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Looking Ahead at Astros 2015: Catcher situation heads towards clarity


For a time the Houston Astros catcher position was the giant elephant in the room….uh….on the 40 man roster. That is what happens when there is four and then five potential catchers on that list. There has been a lot of activity, speculation, moves and false moves relative to the catchers since the end of the 2014 season. Here is a quick list.

  • The Astros head into the off-season with Jason Castro, Carlos Corporan and Max Stassi as the catchers on the 40 man roster.
  • Castro and Corporan are arbitration eligible and there is speculation that one or both could be on the trading block.
  • The speculation intensifies on November 5, when the Astros trade C Carlos Perez and P Nick Tropeano to the Angels for C Hank Conger.
  • There are rumors that the Astros are shopping both Corporan and Castro, but are asking for more than anyone wants to offer.
  • More confusion, speculation and head scratching ensue when the Astros trade three prospects — Mike Foltynewicz, Rio Ruiz and Andrew Thurman — for Evan Gattis (who played 93 games at catcher for the Braves in 2014) and P James Hoyt.
  • In the middle of this, the Astros settle with the arb-eligible Corporan and Conger (~$1 million apiece) and Castro ($4 million).
  • Having not been able to trade him up to this point, the Astros DFA Corporan to clear a spot on the 40-man after signing Colby Rasmus.
  • The DFA forces everyone’s hand and the Rangers trade 19-year-old pitcher Akeem Bostick for Corporan on Wednesday.
  • Rumors that Akeem Bostick will change his name to Hakeem and become a Hall of Famer for the Rockets are denied by all sides.

So where are the Astros at after this much of the smoke settles?

Jason Castro. Castro’s $4 million salary is too little based on his 2013 season (.276 BA / .350 OBP / .835 OPS) and too much based on his 2014 season (.222 BA / .286 OBP / .651 OPS). He has been in double digits in passed balls the last two seasons and has been a little under the league average in throwing out runners in that time.

Obviously the Astros would be happy with any production that was closer to 2013 than 2014 for Castro. It feels like he will not be part of a trade at this point with Corporan gone and with a reasonable agreed to salary for 2015. The real question is how will the work be split between the catchers and whether they are going to use Castro in the DH spot more this season. By money he is the starting catcher, but if he does not show why he is worth four times more than Conger he may not remain so.

Hank Conger. So far in his career, Conger has hit like the normal backup catcher that he is. He has a little bit of pop, but he is probably going to be a .230 BA / .290 OBP / .660 OPS type of hitter.

Defensively, do not expect him to throw out any more runners than Jason Castro does. They both hit in that 23-25% area normally.

Two positive things to expect from Conger:

  • He is a good pitch “framer”, which means the way he catches results in more called strikes than the average catcher. Now it is not clear how or if they separate the catcher’s framing ability from the pitcher’s reputation when figuring this out. For instance if you were catching Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, stats would show you as the greatest pitch framer of all time. But Conger is graded high by the experts in this area.
  • In 1757 major league innings, Conger has accrued three passed balls. Over the last two seasons in 1798 innings, Castro has accrued 21 passed balls (leading the league in 2014).

It seems reasonable to expect Conger to catch more often than Corporan did, maybe as much as 2 times a week starting and coming in late as a defensive sub.

Evan Gattis. Even if Gattis never dons the catching gear this season, his mere presence would allow Manager A.J. Hinch to substitute late with Conger, because he is more than the normal emergency catcher on the roster. He has played 130+ games at catcher the last couple years and was not horrible there, just not good. He has a big bat and would give the Astros one of the best offensive catchers around, but a guy with back problems and multiple knee surgeries should probably spend the majority of his time resting those parts of his body, not abusing them. Of course if the Astros trade Castro all bets are off.

Max Stassi. Being honest about this young man, it seems obvious that he needs to start 2015 in AAA. He hit very well in half a season at Corpus Christi (AA) in 2013 after being a part of the Jed Lowrie Trade (The Original, not the Sequel) with 17 HR and 60 RBI in only 76 games with a .863 OPS. After the terrifying pitch he took in the face in his short stint with the Astros in 2013, his 2014 season at AAA was disappointing with 9 HR and 45 RBIs in 101 games with a .674 OPS. He will turn 24 soon and maybe some more time at AAA will lead to the kind of numbers he put up in AA. There is no hurry to promote him right now.

