Back in the Watergate investigation, former Sen. Howard Baker asked the famous question: “What did the president know and when did he know it?” Well, I’m not under investigation and there’s a lot that I don’t know about the Astros, the second half of the season and the future in general.
Can’t tell if you Michael Foltynewicz will pan out. Just don’t know if Mark Appel will be more like Roger Clemens or Roger the Rabbit. And, frankly, I’ve given up predicting when the Astros will reach .500 again.
But, here are a few things I do know.
Jose Altuve is the real deal.
- Yeah, yeah, I know. You knew that three years ago, right? Altuve is in a class by himself this year for Houston. Reminds me of 1972, when Steve Carlton finished 27-10, 1.97 on the worst team in the NL (Phillies 59-97). Altuve is 24 and an All Star twice. Craig Biggio wasn’t an All Star until 25. This year, Altuve is on track to break Biggio’s single season hit total (210), not to mention Gerald Young‘s SB mark (69). Who says you can’t be a star on a bad team?
George Springer for center fielder for the next decade.
- Sorry, Dexter Fowler, but have you heard of Wally Pipp? Really appreciate you, love what you’ve done this year, but there’s this guy who’s destined to play CF in Minute Maid Park for the next decade or so. Starting now. After watching a few games with Springer in center — YES! Actually “watching” the Astros! — it’s clear the rookie is at home there. He’s in his element, he’s comfortable, he’s quite at home. Here’s a quick prediction: If Bo Porter leaves him there after the break, Springer breaks out and gives Jose Abreu a run for his money down the stretch.
Hoping Keuchel/Cosart grow old together.
- Cosart may have more upside that Keuchel, but the Kid is a lefty. Whether he’s a Mike Hampton or Tom Glavine remains to be seen, but he’s established himself as a top-of-the-rotation guy in 2014. Maybe not ace, but top half. Cosart could become the ace as soon as next year. Together, they are the best tandem the Astros have had in some time. The last time the Astros had two pitchers in double digit wins was 2010. The last time two pitchers won 14 games or more each? 2006. Brad Peacock, Brett Oberholtzer and others may go. Keuchel and Cosart should be in the rotation in 2020.
The Astros need to make a move.
- Here’s what we know. Jeff Luhnow doesn’t have the best track record with free agent signings. He is a bit better in trades. With the All Star break approaching, it’s a nice time to pull the trigger. Even Jim Crane says the team needs to upgrade its bullpen. The pen has 15 blown saves. Turn around half of those (about a 16-game swing) and the Astros are about .500 on the season. Think about that for a moment! The question is whether to find a trading partner or bite the bullet and promote one of your starters in Oklahoma City to get their feet wet in the MLB bullpen. Either way, there’s no better time than next week.
And, here’s a lightning round of what we know.
- Altuve is on pace for 222 hits and 72 SBs.
- Springer is on pace for 33 HRs, 87 RBI.
- The are streaky: 6 losing streaks of 4+ games.
- Only one win streak of 4+ games, but 8 2-win “streaks”.
- Jim Crane is frustrated.
- If the Astros could play the Rangers for the next three weeks…
- If Carlos Corporan were playing everyday, he’d project 25/75. Guessing you’d take that?
- Biggio is 48, Jeff Bagwell is 46. Dan, you’re getting old my friend.