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Looking ahead at Astros’ 2015: Who’s on … well, you know


In past years when we’ve written these pre-spring training previews, there’s always been a lot of “could be this, but might be that” kind of stuff. But there’s one thing I’ll say about the 2015 Astros, they know who they are.

It’s not like there are six or seven positions up for grabs. I guess 3B is. Not sure who our fifth starter is, well, at least until Peacock is ready. There’s a little mess at catcher (more on that from Dan next week), and the bullpen has a couple of spots that’ll need to be sorted out.

In the grand scheme of Astros springs, that’s a pretty light load for the GM and manager to untangle.

Which brings me to first base.

We all know who will start at the first pillow on Opening Day. Barring injury, his name is Jon Singleton. He had a horrid yet slightly productive 2014, and we’re all hopeful his adjustment year is behind him. In 310 AB over 95 games, he slugged 13 homers. That’d be about 20 or 31 over a full season. His 44 RBIs would translate to about 75 over a full season as well. All that from a guy who hit .168 with a .620 OPS and 134 strikeouts, which is somewhere north of 210 over a full season.

Yep, we all hope to see a little progress.

And progress should be, looking at Singleton historically, expected. After all, when Singleton was promoted to AAA in 2013, he hit .220/.340/.347 with 6 HRs in 245 AB. He whiffed 89 times, which is 36.3% of the time. Oh, and he had a BAbip of .346.

In 2014, he hit .267/.397/.544 with 14 HRs in 195 ABs. He whiffed 52 times, which is 26.7% of the time. His BAbip in 2014 increased to .364.

Compare that to his promotion to Houston. With the big boys, Singleton .168/.285/.335 slash with 13 HRs in 310 ABs. He whiffed 134 times, which is 43.2% of the time. His BAbip in Houston was .238. But that was his first year at a new level. Any look at Singleton’s MiLB history will show, Year One at any level was a faint shadow of whatever he did in Year Two. My guess, after a stumbling April, Singleton starts to steadily improve in May and becomes a … well, not great, but … good hitter in a potent Astros lineup.

Or …

But what if he doesn’t. Well, Houston’s depth chart lists Evan Gattis and Chris Carter as the backup first basemen. And if Singleton failed to perform or got injured, Chris Carter or Gattis would most likely dig his glove out of storage and man the sack. I won’t get into Carter’s numbers other than to say he strikes out a ton, though he did cut down a bit in 2014, and he hits the ball a LONG way. His .799 OPS in 2014 was pretty significant.

That said, Carter isn’t the best defensive first baseman. Oh, I know Singleton’s small sample size of defensive stats is pretty bad, but he was generally lauded for his defense in the minors, and at just 23, I’m pretty sure he’s got a chance to improve. Carter, meanwhile, is about as good as he’s going to get with a glove, and that’s not good.

There’s also the fact that as a DH, Carter bats a lot better than if he has to trot out to the field every half inning to try to catch a ball. All things being equal, I’d leave Carter at DH.

It’s Not That Hard, Scott

There’s a great scene in the movie Moneyball when Billy Beane and Ron Washington show up at Scott Hatteberg‘s house to offer him a deal to play first base for the A’s.

Beane, on learning to play first base: “It’s not that hard, Scott. Tell him, Wash.”

Washington: “It’s incredibly hard.”

If Carter isn’t more than an occasional spot start at first, then the Astros need to look somewhere else for a first baseman in case Singleton’s 2015 looks too much like his 2014. With Marc Krauss gone (whew!), I can’t name the next first baseman in line in the minor leagues. Telvin Nash probably is our AAA first baseman. I’m guessing A.J. Reed finds his way to Corpus Christi sooner rather than later this season. He’ll make Lancaster look like a month or so of batting practice. But both are probably not the best option to replace Singleton if needed, so …

Here’s my conspiracy theory: Luhnow’s plan if Singleton falters is to move Jason Castro to first base. (Luhnow: “It’s not that hard, Jason. Tell him, Hinch.” Hinch: “It’s incredibly hard.”

