Astros’ Starters: The best part of the 2014 season


The Houston Astros improved 19 games in 2014 from the depths of hell season that was 2013. A reasonable breakdown of the areas that led to this improvement might go as follows:

  • Improved Starting rotation – 60%
  • Improved Hitting – 20%
  • Improved Defense – 15%
  • Barely improved bullpen – 5%

There are a lot of stats that show the improvement of the starting staff from 2013 to 2014

 

2013 Rank in AL 2014 Rank in AL
ERA 4.72 13th 3.82 T 8th
Complete Games 2 T 13th 7 T 1st
Innings Pitched 906 13th 970 T 5th
WHIP 1.47 14th 1.31 11
OPS against .778 13th .708 6

A very telling under-the-radar stat is the following. In 2013, 95 of the Astros’ games (59%) were started by pitchers with ERAs over 5.00. In 2014, only four games – 3 by the long gone Lucas Harrell and 1 substitution start by Rudy Owens – were started by folks with ERAs over 5.00. There is no doubt that the improved starting pitching gave the team a chance in many more games in 2014, chances that were usually handed away by inconsistent hitting and a poor bullpen.

So what drove the improvement in 2014 and what does it mean for 2015.

Two stars rising

The biggest differences from the 2013 to the 2014 staff were two-fold. First Dallas Keuchel morphed from a marginal fifth starter/long man to a control freak stud. Second was the transition of Collin McHugh from a waiver slag pile inhabitant to a breaking ball diva.

Keuchel had struggled in two stints in the starting rotation with ERAs over 5 in 2012 and 2013. He was a marginal candidate to make the fifth spot in the rotation for 2014, but once he did, he had a rip-roaring good season.

He tied for the lead in the AL for complete games with 5, put up a seventh best (among qualifiers) ERA of 2.93, had a twelfth best WHIP of 1.18 and OPS against of .655 and a very solid K / BB ratio of 3.04. His nearly 7 innings per start was easily the best on the staff.

But Keuchel has one stat that is absolutely amazing. He led the league in GO/AO which is the ratio of outs by ground balls to outs by balls in the air with 2.83. The next best number among starting pitchers was 1.85. That is an unbelievably huge differential and showed how effective he was in making the batters hit his pitch and pound it into the ground.

McHugh had a couple very weak cups of coffee with the Mets and the Rockies where his 2012 ERA of 7.59 was the better number. He was picked up by the Astros for nothing, told to throw more curveballs and had a great 2014. He fell eight innings short of being a qualifier, but if he had made it, his 2.73 ERA would have been sixth in the AL, his 1.022 WHIP would have been third, and his OPS against of .588 would have been fourth in the league. Considering how many breaking balls he throws on every count, his 2.4 BB/9 IP was very good.

Bud Norris 2.0

The Astros brought in Scott Feldman as a veteran free agent starter to solidify the rotation. He did – he basically gave the team very similar production to what Bud Norris provided before he was traded last season. So, it can be argued that it might have been cheaper to hang on to Bud than bring in Feldman. Hey, if Josh Hader is the real deal…no one will care.

Feldman put out a decent 3.74 ERA over 180 innings (6 IP/start) with a 1.303 WHIP. Norris prior to his trade put out a decent 3.93 ERA over 126 innings (6 IP/start) with a 1.413 WHIP.

The good news is that while Norris was the Astros best long term starter in 2013, Feldman was clearly the third best in 2014 with very similar numbers.

Dallas Keuchel 2.0?

Brett Oberholtzer had decent numbers as a starter – 4.39 ERA / 143.2 IP / 1.378 WHIP / 3.36 K per BB. Certainly these numbers do not seem to equate to a 5-13 record. Oberholtzer’s numbers are definitely superior to what Keuchel (another medium-hard tossing lefty) put up in 2013 before he blossomed in 2014.

So could Oberholtzer be set up for a kick butt 2015 like Keuchel did last season? Well, while a solid pitcher he has never really put up TOR type of numbers even in the minors.

It may be  blasphemous, but Obie might improve if his control got a little worse. He pitches to contact and walks less than any other starter on the staff (1.8 BB/9 IP), but he gives up more hits (10.6 / 9 IP) than any other starter on the staff. Perhaps he just has to have better location near the zone but not in the zone to improve his lot in 2015.

There can be little argument that these first four men will be in the starting rotation when the season starts….if they are all still with the club.

