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Astros’ Outfield: Singing a sad song


Over the next several days, Brian Todd and Dan Peschong will take a look back — and forward — at each position for the Astros. Brian kicks it off today with the faux pas and what-might-have-beens and the future of the outfield.

• •• ••• •• •

Jose’s on a vacation far away
Now that the season’s over
So many players in the outfield played
You know Fowler’s just a little bit older
I just want to see Springer in right
Yeah. Jake in center every night …

Yep, the Astros’ outfield was like an 80s song. There were some good parts to it, but ultimately if you start singing it(s praises), you’ll feel embarrassed.

Thirteen players roamed to the green grass for Houston in 2014. Can you name them all? Not without saying “Tony Sipp” you can’t. Yep, Bo Porter was trying to prove he could think outside the box, so he trotted Sipp out to right and left field on different nights.

Fun fact: Tony Sipp played more outfield positions in 2014 than Dexter Fowler.

I’m a little stunned too.

So, I could analyze all 13 outfielders from 2014, but I don’t think we need to know what the fielding percentage of Sipp or Marwin Gonzalez was in the outfield. (Sipp never had a ball hit to him. MarGo posted a perfect 3-for-3 on put outs, but had a range factor higher only than Jesus Guzman‘s.)

No, instead I’m going to look at some real options and open up the option of whether Luhnow should spend any of that extra $20 million on the outfield. (No, though if he bought tickets to see The Outfield, I’d understand.)

We start our examination with the man who should start in left field in 2015, Dexter Fowler. Fowler posted a 1.7 WAR, a .276/.375/.399 slash line, and 108 Ks, 66 BBs in 505 plate appearances. I think it’s fairly easy to make the case — both with the eye test and with numbers — that Fowler does not belong in CF. According to Baseball Reference, he posted a negative 1.8 dWAR. Worst defensive WAR on the team. But if you put Fowler in left field, where his range and poor routes won’t matter as much, I think his dWAR could be significantly improved, improving his overall value. And that value starts with him getting on base. A lot. He led the team in walks by 10 over Carter, who played a lot more. And in two-thirds of a season, Fowler had the fourth most total bases. (You’ll never EVER guess who was third on this list. NEVER.)

Fowler will likely make about $9 million or $10 million this year, his last in arbitration. Should Houston trade him? That’s $10 million for a 1.7 WAR player.

Well, he’s also a 3.8 oWAR player, so if Hinch puts him in left field to mitigate his negative defense, Fowler is easily worth the money. Especially if he starts stealing bases again, something he did little of in 2014.

Next, we have George Springer. Here’s where the controversy begins. I think Springer belongs in right field. Now don’t get me wrong, Springer is an excellent center fielder. Great range. Great arm. But in both instances, I think Jake Marisnick is just a little better. The stats on this are mixed because neither really has enough innings for the fielding stats to separate them. But I’ve watched a lot of games. Marisnick has better range. And, with Houston’s deep center field, his better arm belongs in center. Springer’s 2.0 WAR comes from a 2.1 oWAR and a -0.4 dWAR (you don’t just subtract one from the other, it’s more complex than that). His .231/.336/.468 slash line came with 114 Ks and 39 BBs in 345 plate appearances. Springer’s slightly low BaBiP (.294) and the high number of Ks give us a little hope that his pretty good 2014 can become an awesome 2015 and beyond. Whiff a little less, connect a little more and good things will happen. Fun percentage: fly balls that became home runs: 23.8 percent. League average was 6.9 percent. Yeah, I’m not worried that if he swings for the seats a bit less, he’ll turn into a slap hitter.

Third on my list is Jake from State Farm. Marisnick posted a 1.4 WAR. That was a 1.3 dWAR in Houston and a 0.2 dWAR in Miami. He posted a 0.0 oWAR in Houston and a -0.4 oWAR in Miami. Obviously, Jake turned into a better hitter with consistent play. If he can be a level oWAR player next year and post a 2.5 dWAR, I’ll take it. And I’ll use that as proof he belongs in center field. Jake slashed a .272/.299/.370 line with Houston. In H-Town he whiffed 48 times and walked only 5 in 186 PAs. I’ve left his Miami numbers out, because a) they are horrible and b) it was all a bunch of inconsistent playing time.

The other outfielders who had value for Houston in 2014 (sorry Mark Krauss) were Robbie Grossman (1.2 WAR, .233/.337/.333, 105 Ks, 55 BBs, 422 PA) and, well, Alex Presley, sort of. Presley had a WAR of 0.0 in 2014 along with a .244/.282/.346 with 44 Ks, 13 BBs in 281 PA. Everyone else had a negative WAR with the exception of Kike Hernandez, who is fighting for a spot in Miami’s roster.

Both Presley and Grossman can play center field and right field in a pinch, so both have additional value in that sense. In fact, the only one of these five I wouldn’t put someplace is Fowler in right field.

So, what’s available out there? Well, you can blow the whole $20 million wad on Victor Martinez or Nelson Cruz. Melkey Cabrera and Mike Morse would be pricey options. I think Denard Span is probably in that group as well. Guys who might run from $5 million to $8 million a year include Norichika Aoki, Colby Rasmus, Alex Rios and Delmon Young. Nick Markakis has a huge team option that the Orioles probably don’t pay. Of the non-pricey options, Rasmus played fewer games than did Fowler, with a .735 OPS. Markakis was durable, but his .729 OPS is looking like not a ton of production for the money. Aoki and Rios had OPSs just above .700. Delmon Young put up a .779 OPS, but it was in 83 games. He’s also had a few bad years recently, so I’m not sure he’s worth the $8 million or so he’s going to want.

And that’s the thing. There are some good names in here. Rasmus is a quality ballplayer, but we’ve got $20 million in free agent money to spend. At $10 million a season, is he 4.6 WAR Colby Rasmus from 2013 or is he 0.9 WAR Colby Rasmus from 2014? Not sure I want to know.

If we’re looking at the Farm, I don’t think Domingo Santana is someone you can rely upon, but Preston Tucker put up an .885 OPS in Corpus and a .785 OPS in OKC last year. He had a total of 120 Ks in 536 ABs vs. Santana’s 149 Ks in 443 ABs. Andrew Aplin is hitting like a pro in the AFL.

So, here are my questions:

  • Is Houston’s outfield (starters and two reserves) on the 40-man roster already?
  • Are there any free agents who are worth Houston’s limited spending spree? Or would you rather see that money spent elsewhere?
  • What farmhand is most likely to get called up when the need arises. And, yes, I think L.J. Hoes starts the season as a farmhand if he’?
  • Who plays where and why?
  • Houston’s outfield will cost about $12 million, most of that going to Dexter Fowler. Should Houston trade Fowler (either in the winter or by the trade deadline) to free up more money for other positions?
  • Trivia: Tony Sipp played in the outfield in two separate games. How many innings did he log in the outfield in 2014?
  • Trivia: Which outfielder committed the most errors in 2014? Most assists? Turned the most double plays?
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About BrianT

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

51 comments on “Astros’ Outfield: Singing a sad song

  1. 1oldpro
    October 21, 2014

    Springer’s negative dWAR was from those 5 errors in 13 games and crazy routes getting used to RF. I doubt you will ever see that from him again. Fowler’s negative dWAR was from him playing CF. I am confident with either George or Jake in CF.
    Preston Tucker had his usual “get used to it” numbers when he got to AAA, but look at his stat line for August, his last month in AAA. His history shows that when he settles in, he hits and he hits for power.
    Fowler at $9mil is only a couple million more than last year and he would be valuable with a smaller LF to cover. I love Fowler, Jake and Springer from left to right to open the year and Grossman and maybe Aplin as backups. There is so much defense and speed, and OBP in that group. Aplin gives you a LH bat on the bench with great defense and a big OBP. I would rather play him than Presley, because that is why we are rebuilding. At trade time, if Tucker is tearing up AAA pitching, that might be the time to get something for Fowler or Carter and bring Tucker up. When Tucker was in Lancaster and CC he hit 35 doubles and 24 HRs and people might have thought it was the Lancaster effect. So last year in CC and OKC he hit 35 doubles and 25 HRs and a hundred RBIs and you know now that it is really him and not the altitude.
    This is a huge year for Santana. He starts in AAA again and this time his youth is not an excuse, he’s still young but he has seen both AAA and major league pitching and he knows now what he will be facing. This is the year for him to make his big statement. Can he hit for power against good pitching without a 35% K rate. That is what will get him to the majors or keep him out of the picture. Like I’ve said from day one: There is no way that Springer, Santana and Singleton are going to be in Luhnow’s Lineup together with all three having big K numbers. That is not how Luhnow intends to build his team.

