Astros’ unusual youth movement


When the Houston Astros set their opening day 25-man roster last season, no player would be making their major league debut on that roster. This was extremely unusual for a team that was the youngest in the majors last season.

Truth to tell there were eight players on that roster, however, who had never been on a major league roster on opening day before: Kevin Chapman, Jarred Cosart, L.J. Hoes, Marc Krauss, Robbie Grossman, Dallas Keuchel, Brett Oberholtzer and Jonathan Villar. Six of those gentlemen had debuted during the 2013 season, while Hoes and Keuchel had debuted in 2012.

There is a real chance that the Houston Astros 2015 Opening Day roster will again not have anyone making their major league debut. A quick look at the spring training roster and performance and the two best bets to make the team out of spring training would be starter Asher Wojciechowski and reliever James Hoyt. Wojo, picked up in 2012 from Toronto in the J.A. Happ megatrade is making a good showing in the battle for the fifth starter’s spot, while Hoyt, picked up this off-season with Evan Gattis from the Braves has shown well out of the pen. Both might lose out to veterans, who are not out-performing them, but they both still have a shot.

Last season the Astros did have eight players debut during the season: George Springer, Jon Singleton, Michael Foltynewicz, Nick Tropeano, Jake Buchanan, Enrique Hernandez, Domingo Santana and Rudy Owens. In a side note, it is interesting that four of the eight are already gone with Folty, Tropeano and Hernandez traded away and Owens released. Of the remaining four, Springer and Singleton are the ones who will likely be on the opening day roster.

In the end with a lot of the money manipulation going on and the teams delaying the starting of the player’s “clocks”, this seems like the new way of doing business.

So …….

  1. Do you think any player making their MLB debut will be on the Astros’ 2015 Opening Day Roster?
  2. If so, who?
  3. Who do you think will make their debut during the 2015 season?
  4. Does this new way of doing business, which is not supportive of rookie of the year campaigns, bother you?
  5. Are the Astros being too slow in bringing youngsters up from the minors for a rebuilding team?
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60 comments on “Astros’ unusual youth movement

  1. 5. The pressure comes from the player – so “No.” 4. Did not like Springer-gate, but none earned a place on the 25 man this year. 3. 1, 2 or 3 that have a great year in Fresno or CC. The player has to make his case. 2 & 1. – Of the 2 mentioned, probably Hoyt due to his age & being a RP. It is now or never. I don’t know how the experts rank the systems prospects, but what a team needs is 2 or 3 coming up to the majors each year. So the chances increase with a #1 ranked system, but in the long run, it is only important on the individual player. It is time for Stassi, Hoyt, Asher W., & Tucker to step up.

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    • astrocolt45 – I guess what I am pointing at is that Springer put on insane amount of pressure with his 2013 season, but still did not get a September call-up or a ST call-up.
      Other than that – I am certainly with you on your responses.

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      • DanP: I took the #5 to mean current players in the minors. Sorry for the mis-read. I think it stinks any time that the better player is left in the minors – PERIOD. The only exception would be if they came up only to ride the bench. GHE: We had a top rated farm for past two years. Yet, other than Springer, who was banished to minors? It is time within the next 18 months for that farm system to produce 4-5-6 MLB players. OR – they need to go the way of Folty, et al, and get what we can from other teams.

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      • It will be a very fascinating 2 seasons I think – this is where the farm system’s fruit ripens… or doesn’t.

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  2. I think delaying the starting clocks of players is a part of the league and the Astros’ strategy. I think they will use it when they see fit to gain an extra year of control on players they think have a great chance of making it big in the majors, because players who make it big are going to make big money.
    This new way of doing business bothers me when it affects the team adversely. Springer should have been in Houston at the end of 2013 when we had zero good outfielders and a 15 game losing streak.
    Correa might be a different story if we have a decent SS playing and the club is doing well at the end of this season and next spring, and especially if the minor league team he is on is in the playoffs it wouldn’t bother me to see him attain Super Whatever status by holding him out a couple of weeks next April because he is the Franchise Player in my thinking, and you have already paid him huge signing bonus money, so it’s not like he or his family is starving.
    Just the fact that delaying Bryant’s start a couple of weeks makes Boras angry, is enough justification in my book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Astros have a pretty unique situation in their AAA team. First of all, New ballpark two time zones away. New conference with totally different teams and all new competitors that they haven’t face before. New fans that are in shock because their beloved World Champion Giants picked up and abandoned them for another city.
    If guys like Torreyes, Santana, Sclafani, Tucker, Shirley, Cruz, Stassi have some immediate success there it moves the pipeline along and we may see some roster changes at the trade deadline because you have players needing to move up and draftees coming in to fill out some lower rosters late in the year.
    The Cosart trade wasn’t just about Cosart. It was about opening up a 40-man with Kike and opening up a AAA outfield spot by moving Wates who wasn’t in out future plans. I think we are going to see more multiple player trades this season for the same reasons, but not trading away high pitching prospects.