#5

Well after a good stretch of pitching down the stretch after learning he was tipping pitches, Brad Peacock is totally set to step up and take over the 5th slot in the rotation. Huh? What? Peacock had hip surgery and will miss the start and perhaps all of Spring Training?

OK, OK, OK. After a four solid starts down the stretch, young Nick Tropeano is ready to grab hold of that 5th slot in….. Whaaaat? Gone to LAA? For Hank Conger? And we had to send along Carlos Perez, who seems to have skills like or better than Conger?? (Wait a minute, the topic is starting pitching and Tropeano is gone from that discussion).

So, stating the obvious…the fifth starter is either with the organization right now or he is not.

Are the Astros thinking they have the next fireballing Yordano Ventura in young Micheal Foltynewicz? The 23 year old had his moments – like when he struck out 4 in 1-1/3 inning, but he also had moments when he looked like he needed more seasoning.

Are the Astros thinking they picked up another McHugh, when they picked up Sam Deduno, who had one nice, short emergency start after being picked up from the Twins? Note – he did start 18 games with a 3.83 ERA in 2013.

Are the Astros thinking that Alex White, Jake Buchanan or Anthony Bass can fill the last spot in the rotation?

Are they ready to take a leap of faith and promote Mark Appel?

Or more likely, did they love how Asher Wojciechowski pitched down the stretch and are saying his time has finally come this spring?

Well maybe. Or maybe the 5th starter is actually someone they will pick up by trade or free agent signing in the off-season.

So….

  1. How much fall-off if any do you expect from Keuchel and /or McHugh?
  2. Does the Tropeano trade and Peacock injury tell you that neither Feldman or Oberholtzer are getting moved?
  3. Who within the organization would you like to see them promote to the rotation?
  4. Any good free agent you think the Astros would pursue who would also be interested in helping this staff? James Shields, Francisco Liriano, Ervin Santana, Edinson Volquez, Brandon McCarthy, Jake Peavy and Jason Hammels are among many out there (and yes Max Scherzer and Jon Lester are too – you dreamers).
  5. Would you trade some prospects for someone else? Who would that be?
  6. Is Brad Peacock going to return in time to grab a starting spot or is he going to be a lowly paid version of Jesse Crain?
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84 comments on “Astros’ Starters: The best part of the 2014 season

  1. First – no to the FAs unless someone takes $1mil NRI or something really cheap. Second – back last Summer JL talked about his computer and when the “name turned green” it was time for Veras to come to the ML team. I believe that he has many prospects that have been bragged about – that JL’s computer show they probably will never be “green.” I expect many more trades that are head scratchers. If not only this Winter, but in July and next Winter. I would think one will probably be a SP or at least COULD be a SP. (Example on Conger trade, it looks like nothing. But if JL thinks Garcia, Stassi, and Heineman have a higher upside, then Perez is expendable even if you only get Conger or the like)

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    • I found them “giving up” on Tropeano so quick the interesting part. They must not think he will be all that much.
      Since Perez made it thru Rule 5 last season not sure he needed to be on the 40 man or swapped 2 for 1 this off season but just one of many JL decisions we will see.

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    • I guess I was really leaning on looking at 2014 with an eye towards 2015, so I kind of leaned away from Cosart. But a fair point.
      Cosart was having an OK year for the Astros in the Norris/Feldman mold when he was unceremonially dumped to Miami with Kike Herandez for Marisnick, Moran and a future guy with his last name starting in M to be drafted in the future. His 4.41 ERA / 1.461 WHIP were below average, but he bull dogged his way somehow to a 9-7 record. He really struck out too few and walked too many – but his end result was decent.
      After being sent to Miami he really kicked it up a notch – knocking his ERA down to a strong 2.39 and his WHIP to a better 1.188. One interesting stat (and it could just be small sample) but he cut back on his ground balls after leaving Houston his GO/AO went from 1.87 down to 1.33. That would seem to reflect a difference in philosophy or differences in ball parks. The irony is that after pitching below average in Houston with a 9-7 record – he pitched strongly at Miami with a 4-4 record. Which is why wins are not a very good indicator of pitching performance some times.

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  2. Briefly, the potential for already having the starting rotation for the 2017 World Series Champions already in the system is there. It’s a long shot for sure – Keuchel and McHugh turn out to be the real deal, Obie channels his inner Keuchel, a monster emerges from Folty, Appel et al. Scott Feldman exceeded my expectations last year (I had him as an expensive Eric Bedard) and could potentially be a fifth starter on the 2017 team. So, go north in 2015 with the best five from within the system.

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    • I’m betting Feldman will be long gone by the time 2017 gets here and if we keep shipping off a starting pitcher every time you turn around, who knows if the rotation is here or not. But all points well taken.

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  3. A final thought on the Conger trade. I think Luhnow placed big emphasis on his assessment that he was trading two minor league prospects for a major league catcher. Since we hired a former catcher as our manager, I would think he had a lot to say about our catchers.
    I like trying Folty in the rotation. He has big stuff, has spent enough time in the minors and 2015 is the perfect time to find out what he has. The Astros broke Ober into the majors in 2013, McHugh in 2014 and so they are over their rookie jitters. Let’s see what Strom and major league hitters can forge Folty into now, when we aren’t “competing” for the World Series, rather than later, when we can use him where he fits in best.
    I think Dallas or Collin could regress a little and still provide us with better results if we add hitters to our lineup, relievers to our staff, and better defense behind them and maybe even better pitch framing behind the plate. Does anyone not think they were capable of winning 3-4 more games last year apiece if they had pitched the same and were on any of the playoff teams?
    I am not opposed to signing a free agent starting pitcher, but I would rather see them make moves to drastically improve our lineup and spend the money there and on the bullpen to let our starters go deeper into games with a lead, rather than pitching from behind because we can’t score runs.
    I personally think Peacock has missed the boat. I’m not sure the Astros are in love with any pitching prospect they have above the AA level and I would be willing to part with anyone currently on the minor league rosters except for Correa, McCullers, Reed and Hader in trades for good major league players

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  4. First, this FO doesn’t take leaps of faith. Second, I don’t think they are giving up on Nitro, just that he isn’t the type of pitcher they favor. They have a clear record of acquiring pitchers with clean mechanics and dealing those with more risky mechanics. The trades, tandem rotations, and The Great Elbow Incident all point to an injury risk averse strategy.

    There are no indicators to suggest that McHugh or Kuechel will regress significantly. There performances are definitely repeatable. McHugh’s success goes beyond just throwing more CBs, (pitch tunnelling).

    COL, ATL, CWS, TEX, CHI, PIT, MIN could all use a catcher. I’d target Jason Heyward, CarGo, Miley, Tyson Ross, and Starlin Castro (Castro for Castro?). We may see Luis Valbuena at the hot corner next year.

    Folty looked a lot like Hunter Strickland did in the WS. He needs to create more deception.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Flash – nice point about the risk adverse FO.
      Explain pitch tunneling if you would….
      Do you think Folty pitched a lot differently as a 1 or 2 inning reliever (bring the heat and mix it with more heat) than he would if thrown into a starting role (hopefully 3 pitches at least ) and is he ready for that?

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      • Imagine a tunnel extending from the pitcher’s release point to half way from home plate. McHugh’s CB and his 4-seamer come from the same release point and through this tunnel on exactly the same trajectory. As the CB ‘leaves’ the tunnel it dives straight down. The 4-seamer stays up in the zone. There is at least a foot difference in the two pitches as they come into the strike zone. As a hitter you have no chance of reacting to the pitch. The Astros suggested he abandon his 2-seamer in favor of his 4-seamer, as a compliment to his CB.

        My only point about Folty is, MLB hitters don’t have much of a problem with 100mph FBs. He still needs a complimentary pitch or better movement on the FB to keep the ball in the park. A lot of his pitches were just straight cheese.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Damn Flash, staying at Holiday Inn Express’ again I see.

        Great explanation, I read a two pager on pitch tunnelling last week and you did a better a job explaining it in a paragraph lol.

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    • Thanks for that response Flash.
      So…. I assume that the Astros worked with McHugh to standardize his release point and to make sure that the two pitches are at the same point coming out of the tunnel? Great explanation of tunneling – thanks.
      My only point on Folty was that maybe he has more pitches but was not using them in these short spurt relief appearances.

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  5. Saw some interesting statistics today for 2014. Castro and Molina caught 900+ innings & Conger 600+. Attempted steals – Castro – 104, Molina 44, & Conger – 75. Sometimes it is what you “take away” from the other team that makes your team better. Especially concerning defense. A good fielding pitcher removes the bunt attempt, a good outfield arm removes the attempt for the extra base, etc.

