CHIPALATTA

All Things Astros and a whole lot more

Hey, I’ve got something to say…


So, as often happens at Chipalatta, the conversation tends to meander off course. That happened Monday night when regular commenter Becky thought it would be great for Roger Clemens to have a chat about attitude with Jonathan Singleton. I, then, suggested I would love to see Becky talk with both Singleton and Jonathan Villar.

And that got me thinking, if you had one chance to talk with one Astros player, give some advice and have it make a difference, what would you say?

So, here are some possible things people might say to their favorite Astros. These are the easy ones:

Jonathan Villar: Learn the difference between talent and performance. Because, deep down, I think you have a ton of talent. But what we see on the field is often horrible. You’re being outplayed by a guy with half your range and 80 percent of your arm. Why? Because he’s focused. So focus!

Jonathan Singleton: There’s a whole field out there son. Use it when you’re up at the plate. The homers will come naturally, but you have got to make contact first. No contact, no fireworks.

George Springer: Swinging for the seats is nice, but with your power, contact is enough. You might hit half a dozen fewer homers, but if you put a little less effort into swinging out of your shoes, and a little more effort into putting the barrel on the ball, you’ll be a better hitter.

Josh Fields: It’s all about repeatable mechanics. If you can pitch consistently, you’ll get consistent results.

Dexter Fowler: I’m sure someone told you you’d be playing center field over here, but the fact is, you are the third-best center field option on this team. Move over to left field and let Jake Marisnick or Springer take over. The team will be better for it.

And, of course, these little talks don’t have to be limited to the players.

Jim Crane: Just get it done. The product on the field has been bad, but it is getting better. But you can earn a lot of good will — and a bunch of fans — if you get a TV deal done. I know, a bad deal will impact this team poorly for years, but you can figure it out. Put in payout escalators for certain viewership levels. The fans you’ll see in the ballpark will make it worthwhile.

A.J. Hinch: This is your second chance. Blow it, and you won’t get a third.

So, who do you want to talk to? Got something to say to Matt Dominguez? Does that darned Jose Altuve need a piece of your mind? Anything for Jeff Luhnow or the Ryans?

Spit it out.

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About BrianT

Brian Todd is a freelance writer working and living in Rochester, Minn.

47 comments on “Hey, I’ve got something to say…

  1. VeronicaFereday
    October 7, 2014

    Jonathan singleton is my neighbor I will show him your thoughts and let you know if has any input to your advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan P
    October 7, 2014

    Sure – some scattershots…

    Michael Foltynewicz – (No, I’m not going to suggest he legally change his name to Mike Folty – even though that would simplify things). “Mike, if you can pair a 93 mph slider with a 99 mph fastball – you would be a devastating closer. Go watch some Brad Lidge / JR Richard on youtube”.
    Robbie Grossman – “They know you are going to take that first pitch – swing at it 1 out of 4 times and you put doubt in their heads and you might get some cheap hits.”
    Matt Dominguez – “Go watch film of yourself batting from the 2nd half of 2013. You weren’t great, but you were good enough to keep a job as a starting 3B in the league. What you did this season will not assure that.”
    Jeff Luhnow – “Tomorrow is here as far as the fans are concerned. You have to bring in more immediate help and this team can be a lot better again in 2015 as it was in 2014. But you have to provide a better bullpen and get one more good bat. Altuve, Fowler, Springer, Carter and Mr. X could make a formidable 2nd thru 6 in the lineup. Do it.”

    Like

  3. Devin_
    October 7, 2014

    Didn’t Bonds have a talk with Singleton during a West Coast trip centering on preparation? I’d be worried there are too many voices giving him advice right now. As we said with Springer, when the game slows down a bit for him things will click.

    Someone commented that Altuve jumped on first pitches, but perhaps the FO / coaches were pushing others to take more often in an attempt at getting into the bullpen through raised pitch counts. My advice, if this is true, would be for the players to ignore that advice. Otherwise, you are just reacting to what the pitcher throws in most counts. I would suggest they take an approach where certain pitches during hitters counts get hammered, and anything else is let go. This, of course, assumes enough competence to hit a ball without putting it in play.

    To Jim Crane, I recommend dollar tickets for youths 10 and under on weeknights. Build the fan base of the future!

    Like

    • daveb
      October 7, 2014

      By the time these AL games are over, it’s way too late for a kid under 10 to be out on a school night. It’s tough enough on me.

      Like

      • Devin_
        October 7, 2014

        Fair point for the school months.

