The Tipping Point Revisited for the Astros


It was almost 4 years ago that I wrote my first guest blog for Chip Bailey over at chron.com (spit !).

Note – I give all credit to Brian T for (spit!) which he uses when mentioning the Yankees (spit!).

Anyways that blog post stirred up a bunch of conversation by linking the thoughts behind Malcolm Gladwell’s best seller “The Tipping Point” and the question about what was the actual tipping point for the Astros fall off as an organization. Little did we know how far and how long the fall would be.

That article and especially the comments below it make for some fascinating reading – one hint – read the comments from the bottom up.

With improvement finally moving from minor league potential to major league actual – I have a couple questions for you.

  1. Has the Astros rebuilding finally reached a tipping point – an event that we can point to and say – this is when their improvement towards respectability finally became an inevitable certainty?
  2. If you believe the Astros organization has passed that point – what event do you believe is that tipping point?
  • The promotion of George Springer
  • Jeff Luhnow replacing Ed Wade as GM
  • The trade-off of the veterans on the team to replenish the farm system
  • The tanking of 3 seasons in a row to obtain the 1-1 draft picks
  • Uncle Drayton selling off the team to Jim Crane
  • The settlement of the Comcast deal (Oops – back that up – erase)
  • The very fertile 2012 mlb draft
  • Some other critical event

So – what are your thoughts?

 

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87 comments on “The Tipping Point Revisited for the Astros

  1. Dan, an interesting question. My “guess” is before July 29, 2010. Someone made the decision to trade Roy Oswalt, then Berkman, etc. Prior to that date, all trades and signings were to improve ?? the major league club. I have always wondered if maybe Jim Crane in his negotiations had influenced the dismantling of an aging overpaid club.

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    • All my seasons run together – but I think it is more likely that anything done at the 2010 trade deadline was Uncle Drayton trying to make the product more attractive in general. It is pretty much a sure thing that Crane was involved in 2011 when he was waiting for approval.

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  2. Did someone mention the Yankees? (spit!) BTW, Marwin would be a better All-Star choice than Captain Jeter.

    Sorry. You can all get back on topic now.

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    • C’mon Brian – from a purely baseball view of this how can you say that? Answer these questions and see if you can come up with that answer.
      – Who has played his whole career with the Yankees (spit!)? Jeter
      – Who has been featured in GQ more times? Jeter
      – Who has dated the most super models and actresses? Jeter
      – Who has held on to the SS job no matter how little range he has shown? Jeter
      – Who has more HRs in 2014, less errors, better fielding range and higher BAs, OBP.SLG and OPS? Gonzalez

      So you see Jeter totally dominates in 4 of these 5 critical categories.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I suspect Marwin is beginning his annual decline. We’ll see. Of course he’s never been one of my favorites. A example why: I don’t remember exactly what game it was about a week ago, but playing in the ninth I think, the Stros got four free passes in a row, but lost the first guy trying to steal. Still with only one out, the bases were loaded. Now when a guy can’t find the plate and has walked all four guys he’s faced, you’d expect the next guy up to make him throw a strike. Marwin promptly swung at ball one, well high and outside. Then he went after pitch two and popped it up for out number two. Thankfully, both Altuve and Springer came through with two out base hits and let Marwin off the hook. I just think Marwin is an example of a guy with a low baseball IQ.

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  3. How about replacing Tim Purpura with Ed Wade? The guys getting it done at the MLB level were who came through our system are his (and Bobby Heck’s) draft picks and trades.

    I’m not sure Trader Ed was the guy capable of seeing us all the way to a championship, but neither have any of our prior GMs.

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  4. I’m not a big believer in One Big Event. The assassination of the Archduke alone didn’t start WW I. The West was at odds with radical Islam long before that first plane hit the tower.

    I think it’s very easy to say well, Houston stunk, Springer got called up, the Astros are better. But that’s missing all those chess pieces moving before the first “check” of the game.

    As much as I think Ed Wade should never have to buy a drink in Houston again (the Hunter Pence deal!), putting Luhnow in charge was a big move. Without Luhnow, I think we draft Buxton or Appel, and right now none of us knows the name of Rio Ruiz or Lance McCullers Jr.

    Without Luhnow, we suffer through the last months of the Carlos Lee contract and occasionally wish we had a young third baseman like that guy playing for the Rays.

    So maybe hiring Luhnow and adopting his Plan. But again, that’s one step along a long path.