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    • So are we talking about Jose, Yadier or Alfred (the guy who played the villain in the Tobey McGuire Spider Man2) Molina?
      Interesting – if Conger played as many innings as Castro – he would have as many or more steal attempts against – probably because he is too busy framing those pitches to take the ball out and throw it?

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  6. Great question! I would trade any one of them for the right player. I would trade two of them for two right players.
    With Velasquez’s latest injury I think Feliz has passed him in value. I would skip Lancaster and move Feliz to CC, if he is added to the 40-man. Appel is going to have to change something if he is to succeed. Could he be too much breeding and too little workhorse?
    The only reason I left guys like Moran off the untradeable list is because we have Ruiz and vice versa

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  7. I’m still a fan of Alex White as the 5th starter, but feel as though Wojo is in a similar position. I think Nitro and Olberholtzer are both AAA to AAAA guys.

    The FA pitchers aren’t blowing me away. I like the idea of taking on a lesser guy, like Santana, than blowing the budget on Scherzer. I’d feel a lot better if they had taken Rodon and not worried about FA to fill our rotation…

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  8. I am changing gears, but great news from David Barron of the Houston Chronicle via twitter.

    To recap: The bankruptcy court-ordered stay on closing will expire on or about Nov. 14. After that, Root Sports Houston is free to launch.

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    • Thanks for the update Tim. I have been one of the fortunate (well sometimes it was not so fortunate watching this mess) but it is great that finally there will be an avenue for so many folks to see these young guys play.

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  9. More from David Barron: Comcast will continue its appeal on financial grounds, but, as it said yesterday, it will not attempt to stop launch of the new network.

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    • Thanks for the “news alert” Becky. A very deserving winner but I’m almost surprised they did not give it to a bigger name like Cano. That is great news!

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  10. Your questions: my answers……..
    I think Keuchel and McHugh will still flourish under Strom, so I look for both to stay on the same path as last year.
    I’m a BIG Oberholtzer fan, and Feldman is still serviceable, so I think they both are safe……..until the AS break.
    I’ve always liked Jake Peavy, and his stock might be a little cheaper with his WS
    starts. Brandon McCarthy is an interesting alternative, but you have to know NONE of the 4 or 5 BIG guns are coming here.
    Trades?? Who knows what’s in Luhnow’s brain, but you can BET any trade won’t involve one of “his” guys.
    I have my doubts about Peacock, but ya never know, he might come to spring training throwing like Max Scherzer!
    Would you try to trade for Hanley Ramirez??? I would warts and all!

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      • I hadn’t considered NYY for him, but it is a good fit. He can play SS for a year or two before moving back to 3B. The same could happen in Houston though.

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    • It is kind of interesting – I was looking at the mlb trade rumors site and they showed the Astros as one of 3 possible landing spots for Shields. I do not know what this is based on – but found it interesting none the less.
      Hanley is going to want a ton of bucks and years as he hits 31. The last 4 seasons he has played in 92, 157, 86 and 128 games. Not exactly the durability I want for the resources he will demand.

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      • I think those articles are written by computer guys looking for the best fits, not necessarily that they have any information or talking to anyone in the organization. I also think they are trying to push out a lot of information quickly, all the time, giving them just a view from the 35th floor. If they ever got in the elevator and came down here to the lobby they would realize the Astros are not interested in trying to compete with the Cubs and the Red Sox financially for the big fish – I say those two because I suspect that Shields ends up in one and Lester in the other.

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      • That is a reasonable question Devin – I don’t think there is any absolute answer here. I mean I don’t think that Dallas Keuchel or Jose Altuve are heading out the door just because they were picked up under previous administrations. Does it mean guys who don’t fit the computer model? Maybe.

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  11. Mark Appel pitched 5 innings Thursday giving up 1 hit, no walks, 4Ks, no runs and hit two batters and had a balk. I flashed to him saying that Strom wanted him to pitch inside more when I saw the hit batsmen.
    When the Astros claimed Will Harris from the D’backs the other day I flashed back to the McHugh claim a year ago when I yawned. Then I looked at his stats for the majors and the minors, saw that he had a 91-93mph fastball and was supposed to have a good curve. I wondered about the spin rate on that curve and I’m going to try to get some info. I’d be willing to bet that the Astros Geek Squad really likes this guy.
    As a side note, the Astros’ Mike Fast wrote the book on pitch framing when he was with Baseball Prospectus. Baseball people seem to think that the Astros got a good player in Conger, and don’t view the trade as lopsided at all.

