CHIPALATTA

All Things Astros and a whole lot more

2014 Astros: Things that make you scratch your head


There have been many peculiar things about the 2014 baseball season. And all of those odd things haven’t happened just in Houston, though the Astros have had their share.  When you step back and look at the season that winds up this Sunday, there are just a few things that make me scratch my head. Okay, there are several. Yeah, yeah, there are quite a few then.

  • The Astros hired a speedy, high OBP leadoff hitter (Dexter Fowler) last off-season, but now he’s hitting cleanup.
  • The Astros hired a closer (Jesse Crain) who hasn’t pitched all season long.
  • The #4 starter (Lucas Harrell) was traded to Arizona, then released by the Diamondbacks mid-season. He’s not been re-signed, essentially out of baseball a few months later. How did he win the #4 job to begin with?
  • The #2 starter and pitcher at one time presumed to be a future Astros’ ace (Jarred Cosart) now pitches in Florida.
  • Meanwhile, the #5 starter (Dallas Keuchel) who barely made the rotation out of spring training is arguably now the ace of the staff after two seasons of 5+ ERAs.
  • Twenty different pitchers have finished at least one game for Houston this season. Heck, most teams don’t have 20 different pitchers who’ve even taken the mound this season…in any role!

What, you want more?

  • TheAstros’ #1 picks in the past three drafts all made news this year. None necessarily in good fashion.
    • Brady Aiken (2014), well you know.
    • Mark Appel (2013), Lancaster, tandem pitching, two bullpens at MMP and a side trip to Florida.
    • Carlos Correa (2012) was held at Lancaster, then was injured, ending his season.
  • Even the first picks in earlier drafts had ups and downs.
    • George Springer (11th pick, 2011) had contract issues, played 78 games in Houston, but hasn’t been on the field since July 19.
    • Delino Deshields Jr (10th pick, 2010), was injured, changed positions, playing only 114 games and not necessarily distinguishing himself in Corpus Christi.
    • You don’t even want to know about 2009 (Jio Mier) and 2008 (Jason Castro).
  • The player with the second-most ABs on the team (Matt Dominguez) is hitting .215, but he’s only fourth on the team in Ks (124). Ahem.
  • The player Houston fans became enamored with this summer (Enrique Hernandez) played more games for Miami’s minor league team in New Orleans than he did for the big club after the Cosart trade.

Yes, still scratching my head and wondering…

  • Why Jose Veras pitches decently in Houston, but not Chicago.
  • Did the Astros really consider signing Dominguez and Robbie Grossman to long-term contracts this spring?
  • How Jordan Lyles turns it around on a dime in Colorado (of all places) after three years of 5+ ERA in Houston.
  • Someone explain this: Chad Qualls has a 1.36 ERA against the league (sans Oakland). He has a 27.00 ERA against the Athletics, allowing 12 ER over 4 IP.
    • Bigger head-scratcher: Knowing that, how come he’s pitched in more games against the A’s and Rangers (7 each) than any other team. Hmmm.
  • How a major league baseball team can have horrific hitters (collectively) at third base (.214), first base (.169), left field (.216) and catcher (.238) and still win 70 games.

Finally…

  • Bo Porter lost more games as the Astros’ manager (190) than Cecil Cooper (170) and almost as many as Jimy Williams (197). Thing is, Porter was manager for only 300 games while Cooper (341) and Williams (412) were here longer.
  • Despite the infield corners being virtual black holes in 2014, the Astros have used only four different players at first base and three different players at third base. Meanwhile, Houston managers have run 10 different players out to left field. Did anyone consider Jake Marisnick, L.J. Hoes, Alex Presley or maybe even Max Stassi at 1B just to get a bat in the lineup?
  • How does any organization go for two years without solving the problem of its largest revenue source (in Houston’s case, television)?
Advertisements

About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in Colorado Springs, CO, and is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 40 years. A native of Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. He came up with Chipalatta, and it’s stuck.

95 comments on “2014 Astros: Things that make you scratch your head

  1. Chip Bailey
    September 24, 2014

    Well, scratch that Veras comment.

    Like

  2. 1oldpro
    September 24, 2014

    Bottom line is: Astros have all the data they’ll ever need, but don’t know crap about baseball. I’m am talking about from the top all the way down to the dugout. Over the next five years you are going to see a lot of guys like JD Martinez, Jarred Cosart, Steve Pearce around the league, because we have the stupidest owner and most overrated GM in baseball.
    And it’s not just about player development and talent evaluation. It’s also about players not wanting to play here.