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    • Oldpro – I still struggle with trading a decent young pitcher to open a 40 man spot. But if Moran and Marisnick contribute and the compensatory pick works out – I can live with it.

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      • With more explanation, Cosart was traded because of Cosart himself and the Marlins wanted Kike. We got Moran who was a 2013 draftee, so he has all the time in the world to develop and then we have a ton of cheap years once he gets to the majors. We got Jake with lots of options and lots of years of control and lots of athleticism to add to his value, even if he never hits like a star. We got the pick which we will use to get a really decent prospect to start at the bottom of our system.
        I like Kike, but, honestly, I will jump up and down if his trade ends up opening a spot for Sclafani AND helped get us Moran and the pick and a GCL pitcher who throws a hundred MPH.
        So here’s a scenario: We don’t trade Cosart, and we don’t trade Folty. That means we don’t have Gattis, Jake, the supplemental first round pick, Hoyt, Moran and the young pitcher. What we do have is Cosart and Folty so we don’t have room for Wojo or Appel or Velasquez and Ruiz is our top 3B prospect and he’s one year behind Moran.
        With Kike still here, Sclafani, Torreyes, Villar, Petit, Marwin and Fontana all lose value because teams know that Kike is blocking them and they deal harder because they know we are flush with Super utility prospects.
        With Wates still here we have a guy who is a 26 year old Hoes Clone in AAA.
        The system has to flow. You can’t rush it, but you can’t let it stagnate either.
        The whole object of this process is to start fielding a young, athletic, inexpensive and progressively successful team by 2016 using our guys. Look at the team I put on paper in the last blog and tell me that group of players doesn’t meet that criteria. If the 2015 team at least starts to meet that criteria and ends up with a record of .500 or above, it’s a bonus!

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      • Our 2015 rotation is then:
        Keuchel, Cosart, McHugh, Feldman, and starter #5. Kike has value as both INF and OF sub as opposed to JFSF. We put Rasmus in CF and Springer in RF and are happy with the defense. Grossman plays LF and bats leadoff. Carter doesn’t even bring his glove to town. Valbuena now gets a look in 2015 with possibility of 2016, but more likely Lowrie slides to 3B to make room for Correa. Wates gets DFA and only his mother cries about it. I’m trying to find the real downside here.

        The current situation is that Moran gets blocked by Lowrie’s salary if they opt to promote Correa next year.

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      • Devin,
        And Luhnow still has Cosart and Folty in the system who he doesn’t want, blocking pitchers he does want.
        And maybe Sclafani is a better player than Kike, but we don’t get to find out.
        And maybe Luhnow doesn’t want Lowrie to slide over to 3B.
        And maybe the high nineties GCL pitcher is a lottery ticket that’s better than DFAing Wates.
        And maybe Moran fits perfectly into the mix by trade deadline 2016 and you get some real good players for Valbuena. who is going to be a high priced FA and Moran will be a player with an equal bat and glove who makes a half a million a year.
        And maybe Gattis at DH in 2016 for a million bucks vs Carter at $9million is a great deal considering you could get a bunch in a trade for Carter, either in July or December.

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      • Just because Cosart and Folty are not favorites of Luhnow does not detract from their ability and ceilings. I’m with you on the DH salary issue…that has the potential to be a forward thinking win by Luhnow.

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      • I am good with a lot of this oldpro and understand how it could work out. My big problem is that if Cosart was traded because the front office has thin skin – that is a terrible precedent. We could use him right now in the rotation.