        Like

  4. Kevin
    October 7, 2014

    Dear Mr Castro – please let us know , if we are not Boring you, could you make a choice, a passionate baseball player with a hunger to win rt teach English 101 at Stanford.

    Like

  5. daveb
    October 7, 2014

    It’s not my role. I remember a night, many, many moons ago at Sam’s Bar on Richmond. Jim Clancy came in, after a particularly bad outing. I’m sure he wanted to just have a few beers and be left alone. But alas, I was kind of tough on him, buying him a round, but then suggesting that maybe it might be time for him to pack it in. I probably should have packed it in myself a couple of beers earlier. He was remarkably polite and thanked me for the beer. I felt so bad the next day that I wrote him a note and handed it off to Larry Anderson over the top of the dugout. I hope he got it.

    Like

  6. 1oldpro
    October 7, 2014

    Jim, are you aware that the people of Houston, Kissimmee, Oklahoma City, Fresno, West Palm Beach, and the Woodlands can’t stand you?
    Jim, do you know that you walked away from a worthy Houston charity a couple of years ago , but raised $300,000 in a golf tournament yesterday and even the club could not say in their own website article what that money would be used for?
    Jim, do you know that I am a lifelong Astros fan who cannot name one good thing you have done for Astros Baseball since you became the owner? Not one.
    Jim, you do know that adding payroll like you’re talking about yesterday still makes you the lowest payroll in the majors, right?
    Jim, do you know that talking about winning while having a GM that doesn’t have winning as a priority is kinda not the same thing?
    Jim, you do know that making all kinds of baseball goofs, makes you look like you don’t know what you’re doing, right?
    Jim, are you aware that practically nobody thinks Hinch was a great hire? Have you seen a bunch of rave reviews about that?
    Jim, you do know that you have Biggio, Clemens, Dierker, and Nolan Ryan on your payroll, right? Then why are you paying them to play in your golf tournament and letting a bunch of nerds run your baseball team. Let the nerds play in your tournament and let the baseball guys get paid to run your ballclub.
    Jim, you do know you look like the milkman’s grandfather when you are dressed in a tux, right? Grow a dadgum beard for goodness sake or pay someone to grow it for you and then buy it.
    Jim, this is Bopert. He said that when your prospects get to the majors, you will trade them for more prospects because you won’t want to pay them. People laughed at him and said he was wrong. Jim, tell us what you and the guys just did with longtime prospect, Jared Cosart, after he became a winning pitcher for the club.
    Jim, this little round thing in my hand is a baseball. Why don’t you give this baseball to somebody who knows what to do with it.

    Like

  7. Becky
    October 7, 2014

    Barry Bonds did in fact talk to Jon Singelton……I hope he took those words as a compliment, and not critical. He is trying to hard to be “that” guy, as is Springer.
    That’s why I want Jon to try and go play winter ball……Villar could use some extra help as well. If Adam Everett can’t make Villar play better @ short, no one can.
    I would tell him……”Jonathan come to Spring training with your head screwed on straight, or you will be a minor leaguer forever”. “Set your feet, and throw the ball to Singelton, NOT over him, or in the dirt”. The kid really DOES have talent, but when you cost your team runs, when runs are so DANG HARD to come by…..*THAT’S*
    when I want to strangle him! Matty D. son, you need to work with Don Baylor in the winter, and let him show you how to hit, and watch the films of you in 2014.
    I asked Matt one day, if he thought he had a homerun in that bat, his answer was “I certainly hope so”. We don’t need a homerun……..a double, or a single will do just fine! Mr. Crane, we all KNOW you have a LOT of investors, and they want their share of the loot, but until, and unless you give Luhnow the scratch to go get some guys to help this team win, your investors will be forever trying to reap their money. Jeff Luhnow…….stop looking in the garbage can for some guy who USED to
    be good. Get with the clubs who are willing to trade with you, and make that trade.
    It might involve some BIG talent, in our minor league, but that’s the price of doing business…….
    Thanks for the shout out Brian………I’m just a frustrated fan who still believes in these guys…… until I pass from this world.!

    Like

    • BrianT
      October 7, 2014

      Becky, I’ll happily riff on things you say. Wise women need to be heard.

      Like

      • BrianT
        October 7, 2014

        That bout of feminism comes from the father of two daughters.

        Like

  8. Steven
    October 7, 2014

    I would say something to Singleton to get a chip on his shoulder and not think this is going to be handed to him. Study pitchers, know their tendencies, know what they are going to try and do with you, and let that God given talent take over AFTER you have prepared. The talent alone isn’t enough, enough people are doubting your head and your aptitude for this game, prove them wrong.