    Like

    • Tim
      September 25, 2014

      I thik OP is frustrated by the Rangers sweep. Yes, I am a Koolaid drinker, but you can’t call Crane the worst owner in baseball yet. We knew this was going to be painful, but everything that was supposed to happen has happened. The minor league system needed to be completely revamped and improved before the progression could start at the major league level. We have now seen progress in both departments. In addition, for every J.D. Martinez there are also Colin McHugh’s and Tony Sipp’s. While I think JL needs improvement in the PR area I think he is a fine judge of talent.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        September 25, 2014

        That’s not Koolaid. It’s antifreeze. Take another sip. It’s going to be painful, but everything that was supposed to happen is going to happen. After the club’s four years of rotten baseball, up-and-coming prospect Sam Deduno finally makes his long awaited first start for the Astros in the all important, pre-playoff, second-to-last start of the year, fresh up from the completely revamped and improved minor leagues.

        Like

      • Flash
        September 25, 2014

        OP can’t or won’t offer any viable alternatives, except to say that Crane pick up Luhnow and drive them over a cliff, leaving the team to be run by competent baseball people who will run the team in the way he is become accustomed.

        I can’t see how those competent baseball people would have made this team any better than mediocre without homegrown talent. Little of which the Astros had.

        Like

    • kevin
      September 25, 2014

      Hip Hip Horray Honesty and Ditto Ditto and DOUBLE DITTO

      Like

    • Steven
      September 25, 2014

      OP – I am not sure where you individually stood – but this blog site’s regulars can’t exactly call Luhnow stupid when most of them were circling the wagons and calling for JDM’s release/trade.

      Like

    • Tim
      September 25, 2014

      I am not going to sit here and predict Deduno will be good, but I am curious what you thought when Luhnow first picked up McHugh and Sipp. Based upon their prior performance were you mocking these acquisitions as well? Luhnow is taking a gamble on Deduno as he sees something in him and, based upon his past gambles with McHugh and Sipp, I am willing to see what happens before I call it a bad move. Maybe you might want to do the same.

      Like

  3. Billy Castillo
    September 25, 2014

    What makes me scratch my head is the fact that Mier has made it to AAA now despite hitting about as well as a blind guy swinging a fungo bat, and fielding stats that would make Villar shake his head and say ‘Damn, son…what was that?’

    Like

    • Flash
      September 25, 2014

      He is organizational depth at this point. He has just moved along to make room for those coming up behind him.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        September 25, 2014

        Why not just cut him then? He has about as much chance of making the majors as Villar has of becoming Becky’s Facebook friend.

        Like

      • Chip Bailey
        September 25, 2014

        Billy, that same thing can be said about an overwhelming number of minor league players. It’s the way the system works. Organizational depth in any team’s system provides the at bats and innings for the real players to help them prepare. In the case of Mier, he could be gone this winter, but he’s just a gap filler.

        Make no mistake, though, he won’t be holding back the Correas or Fontanas or any other legitimate shortstops.

        Like

  4. Flash
    September 25, 2014

    “Did anyone consider Jake Marisnick, L.J. Hoes, Alex Presley or maybe even Max Stassi at 1B just to get a bat in the lineup?”

    Now Chip, these guys are not first basemen. Shoot a couple of these guys are centerfielders. One could not expect any of them to switch positions, even to say right field, without extended work in the minors. You’d have to send them all down to A ball and let them play their way through the system at 1B. That is a lot to ask from a guy who plays CF.

    Like

    • Steven
      September 25, 2014

      I would consider moving Grossman to 1B permanently though, let Fowler have LF, and maybe open with Marisnick in RF next year? Can’t believe I got that out without spitting back up my coke zero.

      Like

  5. Flash
    September 25, 2014

    Re-reading I realized there is considerable difference between “Shoot a couple of these guys…” and “Shoot, a couple of these guys…”

    Remember your commas folks. They are important.

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      September 25, 2014

      Flash, it was as much pun as “come on!” Still,with a combined .169 average, 20 errors and, face it, there wasn’t a Bagwellian defensive guru over there amongst them, shouldn’t Luhnow-Porter-Lawless have considered other options? Some of these guys are just plain athletes, so a switch to 1B may not have been a huge leap. More than anything, I’m just sayin: “That’s all ya got!?”

      Like

      • Flash
        September 25, 2014

        The sarcasm font is unavailable to me.

        Like

  6. Tim
    September 25, 2014

    And, yes, we have gone over the Cosart trade ad nauseum, but I feel confident he will return to his ways of high WHIP and decent ERA with low Ks. Colin Moran looks to be a solid hitter and we still don’t know who the Astros will take with the supplemental first round pick next year. In addition, Steve Pearce was let go by the Orioles before we released him so does that make the Orioles GM a bad GM? Pearce has never performed like this before so I think it is unfair to label this a bad move by Luhnow when other GMs did the same thing.

