at the top of the system. Make your own prediction for 2017, but it’s hard to argue against Jarred Cosart, Mark Appel, Lance McCullers, Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh. Throw in Foltynewicz as closer and it’s quite impressive. Sure, you could pick a completely different starting five from the talent currently in the organization.

What else is on your mind?

 

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57 comments on “Free Blog Weekend: Last of the consecutive #1 picks?

  1. Remember how Correa and Tucker lead their respective leagues in RBIs? Last night, Correa had walk, walk, HBP, walk in his first four plate appearances. With Lancaster way ahead, they finally pitched to him and he tripled in a run in the eighth inning. He stole his eighteenth base against only 4 caught stealings. He made the All-star team, but as a backup, and I cannot think of a way to make him work harder than to tell him he is second best at anything. Lancaster wins 16-7 as Dan Gulbransen hits for the cycle behind Correa.
    Tucker wasn’t so lucky because nobody else on his team is hitting. He went walk, homer, walk, walk in a 3-2 loss to Midland and CC is below .500 for the year.

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    • All those walks tell me one of two things about Correa: either he has great plate discipline or other teams view him as so dangerous they’d rather put him on base than let him swing. Sounds like the best guy to me.

      You can probably say the same thing about Tucker.

      I say promote them both. (And to make room in OKC, send either Santana or Wates … Or Both! … to Houston.

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      • Brian, as for Correa, I think it is both fear and plate discipline. I see the Astros letting him help clinch a playoff spot and maybe play in that interleague All-star game against the Carolina league. and then move him. But that is what I would do.
        As for Santana, his stuff is getting downright nasty. His walks are rising. His K rate dropped from 28% in April to 24% in May and his BA has been steadily rising. He has no PAs against younger pitchers this season and was dominated only once, by a 29 year old pitcher who has been in the majors for several years and hasn’t lost a AAA game since 2012.
        Santana’s #s are better than last year and his splits are good against lefties and righties. He has 16 doubles and 9 homers already and seems to be inheriting Singleton’s place as the feared guy in the lineup. He has hit into only 1 DP this season in over 250 plate appearances so his speed and tendency to hit the ball in the air just beg for those Crawford Boxes. I would show patience and let him finish the year in OKC, give him a Sept callup, offer him a contract and bring him to ST next year with a chance at starting. He is a bomber.

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    • Corey Seager got the starting spot…and I won’t quibble with it, but have to be disappointed for Correa. They have both been great this year. Seager has slumped a little to fall down to a .335 avg right now, but his OPS is still .960. Lancaster landed five on the team in all (Kemp & Teoscar starting, Correa, Harder, & Pena as reserves).

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      • Devin, Seager has been terrific, he and Correa are looking so good a SS. It should be fun to watch their careers.
        But look who didn’t make the All-star team: a 20 year-old 3B who is hitting over .300, striking out at less than 16% of the time and has a BB% of over 10%. He has 16 doubles and 5 HR’s and an OPS of almost .900. Rio Ruiz has all those stats but is getting even hotter as his June #s are huge. Quietly having a terrific year in a league where he is 3 years younger than the average. He has four PAs against younger pitchers and was on base 3 of those four times. Rio Ruiz is starting to blossom.

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  2. I said that weeks ago and everyone jumped on me that Domingo was just a temporary solution, not a bad one but what you see is what you get. I Think he is at his peak not age wise talent wise.

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    • Fair enough Kevin, but what brings you to the conclusion that at 24, Dominguez has peaked? You do recognize that peaking at 24 would be unusual right? Could this be the best we’ll see of George Springer?

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      • Well sometime us baseball nuts have to go with our guts and eye check., I’m not sure I would compare Springer and Domingo even though both are 24. Domingo is a good kid, I just think in a 2015-16 we will have a better option.

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  3. I don’t think McHugh and Keuchel will be in the 2017 rotation…replace them w Folty and…AIKEN. Don’t you think he should be ready by then…that’s 2.5 years of development.

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    • They could do that, but with all the arm injuries right now will try to protect his arm. This should be a jumping off point for the tandem. You don’t want him going every four days the next three years. I’d try for a six man rotation…but I think Luhnow prefers statistical analytics to arm chair medicine.

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  4. At 18 years old in mid August I don’t see Aiken coming out of the Gulf Coast league this year unless he just dominates and goes to Greeneville. In August of 2016 he will be 20 years old and I don’t see him in the majors for us by then. If you add the pitchers we have now in the majors to Appel, Folty, Velasquez, Hader Smith, Feliz, Sanudo, Rodgers, West, Tropeano, Shirley, Rollins, and Cruz, I don’t see how you weave your way thru those prospects by the end of 2016, just to rush a 20 year old phenom to the majors. You want Aiken absolutely major-league ready when he arrives because he is the leader of Luhnow’s second wave.
    Personnally I see Aiken as a rookie starter on Houston’s 2018 World Series Champions.

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  5. I’m not ready to pencil Singleton into the lineup long term yet. He’s going to have to get over the initial jitters that he’s experiencing and then start hitting the ball. I’m not looking for the kind of numbers that Springer has put up, but they sure did convince us that he is here to stay. Not so fast with Singleton as of yet. He’s been very shaky at the bag. And he’s been swinging at a lot of pitches he would not have a week ago. It’s a big transition. Hopefully he’ll get out on the road this weekend and away from all the initial distractions and settle down a bit. That’s where Springer got going. The good news is, that he won’t have to produce a whole lot to give us more than what Krauss/Guzman/Carter provided over there at first.

    Part of me would love to see Santana up here in the short term. He looked very composed as a 20 year old when I saw him in CC last year. And he’s done nothing but get better. He’s got size, power, a gun, and moves awfully well for a guy who goes 6′ 5″ and 230. Between now and when he reaches Springers age, he might turn into one of the most feared bats in the game. Who would not want to see an outfield of him, Fowler and Springer? But I agree with oldpro. Santana is one of the youngest guys in AAA today. If Wates is healthy, give him the first shot, if for no other reason than shopping him. But at some point, Fowler will go too, and if Luhnow gets enough for him, he’ll trade him this year. Then we’d see both Wates and Santana.

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  6. Thoughts
    – I’d like to keep Fowler and his .386 OBP around for awhile – especially since it is more like a .430 OBP since April. I think it will definitely help Altuve and Springer get balls to hit.
    – Can’t get down on Singleton too much – we had 3+ weeks of Springer trying to hit 600 ft home runs before he settled down.
    – I took a quick look at chron.com (spit!) on our first 3 draft choices this morning. I think I saw one stat (a .288 BA) for all 3 guys. I sure can’t go there for any in-depth anything.
    – Yes – the Astros are slowly building a decent lineup.
    Fowler, Altuve and Springer make up a sweet top 3.
    Dominguez has a great glove and is tied for 8th in HRs for AL 3Bs and tied for 6th in RBIs.
    Castro is struggling mightily – but among AL catchers he is tied for fourth in HRs and tied for 2nd in RBIs.
    Singleton has an incomplete.
    If we can get a couple more upgrades between Wates, Santana or whoever that will make it even tougher top to bottom.
    Anyways – they are 15-9 in their last 24 games – 15-7 in those games with Springer. These days it is not a surprise when they win a game or a series.
    Hard to see them getting the overall #1 again next year.

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  7. We all know that some of these prospects will either get hurt or just flat not pan out, but we also haven’t considered better options via the free agent route or other waiver wire pickups or acquisitions like McHugh who will just hit their stride once here. There does, indeed, appear to be a bottle neck of talent brewing and that’s a great problem to have. You can figure that, over the next 2-3 years, Luhnow will engage in some trades that might have some of the players wearing another uniform. Hopefully, this time, in an effort to upgrade the major league roster rather than restock the minor league system.

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  8. This team would have lost this game last year. Thank you George Springer, Matty D. and Marwin Gonzalaz……….AND A BIG thank you to Chad Qualls!

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    • That was the same comment the MLB Network crew had. They figured in 2012 or 2013 that ground ball to start the ninth eludes Altuve and they find a way to lose. They went so far as to speculate we’ve turned the corner

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  9. Astros took all college or Juco players in rounds 11-17. Very few HS players so far in the entire draft, at middle of round 17 right now.

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  10. At some point Luhnow needs to ask himself if signing Feldman to a three yr. $30 million contract was smart. This is the third start that Felman has pitched poorly.
    Granted two errors didn’t help matters, but Feldman has hit 9 batters so far this
    year. Luhnow should DL him, until he can figure it out. I don’t want to watch two more years of this guy…………

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    • Becky, I think Luhnow actually may have played a pretty reasonable hand for Feldman. He had some extra $$$ this year in looking for a free agent pitcher with some upside who would want to play in Houston. Of the $30 million, Feldman is getting $12 million this year, $10 million in 2015 and $8 million in 2016. I never thought Feldman would finish the contract in Houston and Luhnow has set him up to be fairly tradeable in the next couple of years if he has even a decent run for the Astros.

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  11. ????? How many times do you send em down bring up before you say “walk , quacks, its a duck. Clemens sucks I’m sorry i don’t care what he does on OKC he sucks. Grossman is a good 4 AAAA guy move on!!!!!

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  12. Kevin…..EXACTLY…….and there WILL be an OKC guy coming up to Minn. tonight.
    Clemens and Grossman are probably destined to be life long minor league guys at this point. This bullpen has GOT to get someone up from AAA ASAP!