    Like

  9. Steven
    October 7, 2014

    BTW – I’ve got some good news, and I’ve got some bad news.

    The good news – George Springer was able to avoid having the highest strikeout total by a rookie with at least 300 plate appearances in a season since 2002, finishing second on that list.

    The bad news – He lost that race to our own Jonathan Singleton.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Flash
    October 7, 2014

    I’ve got something to say to Ol’ Time Baseball Guy. If you pay attention to this post season you might notice that those guys with their slide rules, horned rim glasses, and players you’ve never heard of are, one by one, kicking the old timers with their gut feel and unwritten rules out of the playoffs – those that could spend enough to get there in the first place. And, I’d ask OTBG if he knew who built that one team of no-names that just beat the bloated contracts out of the Dodgers. Well, a lot of them are down there at Union Station figuring that they should probably give that little round thing to, say, Colin McHugh.

    Like

    • BrianT
      October 7, 2014

      What I find appalling is that Oldpro cannot think of a single thing that Crane has done right. Zero. Nada.

      Off the top of my head I’ve got …

      * Allowing fans to bring some food and drink into the stadium. Grocer never let that happen.
      * Hiring a GM that would start building a pipeline of major league players. Houston had the worst farm in baseball. Ross Seaton — still in our system — was one of our top pitching prospects. No more. Houston has one of the top farm systems in baseball. Other teams atop that list are teams either winning or up and coming.
      Of course, some people will say, “Hey, Brian, the rebuild began under the Grocer and Ed Wade.” To which I reply, “No, a salary dump began under the Grocer, who was trying to make the team look more financially attractive for the sale. Fortunately, Wade didn’t just phone it in. But calling those trades anything but a salary dump is a mistake.”
      * He has worked with Luhnow to sign as many draftees as possible. Of course, you’ll say, “Aiken! They didn’t sign Aiken.” No, they didn’t. And some day Luhnow and Crane will either be proven right or wrong on that one. But that day isn’t today.

      That said, I know there’s plenty to complain about with Crane.
      * Sign a TV deal. I know you’re waiting on that Dodgers-type deal, but it ain’t happening. Make a deal you can live with. Make the contract short so you can renegotiate in five years. Or maybe put in some triggers where if the viewership hits a certain level, the network has to bump the rate. But sign a flippin’ deal!
      * Increase the payroll. With so many cost-controlled players right now, it’s be hard to spend more than $70 million, but try. Really try. Give Jeff the OK to get a third baseman and either a first baseman or a left fielder. Then give him the money for an established starter — maybe a realistic No. 2 — and a closer. That’d push payroll to $70 million. Then this team would be worth watching.
      * Stop saying dumb crap like “If you’ve got $10 million, you can talk.” and stuff like that. Hey, Jim, I was an Astros fan back when you were rooting for the Cardinals or Cubs or whomever. I think years of fandom have earned me the right to criticize your stupidity when I see it.

      That said, when you do something good, I’ll give you credit.

      Like

      • Flash
        October 7, 2014

        OP has an agenda. I for one am no fan of Crane. I’ve said before he fits right between McLane and The Receivership at the bottom of my list, but not for baseball reasons. I think the baseball operations are right on track to deliver a consistently competitive team year after year. They are doing it the right way.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 7, 2014

        Seriously, Brian? Two things? Allowing people to bring in their own food and hiring the guy who has the worst record as a GM in Baseball History. Those are the two good things you have?

        Like

      • BrianT
        October 8, 2014

        Oldpro, Honestly since I can (and do) watch the games and I don’t live in Houston, I pay a lot more attention to Luhnow than Crane. So three was what I wrote down because I didn’t want to get overly picky. It’s just when people proclaim absolutes (not one good thing), it bugs the crap out of me.

        That said, we obviously see things very differently with regard to Crane and Luhnow. For example, “Hiring the losingest GM.” I see that very differently. He could have hired someone whose plan was “build a winner now.” But with the state of the franchise, not just Houston but the farm as well, that was extremely unrealistic. Instead, he hired Luhnow who, while far from perfect, I think has built what will be a sustainable winner. Can I prove that right now? No. The Astros have been monumental losers under Luhnow’s watch. But I was willing to suck for a few years to get to long-term respectability. And I truly believe that’s where we are headed.

        Do I have problems with Crane? Yes. I mentioned several (again, not a complete list but a “top three” as it were) above.

        That said,

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 8, 2014

        Brian, the problem is that you asked us to address someone in the organization and gave examples of addressing players, the owner and even the new manager. So I did that and now I am put in a position of having to defend what I said to you and Flash. What is the use of following the format and then being treated like a doormat?
        You led us into the conversation and then found what I said to be “appalling” and then tell us to get back on track.