    Like

  7. Tim
    September 25, 2014

    One last comment: I don’t think we are going to get to 70 wins as I expect the Astros to get swept by the Mets. The Astros offense is in a major funk and we can’t use the DH. Furthermore, I expect Lawless to give Altuve at least one day off to ensure he wins the batting title.

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      September 25, 2014

      Tim, appreciate your optimism (yes, sarcasm). Altuve could — could — go 0-for-12 and still win the title. Not much has changed in this “race” over the past few weeks and I don’t expect Altuve to fall flat of his face and VMart to suddenly turn it up a couple of notches.

      Plus, don’t overlook the fact that some playoff teams like Detroit may sit some of their starters as well at some point this weekend to give them extended down time before the playoffs.

      Like

      • Tim
        September 25, 2014

        I was basing my comments in.an article in the Chronicle yesterday where Lawless suggested he will try to give Altuve a day off even though Jose doesn’t want one. Also, wouldn’t you agree it is easy to be pessimistic the way the Astros are playing? Heck, if not for the Mariners free fall we could be looking at a 12-game losing streak to finish the season. It is still possible for the Rangers to have the same record as the Astros. Enough said. 🙂

        Like

      • Chip Bailey
        September 25, 2014

        Oh, sorry Tim, I don’t “get out” as much as I used too. Meaning, I don’t read all the media. 🙂 When you say, “I expect…”, it sounds more like you were anticipating or guessing as opposed to stating something you’d read. I just went with it. And, yes, my sarcasm wasn’t aimed as much at your comments as the overall situation, which does warrant considerable skepticism or pessimism. At this point, it’s time to start moving — quickly — towards 2015!

        Like

      • Steeeve
        September 25, 2014

        Agree. Miggy and VMart will sit as soon as they clinch the AL Central. Assuming they do clinch, of course.

        Like

    • Billy Castillo
      September 25, 2014

      Plus McHugh and Keuschel have been shut down. That certainly ain’t going to help.

      Like

    • Devin_
      September 25, 2014

      No DH is actually a boon to Lawson as it should make penciling Carter in at 1B over Krausgleton easier.

      I’ll be quiet and not voice this concern any more if y’all want, but the MLB Network guys were talking about how the Rangers gig is a primo managerial opportunity for 2015 and that they have a legit chance to win the division if their injured players return healthy. By contrast, they downplayed anyone wanting the Astros gig, and cited Luhnow as the big reason.

      Like

  8. astro45
    September 25, 2014

    Not a conspiracy theory question, but just curious. Does the 78 games played by George Springer figure into his Super Two status?

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      September 25, 2014

      astro45, yes. In fact, every day he’s on the major league roster — even the DL — factors into his MLB service time.

      Like

  9. daveb
    September 25, 2014

    I think it’s fair to call Crane the worst owner in the league. Which present owner has a more indistinguished track record?

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      September 25, 2014

      Whew, I thought I was alone here on Exile Island. Dave, I caught a duck and it’s roasting over the fire. Did you remember the brandy? I’ll put on some video of the Braves games. You know, their owner fired their GM yesterday because they missed the playoffs two years in a row, even though they had a winning record..
      What’s what? Oh, that’s when the major league team wins more games than it loses.
      Oh yes, that’s what’s supposed to happen for 29 out of the thirty major league teams. That’s why it’s called MLB Baseball. Winning is very important in most places. Pretending to be smart is called fantasy baseball and winning is not too important there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        September 25, 2014

        Very weak, OP. Did anyone expect the Astros to win? The Braves GM was fired because the Braves have regressed. Delusional fans who wanted Crane to spend $100M without a TV contract just to win a few more games is counter-productive.

        Like

      • Tim
        September 25, 2014

        Don’t worry. OP. Many of the fans who post on the Chronicle and some here are with you on delusional island.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        September 25, 2014

        My delusion being the one I have seen every year since the plan came to town and your clear vision being the one you see in your dreams for the future. So who is the one who is delusional about the Houston Astros? That team that you and I see every night out there is real.
        But you are right about progession. The Astros are not laying in the sewer anymore They are squatting. And the Marlins are kneeling in the sewer, a little higher than us.
        And those regressing Braves have zillions of fans, a TV deal, tons of respect and would not want to be Astros for anything you could offer.