Between Hank Conger, Carlos Corporan and, in a pinch, Evan Gattis, Castro would be a great choice. Oh, I know his 2014 was underwhelming, but if Singleton can’t hit .200, Castro is a guy probably poised to bounce back a bit from his .222/.286/.366 with his career low BAbip (not counting his rookie year of 2010). I know I’m sort of hoping and praying for some positive regression on Castro, but I’m guessing between him and Singleton, one of them will get his act together in 2015. Meanwhile, the Astros can stash Corporan at AAA while waiting to see if Singleton gets it together. Or just trade Carter and trust that Max Stassi would be ready to become the Astros’ backup backstop should Singleton be told to Go West Young Man (to Fresno).

The other option at first base is, of course, Evan Gattis. Again, not the best defensive option, but I’ll live with an extra error or two if the Astros have a potent lineup. Last year, Gattis posted a .263/.317/.493 line, slugging 22 HRs and whiffing 26.3% of the time.

So, Who’s On First?

  1. Do you expect Singleton to progress in 2015? How good does he have to be to get those plane tickets to Fresno refunded?
  2. How little do you want to see of Carter at first? Just the occasional fill in, or should he be in the rotation for some regular work?
  3. What do you think of my conspiracy theory? Would you give Castro a look at first?
  4. What are the chances that this all gets blown up by Luhnow five minutes after Chip posts this?
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About BrianT

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

79 comments on “Looking ahead at Astros’ 2015: Who’s on … well, you know

  1. 1oldpro
    January 19, 2015

    I don’t know what to say. The Astros current first base options for 2015 are:
    A LH power hitter who strikes out a ton and has little seasoning at the AAA level and who just turned 23 in September and has had personal issues.
    A 27 year-old RH power hitter who strikes out a lot, has little experience playing 1B and was just named the LFer.
    A LH hitting 28 year-old catcher who has little experience playing 1B in professional ball and is coming off a disappointing year at the plate, which has significally decreased his value and is not your catcher of the future because he has had knee problems. Usually you move a catcher to first base to preserve his bat but the bat wasn’t there.
    A 25 year old 3B/1B player at AAA who plays two positions fairly well and is a decent RH AAA hitter who strikes out at only 20%, has some power, but is not even a top 20 prospect.
    Your DH who is not a good fielder, strikes out more than almost anyone and hits more homers than almost anyone.
    What’s my solution:
    Start Singleton at 1B and see if you can live with him. Send Telvin Nash packing. Put Mat Duffy at 1B in AAA and get him ready in case you need him. Start Tucker in LF at AAA and get him ready in case you need him. Give Gattis a lot of practice at 1B in the spring in case you need him. Give Gattis a lot of practice in LF in the spring because you need him. Don’t give Gattis any practice at Catcher in the spring because you don’t need him.
    Start the year w/ Singleton at 1B and Gattis in LF. If Singleton doesn’t hit, move Gattis to 1B, send Singleton back to AAA to hit DH and bring Tucker up to play LF and replace Singleton’s LH bat in the lineup.
    All of this is the direct result of planning on prospects who aren’t ready and, thus, refusing to go out and get major league players at that position.

    Like

    • Kevin
      January 19, 2015

      Wow OP after that Post I’m thinking Ill just say Ditto!

      Like

    • BrianT
      January 19, 2015

      Wow, OP, why aren’t you a writer on this site?

      Yep. Those are our choices. None of them are stellar.

      Like

    • Sandy
      January 19, 2015

      Gee OP, why aren’t you working in the Astros FO?