    Like

  2. Kevin
    October 21, 2014

    Great info thanks guys I agree Fowler LF, Marisnick in CF, Springer in CF sounds fun. If we could dump Fowler mid season for something , I’m in. I would like to see what Alpin or Tucker could do this year, keep the line moving till we find our outfield for the next 7 years. If there going to spend 20 million i would still like to see that at 3rd or 1st and a bullpen arm,

    Like

    • Flash
      October 21, 2014

      I wouldn’t dump Fowler, I’d try to extend him. Consider it getting Shin Soo Choo for half the price.

      Like

  3. Flash
    October 21, 2014

    Good point on Springer. Good things happen when he makes contact. He doesn’t need to be unscrewing himself from the dirt after each swing.

    Defensive WAR is an unreliable stat. First, no one knows yet how to calculate it appropriately, or how to weight it if they did. Even, then it takes four years of data to become relevant. The Astros have data on routes, speed, reaction time, trajectory, speed of ball, hang time, etc. They can judge better than any of us (and I include Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference) who should play where. But Fowler’s offense is something we need to hold onto.

    I would go with Grossman over JFSF, but only in LF. He is a little bit of a butcher in RF, and we shouldn’t even talk about CF. That means Fowler-CF, Springer-RF.

    I like Span, and Rasmus could make sense if you trade Fowler for say, Ross or Eovoldi. That should be about a wash in salary, but a loss in offense. I don’t see Luhnow doing anything in the outfield. I think that was addressed in the Cossart trade. Look movement on the infield and the bull pen.

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  4. Devin_
    October 21, 2014

    Based on the success of KC and Baltimore, it may be that premium defense is the new market inefficiency. The optimal arrangement might be Grossman – Fowler (CF) – Springer through 6 innings, and then Fowler (LF) – JFSF (CF) – Springer for the final three innings. Maximize the OBP early in hopes for Carter and Springer to do damage, then prevent as many runs from scoring as possible late in the game.

    The issue I have with our OF is how terrible they were as pinch hitters in ’14. If you have two of 5 bench players who are OF, you need to have some production as PH from them. Maybe we see a FA signing to address that as our final OF spot.

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  5. Dan P
    October 21, 2014

    Nice job Brian – Yes, I remember “The Outfield” (the rock group not the Astros). They were a British group that struggled in the UK. Their management decided they sounded more like a US band – so they came to the states and had the big hit.
    As far as the Astros’ OF goes….
    – Must get Fowler out of CF. This is not 2013 with no other choices – tell him if he wants his bucks and likes Houston to buck up and move to LF.
    – I don’t want to trade Fowler – he is one of the few guys we have who showed good major league offensive talent last season.
    – Let Marisnick have a 1/2 season to show himself in CF – if it is not working there may be other choices ready by then like Tucker
    – Springer needs to play as much as possible and needs to improve that contact rate – like you said he has plenty of power – even if he throttles back on his swing a little – that ball is going to go.
    – Between Grossman, Aplin, Tucker – we should have two of our backups. Do not feel strongly about Presley one way or the other.
    Questions
    – Springer, Fowler, Marisnick and Grossman are on the 40 man – the question is whether Presley or Hoes somehow make the 25 man or if you drop one of them and add an Aplin or Tucker as the 2nd reserve. I like that idea.
    – Don’t spend FA money here (unless you trade Fowler which I don’t recommend)
    – Most likely to be called up farmhand….. Tucker
    – I already answered the next two questions
    – Tony Sipp – I’m going to say he played 2/3 of an inning in the OF – heck he might have been out there for 0 innings if his replacement got no outs and then moved back to the mound.
    – Most errors – Springer
    – Most assists – Grossman???
    – Most double plays – Grossman????\