        Like

      • Tim
        September 25, 2014

        The delusional part is expecting a new owner to come in and clean up the mess left by McLane without some serious regression with the major league team. Sure, Crane could have spent money to have the Astros win 75-80 games, but would we be closer to a championship team? We still would have had a bad farm system and wallowing in mediocrity. Is that what you wanted? Do you understand how weak our farm system was when Crane took over? It was probably the weakest farm system in the history of baseball. It was so bad that a study paid for by Crane found only 5 players in the entire system that may have been major league players. What else could Crane have done? Seriously, what were his options? Please enlighten us.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        September 25, 2014

        Tim, do you understand that we have had the first pick in every round of both drafts for the last three years and the first chance at every waived player for the last three years and Our AA team didn’t even have a winning record with all of those “future stars” on it?
        Do you realize that after all that trading and high drafting our AAA team didn’t have enough talent to make the playoffs. Do you realize that our amazing minor leagues only had four winning teams out of nine? Do you realize that our Pitcher of the Year in the minors is a 20 year old AA pitcher who we got from the Orioles in a trade for one of their current playoff starters and who won’t be pitching for the Astros anytime soon, if ever? Do you realize that Our Minor League Player of the year is only 20 and won’t be playing for the Astros anytime soon, if ever?
        Do you realize that our 1.1 from 2013 had only one good start all year and that the Cubs pick after ours is the MILB POY, ya know, kind of like Ed Wade’s pick, George Springer was last year? Do ya know that our 1.1 pick from this year is NOT anywhere. and that everybody else’s #1 pick is in the minors?
        Wake up and look around. JL is a lousy GM.

        Like

      • Tim
        September 25, 2014

        Do you realize JL picked up our best starting pitcher and bullpen arm after they were not protected by other teams? Do you Appel had an emergency appendectomy at the beginning of this year and was not able to pitch in spring training? Do you realize our minor league pitcher of the year was acquired by JL in a trade? Do you realize the Astros farm system went from 30th to 3rd in 3 years? Can you explain how a GM can turn around a historically bad farm system so quickly and not be very good? Wake up and smell the coffee. JL is a miracle worker.

        Like

      • Devin_
        September 25, 2014

        Hey, my boat to delusional island is about to hit the dock. Can you ask the welcoming committee to have my drink ready (inside a coconut with umbrella I hope)?

        Like

      • kevin
        September 25, 2014

        And Lunhole is way way over rated. I don’t think anyone in STL was sad to see him go. There is nothing wrong with being smart, looking at new ways to evaluate talent, but at the end of the day baseball is a people business and Lunhole and his” Minny Me’s” people skill sets SUCK. There is starting to be a whole lot of ex Astros doing quite well ????? and we still have 5 solid major leaguers on a 25 man rooster!

        Like

      • Tim
        September 25, 2014

        I agree that JL needs work on his people skills, but he still is a good evaluator of talent. Who are all these ex-Astros other than JD doing very well?

        Like

      • Flash
        September 25, 2014

        OP, none of that is even relevant. Really? our POYs are 20? Why don’t you argue the relative value of Hader/Fisher vs. Norris to this team? How holding onto Norris helps us become a WS contender? But our guys are 20? That’s pathetic.

        Like

      • Devin_
        September 25, 2014

        I’m most concerned with the pipeline of talent to the major league team. We felt pretty good when our clubs were almost all competing for milb league championships. The entire 2014 organization seems to have run off the rails. Excepting the first half title for Lancaster and subsequent victory in the Cali league champ, the NY Penn second place finish was the only bright spot. How many guys will enter Spring Training with a legit shot at the big leagues? We are likely looking at another winter of speculation around which penny stock will turn into a winner.

        Hey, I’m reasonable, though. Luhnow and his team did strike gold in McHugh and Sipp. They can’t get us to the finish line with just signing of other team’s castoffs, though. Our player development needs to improve greatly.

        I’d call Lyles, Norris, and Cosart all successes for other teams. I’m not against Luhnow trading away the first two. I’m less thrilled with the third, but feel far better than I did back in July. Luhnow was correct that we have a large number of pitchers who perform in a similar range. Stockpiling them all does not make sense.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        September 25, 2014

        Hey, Flash, why don’t you tell me how you are going to guarantee that 20 year old prospects are going to be major league players. You can’t. You just fantasize about it while your GM just keeps fielding losing teams. Why don’t you sing the praises of losing 90 games, while everybody else tries to field a winning team. Why don’t you sing like a bird about winning something five years from now.
        This particular blog is about this year and all the weird stupid things that happened to a team that was just swept by another team’s minor leaguers. This particular blog is not about what you imagine will happen in the future.

        Like

      • Flash
        September 25, 2014

        OP, I’m not going to guarantee anything. If you are looking for guarantees, you should abandon baseball for The Andy Griffith Show. It’s guaranteed to be entertaining.