      Like

  2. Dan P
    January 19, 2015

    Gee whiz Brian – you said everything is almost set and then you spin us up with moving guys from 3 of the “set” positions – Gattis (LF), Carter (DH), Castro (C) to replace Singleton….
    I’m kidding you on that – but that is the interesting part about this team – there is a lot of potential flexibility or position flips here. In my mind I wonder if Luhnow is trying to build the newest version of the Oakland A’s – where they havea lot of guys sharing positions to try and squeeze the most out of the lineups.
    My gut is that Singleton will have 1B coming out of ST – but if he is striking out 40% of the time his ticket to Fresno will be punched pretty quick.
    – I think Singleton will progress — or else
    – I see Carter just occasionally at 1B unless Singleton gets sent West
    – I was for Castro getting time at 1B before – just to save his knees. I still like the idea. (hey Carlos Lee was a decent 1B – how hard is it Wash?)
    – Brian so much could be blown up between now and ST – we all think there is another significant trade that will be made

    Like

    • BrianT
      January 19, 2015

      While there might be more trades, I don’t think they’ll affect 1B. I think OP’s analysis is right on.

      And, yeah, Skngleton with his contract will get the benefit of the doubt for about a month or so.

      Like

  3. Becky
    January 19, 2015

    Looks like Fowler might be wearing a Cub’s uniform next year. But we all knew he
    was going somewhere else, didn’t we?

    Like

    • Kevin
      January 19, 2015

      what did i miss?

      Like

  4. Kevin
    January 19, 2015

    Wow just saw it or Straily and a 3B Interesting, So Springer in CF?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Chip Bailey
    January 19, 2015

    Straily is 26, but not a huge piece. Peacock or Appel or one of the other prospects who could be here in 2015 are probably better.

    And, not sure about a 29-year-old (Valbuena) who has a career MLB average of .229 and will make $4.2 million this season. Hmmm, wondering if Luhnow just didn’t ascribe as much value to Fowler as some fans. Valbuena does have good OBP and some decent power, but Houston is certainly now in a desparate search for a leadoff hitter.

    Like

  6. 1oldpro
    January 19, 2015

    There is a third baseman and pitching depth. Now I think Altuve leads off.

    Like

  7. Becky
    January 19, 2015

    Looks like Matty D. will be in Frisco this year. Are any of you surprised at this trade?

    Like

    • Tim
      January 19, 2015

      I assume you meant Fresno for Matty D. I am not overly surprised and I am intrigued by Valbuena who hit .249 last year with a .341 OBP, 16 HRS and a .776 OPS. He is also a LH hitter, which I like. I assume Springer will move to CF unless JFSF is given the FT job and he plays CF with Springer in RF. This will also give them options with Grossman in LF, Carter at 1B and Gattis at DH, if they so choose. There is no doubt, in my opinion, Valbuena is an upgrade over Matty D. I agree with Chip that Straily is no better than the other options we have for the 5th spot in the starting rotation.

      Like

      • Becky
        January 19, 2015

        I stand corrected!

        Like

      • Devin_
        January 19, 2015

        Hold on – you may be onto something. Let’s see if Frisco is interested in Matty D.

        Like

  8. Kevin
    January 19, 2015

    Fowler I guess 10 +Mill to much to sallow, I sort of get that considering to me he took games off, will only play about 110 no matter what, and I’m hoping Springer will find a better role model! Matty D fine with that. Altuve leading off NO, I’m hoping we make one more move for a lead off dude!

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      January 19, 2015

      Last year, Altuve’s line leading off was .331avg, .363OBP, .444SLG. Now add 51 steals to that and tell me that he is not far and away THE best leadoff guy on the team. This guy had 44 doubles, two triples, 7 home runs and 56 SB’s, meaning he got to 2B at least 110 times last year. He had more steals than strikeouts.
      That is a fabulous leadoff hitter!
      What we need now is somebody to replace him in the 2-hole, where he hit even better.

      Like

  9. Becky
    January 19, 2015

    Money speaks.

    Like

  10. Chip Bailey
    January 19, 2015

    Good review Brian. OP had a good followup and summary, but I’ll add one point:

    The Jason-Castro-to-1B isn’t on the radar and probably never really has been. We may think it sounds like a good idea and a natural transition since he played decently at that position in college, but realistically, it probably isn’t.