Future Attractions. Hopefully something will change in 2015, but the Astros had no decent offensive performance from the catchers in the top half of the minor leagues (Lancaster, Corpus, OKC) in 2014. After Stassi and the long gone Carlos Perez at AAA, Rene Garcia and Tyler Heinemann were pretty bland at AA. Roberto Pena had a .720 OPS at Lancaster, but that is like a .620 OPS anywhere else. Luis Flores, the catcher the Astros drafted in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft is an interesting candidate to make some noise. He had good hitting numbers in AA/AAA last season with the Cubs. The big question with him is why over his fairly lengthy minor league career has he never played more than 67 games in a season.

If any of the minor league backstops step up in 2015 they could climb the ladder pretty easily. There is plenty of room in the system for a hard hitting catcher.

So….

  • How do you predict the starts at catcher will be split between Castro, Conger and Gattis?
  • Is there a mid-season (or before) trade in Castro’s future?
  • Is there any one from the minors that you see as a dark horse to make it to the big club by the end of 2015?

 

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About Dan P

Dan Peschong is a full time engineer and a long time Astros lover from the days of Joe Morgan to the days of Jose Altuve.

66 comments on “Looking Ahead at Astros 2015: Catcher situation heads towards clarity

  1. 1oldpro
    January 22, 2015

    The writing on the wall for Corporan was the acquisition of Flores and assigning him to AAA. That told me Stassi would be joining him and Corporan would be moved. Gattis is just sweet catching icing, because both Conger and Castro hit righty pitchers better than lefties and Gattis hits lefties better than righties. If they want to, they can occasionally use him behind the plate against lefties. But I expect him to be in the lineup somewhere against all lefties. I’m pretty happy with the catching situation for 2015. I would feel even better is Stassi were to raise his batting average significally in his year 24 season in AAA.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      That all seems spot on old pro. If Stassi (or Flores) are tearing it up at AAA – Luhnow might see if someone has a big catching need (Castro) at mid-season.
      I struggle a bit with the fluidity of all this, but it is better to have too many pieces of value than hardly any at all.

      Like

  2. BrianT
    January 22, 2015

    It’s amazing how this went from a big mess to a pretty settled position with one trade.

    I don’t think Gattis is more than an emergency backup. His future is at first base, DH or left field. That leaves Castro and Conger. With Stassi getting some more experience in Fresno.

    And Castro and Conger is a slight upgrade, so I’m pretty happy about this. We’re better at catcher. Furthermore, we have more depth at the MLB or MLB-ready level.

    Like

  3. Dan P
    January 22, 2015

    I liked Carlos Corporan as a backup catcher and he seemed to be a good veteran around the young guys. But from the very selfish perspective of writing this post – it sure made it simpler when he went to the Rangers.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      January 22, 2015

      I think the Astros did a great job handling Corporan as a player. He deserved respect and they traded him early so that he has time to make a move and still get ready for spring training. He has a better chance to play in the majors, he is in the same division, and if he gets sent down to AAA for some reason, he goes to Round Rock instead of Fresno. I think this worked out well for everyone.

      Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Yes – it was good they could put him in a decent situation – he earned some respect by the way he handled himself and how he was a good teammate.

      Like

  4. rj
    January 22, 2015

    not much to add to what has already been commented. so let me say that i think we can do better than vogel, even if we had gotten him for a song.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Cute, rj. It would have been a fairly expensive song for a 37 year old I think. As somebody mentioned yesterday – there is not that much left in the FA market that is a good fit. Trades however…..

      Like

  5. rj
    January 22, 2015

    yepper dan. i think the only real upgrades would come via trade. not sure who they target, but we do have trade bait remaining.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Of course maybe someone – Wojo, White, Buchanan, Deduno might show they are capable of filling the spot. Or maybe Peacock recovers quickly and is the better version of Peacock that we saw towards the end of 2014.

      Like

  6. Kevin
    January 22, 2015

    Dan I agree , no need to make a trade to make a trade. At this point maybe some one shines in ST.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Yesh – I don’t think they will be able to pull off another McHugh for nothing waiver pick-up

      Like

  7. SargeH
    January 22, 2015

    If the Astros are in the playoff picture by the trade deadline then no, they will not trade Castro. Regarding dark horses, I can see Appel getting a late callup, Santana, and Stassi.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Thanks Sarge – I was looking at darkhorses for the catcher position specifically – so Stassi fills that. It would be nice to have Appel and Santana up at some point and contributing.

