When baseball people talk, it is generally good practice to take it with a grain of salt. In early spring training, when every player arrives “in the best shape of my life” or when every player that struggled the year before “went back to their pitching (hitting) guru from high school (college, early minors) and figured it out”, it would be good practice to take everything with a grain silo of salt.
So for this spring training edition of WTSWTM, quotes of various Astro-related individuals from chron.com (spit!!) will be paired with the translation of what they really meant.
Jeff Luhnow discussing young Cuban Yoan Moncada signing elsewhere:
- What he said. “We’ve scouted the players that are coming out of Cuba. I won’t say we scouted all of them. We picked the ones we want to scout, and we scout ‘em. But at this point, we have not ventured into that territory of blowing away our budget and suffering the consequences, despite the fact that the quality of players is pretty good, there’s no question. Players with proven track records in Cuba tend to do OK in the major leagues, but we’re going to continue to monitor the situation and carefully consider when and how we get into it.”
- What he meant. “I was reminded of the last couple years of Ariel Ovando‘s career with the Astros and his .576 OPS in A-ball and his .469 OPS at AA-ball and I thought, no, we can spend money in better places than outbidding others for teen age foreign free agents.”
- What he said. “It’s unique, he’s tough, man. The velocity, the ball hides, the repertoire, and it’s a lot of synchronized arms and legs going in a lot of directions. I asked (catcher Jason) Castro how hard he was to catch, he said, ‘You got to work to pick the ball up.’”
- What he eventually meant. “After the fact one of my coaches told me that maybe I shouldn’t base my opinion on Castro’s ability to see thrown pitches….”
Brad Peacock on his first mound sesson after hip surgery.
- What he said – “Awesome. Felt good. No pain. I kind of started getting up there a little bit, and they kind of backed me down. They told me ease it down a little bit. But I felt good, I felt great.”
- What he meant – “First of all having hip surgery is a little embarrassing. I mean grandmothers have hip surgery. Second, after finally feeling like I was pitching well at the end of last season – I really, really want this job. If you think I am going to say anything but awesome and great after that session, you are confusing me with an honest idiot. Unless you find my leg laying on the ground detached from my hip – you are getting nothing but awesome quotes from me the rest of spring training.”
Hinch on Josh Fields sitting out with tightness in his hamstring after an impressive session:
- What he said. “Fields is going to throw probably tomorrow or the next day. Just a small little hamstring tightness. We certainly went on the side of caution. There’s no concern, he did all the other drills, he did bunt plays, he did PFPs.”
- What he meant. “I’m hoping that by the time fans figure out that PFP means Pitcher Fielding Practice he will be back on the mound throwing.”
Tyler Heineman talking about top prospect Mark Appel’s improvement in compact delivery and control.
- What he said – “He’s trying to work on the four-seamer up, trying to get some swing-and-miss on the fastball up. He’s constantly trying to get his delivery, making sure that his delivery’s short with the runner on base. It gets everything going for him and misses are a lot smaller. He always had the arm, his stuff was good. His (pitches are) missing closer to where they’re (supposed to be) going. He’s been able to throw the four-seamer, two-seamer down in the zone.””
- What he meant – “Man, I hope Mark puts in a good word for me when he is a stud in the majors.”
Jed Lowrie on what Spring Training means to him:
- What he said . “It’s just really about getting in shape, taking ground balls, you know ’cause you train during the offseason, but until you get down to the field to take ground balls, there’s nothing else like that. So it’s really just about getting out there. Be on your feet, that’s a big thing too. It’s surprising how much standing around helps you get in shape for a baseball season.”
- What he meant. “Gee at Spring Training you guys write down everything I say – like I mean it. Yes, I’m the loneliest guy in the world and can’t get anyone to hit me ground balls until I get to spring training. And you bought that ‘standing around to get in shape’ line. Ha Ha! Next I’ll tell you guys that sitting in the dugout watching the other guys hit is what gets me into tip-top shape.”
Hinch on calling meetings in the regular season vs. in Spring Training:
- What he said – “If there’s ever a message that needs to be delivered, absolutely, but all in all, I’m not a huge ‘team meeting’ guy. Those are different types of meetings than what we ‘re doing down here in camp. There’s a lot of bodies in here, so we’ve got to walk ‘em through the daily schedule and sort of where some tweaks will be made here and there. That’s sort of a team-building every morning. As games get under way and are all over the place, we may not congregate every day as a group. (We’re) taking advantage of these early camps have a little get to know sessions, stuff like that.”
- What he meant – “When I was the manager in Arizona – all the meetings were called by the players to complain about me.”
Hinch on deciding the closer spot:
- What he said – “It’ll take a while. We get through games, get to mid- to latter part of the spring and I’ve told all of those guys, I’m going to communicate with them as decisions are starting to be formed. But you know when you have resume guys like Qualls and Gregerson and Neshek, I know Sipp closed some games out last year, Fields has done it in the past.”
- What he meant – “Yes, I know that when you have 5 guys fighting for the closer spot you don’t necessarily have a closer. But on the plus side, I like these five a whole lot more than the top five (after Albers got hurt and Crain never showed) who were in the pen last season.”
Bonus question: Hinch on Evan Gattis and concerns about his right knee
- What he said – “It’s a concern. You always want your players to be healthy. We’ll monitor it. We’re well aware of his history. He’s a big fellow. We’re going to have to monitor him a little bit, and when you wind him up and put him on the field, he goes 150 percent. We’ll monitor his volume a little bit. He’s got some special instruction from (outfield instructor Gary) Pettis while the pitch-catcher camps’ going on so he’ll get plenty of fundamental work.”
- What you thought he meant …..