        Considering Hader will likely be ranked among the preseason top 100 prospects he has about a one in three shot at being a 2+/yr WAR player and about a one in ten shot of being a 4.5+/yr WAR player. So, between Hader, Folty, LMJ, Velasquez, Feliz, and Appel we probably see two successful pitchers and a decent chance of one being a TOR pitcher. My money is on Hader being that guy.

        Like

      • Flash
        September 25, 2014

        I will guarantee you this. Every future ML player will at some point be 20 years old.

        Like

      • daveb
        September 25, 2014

        This particular delusional fan has expectations of a 100 million dollar payroll and a television contract. There is precedent you know.

        Like

    • Tim
      September 25, 2014

      The Marlins owner, for one.

      Like

    • Steven
      September 25, 2014

      You aren’t alone on that OP. I don’t usually bother the management talk, because you can’t do much about who owns the team except stop rooting for them, and being a native that isn’t happening, I’m not wired that way. But I do think Crane is, and his track record would substantiate it regardless of what he inherited, the single worst owner in baseball. I guess logic throws Luhnow in that same boat, but if the direction came from the top that payroll was going south of 25 million, what can the GM do?

      Like

      • Flash
        September 25, 2014

        I still think Drayton did more damage to this franchise than any other. Crane is not far behind, but not because of the baseball side. Everything Crane does on the business side is a giant middle finger to the fans. Near as I can tell, he generally stays out of the way of the baseball people.

        I don’t have a problem with the $25MM payroll of two years ago. He could have signed Edwin Jackson and Michael Bourn, but do we want those guys on our team right now? But now, yes expect to spend money. I expect to see an acceleration of the trend of trading for established players and signing FAs to fill holes.

        Like

    • Tim
      September 25, 2014

      OP, why don’t you tell us how you expect any team to become championship contenders without first developing a strong minor league system? So, your argument that Luhnow is doing a terrible job is because he traded a #3 starting pitcher from a team that was going nowhere and acquired a top pitching prospect who ended up being our top minor league pitcher of the year, but is only 20 and this doesn’t guarantee success in the pros. Do you really want to swim down that river? I am thoroughly confused by your message.

      Like

    • daveb
      September 25, 2014

      I think Mr. Crane suggested that his club was prepared to play .500 ball in 2014.

      Like

      • Tim
        September 25, 2014

        He said he thought they could be a .500 team. He never said they would be. If Crain returned in May, Albers was not injured and Springer didn’t miss the 2nd half of the season we very well may have been a .500 team. I really don’t get your point, Dave.

        Like

      • daveb
        September 25, 2014

        If, if and if. Semantics. Just another small example of the worst owner in the game opening his mouth when he should not have. It’s about credibility. He lacks it. But I just noted your line, “JL is a miracle worker”. There’s really no need for me to respond to you any further. Speaking of credibility, that particular quote might be the least credible line of the year here. Congratulations Tim.

        Like

      • Tim
        September 25, 2014

        Go see my posts below regarding draft picks by him and his predecessors. You tell me who more of the miracle worker, but thanks for showing us your baseball knowledge, or lack thereof.

        Like

  10. Chip Bailey
    September 25, 2014

    By the way, speaking of the starters this weekend — Deduno, Tropeano and Peacock — does that put an exclamation point on the fact that the Astros are thinking of Michael Foltynewicz as a closer? He’s definitely a work-in-progress for Strom, but definitely a strong possibility, no?

    Like

    • Dan P
      September 25, 2014

      It sure points to him being in the bullpen – not sure if they want to hand him the closer role yet. Maybe they will do like they did with Lidge and others – have a veteran closer, groom Folty in a setup role and then trade the closer and make Folty the closer.

      Like

    • Astro45
      September 25, 2014

      I hate to use a small sample because only I see the Ranger games, but looks like Folty needs a lot of improvement in his command before he will be a valuable closer. He was not near the target on most pitchers that I saw.

      Like

      • Astro45
        September 25, 2014

        Crap — “pitches”

        Like

  11. Dan P
    September 25, 2014

    Head scratchers from Dan –
    – That arguably the Astros best starting pitcher (McHugh) or at least co-best would be picked up for nothing off waivers
    – That arguably the Astros best relief pitcher (Sipp) would be picked up for nothing off waivers
    – That the Astros management team would put their biggest effort in the off-season into improving the bullpen picking up Quall, Albers, Crane, Bass, Williams, Downs and for a while the bullpen was actually worse than last season and is currently barely better
    – That they would pick up Guzman thinking he would bloom once he escaped from Petco Park and instead he was “why don’t they cut him” bad
    – That they would pick up Fowler and fear that his numbers would dip leaving Colorado and have him put up #s very close to last season
    – That even though their manager won only 36% of his games (which may have been miraculous in itself) – he was not fired for failure on the field
    – That they would give almost 800 ABs to players batting below the Mendoza line
    – That they would win 69 games so far with such a crappy offense
    – That the hitting coach still has his job

    Like

  12. Becky
    September 25, 2014

    *90* games……………ugh.