      Like

  8. Mr. Bill
    January 22, 2015

    Good column, Dan P.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Mr. Bill it looks that you are all “written out” after the tomes you put out yesterday – 🙂

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        January 22, 2015

        Just responding to the questions put to me, Dan. Love a good discussion.

        Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      But thanks!

      Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      So Mr. Bill – any answers to my questions at the end of the post?

      Like

  9. 1oldpro
    January 22, 2015

    Since we have settled on who the catchers will be, why don’t we talk about them. Conger hasn’t hit. Most of his career ABs are against righties and he doesn’t hit them very well. He hits lefties just plain badly.
    Castro’s two-year review is just an amazing contrast. In 2013 he hit both righties and lefties at career high rates and in 2014 he hit both of them in career low rates.
    The difference is stunning. The question is: What caused it?
    The fact that Castro is still here, and the fact that his down year has not been explained publicly leads me to believe that Castro’s problems were in his heart, in his head and not necessarily in his bat.
    Could it be that Castro was just plain unhappy last year. We have the fact that Castro remarked about Keuchel being upset at Porter taking forever to give pitch signs to Castro and that Keuchel started just ignoring the signs. But there are 12-13 pitchers on the team so it is likely that more pitchers were unhappy about that situation and that had to be eating at Castro. We saw Corporan get into a public shouting match with Porter. It follows that Corporan might have been reflecting both the pitcher’s and catcher’s exasperation with Porter in that incident. Maybe Castro was just plain PO’d at Porter for the way the pitchers were being handled the entire year.
    Could the “communication” problems Luhnow referred to upon Porter’s dismissal have included bad communication between Porter and the players as much as between Porter and Luhnow?
    Is all of this the reason a lot of us have commented that Castro looked disinterested last year, but we actually missed the fact that it was disgust with the entire managing debacle itself?
    If Castro was just plain unhappy last year with the team situation, did Luhnow consider his feelings as a team leader when the firings and hirings were carried out and will we see a 2013-like happier All-Star Castro come back with some fire this year? Will Hinch, as a former catcher himself, be able to soothe Castro and bring out the best in him this season? If he does, the Astros are going to be a much better team, for having a much better, happier starting catcher.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Interesting analysis old pro. It is tough to know for sure on these inner working type situations. I mean we all watched his demeanor last season and thought “He is not in to it. He is disinterested.” However, he might have had the same facial expression in 2013 but we were not analyzing it because he was hitting well.
      But he did seem to be a bit detached. Of course he is a California kid – he might just have a natural laid back demeanor.
      One stat I found fascinating is that he had 56 RBIs both seasons (with about 30 more ABs in 2014) despite stinking up the place in 2014.
      I thought maybe it was because he had more opportunities with RISP in 2014 with who was ahead of him in the lineup – but he had 122 ABs in 2013 and 123 in 2014 with RISP. In 2013 he hit .309 BA / .990 OPS with RISP and in 2014 .197 BA / .637 with RISP .
      The crazy thing is that he knocked in more runs (42) with RISP in 2014 when he stunk than 2013 (40) when he was good in the same amount of ABs.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Mr. Bill
    January 22, 2015

    Q. “How do you predict the starts at catcher will be split between Castro, Conger and Gattis?”

    I suspect, barring another trade, the starting catching job is Jason Castro’s to lose. If he performs reasonably well – with a reasonably good attitude under our new presumably catcher-supportive skipper – in ST, I suspect he catches 4 out of 5 days. On Castro’s day off, Conger will probably catch. I doubt – and hope – we see Gattis behind the plate only in cases of extreme emergency – like if we have to play an afternoon double header at Arlington in the heat of July or August [LOL].

    Q. “Is there a mid-season (or before) trade in Castro’s future?”

    If he makes it through the Winter, I suspect Castro is here all of 2015. It might depend on how well Stassi performs at AAA. If OP’s right about his potential, Castro is expendable at the trading deadline.

    Q. Is there any one from the minors that you see as a dark horse to make it to the big club by the end of 2015?

    Not at the catching position – except Max Stassi. We really need to shore up the catching corps at all levels, but then again, so do most teams.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      January 22, 2015

      I tend to agree with all points except the trading of Castro. If Castro comes back to a semblance of the 2013 player this coming season, the Astros still have the option of doing another year of arbitration with him for 2016. If they are in a pennant race, I can’t see them trading their starting catcher at the trade deadline because he would be a huge value, compared to the salaries Martin and McGann commanded as All-star caliber catchers.
      If Stassi was doing a lot better in AAA, as I suggested he might, they might actually consider moving Conger next offseason, pairing Castro and Stassi together for 2016 and have Stassi tutor under Castro, as some other catchers move up to potentially help Stassi in 2017. That would open the door to trading Castro at the July 2016 deadline because they would not get into a bidding war for Castro as a free agent.
      If Stassi shows little offensive improvement at AAA this year and Castro does return to form, they may just try to lock in Castro to a multiyear deal next offseason.

      Like

      • Dan P
        January 22, 2015

        I like those thoughts too especially the thought of Castro having a good year.

        Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Nicely done Mr Bill – good points

      Like

  11. Devin_
    January 22, 2015

    Hunch has options in the lineup to protect Castro / Conger (Springer/Carter/Gattis). Last year, it was Dominguez backing him at the start of the season. I think Castro never really got going, and had too many swings and misses on the mistakes he saw. With so many players (expected) to provide more power than Castro, he may feel free to emulate the approach of, say, Joe Mauer…who has a similar frame, but does not really try to lift the ball.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      There is a lot to be said for having better batters around you in the lineup. More guys on base the more fastballs you see. The better guy behind you the more fastballs you see…

      Like

  12. Tim
    January 22, 2015

    I agree with Brian that Gattis will be, and should be, an emergency catcher only. His bat is too valuable and we don’t need him enduring the physical toll of catching unless it is absolutely necessary. I also agree with Dan that Conger will catch about twice a week. Luhnow paid a heavy price to get him and I suspect, with his pitch framing ability, he will be in the lineup on a semi-regular basis. I bet he becomes the personal catcher fo Keuchel (except opening day) since Keuchel is the prototypical pitcher for nibbling on the corners he would benefit from a good pitch-framer behind the plate. This is purely speculation on my part.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Oberholtzer might be a good match for Conger too.

      Like

  13. Becky
    January 22, 2015

    Well by ALL means let’s all sing a song so Castro won’t be unhappy. This is where the big boys play………..if Jason was (or still IS) then voice your opinion fella.
    In case you’re not watching………it’s petty evident to me at least, that Tom Brady
    is lying…..bring on baseball!!!

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      January 22, 2015

      Becky, having been a catcher and done some coaching, I cannot tell you in strong enough terms how frustrating it would be for a veteran catcher, with a fast working pitcher on the mound, having to wait 20 to 30 seconds for a sign from the dugout dozens and dozens of times a game. I would be so PO’d I would explode! He obviously had to have tried to work this out with Porter in the manager’s office for months and it would have eventually come to Luhnow’s attention. The best manager I ever worked with knew the sign he was going to give for the next pitch the second he gave the sign for this pitch. The catcher never had to wait.
      Like you point out: This is the big leagues and players expect their manager to act like a big league manager, including the little things.

      Like

      • Dan P
        January 22, 2015

        Thanks for the inside point of view old pro. Castro may have also been frustrated from the pitchers complaining to him and him having to be the go between.
        He went to Stanford – he probably said if you can’t call it faster let me do it.

        Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      So does Brady look like Sammy Sosa when they caught him with the corked bat?

      Like

  14. Mr. Bill
    January 22, 2015

    LOL Becky. It has been my experience, however, a catcher is to a team kind of like a mama is to a household – if he ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. On the other hand, a take-charge catcher with some fire in his belly can change the entire atmosphere of the pitchers and infielders. Consider me strumming my guitar and singing “I Got Friends in Low Places” to the dude with the hot, heavy gear and the perpetually bruised palm every night if it helps.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Oh the love for the guy with the toughest job on the field

      Like

    • Becky
      January 22, 2015

      Maybe Allan Ashby can show Castro his catching hand……it is disfigured catching. from catching. Castro has a lot more years to get to the same page that Ausmus and Ashby are on!

      Like

      • Dan P
        January 22, 2015

        That sounds like a good way to drive Castro to another position Becky. Haha

        Like

  15. Steven
    January 22, 2015

    Castro is a professional being paid millions. Castro’s job is to catch the game, and hit when his spot comes up. Any other explaination is over complicating the situation.

    I think its more possible that his 14 season compared to his 13 season is about two things – a slightly inflated BABIP in 13 and a prolonged slump in 14. I would expect correction in a few areas – I would expect his BA to rise slightly when he progresses closer to his career K rate prior to 2014, his OBP to rise again when his BB rate climbs closer to his usual 10% prior to 2014, but nothing like the combination that defined his 2013. I could see a .255/.330/.420 line come, but I could also see that 2014 slump becoming defining to himself and becoming mired as a less than average hitter. We certainly need him to be closer to the 2013 guy.

    I am sure Conger is as disappointed as the Angels were that he never met his offensive potential. This is a guy that was a double digit HR power guy, hitting .300 at most his stops, while walking enough to put 70-80 point differences in BA and OBP at most stops also, that has been substandard as a hitter to this point. He will be 27 on opening day, so if he ever wants to be “the man” behind the plate for a franchise, its now, or probably a lifetime of back up catcher salaries. Will be interesting to see if he can come closer to matching his once believed potential, though I am not sure, if Castro hits with any semblance of 2013, that Conger will get that opportunity.

    I think the pitch framing tracking is the new craze. It’s definitely difficult to rate in small sample as it would logically seem to be very dependent on pitcher performance also. The Astros have plenty of pitchers on staff that can “thread the needle” sort of speak, Keuchel, Obie, McHugh, all good to exceptional control guys that will log lots of innings. I wonder what Conger might do to their already good to exceptional BB rates. Should be a fun year if anything else.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Thanks Steven – I know that the stats said Castro over performed in 2013 but the eyes told us something odd was going on in 2014. If Castro can get to a .750 OPS that would probably be satisfactory.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      January 22, 2015

      Why should we care what Conger might do to their exceptional rates with framing?
      After all: Congers job should be “to catch the game and hit when his spot comes up”. Or does that only apply to Castro and his desire to assist his pitchers by keeping helping them keep their rhythm.

      Like

      • Steven
        January 23, 2015

        I don’t speak in platitudes or pretend to know things I can’t possibly know. I do speak in stats, something that is factual and easy to see. Pitch framing can be tracked this way, which is why I call it the new craze. I don’t pretend to know WHY Conger gets more strikes called, or make up a reason that he wouldn’t if it doesn’t happen, I just speak to the FACT that he does get more. It’s statistically proven.

        Like

  16. astrocolt45
    January 22, 2015

    I want the Astros to win and don’t want to be a Negative Nelly – but looking at past performance in the majors – you can throw a blanket over Conger and Corporan and Yell – BACKUP. And Castro 2014 is the same. Now lets hope that both Conger and Castro improve.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Well if you are looking at past performance – 2013 Castro was not a backup.

      Like

      • astrocolt45
        January 22, 2015

        That was why I inserted just “Castro 2014.”

        Like

      • Dan P
        January 22, 2015

        I guess I’m just saying that Castro’s history includes some much better numbers and it is only one year removed.

        Like

  17. Kevin
    January 22, 2015

    Looking at how rare catchers that can hit are in the Bigs anymore. IF Casconger can hit .245 15hrs and 65 rbi’s I’m in.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Castro and Corporan combined for 20 HRs and 75 RBIs last year…

      Like

      • Kevin
        January 22, 2015

        OK then 20 and 76 (-;

        Like

      • Dan P
        January 22, 2015

        Alright – going for the big upgrade….

        Like

  18. daveb
    January 22, 2015

    Of course, this is oversimplifying things, but what would you rather have?

    1. Castro, Conger.
    2. Castro, Corporan, Tropeano.

    My stance is that Conger is a younger version of Corporan.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Or
      3. Castro, Corporan, Tropeano and Carlos Perez who looks like a younger version of Conger….

      Like

      • daveb
        January 22, 2015

        Dan, I left Carlos out of the equation to keep it simple. I guess I did oversimplify!

        Like

  19. daveb
    January 22, 2015

    Carlos Junior that is!