    Regardless of your views of Castro, he’s a better catcher than Gattis is a LF or Carter is a 1B, so if movement happens, Carter and Gattis will have first “dibs” on 1B. Just out of necessity. Castro is more likely to move to DH than 1B in my mind.

    With the other upgrades to the lineup, Luhnow may have bought Singleton more ramp-up time. That said, if he bombs in ST or in April, I doubt Hinch will take long to make the call.

    And, consider this: Singleton is one of the few players on the roster who projects — yes, projects — as a high OBP, high average, decent power guy. Since he hits from the left side, it could eventually be the Astros’ three-hole hitter if he pans out.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. rj
    January 19, 2015

    so your OF is now Gattis LF, Springer CF, Marisnick RF? with another option at 3B. I guess Fowler’s high salary (by astros standards) and his only wanting to play CF and his injury history, made this happen. I can live with the above listed OF. Marisnick could be CF but since Springer will be here for many years i would like to see him in CF for stability. somebody out of Dominguez, Moran, Valbuena, Gonzales, Villar ought to be able to handle 3B and if not Lowrie can slide over. Lord hope that Correa tears it up so much that they can’t keep him off the big league team and he is up by mid season. We still have at least one too many catchers and Hoes, Grossman and Presley as OF’s beyond the ones named above. Could Corporan, Hoes and a couple of prospect pitches get you a decent SP in return? stay tuned.

    Like

  12. Becky
    January 19, 2015

    rj…….depends on who those “couple of pitching prospects” are.

    Like

    • rj
      January 19, 2015

      yes ma’am you’re right about that. hope your grandson is doing well.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Dan P
    January 19, 2015

    Dominguez had a .586 OPS last season while Valbuena had a .776 OPS. There is no doubt in my mind he is here to be the 3B until Moran appears.

    Like

    • Kevin
      January 19, 2015

      Yup Matty D no mas, and I see us making 2 more moves before ST. we have a hoard of B players still as stated by RJ. Can anyone lead off besides Tuve?

      Like

  14. BrianT
    January 19, 2015

    Here is how I look at Valbuena vs. Fowler.

    We had about 120 games of a CF who had an OPS in the .770s. We are replacing him with a 3B with similar OPS (a little more power, a little less OBP). So the real exchange offensively is whether Grossman or JFSF can hit better than Matty D’s .586 OPS.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 19, 2015

      It would be hard for Matty D not to hit better than that .586 OPS so I’m thinking that JFSF and Grossman can outhit that or if they slump — here comes Preston Tucker.

      Like

      • daveb
        January 19, 2015

        Have we already written off Santana?

        Like

    • Devin_
      January 19, 2015

      In fairness, Matty D probably wouldn’t have been that bad if Villar could have hit. Seriously, he started well, but declined for basically the entire season. If Villar could have approached anything not-awful, we would have seen Marwin at 3B with some frequency against RHP … And possibly would have demoted Dominguez to fix things at some point last summer.

      I’m happy with the trade and paper improvements. I’m disappointed as I liked Fowler more than I’d expected, but paying so much of the budget to one guy with health concerns didn’t make a lot of sense.

      Like

    • Tim
      January 19, 2015

      The one thing Matty D wasn’t downright abysmal at last year was hitting LH pitching. With Valbuena being a LH hitter Matty D might get some starts against LH pitching (not advocating a straight platoon, but just giving Matty D starts on occasion against LH pitching). Of course, this assumes Matty D is with the big league club and not in Fresno or traded. Either way, I am delighted we are not forced to start Matty D on a regular basis.

      Like

      • daveb
        January 19, 2015

        I don’t think the 25 man roster is big enough to keep Dominguez around just to get an occasional start against lefties.

        Like

  15. 1oldpro
    January 19, 2015

    2B Altuve
    SS Lowrie
    CF Springer
    DH Carter
    C Castro
    LF Gattis
    1B Singleton
    3B Valbuena
    RF Marisnick
    As of now, that would be my starting lineup on opening day. The Astros score 6 runs on 11 hits and 18 strikeouts against Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.
    I live with that for this year before Correa or Kemp or both are ready to slide into the top of the lineup. That is where our long term OBP comes from.

    Like

    • Tim
      January 19, 2015

      Normally, I would switch Castro and Gattis, but then we would have 3 LH in a row so I like your suggestion. I may switch Valbuena and Singleton just to lessen the pressure on big Jon.

      Like

  16. Kevin
    January 19, 2015

    I think Altuve’s average/production suffers leading off, that’s probably just me.

    Like

  17. Tim
    January 19, 2015

    Another thing this trade does is it gives Luhnow more money to spend. Valbuena is being paid $1.7M and Fowler was going to make, at the very minimum $8.5M, but probably more. We still need another starting pitcher. Could they get involved in the James Shields market? No way do I want to give him 5/$110M, but I could live with a 4/$80M contract. Thoughts?

    Like

    • Chip Bailey
      January 19, 2015

      Tim, slight correction. Indeed, Valbuena earned $1.7 million in 2014. He avoided arbitration last week (year 3) and will earn $4.2 million this season and enters his final arb season next winter. With Lowrie in the fold for a few years and Correa and Moran in the pipeline, my guess is that Valbuena is only a stop gap or safety net for 2015. Still, as you point out, there is a difference between the $4.2 million and what Fowler will earn, but Valbuena’s salary this year I think puts a different light on his status.

      Like

      • BrianT
        January 19, 2015

        If Fowler gets $12 million, the Astros will save a little more than $7 million. As it is, they’ll save $4-5 million. That along with the other leftover money give Luhnow $10 million or more. So basically all this upgrade has happened for about $10 million of the $20 million Crane promised.

        Man, Luhnow can get blood from a stone.

        Like

    • Tim
      January 19, 2015

      Thanks for the correction Chip. Fangraphs listed his salary, but I failed to recognize it was 2014. Still some savings, but not as much as I had indicated earlier.

      Like

  18. Mr. Bill
    January 19, 2015

    Straily is a attempt to add pitching depth. At his best he has been the epitome of average – an occasional 5th starter who also has some bullpen experience. Though he strikes out an average of a hitter an inning, he is apparently a likable guy with a good-movement but low-velocity fastball guy who walks way too many hitters to ever be really effective. He was absolutely terrible for the Cubbies last year after the trade. Mr. Straily will not even begin to make up for the loss of Cozart, Tropeano, and Folty. Was this really the best we could do for Fowler?

    Like

    • rj
      January 19, 2015

      mr. bill i think we have to wait and see what the additional 8-9 million bucks brings us before we can determine what we got for fowler besides straily and valbuena.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        January 19, 2015

        We should also see what Strom does for Straily. Straily has a low 90’s fastball w/ movement and a good breaking ball.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        January 20, 2015

        Well, RJ, unfortunately now we know exactly what the additional 8-9 million bucks brought us. We gave up a switch-hitting.375 OBP batter, with a .276 BA, 11 SB, and about a 23% K rate, who played in 111 games, for a left side only .287 OBP batter with a .225 BA, with 4 steals, who whiffed at about a 33% rate, and who played in 104 games. We gave up the best lead-off batter we have had in years for a guy who figures to bat no higher than 7 or 8.

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      January 19, 2015

      He was hurt. Fastball dropped 10mph. He’s recovered.