    Like

    • Dan P
      September 25, 2014

      I guess it is less of an ugh than 111 losses – but sure not liking this final “kick”. This is like the marathon runner who has to be carried across the finish line.

      Like

  13. Astro45
    September 25, 2014

    I loved the story a while back where Luhnow was talking about the computer program showing “Veras as Green.” That meant he was ready to be called up to the majors. Wonder after last night, what color was Veras?

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      September 25, 2014

      I wonder about Veras, thought he’d had some good games. Wondering if he doesn’t have the Qualls Syndrome (A’s). Veras has given up four HRs this year, 3 of those against the Rangers. If — IF — there is that sort of trend, shouldn’t those things show up for the numbers guys and get communicated to the dugout? Although, those particular kind of numbers are pretty basic and readily available to most any of us.

      Like

      • BrianT
        September 25, 2014

        I think Veras has shown he’s a seventh-inning guy. Don’t count on him at crunch time. Unfortunately, Houston has a plethora of seventh-inning guys and not a lot of guys who can handle those final three outs on a consistent basis.

        Like

    • Billy Castillo
      September 25, 2014

      Opaque

      Like

  14. BrianT
    September 25, 2014

    * That our middle infielders who started the season could head two entirely separate directions. Altuve has improved defense and will win a batting title. He has stolen more than 50 bases and been caught less than 10 times. Meanwhile, Villar can’t hit his way out of a paper bag, airmails throws over first base and bungles routine grounders. To me, it shows the crossroads we’re at.

    * It’s like Tim and Oldpro. They are both right, somewhat. This has been a painful mess. And Luhnow and Crane could have made this easier by getting a bullpen–a real bullpen–in 2013. Plus one in 2014. And now we’re relying on them to get one for 2015. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    At the same time, this organization was heading in the wrong direction when Crane bought it from Uncle Drayton. Our farm system was horrible. Gio Mier, who is an afterthought today, was a “stud” back then. Our top prospect on the mound was Ross Seaton. ROSS ,SEATON! And while our pitcher of the year and player of the year are both 20, that just shows how deep this system goes now. McCullers, Feliz, Velasquez, Ruiz, Moran, Tucker, Hernandez, Kemp and Fontana. They are all legit prospects. If a quarter of them become MLB players, that’ll fill out this roster. Oh, and we won ANOTHER championship and competed for a second in our minor leagues.

    * We fans generally agreed that 70 wins would be a big step in the right direction, but here we are on the doorstep of 70 wins, and it seems like no one is happy. What does that say about how we view the talent level and our expectations? What does that say about the flashes of success the Astros have enjoyed this year?

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      September 25, 2014

      I’m not happy with the fact that once again, we are tanking to finish the season. I’m not happy with the fact that this very well could have been a 75-80 win team had better decisions been made. I’m not happy with Half-Asstro at C and Jose Offerman Jr at SS.

      I’m really angry about the Crain signing, knowing that had been out with a shoulder strain last year(that now turned into a biceps strain) and had a torn labrum back in 2007! Warning signs were there.

      I’m even angrier at the fact that we are considering AJ Hinch as manager considering he was referred to by more than one GM as ‘the worst manager of the past 10 years’ and that he was considered to be a poor fit for the dugout and would be a better GM candidate. He is a very stats oriented analytical guy and that he rubbed many in the Arizona organization the wrong way. Oh God…that sounds familiar.

      Oh, and now we’re interviewing Phil Nevin. Interesting.

      Like

    • Billy Castillo
      September 25, 2014

      Ross Seaton…another example of why drafting a high school pitcher in the first round is a complete crapshoot. By the time they become any good, you have already moved on (see also, Lyles, Jordan) I’m with Bill James on this one (he referred to the drafting of high school pitchers as a ‘fool’s errand’). High school pitchers are hugely risky. Compared to position players, pitchers carry an increased chance of injury. High school pitchers are significantly younger than college pitchers and not as far along developmentally or physically. This means that there are more roadblocks to go over, around and through as compared with a college arm. The further away from the majors a player is, the more that can go wrong on the way there, both physically and developmentally.