        I don’t want to see George Springer or Jose Altuve get frustrated one day this season because the team is not doing well – speak out – and then see them traded because the GM has a thin skin or a thick head. That is all I’m trying to get at here. We were not trading from a particular strength of mlb ready young pitchers. If Mark Appel was ready and you wanted to trade Cosart at that time – not a question in my mind.

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      • Dan, I listed 3-4 reasons why I thought Cosart got traded in a blog here in the last week. I didn’t want to repeat that so I didn’t. It wasn’t just the thin skin stuff. It was mostly baseball related.

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      • OK – and my concern is baseball related – we would have a better rotation to start this season with Feldman, McHugh, Keuchel, Cosart and Obie (or Wojo) than we will have in 10 days without him.

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      • Yes, Dan, that rotation may be better, but not significantly better. Basically, you have Cosart instead of Hernandez or Wojo. I am not sure that is a significant upgrade. I would still rather have the players we received along with the comp pick and either Hernandez or Wojo starting in place of Cosart.

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      • Tim if Wojo gets that spot I’m feeling better than if Hernandez does and maybe i am alone in that but I want someone with upside – like Cosart had.

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      • I was actually just talking about this season. There is no doubt Cosart has more upside than Hernandez, but I think we have pitchers in our minor league system, like Velasquez, Hader, Appel and Felix, who have more upside than Cosart. Cosart is a nice pitcher, and I actually like him more than Folty, but I like the haul we got in the trade considering who we have in the minors. This is just my thoughts as I see Cosart as a #3 SP.

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      • Sorry I just don’t like to trade someone when you have no mlb ready guys – if you traded him at this deadline because Appel was coming I would be happy.

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      • That’s why we have free agency and trades…to fill in those gaps until those players are major league ready. We just look at it differently. I don’t see a big drop off from whoever replaces Cosart this year and like the players we received. I can see where you are coming from for this season, but long term, in my opinion, we are better off.

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  4. Alright, oldpro convinced me with the Bora$ quip.
    1. Not without injury problems the next week.
    2. Torreyes or Wojo could be in the mix. Still, I suspect we would see Petit and Straily/Buchanan, respectively. Unless lots of positions are in the infirmary we will see Luhnow make rational decisions based around service times and options.
    3. Wojo, Appel, Torreyes, Tucker…but not until after the trade deadline.
    4. Yes and no. Players leaving via free agency bothers me more. When owners open the pocketbook to bring legit players to bridge the gap it does not. Correa isn’t quite ready and should be given a chance to complete an entire, advanced milb season. Lowrie is solid and so is Petit. Villar can even fill the gap in a pinch. As oldpro notes, no one was filling the OF holes in 2013 or early 2014.
    5. No. I actually thought about this last night while watching Deshields play for the Rangers. Being able to contribute physically doesn’t mean the mental side is there. Villar and Santana are two examples. The failure was in signing too many guys whose only value was in the clubhouse (Ankiel, Pena, etc).

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    • You know Devin – Rasmus’ spring training bad BA (.222) and great OBP (.500) makes me hope that he it is due to a small sample and that he is not going to be our next Carlos Pena veteran….

      And what are the Rangers going to do with DDJ? He is not hitting and he is 1 for 3 in stealing bases.

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      • He was slowed with a groin injury. The speed was there last night though. Their entire outfield looks bad to mediocre in my eyes. I suspect they are trying to swing a minor trade to keep him, but failing that it wouldn’t surprise me to see him get a spot on the 25. Expect he’ll get a few trips to the DL with leg injuries if they do keep him.

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  5. When did Dillon Gee buy out Jim Crane and his investment partners? Or is it just me that thinks Gee absolutely owns the Astros.

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    • Cleverly done there Mr. Bill.
      Comments:
      – There are certainly a bunch of fans who wished anyone but Mr. Crane had bought the team.
      – Mr. Gee is not in the A-Rod, Stanton, Pujols contract status where he could be a major partner in a buy (this is my literal response…)
      – However, Mr. Gee including his 2015 salary will have career earnings of $9.9 million which might be close enough to have Mr. Crane allow him a say in a FA signing…..