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  6. 1oldpro
    October 21, 2014

    By the way, one stat that had gone unnoticed to me until now is Fowler’s 2014 splits against LH pitchers. His BA/OBP/SLG all averaged around 60 points higher against LHP than RHP. Altuve’s BA against LH pitchers was .414 and Fowlers was .327. Those two guys should ALWAYS be at the top of the lineup against starting LH pitchers. Fowler hit .260 batting from the left side last season, which isn’t too shabby compared to every other Astros lefty hitter. I pointed out the other day that Astros’s hitters were dead last in the majors batting left handed.
    I had no idea Altuve had over 700 plate appearances in 2014 and he had three times as many plate appearances against righties as he did against lefties. Apparently managers made pitching changes in the late innings of every close game when Altuve came to the plate.
    That is one of the reasons why Singleton’s and Castro’s poor hitting year hurt us so badly because other teams threw righties at us constantly because of Altuve and Fowler, but our two main lefties in the batting order did not take advantage of that situation.

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  7. daveb
    October 21, 2014

    There are no stats that provide an accurate portrayal of who would be best in centerfield. Certainly, both Springer and Marisnick are excellent defensive options, but a comparison simply can’t be made based on the seven starts Springer has gotten out there. If there was ever too small a sample…..all that said, Marisnick does have stronger career minor league defensive stats when compared to Springer.

    But I’m still not ready to put a guy into our 2015 outfield based on a .299 OBP and a .669 OPS, with 5 BB and 48 K’s, in 186 plate appearances, even if he’s got Gold Glove potential. I would start him against left handed pitching though.

    I’m pretty well convinced that we’ll lose either Fowler or Santana from the 40 man over the next couple of months. The cynical side of me thinks that Luhnow unloads Fowler’s salary to help buy pitching.

    So if I had to make an early guess, I think the outfield will include Grossman in left and then Marisnick and Springer in no particular order.

    Santana, assuming he’s still in the organization (and I sure hope so) needs to go have a big start in Fresno. There is plenty of time for him to mature and we don’t need a repeat of Singleton’s 2014 performance by bringing in Santana prematurely.

    Like

    • Steven
      October 21, 2014

      I wouldn’t have a big problem losing Santana.

      On one hand – here is a 22 year old with a rifle arm, lots of power, and the ability to do my favorite thing – draw walks.

      On the other hand – here is a 22 year old prospect that has a career best 28.2% K rate in the minors. In five seasons the least amount he has struck out has been 28.2%. His K rates make Chris Carter proud, except not even Carter struck out like this in the minors. Singleton, Carter, a dozen other examples, all show you can expect a slight uptick in K rate.

      I think its possible that Santana becomes a superstar. I think its just as likely that he becomes a .220 hitter with power. His K rates tell me mostly though that even the superstar Santana is more than 2-3 years away. If we were able to move him for a similar type 3B prospect and another pitching prospect, I would take it.

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    • Tim
      October 22, 2014

      I am with Steven on this. I wouldn’t have a big issue trading Santana. He does offer plenty of upside, but we already have a plethora of swing and miss guys. I think we should look to trade either Santana or Singleton. I don’t think we can have Springer, Singleton and Santana as the middle part of our lineup on our 2017 World Championship team. 🙂

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  8. 1oldpro
    October 21, 2014

    Mark Appel pitched five scoreless innings last night giving up two hits, both of which were by Lindor, the #4 prospect in MILB. Appel’s fastball was very good! He wanted more but there is a team rule by the Salt River management: nobody pitches more than five innings because there are too many good players that need work!

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  9. Steven
    October 21, 2014

    I don’t see any reasonable way to explain starting Marisnick. He has not outplayed Grossman, who posted a .371 OBP in the second half after a horrible start. I know Marisnick can play some D, probably as good as we’ve seen in Houston since Willy T, but he couldn’t hit either – and so he found the door. No doubt Marisnick has more ability to hit then Willy, but he has also demonstrated a career long problem with telling a ball from a strike – and honestly, that doesn’t change a lot. The very best I think you could expect from Marisnick offensively is that he hits around .270 with a .310 OBP and 10 homeruns if you give him 500 plate appearances, and that will be too much of a negative offensively, IF you even get that.

    I would start Fowler in LF, Springer in CF and Grossman in RF, and steal Devin’s idea that Marisnick is in there in tight games by the 6th – and also earns significant PT against righties. He will get his at bats also because one thing people are not pointing out is the lack of durability of this OF – it’s not 3 guys that will play 162 games – especially Fowler. So Marisnick fans, you will still get your JFSF at the dismay from those of us that want to see a bad offense get better.

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    • BrianT
      October 21, 2014

      My explanation is that Marisnick is just THAT MUCH BETTER of a fielder. Instead of relying on Grossman to put together two good halves (don’t hold your breath), I’d rather trust that Marisnick, who turns 24 about a week before opening day, is still developing as a hitter.

      But his outfield play allows for so much more. It allows Hinch to move Fowler to left field where he belongs while still giving the Astros a strong right fielder. Playing Grossman in right and Springer in center is putting your second-best (CF) and third best (RF) guys at those positions out there for the bulk of the innings. And that makes our pitchers’ jobs harder. Whatever we can do to avoid regression there is a big plus.

      I guess we can agree to disagree on this one.

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      • Steven
        October 21, 2014

        But I know its spin when you look at Marisnick’s numbers and say he is still developing – but when its Grossman its dont hold your breath. I could just as easily say that Grossman’s second half is showing his growth as a hitter and don’t hold your breath on Marisnick’s walk rate increasing. I guess we all spin it based on whatever point of view we are trying to push.

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      • BrianT
        October 21, 2014

        You’re absolutely right. Grossman is only 25. His second half could be the start of his big breakout. And Grossman isn’t a bad defensive outfielder. I just think if Grossman stumbles at the plate, I’d like to see a better outfield defense.

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      • Flash
        October 21, 2014

        Not sure where Grossman gets the “good outfielder” tag. I remember him butchering routes in RF when he first came up. At best I think he is serviceable in LF.

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      • BrianT
        October 21, 2014

        I guess I was comparing him to some of the people like Krauss we’ve seen out there.

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      • Steven
        October 21, 2014

        Grossman was statistically the worst outfielder we put out there last year. I do think its important to keep Marisnick on the roster, and use him out there as much as you can, but still limit at bats – if you give a guy that will post around a .300 OBP say 400+ plate appearances, it will be enough to affect the overall product.

        I do agree also that giving Grossman 900+ innings in your outfield will reflect the other direction. It’s going to be about Hinch using them both to accentuate their strengths and hide their weaknesses – but he has to do that with the entire roster. Springer, Altuve, and Fowler (to some degrees) really appear to be the only 600+ plate appearances talents.

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    • Devin_
      October 21, 2014

      Does JFSF have any interesting neighbors?

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      • Chip Bailey
        October 21, 2014

        Not sure Devin, but some would argue the Astros are in good hands with…oh, nevermind.

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    • 1oldpro
      October 21, 2014

      Maybe we could just play Grossman for the second half of the season. For two years in a row he has been bloody awful and got sent down to AAA. Then he comes back and plays bloody well. Now we just need to find an outfielder for the first half of the year. Or we could just trade him and find someone who plays good all year.

      Like

      • Steven
        October 21, 2014

        But you are ready to excuse Marisnick’s awful first half in Miami? Is that because we didn’t have to watch it? They are both young. One has potential to win gold gloves, neither have better than pedestrian power, both can steal a base, and one can draw walks and get on base.

        I don’t think the argument is about which one is the STARTER, but which one should get more PT. If you are offensive minded type that thinks what happens in the batters box affects what happens in the field more often, and I do to the tune of 3 to 1, I’m taking Robbie. If you think having Marisnick in CF or RF affects the pitchers, and the overall defensive product more significantly than the expect .050 OBP difference will, you will take Marisnick. I can respect both sides of the coin – but challenge that a good manager is going to find a way to get use out of them BOTH.

        Unfortunately, I don’t see Hinch as that guy. Hopefully he proves me wrong.

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      • 1oldpro
        October 22, 2014

        Marisnick didn’t have an awful first half in Miami. He played 70 games in AAA, got called up to Miami for an Injured player and played 14 games before being sent back to New Orleans. In his 89 AAA games he had 16 doubles, 4 triples, 24 SB and 10 home runs. His line was .277BA, .326OBP, .424SLG. That’s not awful at all.

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      • BrianT
        October 22, 2014

        He had 48 ABs in Miami, and he was awful in them. And his time in Houston was not spectacular at the plate either. And if the Astros can’t get decent production in other places in the lineup, I’m not sure that offense can support a guy who, at best, puts up a .650 OPS when we have a serviceable outfielder who can potentially put up an OPS closer to .700 in Grossman.

        That said, we keep talking about Grossman’s great second half like he was Dexter Fowler. His post-All-Star slash line was only .262/.357/.349. That’s an OPS just .037 higher than Marisnick. If that’s all the better Grossman is at the plate–if a .706 OPS is the “good” version of Robbie Grossman–I’ll take Jake as my full-time starter, not some defensive replacement. Those extra six innings of defense are worth it.

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    • daveb
      October 21, 2014

      Sure, I’d take that outfield, assuming Fowler is still with us, but with one tweak. Marisnick managed a .370 OBP against lefties in limited at bats, so I’d give him those starts over Grossman, who has been mostly unsuccessful against them. And unlike Marisnick, whose stats against righties are worse than mentionable, Grossman has handled right handed pitching pretty well. So that would be my idea of an old fashioned platoon. And as noted already, Marisnick comes in for Grossman defensively late, so both guys would get solid playing time.

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      • Tim
        October 22, 2014

        I like the idea of a Marisnick/Grossman platoon and Marisnick being a defensive replacement late in games when we are ahead. I just want to make sure we get Fowler out from CF as he is, statiscally, our worst defensive CFer between JFSF, himself and Springer.

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  10. 1oldpro
    October 21, 2014

    Former Astros farmhand Mike Hessman played for the AAA Toledo Mud Hens this past season. In 2012 Mike had 35 HRs and 19 doubles for OKC.
    Hessman was drafted in the 15th Rd in 1996 by the Braves. Over his 18 professional seasons he has 250 PAs in the major leagues and 8091 PAs in the minors.

    Like

  11. Dan P
    October 21, 2014

    I guess if we see Fowler leave…does that mean Crane will let Luhnow spend the freed up money plus $20 million more???? Somehow I don’t think so

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Steven
    October 21, 2014

    Fun read on what some people think should be a potential target for Houston:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/so-youre-about-to-pitch-to-pablo-sandoval/

    Like

    • daveb
      October 21, 2014

      For me, it would restore some credibility to the club. And as he gets chunkier, we can move him right over to first base, which gives us a solid safety net should Singleton continue to do what he’s not been doing.

      Like

    • Steven
      October 21, 2014

      yea – kinda looks like the Vlad Guerrero of 3B – so willing to go out of the strike zone, but so effective even when he does. You can see it in those low K rates.He isn’t quite as hard as Altuve to strike out, but he isn’t far off of that. At 28, he would be a welcome addition, and certainly an upgrade. My guess is we won’t be in on him, but it would be an announcement to baseball that isn’t 2012 Houston Astro baseball anymore.

      Like

      • daveb
        October 21, 2014

        A much needed quality left handed bat too.

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  13. daveb
    October 21, 2014

    Brian, I’m still trying to understand how you have determined that Marisnick is a better centerfielder than Springer. I know I’ve sounded like a broken record here, but Springer has gotten all of seven starts out there.

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    • BrianT
      October 21, 2014

      From watching them both play. Even in right field, JFSF has a half-step better jump, takes better routes and has better control. But maybe you see things differently.

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    • Steven
      October 21, 2014

      I think it’s safe to assume that Marisnick is better, only because Marisnick is that good, not that Springer is bad. To me, Springer is my everyday CF’er bar none, for maybe the next 5-6 years at least, and I would pencil him there 155 games + and leave it alone. He is an everyday player, that minus the strikeouts doesn’t have any other weaknesses in his game – he can run, he can hit, he has power, he plays defense better than average, and when you have that kind of talent, you don’t have to work around weaknesses. Put him in natural position, where he wants to be, make things become easier for him, and use Marisnick’s defensive talents in other places.

      Bochy said two weeks that Hunter Pence was the lowest maintenance player he ever managed. You can pencil his name in everyday, and while he isn’t a superstar, he is good in so many things – running, hitting, power, defense – that you don’t have to work around weaknesses – he is a 162 game, 600+ plate appearance talent.

      Write George Springer – CF, 3 hitter, and move on to other issues as a manager. Altuve and Springer won’t be his issue.

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      • BrianT
        October 21, 2014

        You could do the same next season writing Springer’s name in at RF. Do it for a month while you see if Marisnick’s bat is sufficient to support his defense. And, no, I have nothing against Springer in CF. He’s a very very very very good center fielder. I just think JFSF is a bit better. And if we can have both in the outfield, why not put the where they do the most good. Oh, and think of the coverage our pitchers would get with Fowler-JFSF-George roaming the outfield. Nothing would drop.

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      • Steven
        October 22, 2014

        But if you have a lineup that is already not producing numbers from 1B, SS, 3B, little from C, and now you want to put strikeout prone, no power, little walk Marisnick in CF, you continue to lose 3-2 games. We gripe about McHugh or Keuchel’s run support, then advocate putting the worst offensive options we have in the lineup?

        Grossman is no superstar. Hey, they can’t all be superstars, but he is a better offensive option than Marisnick, even if only slightly. All the defense in the world can’t change that.

        Look, Grossman may only be slightly better – but you got to keep taking the slightly’s where you can. If we were talking about SS, a position where your range and ability make a daily impact – i.e. like Adam Everett did for a few years – I would be for it. I would challenge this question though – how many balls do you think Jake will actually get to that Springer does not? We know how many Villar will get to that Gonzalez will not, even if he botches a few, but I am guessing that Marisnick will only be, over the course of a full season, 10-15 plays better than Springer will be (if that) – and does that constitute us watching Marisnick bat .260 with a .300 OBP for 450+ plate appearances? If Marisnick develops some power, and some surmise he will, he could change this argument – but not as long as he is going to post poor OBPs and poor SLG both.

        I’ll stand by my play them both – but maximize Grossman’s OBP – and Marisnick’s glove.

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      • Tim
        October 22, 2014

        Steven,

        You are indicating that starting Springer in CF instead of Marisnick is minimal runs lost defensively, and I would agree with you, but how many runs are saved with JFSF in CF and Springer in RF instead of Springer in CF and Grossman in RF? This is where the comparison should be done.

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      • Steven
        October 22, 2014

        RF requires much less range, and much fewer opportunities. The math still tells me Springer in CF everyday is the way to go.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 23, 2014

        If you put Springer in CF then you are putting, for the most part, Grossman in RF. Yes, less ground to cover, but what about the defensive assists that Marisnick or Springer would get from RF over Grossman and the hits taken away from flyballs that Grossman can’t get (there will still be situations where this happens). Is Grossman enough of an offensive upgrade from Marisnick to warrant his defensive downgrade? An OF of Fowler, Springer and Marisnick is very tantalizing from a defensive standpoint. I think it would save more runs defensively than runs lost offensively by starting Marisnick over Grossman. With that being said I like the idea of giving Grossman plenty of starts against RH pitchers, but not all the starts and give Marisnick all the starts against LH pitchers.