      Like

      • Flash
        September 25, 2014

        I agree, but they also have the greatest chance of becoming super stars. See Kershaw, Clayton and Greinke, Zack.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        September 25, 2014

        I see what you mean, but we don’t have the luxury any more of rolling the ice. We need guys that will be ready in a couple of years rather than five.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        September 25, 2014

        *Dice

        Like

    • Tim
      September 25, 2014

      Brian,

      I can’t disagree with anything you have said here. I really think most don’t understand how bad (historically bad) our minor league system was in 2010. Do I think Luhnow is the best GM in baseball? No, he is probably, in my opinion toward the middle give or take about 5 spots, but to judge him based upon the Astros record since he has been here is wrong. He should be judged on the progression of the team going forward from here.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      September 25, 2014

      When Crane took over our top pitching prospect was Cosart and our second pitching prospect was Folty.

      Like

      • Chip Bailey
        September 25, 2014

        Actually, according to BA’s November 2011 list, the top pitching prospect was Cosart, followed by Paul Clemens, Oberholtzer, then Folty. Of course, on that same list, Villar was #4, Santana #6 and Deshields #8.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        September 25, 2014

        Cosart wasn’t a prospect when Crane first reached agreement to buy the team from McLane. It has been reported that Crane requested the Astros to trade any viable talent they had to acquire prospects. Both Pence and Bourn were traded to acquire prospects at Crane’s request. Foltynewicz and Jordan Lyles were the top pitching prospects going into the 2011 season. Folty struggled early in his minors career, but got better in AA ball.

        Like

      • Tim
        September 25, 2014

        Crane reached agreement to buy the Astros in May 2011. Here are BA’s top prospects in November 2010…http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2010/269173.html
        It is not a pretty picture.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        September 25, 2014

        Holy crap…did you see that projected 2013 lineup? Mier at SS and Tommy Manzella at SS?! Half-Asstro being the #1 prospect?!?! Look at how bad our top draft picks were.

        Favorite part though…’Dealing their big leaguers for youngsters could accelerate an Astros turnaround as well. But under owner Drayton McLane, the team has shied away from committing to rebuilding.’

        Like

      • Tim
        September 25, 2014

        Yep Billy, it could be described as a horror show. Possibly called A Nightmare on Crawford St.

        Like

      • BrianT
        September 26, 2014

        Our projected #5 starter from that fateful Baseball America projection: Ross Seaton. Of course, the list of prospects also included Tanner Bushue and Sammy Gervacio. All Hail Jio Mier who was projected to be such as stud that he pushed Tommy Manzella to second base.

        Man, I wish we had Tommy Manzella right now.

        Like

  15. Flash
    September 25, 2014

    I know that many are going to have a hard time swallowing this, but results are not all that important. Win totals are highly variable. Your average team, one that would be expected to win 81 games has a 5% chance of winning more than 92 games or losing 68 or fewer games in a given season. What that means is, on average 1 or 2 two teams will either win or lose far more than expected. The Red Sox is a good example getting 69, 97, and 69 wins in consecutive years with a relatively stable roster. Everyone blamed Bobby Valentine for the first 69 win season, and that opinion was validated when they won the WS with Farrell. So, I guess Valentine is back somehow.

    The goal of the GM should be position the team to the right of the mean on the bell curve, so that the team’s expected wins is in the neighborhood of 85 wins. Actual wins will vary widely. Clearly Luhnow hasn’t done that yet, but he hasn’t made that deal with the fans. His stated goal is to build a sustained contender. I think he is on track to do that. I think there is talent to be there at all levels of the organization, even at the ML level.

    Like

  16. Tim
    September 25, 2014

    Just for fun I am going to list the Astros #1 picks prior to Luhnow being GM and the #2 picks taken by Luhnow (since he had the 1-1 each year I will list his 2nd pick): 2000-Robert Stiehl, 2001-Chris Burke, 2002-Derick Grigsby, 2003-Jason Hirsch, 2004-Hunter Pence, 2005-Eli Iorg, 2006-Max Sapp, 2007-Derek Dietrich (3rd rd), 2008-Jason Castro, 2009-Jio Mier, 2010-Deshields, 2011-Springer, 2012-McCullers, 2013-Andrew Thurman, 2014-Derek Fisher. I see several names that never even made it to the majors. I think the jury is still out on Luhnow, but he isn’t doing worse than his predecssors.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      September 25, 2014

      From 2000-2010, the only worthwhile player drafted was Hunter Pence. Stiehl, Burke, Grigsby, Hirsh,Iorg, and Sapp are retired, Dietrich is nothing special (and is playing 2B, which meant he would be blocking Altuve), Half-Asstro is useless, Mier even more so, and jury is still out on DeShields (I for one like him, but he may end up elsewhere

      That list is repugnant.