      Like

  19. rj
    January 19, 2015

    ok just a knee jerk reaction but i think our lineup (check out the one OP has above) is improved and our bullpen with Gregerson and Neshek added to Qualls, Fields, Sipp and your choice of Harris, Buchanan, Deduno, Chapman is improved. So two weaknesses from last year 1. scoring runs 2. holding a lead are improved. That adds how many games to the win column? 10 – 15? I take the high end of that, if so that makes this a winning team. disclaimer: no big time regression from our top three starters or big time problems with #’s 4 and 5.
    and now we have extra money to play with. could be a FA pitcher or a trade where we have to take on salary for a pitcher. either way with a decent starter added in, i think we can not only hope for a .500 to winning season but perhaps be in contention for a wild card spot. wooohooo

    Like

  20. Kevin
    January 19, 2015

    All I have to say is, have pitchers and catcher reported yet, I’m ready??? We have dissected this team for 3.5 months, “Play Ball”

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Becky
    January 19, 2015

    Kevin………10 more Sundays before opening day! Approx. 84 days!

    Like

  22. Becky
    January 19, 2015

    Pitchers and catchers (all four of ’em) report Feb. 20th.

    Like

    • Kevin
      January 19, 2015

      Now that’s funny Becky. I heard on MLB LUN Man was looking for another backstop.

      Like

      • Kevin
        January 19, 2015

        PSS I already have tickets to 3 of the 4 games they are at the Rockies ! Cant wait Coors field is nice, not MM but a lot closer.

        Like

  23. Chip Bailey
    January 19, 2015

    One last thought and I have to get to WORK… but in determining who won today’s Astros/Cubs trade, perhaps look at in this light.

    Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes (whom the Astros traded to Colorado for Fowler) in return for Luis Valbuena and Dan Straily.

    May be wrong, but I’m going to guess that many of you would prefer to have Lyles and Barnes?

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      January 19, 2015

      Not me, Chip. We got one good year of Fowler and now have those two guys AND we don’t have to pay a below average fielding CF, who catches flies in a basket(or not!), $10million dollars!
      I don’t miss Barnes, though I liked him a lot, because of Springer.
      I don’t miss Lyles staring off into space when something doesn’t go his way. I prefer Ober grinding his teeth, puffing out his chest and going to work.

      Like

    • Tim
      January 19, 2015

      I would actually prefer Valbuena and Straily, but that is just me. Simply because I want to make sure we are not subjected to another year of Matty D’s sub .600 OPS. Barnes is an all-defense, no hit OFer and Lyles is probably a #3-4 SP, which is not hard to replace. Again, these are just my thoughts.

      Like

  24. daveb
    January 19, 2015

    Along with Cozart and Folty, we’ve shipped off quite a bit of pitching. I don’t yet see this team being much better than the 2014 version. And we’ve sent off some kids that are going to be difference makers. I was finally willing to wait for the plan to work. Plan is out the window. I especially feel that we’ll be real sorry about the loss of Cozart as the season progresses.

    Like

  25. Nance (@Bbfanlady)
    January 19, 2015

    I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but the formula to add wins over last year because of improved bullpen fails to adjust for additional losses that could occur if the Rangers are not all on the DL. I think the major league roster as it exists in these few blinks of an eye is a top of the rotation starter and 1-2 hit for average players short of .500 ball. But then again, I am not calculating this potential outcome on a super computer. And I am a dinosaur who still considers batting average important. A hit with a runner on second scores a run – a walk doesn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandy
      January 19, 2015

      Well stated Nance

      Like

    • Tim
      January 19, 2015

      That is fairly subjective and difficult to quantify. What about the decline in the wins for Oakland? It is probably a wash, in my opinion.

      Like

      • Nance (@Bbfanlady)
        January 19, 2015

        Not going to count on a decline in wins for Oakland. Billy Beane seems to do weird stuff and still reach the playoffs.

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      January 19, 2015

      Fielder is a year older and just as expensive and coming off an injury, which is a lot harder for a heavy person.
      Choo is a year older, just as expensive and coming off an injury.
      Beltre is a year older and expensive
      Their starting pitchers are coming off injuries
      Andrus is a year older and expensive
      Rios is gone and they need an outfielder and they wanted Gattis
      Profar is in trouble with his shoulder and their top prospect has an alarming K rate.
      Oakland lost their best player
      The Angels lost two good players and didn’t replace them
      The Mariners will pay their 33 yo 2B $24million next year and eight more years after that. And their ace will make more than $25 million a year for the next five years. That’s almost as much for two players as our current team.
      Our second baseman is the AL Batting Champion, will be 25 years old and will make about one tenth what Cano will make next year.
      Our bullpen is going to be a lot better.
      I’m happy. I would still like a major league first baseman but now I’m being really greedy.
      I guess I want Shields, too.