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    • Saw a little bit of Appel before he was taken out. It is hard to judge a bit because unlike the majors these hitters are not taking very many pitches. He did seem to have a nice live arm and they had trouble laying off his high fastball that all they could do was get under it. I thought the balk was a bad call – but whatever. Nice catch on the HBP and him throwing inside.
      When you look at Harris’ numbers he does have a nice K rate and not a bad walk rate. He’s never started in the minors or the majors – but he might bring some help to the pen.

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  12. many times i forego answering the questions because i get caught up in the comments, but i sure appreciate all these topics and discussions they bring. and appreciate the work that b,c and d do to bring them to us, so here are my responses.
    1. anytime you have a real good season some regression is possible just from the law of averages if nothing else, but i dont expect much drop off from either. in fact with a good receiver and a better lineup to get them runs, they may improve.
    2. i would say yes. maybe more pitching will be traded, but i doubt any of our top of the line pitchers are moved unless its part of a really major deal.
    3. i’d like to see folty get shot at starting.
    4. shields or santana – i dont expect either though
    5. yes. a proven middle of the order LF or established closer with years left of team control
    6. i doubt he is another crain, but odds are low for him to be in the rotation early on

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    • I think Folty will get his shot. It will be up to the guys on the ground, Hinch and Strom, to figure out if he can get better command of mulitple pitches – a difficult proposition but one every starter goes through – or if he is better off learning to become very effective with two pitches – and move to the pen. He certainly has the arm for both.

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  13. One guy that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention by chipaholics is Maeda. I don’t think the Astros will pursue any of the really expensive guys in Lester, Shields, Scherzer, but I do think they will throw their hats in on a mid tier cost like Maeda, especially with the new posting rules. I think he ends up being the off season splash.

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  14. Here’s some things I think I’m thinking:

    * I think any fall off with Keuchel will be some obscure stats. In fact, he probably becomes more effective with a better bullpen and offense. The same is probably true of McHugh, Feldman and Oberholtzer. Obie in particular wasn’t as bad as his W-L record would indicate.

    * Feldman and Obie aren’t going anywhere. I never really thought they were.

    * No one right now. I guess Buchanan or Deduno or Foltynewicz would be my fifth starter until Peacock is ready. If Appel can avoid emergency surgery this off season, maybe he can get a promotion in July or August, or a September cup of coffee.

    * Shields and Santana would be interesting. But as much as I think pitching is vital, I’m more concerned with spending money on the bullpen and some bats.

    * I’m with Oldpro, take Correa, Hader, Feliz and Appel. I’d keep either Moran or Ruiz, but it doesn’t have to be both. I’d have to be pretty happy with the haul on a deal sending Teoscar Hernandez, Preston Tucker or Domingo Santana anywhere.

    * Here we were having a good time talking about the starters, and you had to ruin it by mentioning Jesse Crain. Why don’t you just have Shawn Chacon come over and punch me next time.

    And finally, congrats to Jose Altuve for winning the Silver Slugger. Robinson Who? And I’m glad the Gold Glove folks got it right for a change. Way to go, Dallas Keuchel!

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    • I don’t know, everyone can disagree with me, but I don’t think Olberholtzer was as good as he looked in 2013 or necessarily as bad as his record indicated in 2014. However, he kept pitching just bad enough to lose. He seldom, to my recollection, blew leads, but rather gave up runs early and was then pitching from behind or leaving in position to get a loss. Criticize wins as a statistic, but the only way to get one involves leaving a game (or finishing it even) with your team in the lead.

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      • I know what you are saying Devin and I agree partially that some times pitchers deserve what they get. But look at this example from 2014.
        Jarred Cosart – 9-7 4.41 ERA 1.461 WHIP 5.8 Innings / start 3.9 BB / 9 IP
        Oberholtzer – 5-13 4.39 ERA 1.378 WHIP 6.0 innings / start 1.8 BB / 9 IP

        Playing for the same team- it may make sense or may be just the way luck cuts.

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      • I do agree that wins can’t be ignored completely, I think its at least half having an offense to help but there is definitely something to be said about bulldogging a win out. Sometimes if you know the other guy is gonna be tough, you have to get tough.

        I do like Obie as a prospect to start next year, I love control guys, they keep pressure off the bullpen.