      Like

      • Tim
        September 25, 2014

        Again, I couldn’t agree more with you. That is a BIG reason why I want to see the Luhnow plan followed through before I call it a failure. Go take a look at his first draft (2012) and some of the picks in the later rounds. Some are doing quite well so far.

        Like

    • Devin_
      September 25, 2014

      True, it would be difficult to do worse than the Purpua years. However, I don’t think deshields, Springer, or Castro were bad picks. The jury is going to be out on the Luhnow picks for awhile…because none have approached success at AA yet. By comparison, the Cubs first round picks (Baez and Bryant) from 2012 and 2013 both could have been in the starting lineup at SS and 3B in the majors this year. How did the Astros produce from those spots this year?

      Like

      • Tim
        September 26, 2014

        We have been hard on Castro and he has had a bad year, but looking at the 2008 draft the only players drafted in the 1st round with a greater, cumulative WAR than Castro are Brett Lawrie and Lance Lynn. This was the draft that the Rays took Tim Beckham with the 1st pick. The best player, so far, from that draft is Buster Posey. In fact, Buster is the only player drafted ahead of Castro with a greater WAR.

        Like

      • Tim
        September 26, 2014

        I meant to say the only players drafted after Castro in the 1st round to have a greater WAR were Lawrie and Lynn.

        Like

  17. Astro45
    September 25, 2014

    This has been an interesting list of posts. As to head scratchers, my first one is why is the winning at the minors of any importance. The purpose of the minors is to produce MLBers for the home team. A successful minor league system will produce 2-3-4 every year or be so overstocked that you can trade a couple for a known, productive MLBer. Last year we clamored for Springer. This year there was no one that hit the “hot” button. That does not make JL a dunce, but he is a long way from being a genius. The fact that most of his picks were high school, it will be a while before they are ready. Appel might (yes might) be ready next year which would be ahead of schedule. So the question is do you want Bud Norris and his 15 wins or do you want L J Hoes and his power that gets you a homer every 100 PAs including the minors. To win, you have to have a team of guys that can compete at the major league level.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      September 25, 2014

      Hoes rarely plays, though, and this year has struggled at the major league level (not helped out by the fact that, again, he rarely plays)

      Like

    • Tim
      September 25, 2014

      Did you purposely not mention that Hader was part of the Bud Norris trade? He looks to be the key component in that trade. I agree it is too early one way or the other to evaluate Luhnow’s drafts, but if you look at the drafts from 2000 until this year it is clear JL has a huge head start on his predecessors. There were some abysmal drafts in the past 15 years.

      Like

      • Devin_
        September 25, 2014

        His drafts have infused far more talent into the minor leagues than was done by his predecessors. But here’s the question…do we concede 2015 to the Angels/A’s/Rangers/Mariners before playing the games? Which Luhnow drafted player will be given a shot to play in Houston next year?

        Like

      • Tim
        September 26, 2014

        Devin,

        This is the offseason, assuming the AT&T/Directv acquisition of CSNH is approved, that Crane needs to spend money to upgrade this team. Most of our top prospects were at Advanced A level this past season so I don’t see anyone being added from the system in 2015 (at least at the start). Crane has got to upgrade the pen and some offensive positions next year via F.

        Like

      • Tim
        September 26, 2014

        *via FA

        Like

      • Tim
        September 26, 2014

        or trades.

        Like

  18. Steeeve
    September 25, 2014

    OK, here’s a head scratcher: Looking at their 2014 offensive stats, George Springer and Chris Carter are dead on twins, only difference is George did his thing for 300 at bats and Chris for 500 at bats. Same, BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, HR, RBI, same everything.

    Like

  19. Becky
    September 25, 2014

    Well………you guys have covered just about everything today! Suddenlink was doing
    an upgrade last night, and it’s a good thing too…….because the post I wrote was a real doozy. Glad I’ve had today to regroup. If these guys think they are going to waltz into New York, with a plan to sweep the Met’s…….they might get the shock of the season. All I care about is not going down the tubes like last year, and that might just happen, THEN, I will go ballistic on these guys. Oh by the way, Jetter went out like a light tonight, hitting a walk off run for the Yankeees! Think we will be able to keep Altuve for 20 years??? Now……if someone could get through to Villar, that he IS NOT Jetter, and never will be.

    Like

  20. Tim
    September 25, 2014

    Texas beat Oakland tonight keeping alive the chance of the Astros and Rangers finishing tied at the end of the season.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on September 24, 2014 by in Astros.
Follow CHIPALATTA on WordPress.com

Our Team

%d bloggers like this: