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.
- 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)?