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  13. So far, 29 college picks and 4 HS picks, including 1 high school position player. Seems like a plan being carried out with a focused purpose. Many of the college draftees in the rounds 20-32 are seniors.

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  14. So…the Padres DFA Jason Lane today. Interesting in that they just signed him recently. He appeared in two games, allowed one hit, no runs, no walks with four Ks. Curious.

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  15. Brady Aiken and Luhnow, have agreed to a $6.5 Million to sign with the Astros.
    I didn’t think he was going to come on the cheap like Correa did. We know there will be days like today, but this one was hard to listen to. A hit batter and two errors
    are unacceptable, and Clemmens walking *5* guys. Feldman had better step it up
    if Luhnow even THINKS about trading him at the break.

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    • Becky, don’t be too upset. They just folded today. With Singleton and Springer they are still the youngest team in baseball. and they still have a chance to win 2 out of three on the road and wouldn’t we take that every series? Let’s see how our future Astros play tonight and come back tomorrow ready for bear.

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  16. Total draft sheet so far:
    15 RHP
    5LHP
    6 OF
    4 catchers
    3 1st. basemen
    4 2nd. basemen
    2 3rd. basemen
    2 short stops.
    Oldpro…….Folty is *dealing* tonight!

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      • Look at it from Crane & Luhnow’s perspective. They just had a successful May. If they win 12 games in June, that’s a plus with this club. So why change things?

        Plus, you’ve committed $1 million to Guzman. You cut him and bring up Santana, you still have to pay off Guzman but now you have half a rookie salary (prorated) too. You can live with that as long as you’re past Super Two.

        And it’s Super Two that keeps Robbie Grossman in the lineup. As soon as we’re safely past that, Grossman gets sent down for Wates or Santana.

        Does Carter have options left? If so, he’s in the same boat as Grossman.

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  17. As a lot of you, i live in the minor league box scores everyday. It’s going to get
    fun and crazy next couple years . In just pitching alone I would say we have 12-15 major league arms and getting deep in the Infield.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. So how do the AAA OKC players fit into the future.
    I think D. Santana is destined for the majors w/ the Astros, most likely a post playoff callup. He is on the 40-man. As I pointed out earlier, I see him as a candidate for another early extension candidate.
    A. Wates is not on the 40-man. I could see him getting a callup before September if the Astros continue to have low production in LF, or trade somebody on the 25-man or release a veteran.. He projects as an ideal ninth position player because of his OBP and steals. I could see him in Houston this year but if he continues to hit .300 I could also see other teams calling about him.
    Flip a coin on choosing between Martinez and Buchanan. One is better at K’s and the other is better at low BBs. Who makes it to the club for a real chance may be up to GB%.
    Folty is going to get a chance to be a starter next year. I can’t wait to see how Strom gets to work with this guy. I love the way the Astros have been patient with this guy throughout his minor league career and if he continues to hold his eagerness in check and allow his brain to keep up with his arm he could be a special MLB pitcher.
    Tropeano is operating at a level he is probably not able to sustain. His BABIP is way to low this year and some of that has to catch up to him. If I remember correctly his GO/FO% is going to get him in trouble. But Strom has had little chance to work with him and he has not seen the Astros 40 man yet, so his time is coming.
    Max Stassi’s numbers this year are not translating yet His AAA BA and OBP indicate that he still needs next years AAA experience to be a quality major league hitter. There is just no reason to rush Max Stassi if he is not ready to start because he needs to catch every day in order to get better and he is not an everyday catcher at this time. His power is there, his hitting is not, yet.

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    • Kevin, I don’t know. He is 26 now and has not flashed consistent #s since arriving in our organization. He has given up hits as he approached the bigs and just seems to flounder. If he isn’t wild he’s getting hit and if he isn’t getting hit he gets a little wild. He has this year to get it figured out and then I think he’ll get passed. Even a lefty can wear out his welcome.

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      • I was thinking the same thing that maybe they are giving these guys multiple chances before they have to start DFA ing or trading some of the guys.

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  19. As soon as he hit it I thought about my comment to Becky about winning two out of three. A good game today helps wipe out the badness of yesterday. The difference in this team from the last three years seems to be the fact that their players are good enough to pick up their teammates. McHugh and Fields struggled but the offense has picked them up.

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  20. Down on the farm, Tanner Mathis playing RF for Lancaster today. Promoted from Quad Cities. Chris Epps released from organization and Ruben Sosa moved from Jethawks to CC. Carlos Correa with 3 hits and his 20th SB so far today. Lancaster down 5-4 in the seventh.

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  21. Just for fun: Game 64 last year for the Astros – 1B – Carlos Pena, RF – JD Martinez, CF Trevor Crowe, SS Ronny Cedeno & Pitching the 2-0 loss to KC – Lucas Harrell, Hector Ambriz, and Travis Blackley. As many posted back then…. addition by subtraction.

    Liked by 1 person

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