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  5. Since I don’t want to give credit to Crane for anything, I choose Drayton’s decision to sell the team as the tipping point. Because of this decision, Devil’s Commish made the move to screw the City of Houston out of their heritage, take the city out of the Central USA and move them west. The Crane purchase came out of Drayton’s decision to sell and the Luhnow hire came as a result of that decision and the total meltdown came as a result of that. Luhnow was the Deathmaster of the NL team and the Lifegiver to the new American League rebirth.
    So I see Draytons decision to sell as the tipping point.
    The irony is Luhnow coming from the Cards to use the Astros as his model on how to build an AL team, learned while working in the NL and then applied in the AL, giving a Ranger’s organization a chance to grab Texas as it’s fiefdom only to snatch it back and taking over in 2014 as the reigning MLB team in Texas forever and burying the Rangers deep into the cellar where they belong.
    Then the Astros gladly take Nolan back into their embrace as the Arlington rabble drift slowly into the heat of the West Texas sunset.
    THE BEGINNING

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Off Subject Fellas and Becky. What do we all think ( is that proper grammar in Louisiana) We need to upgrade Grossman, Presley and Guzman. Ideas???

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    • Presley and Guzman were bad in April and worse in May/June.
      Grossman has actually been good the last month.
      We would love to see Wates and Santana get called up. My gut tells me Wates comes up in July and Santana next season.

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      • I don’t know On Grossman Him being better is not saying much. Wates bat seems to be cooling. I agree on Santana would be really surprised to see him before 2015.
        I would like to see a dude that can bat .260 and have an OBP around .310. Doesn’t have to be a huge HR guy, more a doubles and RBI guy that can also get a BB when we need it. HMMMM

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      • Kevin – Grossman playing half time the last month has a .286 BA / .375 OBP / .732 OPS. Want a bigger sample – going back 365 days (62 games) he has a .275 BA / .331 OBP / .746 OPS.

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      • Well, as I mentioned yesterday, Grossman has hit .289 with a .386 OBP since being called back up. He’ll continue to play and keep Wates in OKC if he produces numbers close to what he’s provided over the past four weeks. We’ll see what happens.

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    • I think Grossman is here for the rest of the season. I think Presley is here because of his lefty bat and Guzman is here because of Wates’s injuries. Otherwise one of them would be gone.

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      • Well if you later on brought up Wates or Santana – you could start them and have Grossman as the lefty bat off the bench. I know he is a switch hitter – but he is much better from the left side.

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      • I dont know Grossman I like the kid, I just keep seeing a 4th outfielder. I guess maybe for another month see what he does, I’m just wondering If alpin or tucker could be a guy here, Santana I’m hoping is a guy for the next 10 years, just think 2015.

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  7. With DDJ, Aplin Teoscar and Santana nearing the majors by 2015 and 2016, I think you are going to see Tucker as a 1B/DH, with the ability to play COF in a pinch or to pound a power RHP w/ a lefty lineup. Tuckers projections before this year began were as a .230 major league bat who would hit 20 HRs and have 75 rbis in 600 plate appearances. If he continues to excell in AA and AAA those projections will rise. If he hits .290 by the end of this season with his power #s, they will have to finally move him into the top 10 Astros prospects and that is going to hurt some experts who have excluded him for years. Tucker could end up being a Luhnow Diamond.

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    • Interesting stuff on Tucker old pro – the guy just hits and drives in runs – he has driven in 182 runs in 240 minor league games which is the equivalent of 122 RBIs in 162 games.

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      • Yep, last year they must have thought it was the “Lancaster Effect”. Now, his numbers are even better in CC, in a pitchers league and with no other power in the lineup to bring him some decent pitches. The guy just hits.

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      • Tucker has four more home runs than anyone else in the league, and yet CC is just fourth in the league in total HRs as a team. With that lack of protection, it makes his numbers look even better because you know they are throwing all the junk they have to pitch around him. Imagine having Correa, Springer, Singleton, Stassi and Santana in the lineup around this guy in 2016.

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      • I am salivating old pro – we know they don’t work out but with this many guys on the rise – there is a good chance of having quite a few guys work out.

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    • oldpro, you are a loyalist Tucker is one of your guys and you are sticking with him. I appreciate that. My thought on him though is that we’re going to have a batch of real good athletes looking for jobs too. If Preston does not own the DH spot, then there won’t be too many other uses for him. He’ll never be s defensive replacement or a pinch runner. He’s going to have to stick in the majors on a heck of a bat.

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      • I know Tucker has physical limitations – but could he be less consistent than Carter or Guzman. Heck I know it won’t happen but I’d take him right now.

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  8. His range factor at 1B in the 7 games this year is 6.29. His 1.81 career range factor as an outfielder shows that he indeed has a position. He also had a 9.25 range factor at 1B in Tri City. His left hand glove makes him a natural 1B, but we have Singleton.
    Right now his SLG% is higher than it was in Lancaster, which is a hitters league and he had a much better hitting team there, as a lot of the players promoted with him to CC are not getting on base like they were last year. I expected him to have more strikeouts at CC and that has not happened. I think he is going to be a DH because his righty/lefty splits are real good, so you may have your everyday power hitting DH in him. Correa is a righty as is Springer, Santana and Stassi and Altuve. So having a Singleton, Tucker, DDJ, Fowler as lefties sure gives you some good balance in your lineup. I’m just sayin’. If he weren’t showin’ me somethin’, I wouldn’t be talkin’ ’bout him.