        Like

      • BrianT
        October 8, 2014

        Oldpro,

        I apologize for the use of the word “appalling.” I was wrong to use it.

        That said, here’s your original comment to me. “Seriously, Brian? Two things? Allowing people to bring in their own food and hiring the guy who has the worst record as a GM in Baseball History. Those are the two good things you have?” If that isn’t a condescending swipe, I don’t know what is.

        But I stand by my statement that not being able to find ONE THING positive is a bit disingenuous. Absolutes such as that bug me on a “fingernails on the chalkboard” level.

        Like

      • daveb
        October 8, 2014

        That’s a pretty short list Brian. Sure, we all agree that the farm system has much more talent in it, but how well is that farm system being managed? Indeed, that 2014 draft can’t be overlooked. A terrible miss. And did you really include that burning issue of bringing food and water into the ballpark? It’s really a non issue. Very few people carry their chow into the park. They’d rather wait in line to eat the crappy, overpriced stuff served at Minute Maid.

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      October 7, 2014

      Yes, I know who built that team. His name is John Mozeliak. He has been with the Cardinals since 1993 and has been the Cardinals GM since 2007.
      Giving credit to Luhnow for what Mozeliak has done is a favorite ploy of his groupies.
      Now you want to tell me all about OTBG Yost and his no name players beating up on the Moneyball boys from California.

      Like

      • Becky
        October 8, 2014

        You are correct OldPro……..and Mozeliak did NOT have a good relationship with Jeff Luhnow……..one of the reason’s he was let go.

        Like

      • Flash
        October 8, 2014

        OP are you OTBG?!!

        I think you are both confused.

        From ESPN (Who I know is part of the grand JL conspiracy) upon Mozeliak’s promotion:

        “Jocketty was dismissed largely because of friction in the front office with Jeff Luhnow, a team vice president in charge of amatuer scouting and player development. Luhnow, who has been the point man for the franchise’s increased presence in international scouting, was not a candidate for the GM opening.

        ‘I think a lot of that’s been overrated,” Mozeliak said. “I will say this: My working relationship with Jeff has been outstanding.

        What he’s done to this point has allowed us to make better decisions as we move forward and it would be ludicrous for me to ignore that.”

        Like

      • Flash
        October 8, 2014

        So the Royals. Really OP? That is your shining example? You’d rather have Dayton Moore than JL? Yes, the Royals for years despised sabermetrics, and are one of the last adapters – and it shows in winning and losing.

        Even Yost abandoned his gut earlier in the year and asked the nerds to have their computer spit out an optimal line up for him to use.

        Like

      • BrianT
        October 8, 2014

        Twenty-nine years between playoff appearances. And it took Dayton Moore eight years to get into the post season … barely.

        I would bet money that Luhnow beats him easily to to post season.

        I will say this, though. The Royals never — EVER — would have made it without a dedication to young, affordable talent from their FARM SYSTEM. Sounds like a winning recipe to me. Now where have I heard that before?

        Like

    • Flash
      October 8, 2014

      Well OP, I count three. But we all know you are not a numbers guy. Your gut probably told you two.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 8, 2014

        I saw the third one and laughed, because it was even weaker than the first two.

        Like

      • BrianT
        October 8, 2014

        OP, I felt exactly the same about some of the complaints you had. They were weak, ill-informed positions in my opinion.

        Like

  11. Astro45
    October 7, 2014

    Guys, one does not prove the other. When you look up team salaries, the top 5 payroll teams are out. But if you look at the bottom 12 – they are out of the playoffs also. As stated earlier, I am enjoying the KC Royals run. But their payroll is double the Astros for this past year.

    Like

    • Steven
      October 8, 2014

      I read an article written by a very smart baseball guy, some guy named James, that we should expect to see the high priced teams out more in today’s environment. The high priced teams are full of veteran players, most of them on bloated contracts – like Sabathia, Texiera, A-Rod, and with the advent of drug testing they are not playing well into their 30s anymore.

      The statistics are starting to lean towards it going back to the players best years being 26-30, when they are still under team control for the most part.

      Like

  12. Becky
    October 8, 2014

    Oh man………watching these playoff’s and drooling over the staring pitchers is KILLING ME! Please, please, please get us one of those guys like that 😦
    And…….I *love* Hunter Pence, I don’t care WHO he plays for I’ll be rooting for his team to win! I’m going out on a limb, and call the WS will be the Giants/ Royals
    with the Royals winning it all.

