This is for you!
Earlier this week, Steeeve asked why we weren’t writing about the Sports Illustrated cover story. I gave a quick excuse thinking I had all the answers. But Steve asked some good questions of his own.
Steeeve: “I think there’s plenty of material there to discuss. Sure, every George Springer factoid has been reviewed here, but a national, positive 3rd party perspective of a franchise viewed by many as a joke represents an extremely rare opportunity. Did they cover the right stuff? Was it fair? Was it correct? Was there new material for you? Maybe I missed it here, but I found the process to narrow down the finalists to a high school pitcher for the 1-1, the third in history, was new for me and very interesting.”
So, gentle readers, I’ll ask Steeeve’s questions.
The SI story delved deeply into the process for picking Brady Aiken 1-1. OK, until or unless the Astros actually sign Aiken, this is going to look like a mistake. But, knowing what they knew at the time, did the Astros make the right choice?
The story also says Houston will win the World Series in 2017. Without Aiken, with Mark Appel coming along more slowly than we’d all hoped, with Carlos Correa getting a half-season delay thanks to his broken leg, are the Astros going off track again? Is 2017 a bigger pipe dream than before?
The article also talks a lot about how Houston has gone beyond mere Moneyball. They factor in a player’s personality and possible injury future as well as BABIP and all your favorite sabrmetric stats. Is Houston mixing old-school scouting with stat-based decision sciences properly?
The other big revelation was Luhnow admitting the Astros made a decision to not chase middling free agents to bump the win total to less-than-horrible.
So, what did you think about the SI article?
Did the Astros make the right choice (knowing what they knew at the times) in their three 1-1 picks?
Correa won’t be back until the Arizona Fall League. Will he still make his debut in 2015? Do you think he’ll be delayed to 2016 now?
Aiken and Appel, worst case scenario, are busts. Does Houston have enough pitching in the system (Mike Foltynewicz, Asher Wojciechowski, Josh Hader, Kyle Smith, Vincent Velasquez, Michael Feliz, Lance McCullers Jr., Nick Tropeano, etc.) that they can still produce a top-notch rotation by 2017?
And what about that prediction. By 2017, barring major injuries of the career-ending types, we’re looking at an infield of Singleton, Altuve, Correa and either Dominguez or Ruiz. Our outfield will be Springer, Santana and someone like Teoscar Hernandez or Tucker. I’m all for Kiki Hernandez at DH. Don’t forget Danry Vasquez, Conrad Gregor, Nolan Fontana, Tony Kemp.
In other words, this mass of players will all be ready by 2017. We’ll have an excess of it, frankly. Does that get us the pieces we need to be World Series competitive by then?
OTHER SI STUFF
The magazine also noted that Jose Altuve is having a very non-Astros season when it comes to strikeouts. While Jason Castro jokingly said Altuve’s short arms mean he never gets jammed, but other analysis notes that Altuve takes a very studious approach to each game, concentrating on what two pitches he’s going to swing at, then watching for them. Is that a strategy other players need to take? Could it help Castro or (Lord forbid, Chris Carter?)
There was also an article about Springer’s attitude and how it has changed the clubhouse. Losing drops a little rain on the parade, but winning gets contagious. This is a young team, and that can be a problem at times. But as they young guys get just a LITTLE older, will this team become both youthfully energetic and talented with experience? Is that the magic mix that will generate a winner?
What do you think of SI’s recent Astros coverage?
Finally, the All-Star starters will be announced this weekend. Then the AL manager will pick the rest (minus one for the fan vote) of the roster. Does Houston still deserve two All Stars? Did it ever?