        I would probably open with a rotation that has Keuchel on opening day, then Folty, then McHugh, then Obie, and using the present roster I would go Buchanan – though I think he will struggle at first. I would move Feldman – but if they don’t he takes Buchanan’s spot, and allows McHugh to pitch in the 2 spot.

        I would try and put Folty between two guys with better control that will go 7 more consistently, as I expect Folty – at least early in his career – to be a 100 pitch by the 5th inning guy. Between Keuchel and McHugh is perfect for him, or at the bottom between Obie and Keuchel – the best two control guys we have. The idea is not to have the bullpen have to throw 3-4 innings in back to back days, keeping the better arms out there fresh.

        In the end though I hope they do make the splash with Maeda and open with Keuchel-Maeda-McHugh-Feldman-Obie. That rotation to start with Buchanan and Folty mixed in as the season goes would have me more optimistic than I have been in a long time about the rotation.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. There is an interesting article at Climbing Tal’s Hill suggesting Torreyes could be our 3B next year. We all know about his extremely low K rate (6%). He has more walks than Ks through his minor league career. They said he was also a better defensive 3B than Matty D. The only thing he is lacking is the power, but I am willing to give that up if he is better defensively. Thoughts?

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    • I’m looking for more offense at 3B really. Torreyes has been a good hitter with little power. Do look for power at the corner infield positions – maybe he can grw into it?

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      • Traditionally, 3B is a power position, but would you rather have Matty D there next year or Torreyes for one year until Moran or Ruiz is ready? If my options are Torreyes or Matty D I am taking Torreyes.

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      • Teams have had success with guys like Placido Polanco and Omar Infante. You all know I’m a fan of Torreyes, but I wouldn’t cut bait on Dominguez for him unless you have a plan B in mind as well.

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    • When you are 5-10 and only 150 you need to spend some time in the gym, then a steakhouse, then back to the gym.

      Seriously though – I would love the 5-6% K rate if it was accompanied with a 10+% walk rate. He looks a lot like Altuve statistically, and I am guessing he is much the same aggressive, get the first pitch that looks decent into play kinda hitter, minus the ability to hit it as hard – and not just in a homerun sense, I think he probably lacks the ability to tattoo balls – which is why his BABIP jumps all over the place.

      Torreyes is a great prospect, but ready to take 550-600 at bats at the big league level, probably not yet. Wouldn’t hurt him to put on 25 pounds first.

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  16. i am down on matty d as well, with high hopes for moran or ruiz getting here in 2016. but since he only had 109 at bats in 2012, last year was really his sophomore year. many times players slump that year as the league adjusts to them and they dont adjust well themselves. many times they bounce back the next year. do i expect this? no. do i hope for this? yes. but we really need for 3B to be defensively sound and provide offense with some power.

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    • rj – the problem is that Matty was so far off from the norm for 3Bs . His OBP/OPS of .256 / .586 was way way below the next worst qualifier .306 / ,700 much less compared to the average qualifying 3B – approx. .330 / .760.
      He needs a lot of improvement just to be adequate offensively. His 2013 numbers might be acceptable if: Springer plays a whole year, Singleton improves a lot, Castro trends back towards 2013 and they add another bat to the lineup.

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  17. rj……I’m not “down” on Matt Dominguez, but I sure hope he will make us all look like fools and he has a true “break out” year. Right now he is projected to be at the hot corner on opening day……..unless something drastic happens. So, we wait to see who shows up in 2015 to unseat him at 3rd. base!

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    • He needs to show something pretty quick – no other team in the majors would have given him that many ABs with that lack of production no matter what his glove does.

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    • I don’t see any reason to expect much of an offensive upgrade. His minor league numbers weren’t much better. He was billed as a solid glove, with little help from the plate. I think we are getting what was projected from Matty D. I don’t think Torreyes should be a regular at 3B, but I could live with him for one year until Moran or Ruiz is ready. Of course, this means we will have to upgrade offensively somewhere else next year.

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    • Yeah TIM – well even with little power – Torreyes should help the offense with his .298 BA / .345 OBP / .721 OPS vs. Matty D . .215 / .256 / .586 – if Torreyes can come anywhere near his minor league numbers.

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  18. Yes, I agree with Dan. We can definitely improve with a $20M payroll increase, but I don’t see the playoffs happening without a larger committment to the payroll.

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