    Like

    • Devin_
      October 8, 2014

      I’d love to see Pence get another ring, since the Astros are out of it. KC has already invalidated my jibes about Houston trying to win best farm system and not translating results to the big stage.

      Becky, I think the reason I was so down on the Cosart trade was that I’ve grown accustomed to watching Kershaw get shelled in the postseason and guys like Wainwright and Bumgarner dominate. Doesn’t Cosart’s mound presence remind everyone else of those types of pitchers? Do we have anyone in the system like that anymore?

      Like

  13. Dan P
    October 8, 2014

    Another positive since Crane took over is more emphasis and more money spent in Latin America which is a critical artery for feeding any organization.

    Like

    • BrianT
      October 8, 2014

      Excellent point. Whether any of those kids works out or not is another matter, but Latin American kids are lottery tickets. More often than not, you get Ariel Ovando, but occasionally you get Jose Altuve.

      Like

  14. BrianT
    October 8, 2014

    Again, this has veered off track. So, I’ll ask again: Got something to say to the players. One piece of advice? Let’s hear it!

    Like

    • Dan P
      October 8, 2014

      To Jose Altuve – “Whatever you did last off-season (including no winter ball) do it again. Please, don’t change.”
      To Chris Carter – “Take home video tape of those approx. 200 ABs from July and August where you were the best DH in the AL. Get that ingrained in your mind and repeat in 2015.”
      To AJ Hinch – “You have a second chance to show you are a person who can learn from your past failures. Make sure you apply whatever lessons you learned.”

      Like

    • Flash
      October 8, 2014

      I’ve never been very good at following directions.

      Like

  15. 1oldpro
    October 8, 2014

    To Nick Tropeano: Congratulations, you finally got here. I think you were terrific the last two years sticking to your plan and having the patience to take things a step at a time and excelling at the next level. My best advice to you would be to seek out guys who have done what you want to do for a long period of time. Listen to successful pitchers and find out what made them tick and how they kept the fire burning for so long.
    One more thing I would suggest is to be frugal with your money for a few years. Don’t spend the money before it’s made and live like you aren’t making a half a million a year. If you are successful and get that big multiyear deal, then shoot for the stars. Until then, save a lot, live modestly and if something happens that you aren’t able to pitch you will have that nest egg you built up when you were being paid a half mil a year to play baseball. Way to go Nitro, we are pulling for you to be a part of the new Houston Astros winning tradition.

    Like

    • BrianT
      October 8, 2014

      To Domingo Santana: Keep your chin up. No one blames you for your cup of coffee disaster this year. No one. Listen to your hitting coach. You’ll get another chance. Next time, be ready.

      Like

  16. Becky
    October 8, 2014

    Hinch, if you’re not gonna keep our hitting coach……WHO are you gonna get to replace him? Let’s remember Mr. Hinch, he made Altuve the AL batting champ for the 2014 season……..you BETTER get someone as good or BETTER than he is.
    And Mr. Crane, your poor mouthing is getting old…….SHOW US THE MONEY.

    Like

    • Devin_
      October 8, 2014

      Agreed. Also, I am available as hitting coach for less money than flash wants to play 3B.

      Like

  17. Becky
    October 8, 2014

    Read yesterday that the Cubs are trying to hire John Mallee, but haven’t seen anything on Ralph Dickenson. Mallee was very successful with Carter, and Altuve,
    I hate to lose a guy like that.

    Like

    • Steven
      October 8, 2014

      Hey, I don’t want to give Mallee credit for what Jose Altuve is, he has always been this, at every level, before getting here.

      Bottom line is this team strikes out too much, and just watching tifs of Carters adjustments it doesn’t look like there is a lot to it. As good as he was for 2 months, he still struck out 32% of the time – unsustainable if he doesn’t want to be the next Mark Reynolds (who he is starting to erringly resemble statistically).

      There has been far more failure on Mallee’s watch then success. I know, I’m usually harsh on coaches, but I have advocated keeping the pitching coach around, the hitting coach of one of the worst teams in baseball offensively though, not so much. Maybe he was given lemons, time will tell on Singleton, Krauss, Dominguez, Villar, Castro, jeez the list of failure is longer than I thought.

      Like

      • Devin_
        October 8, 2014

        If hire as batting coach, my first drill will be live bp where baseballs are alternated, at random, with actual lemons. Those unable to discern that the projectile was citrus will be traded.

        Like

  18. Becky
    October 8, 2014

    Note to Luhnow…..even though Mallee got lemons to work with, get these guys a hitting coach that can make lemonade outta these guys. Thanks!

    Like

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