    Like

  20. Dan P
    January 22, 2015

    I was listening to a live interview with AJ Hinch on the radio driving home today. He is part of the winter caravan that the Astros send out to the Texas hinterlands. I liked what I heard frankly. He sounded relaxed – interesting – fun. He said that he was young and inexperienced when he was manager of the D’Backs and tried to do things that look really dumb in retrospect.
    They asked him about how he was going to set up Qualls, Neshek and Gregerson at the back of the bullpen and being an intelligent guy he would not go there.
    Things he said that I found interesting:
    – He liked going on the caravan especially getting to know some of his players that he never had met before.
    – He liked the flexibility he sees to mix and match at so many positions and with the bullpen
    – He talked about interviewing for this job and how it was a chance to test out both Jim Crane and Jeff Luhnow along with them questioning him. He said that those two have done a lot in this off season that they committed to doing for the club during the interview process.
    It was very positive from my standpoint.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. astrocolt45
    January 22, 2015

    Let me try again. We ended last year with Castro (2015) and Corporan. We swapped Corporan for Conger. Now in the minors at Fresno we have Flores (28 yrs old), & probably Stassi, in CC we have Heineman. He left ST last year with much ballyhoo but 2014 was not his year. Maybe he did not like the way Bodie called pitches. In Lancaster we have Morales who appears to really like “A” ball, and Pena. Gone is Carlos Perez and Rene Garcia (perhaps not big losses). But I think when we are “looking ahead at 2015” there is no one in the group that can possibly excite anyone – save Castro. So realistically – we have gotten no better in the majors and probably lost talent in the minors. So in looking at the Catcher situation – it was not improved – top to bottom this Winter and may have gotten worse. So as to your last question – I don’t see anything in the minors (except Stassi for a couple years that will be a “dark horse” – maybe a jackass or two.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      Astro 45
      Much clearer – I think you are right that improvement depends on Castro – he needs to get back to the solid swings of 2013. I sure wish he was better at blocking pitches especially with a ground ball centric staff.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      January 22, 2015

      Don’t forget Roberto Pena. Earned Gold glove as the best defensive catcher in all the minor leagues. Has won championship rings three consecutive years. Tri City, Quad Cities and Lancaster last year. I think He has a great chance to win a fourth ring with a monster Corpus Christi team this year. He is the best defensive catcher with the quickest release in the organization. I’m just sayin’.

      Like

      • Dan P
        January 22, 2015

        I agree he’s shown a great arm in the minors (52% and 57% caught stealing the last two years) – his best OPS (outside of Lancaster) was ..651 at Quad Cities. He is only 22 – he will be one of those guys they have to decide about vs. the 40 man next off season. Here is hoping his hitting at Lancaster (12 HRs / .720 OPS) maintains at sea level. Maybe the lineup will be so loaded when he arrives that they can trade offense for defense at catcher.

        Like

  22. Becky
    January 22, 2015

    I would NOT be surprised to see Luhnow go after a top catching prospect in the draft this year. Remember………catchers are few and far between, and it never hurts to have a couple of “good” catchers in reserve. I am looking for a much improved Castro this year……..

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 22, 2015

      I’ve been thinking that too Becky – it will depend on if there is anyon that fits when they are drafting.

      Like

  23. Dan P
    January 22, 2015

    Anyone

    Like

  24. Becky
    January 23, 2015

    Whatever happened to pitchers calling their own games? Talk to Nolan Ryan or Mike Scott………they were among a LOT of pitchers who ran their own show.

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 23, 2015

      Good question Becky. My impression from watching games is that the catchers look to the dugout for signs and not just pickoff and pitch out signs.
      I don’t know if the catchers have leeway – the dugout calls a fastball but they pick location – but pitchers always can shake them off.
      Back in the old days the catchers called the games but certain pitchers could signal back what they wanted called.

      Like

  25. Devin_
    January 23, 2015

    I haven’t written anything contrarion in a day or two and didn’t want you all to worry something had happened to me. I was not kidnapped by the fans of Wily Taveras or the Jim Crane Conspiracy Theorist Club. I did not check into Astroholics Anonymous either.

    I feel pretty good about catcher – we may not have an All Star at the position this year, but should have legit options for Hinch. As to Becky’s statement, I would be surprised to see a catcher taken by Houston in the first round, but would be shocked to not see one or more grabbed in the top ten. It’s all too fluid right now…if some of the top college arms get tendinitis the anticipated top picks will get thrown into disarray (like every year).

    Like

    • Dan P
      January 23, 2015

      Devin? Devin? Are you out there?
      Good points – I feel pretty good too because expectations for catcher are not that high around the majors.
      I do think they will go after a catcher in the top 5 picks in the draft.

      Like

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This entry was posted on January 22, 2015 by in Astros.
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