      Like

  26. Dan P
    January 19, 2015

    I still look at things fairly simply. The Astros need to score more runs than they give up over the year and that should (on the average) put them above .500.
    They need to make up about 0.6 runs / game to do this. If you split this between the offense and the pitching you could get there by:
    a) Having the team score 50 more runs over the course of the season
    b) Have the bullpen improve their ERA by about a run from 4.80 to 3.80.
    That sounds like a lot for the bullpen to make up – but they would only have been the 11th best bullpen in 2014 with that ERA and if you are handing out innings to Neshek, Gregerson, Qualls, Fields and Sipp – I think that is doable.
    On the offensive side it looks like a better lineup in the middle especially with Springer and Gattis in there. I don’t think it is too much to ask.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Devin_
      January 19, 2015

      Dan, I am concerned certain bats will be fruitful after we get a five run lead and be anemic when we’re down a run or two.

      Like

  27. 1oldpro
    January 19, 2015

    On the current(4pm) Astros roster, Straily is listed as the #5 starting pitcher, ahead of Peacock.
    Marisnick is now the #1 CF, whereas he was #4 yesterday. He is listed as the #2 RF.
    Springer is listed as the #1 RF and #2 CF
    Valbuena is not listed on the Depth Chart.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 19, 2015

      Gee old pro – things happen fast. Maybe Luhnow traded Valbuena before he could take a breath…..

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        January 19, 2015

        Maybe something is cooking for the listed 3B guys
        on the depth chart, Dominguez and Gonzalez. With Valbuena, Petit, Duffy, Torreyes, Sclafani, and Moran all at AAA this April or higher, how many utility guys do you need?

        Like

  28. BrianT
    January 19, 2015

    Been reading comment from Cubs fans under some different stories and I’m laughing. The general thought is that Fowler is the missing piece to break that goat’s curse.

    Um, Cubs fans, you’re getting a below average defensive CF with no power and a pretty good OBP. Oh, and you only get him for 125 games.

    Calling him the second coming of Mr. Cub is a little extreme.

    Like

    • Kevin
      January 19, 2015

      More like 110 games, Hang nails, takes games off, and has the opposite of the “IT”
      factor. GL Cubbies.

      Like

      • Kevin
        January 19, 2015

        To me he is the Jay Cuttler of baseball, ton of talent, but deep down could care less IMHO

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        January 19, 2015

        I just saw a lot of showboat in Fowler. The laid back attitude and mentoring Singleton, who flips the bat and trots after a bomb, even though he’s hitting .170. And mentoring Springer even though Springer is already the ballplayer’s ballplayer. Give me Grossman who will waller in the dirt or Marisnick, who runs down a whitetail in the open field. I may be an OTBG, but Fowler’s defensive metrics made me mad. I just think he could be better than he tried.

        Like

  29. Becky
    January 19, 2015

    Well now……this has been a VERY productive day in Astro land, and the spirited conversations were down right spot on!! Shout out to the girls who love this team for their comments! Nance…….you’re not a dinosaur! A hit DOES score a run! Sandy
    please join us more often!

    Like

    • Sandy
      January 19, 2015

      Still hanging in Becky. Read every day but my husband has been in and out of the hospital for 7 months fighting Cellulitis in his bad leg. Keeps me busy being nurse and chauffeur. Still love my Stros and look forward each day for a little time to read what you guys have to say.
      Looking forward to actually seeing the games this year and chiming in here more often.