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    • Like I said earlier. the bullpen is still the worst in baseball except Qualls who is only for ninth inning if we have a lead. I hope Bo Porter is proud of me because I refused to call his Closer a Closer, just like he did a couple of days ago.
      Fields was just like a rookie today, when we needed a real reliever.

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      • Downs has given up 2 runs in 15 appearances, Sipp had 1 bad outing in 13 times out, and before today – Fields had given up 1 run in 13 innings since his return.
        Fields might have done better today if his fielders had done a better job.

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  9. Villar is now not hitting and the glove is going south UGH! I’ hoping that soon albers and crain are ready, see you farnsworth and williams

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  10. You are correct sir. The tipping point has been achieved. They are no longer sucky, they are now officially mediocre.

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    • So if they are mediocre with Folty. Tropeano, Wates, Santana, Correa, Shirley, McCullers, Tucker, and a boatload of others still not up – won’t they be even better in a couple years?

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      • I’m looking at a team that has only lost 1 of its last 9 series (won 5 / split 3). So they are fairly competitive even without filling in some of their holes with some of these younger studs.
        I just think they will keep improving as the youngsters play and mature.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Preston Tucker hit two homers to RF in MMP tonight. The radio guys said his second traveled 460 ft. He lined out to 1B with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth to end the game as the first baseman robbed him of a couple of RBIs and CC loses 15-14. CC pitchers got drummed. Tucker w/ 17 HR. He played LF, RF and 1B in this Futures Game.

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  12. So what does everyone think about DDJs removal from the Futures Game yesterday? Article about it in chron.com by Drellich.

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    • Old pro
      1) It was unusual to see a 20 yr old with 100 runs scored and 51 SBs and .873 OPS fall off of top 10 prospect lists. Rumor was he had a bad attitude.
      2) Not thrilled by his response to being pulled for not running out a popup – the “I didn’t think it was a big deal but the manager did” quote is not an apology.
      3) I would not be surprised to see him packaged in a trade this season rather than put on the 40 man to avoid Rule 5 after the season.

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      • We’ve got plenty of guys in the system with talent that lack only the attitude. This is not the first issue with him. I’d move him.

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      • I had the exact same reaction. Then, I went to the stat sheet. It took him two years to make it out of Lexington and almost two seasons to make it out of Lancaster. It may take him two year to make it out of AA. Why?
        Because he is still super-young. He signed at seventeen and will turn 22 in August, still two years below the AA average age.
        The guy is a huge talent but is the product of his own slow development. I will give him the benefit of the doubt that the move to 2B slowed him down, but two years from now, at the age of 24 he could be a starting LF on the youngest, hottest major league team in the AL.
        If he could be patient, wait out his game at the plate, work like a Correa and just move at a regular pace from here on out, he is a player. I hope he can be patient and the Astros can be patient. with him.

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      • This is one of those organizational tests because I’m sure they have additional off the field information on Deshields – how entitled he is, how he treats his team mates etc.
        He is still very young, but he unfortunately is acting like he is still a 17 year old not 21 and after almost 5 years in the organization he should not be this type of problem.

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    • I need more info than the article provides. Did he stand in the batters’ box or just walk to the dugout? What worries me is that he would display a low baseball IQ given his father played many years in the league. That’s not an infield fly situation…you have to cover the possibility of an intentional drop. What worries me even more is that I suspect half our big league roster may not know that.

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      • My interpretation is that this is not an IQ problem but a diva problem. He doesn’t deign to hustle because he doesn’t think he needs to.

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  13. Back to tipping point – Wade’s early trades were to improve ??? the MLB roster. Tejada, Valverde, Lindstrom. Randy Wolf, etc. Somewhere in early 2010, the direction changed. And as for Timmy PooPoo, anyone that comments here (except yours truly) would have been a better choice for GM.

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  14. you know what’s crazy? As bad as carter has been this year so far, his stats are actually up in most categories. Going into tonight’s game, if he had the exact same amount of ABs as last year, he’d have 29 doubles,27 homers, 73 rbis, 187 Ks (which is actually down). So really, he just stopped hitting singles, I guess.

    That doesn’t mean this year is better than it appears, just that last year was worse than it looked on paper.

    Well, at least he hit another HR tonight so far. And people wanted us to spend money on Adam Dunn a few years ago. We got him already!

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    • And he is younger and cheaper than Dunn though I sure would like to see someone (Tucker?) who could hit for power and hit for average.

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  15. Astros win 5-1! win #30
    DDJ not in the Hooks lineup tonight. Hooks leading 7-0. Lancaster winning. A win for them tonight clinches first half and playoffs.

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