        Like

  14. Flash
    October 21, 2014

    For those of you pining for Jerome Williams, well, he is off the market.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      October 21, 2014

      Dang it!

      Like

    • Devin_
      October 22, 2014

      My initial reaction was tempered when seeing that he was not terrible as a starter last year. Looks like a good signing for a team going nowhere. Would have been a terrible signing for Houston.

      Like

  15. Mr. Bill
    October 21, 2014

    John Fogerty dropped by. He had this to say about the Astros’s outfield woes:

    We gonna beat this horse, though he’s dead of course,
    til the sun comes out next spring.
    Till we find some place where there’s new grass on the field.
    And then a-roundin’ third, and headin’ for home –
    who’ll be our brown-eyed handsome men?
    Will it be Dex, Jake, George or some hopefuls not revealed?

    Put ’em in coach – if they’re ready to play – come May.
    Yeah, put ’em in coach – if they’re ready to play – say “hey!”
    Give ’em room, let ’em bloom, in Centerfield!

    Well we’ve wept and cried on the Astros’ side, waitin’ for the worm to turn;
    We’ve so dang tired of seein’ all our guys strike out.
    So Jake from State Farm, and Dex with no arm, & George and Robbie G.
    If you can hit at all – you know your time is now!

    Put ’em in coach – if they’re ready to play – come May.
    Yeah, put ’em in coach – if they’re ready to play – say “hey!’
    Watch ’em zoom! Who’ll assume, Centerfield?

    Jake’s got the glove, George the bat, and Dex the OBP
    and Robbie’s not half-bad after July.
    If they can hit the ball, I say we keep ’em all, at least for one more year,
    and whoever don’t produce just kiss that one goodbye!

    Put ’em in coach – if they’re ready to play – come May.
    Yeah, put ’em in coach – if they’re ready to play – say “hey!’
    Find a hero soon, don’t wait til June, in Centerfield

    Liked by 1 person

    • BrianT
      October 21, 2014

      Wow, I bow to your superior tomfoolery.

      Like

  16. 1oldpro
    October 21, 2014

    The attorney for the Astros in charge of the negotiations with Palm Beach County Florida got the approval today on the financing with county officials and the Astros/Nationals have 90 days to find a site and get going on construction plans. The Astros would like to be in the new facility by January of 2017.
    Tomorrow is the big day for the Comcast bankruptcy court case. If it goes the Astros way, the first telecast of Root Sports Houston would be the October 29th Rockets game.

    Like

  17. Mr. Bill
    October 22, 2014

    Off topic, but really good news. Vince Velasquez followed Mark Appel’s lead last night in the AFL. That makes two great performances in a row for Astros’ starting pitching prospects against really good competition.

    Like

    • Steven
      October 22, 2014

      Good news indeed. I am probably in the minority but I think if Velasquez can stay healthy now he will shoot up the ladder, and is not only our best pitching prospect but in my eyes can be a future ace.

      Like

      • Flash
        October 22, 2014

        I don’t think you are in the minority. Fangraphs has him as our third best prospect. I’ve thought him a their best chance at a potential ace since he came back from TJ.

        Like

  18. rj
    October 22, 2014

    hey flash. last post you asked about bogar. he was always prepared, always in the right position, was good in the clutch, a good teammate, and very knowledgable in general. very good baseball acumen.

    Like

    • Flash
      October 22, 2014

      As fans we develop opinions on managers in particular that seem to be based in mythology or legend. I always liked Bogar as a player, and I am glad to see him being considered across the league. He fits the profile, played a ‘thinking’ position, was good but not great so he had to work for the time he got, seemed likeable as a player, etc.

      Like

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This entry was posted on October 21, 2014 by in Astros.
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