      Like

      • Becky
        January 20, 2015

        Sandy……my husband has battled that stuff also. We don’t say the name in our house or fear he will get it again. I’m so sorry you and your sweet husband have had to go through this……I’ll lift you in prayer tonight. Glad to see your name on here again!

        Like

      • Dan P
        January 20, 2015

        Sorry to hear about your husband’s health problems Sandy – but great to have you back here.
        We will keep both of you in our prayers.

        Like

  30. Becky
    January 19, 2015

    Luhnow is in serious discussions with Ryan Volgelsong. Stay tuned!

    Like

  31. Mr. Bill
    January 19, 2015

    Please get a really, really thorough physical this time, Jeff.

    Like

  32. astrocolt45
    January 19, 2015

    After 1OP beat me like a rented mule on the 1-2 hitters yesterday, I see that he has finally come around to the proper way of thinking. Lowrie is not Fowler in OBP but he is decent. His off year in 2014 stat would still be 4th on the Astros. And he walks more than Altuve.

    Like

    • Tim
      January 20, 2015

      And Lowrie has a decent contact rate. He would be a nice 2-hole hitter.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      January 20, 2015

      Fowler’s gone! There is nobody to lead off except Altuve. So now, we have to find the next best guy to let Altuve steal or get him to third. When Fowler got traded, we lost Altuve in the 2 hole and Fowler in the 1 Hole. That is what we gave up. Lowrie is the logical choice.
      What we get for messing up the top of the lineup is a better hitting 3B who has pop, is very well liked, is probably a real good friend of Altuve’s because he is from Venezuela and replaces Dominguez spot down in the order with some OBP, which was like a wasteland for the last couple of years.
      We also get a #5 starting pitcher candidate, who is very happy to be here and who is young, cheap and under team control for five years.
      I’ll tell you what worries me. That article yesterday in the (spit) where Singleton says he will miss Fowler because he was such an influence on Singleton. Then Singleton is asked what he has been doing this winter and he says chilling and working on his mental approach to the game. And while everybody else is working their asses off, Singleton is meditating. That figures.

      Like

  33. daveb
    January 20, 2015

    Interesting to look back over the comments on Fowler from pre trade to post trade. Seems I’m in the minority at this point, but I sure would have preferred him back here in 2015, We were better at the top of the lineup with him there. And I think we could have produced as much from guys already in house as we’ll get from the two guys we just got from the Cubs. And saving eight million? If it means getting a 37 year old guy for that 8 million, well, I’m not impressed about that either.

    I just keep thinking about all the young arms that have been decarded in the past year……and now we are talking about paying real money for Vogelsong. Maybe it’s Crane that has forced Luhnow to panic, but I think panic it is.

    Like

    • Tim
      January 20, 2015

      I can understand how you can see that. Let me just add that I wasn’t against Fowler, but Valbuena is fairly close to Dex as an offensive player. He has a tad more power, less SBs and OPS are very close. I didn’t like Dex in CF and his injury history concerns me for $10M. I don’t see it as a panic, but I understand how that perception is out there.

      Like

  34. Dan P
    January 20, 2015

    I’ve really struggled with this question daveb. When Fowler was well and in the lineup he did a fine job offensively. He was no great shakes in CF, but was probably better than what we threw out there in 2013.
    I would not have tossed him purely on $$$ arguments because it is not my money and I don’t think the team is spending enough of it. My biggest concern is just how much time he consistently misses throughout his career. It is one thing when you give a guy time off here and there and you fill in with a lesser talent. It is another when he misses 20 or 30 games at a time and you have the lesser talent for 3 weeks or a month.
    I am more disturbed by the team trading away a lot of SP talent the last couple years and not having any “wows” to show for it.
    I am assuming they think Vogelsong is a stop gap – but he will turn 38 mid-season … I’m not good with giving him $8 million.

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      January 20, 2015

      Insert Allen Iverson talking to DanP: ” We’re talking about 2015. We’re talking about 2015. We ain’t talking about no 2013.”

      Like

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This entry was posted on January 19, 2015 by in Astros.
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