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  6. It does not really matter, of course, but here are the Astros considered to have a chance – or in some cases a lock – to break camp with the big club who are presently hitting less than .300 so far this Spring:
    – Matt Dominguez [.267 0 EBH, 2 RBIs] (compare Luis Valbuena, .429, 6 EBH, 4 RBIs)
    – Chris Carter [.286, 6 EBH, 10 RBIs (compare Gattis, .353, 2 EBH, 5 RBIs)
    – Colby Rasmus [.238, 3 EBH, 5RBIs (compare Grossman, .389, 3 EBH, 4 RBIs and Marisnick, .310, 3 EBH, 10 RBIs)
    – Jon Singleton [.270, 6 EBH, 4 RBIs (compare Dan Johnson, .158, 0 EBH, 1 RBI)
    – Hank Conger [.174, 1 EBH, 3 RBIs (compare Max Stassi, .375, 3 EBH, 5 RBI)
    – L.J. Hoes [.250, 1 EBH, 0 RBIs (compare Alex Presley, .214, 2 EBH, 1 RBI).

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    • Matty D is probably not going to make it and neither is Hoes, but I understand they are the “have a chance” guys. Conger is making it because they gave away resources to get him here. I hope his framing business is a success….

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      • I presume the fact that Marwin is a switch-hitter and can play outfield and 1B stack the odds in his favor; but Pettit sure is a nice guy to have in reserve – as are Sclafani and Torreyes. Assuming he has no options, do you think he would make it through waivers?

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      • Well we know that Petit passed waivers once when they took him off the 40 man in the off-season, so I guess they think they can do it again. But if somebody has an injury need – he could get snapped up.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Marisnick hit a nice homerun today…….have I mentioned that I *love* homeruns??!!
    The good guys won 4-3 today, with Hoyt the last guy on the hill. I like what I see with this guy……..can’t call him a kid because he’s 28yrs. old!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So Dr McHugh goes 5 innings and gives up 2 hits. The bullpen goes 4 innings and gives up no hits.
    Down 3-0 and come back to win 4-3.
    When ignoring all the stats, you just notice the important things: Starter pitched well, bullpen pitched well and team didn’t give up even though the AL Batting Champ was 0 for 5. I wonder how many times we won last season when Altuve was 0 for five.

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  9. Jandel Gustave put on waivers by KC. If he clears waivers the Astros can get him back into the system for $25 grand. Any team claiming him has to keep him on their 25-man MLB roster the entire season. If the Astros buy him back, they can put him anywhere in their system.

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  10. I give up folks – since Cosart is gone I might as well accept it. And if they want to trade Altuve or Springer for future guys who might help us down the line why should anyone complain.
    Yeah I know Cosart was not great but he was a young proven mlb pitcher under the Astros control.

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    • Time will tell who got the better of the deal. However, I can’t understand anyone saying our rotation is better in 2015 than if we still had Cosart. Obviously the other factors are important – 40 man space, cost controls at multiple positions, etc. I do wonder if Luhnow became convinced that Cosart would implode due to control issues, would suffer an injury due to some perceived flaw, or perhaps just not go deep enough into games to suit him.

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    • Yeah I probably should not be so grumpy about this – I think I have had enough of looking at the longview. And I don’t like giving up young pitching.

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    • Ted Cruz? Oh, Luis. He pitched well at AA and not so well in a cup of coffee at AAA, but a young lefty with good K numbers who they have thought enough of to keep on the 40 man the last two years is a guy to watch.

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  11. Dan, we’ll know know quite a bit more about the Cosart deal over the next few months. It will be painful if our rotattion struggles….and Cosart continues to improve on how he finished the 2014 season. Conversly, if the rotation is solid and Cosart does not progress, we’ll forget about him pretty quickly. Even me. For the record though, I think he’s going to turm into a solid number two guy, maybe even this year.

    I get the fact that we opened up space on the 40 man and I get the fact that we got some potentially good prospects out of the exchange. I’m just tired of going backwards at this point. Hope that’s not the case.

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    • This is kind of the approach I am taking regarding the Cosart trade. I want to give it another year or two to see how Cosart performs and how the prospects we received develop. I may come to regret the trade, but I will admit that I liked it initially considering the players we received. I just don’t see Cosart ever developing into a TOR pitcher, but I am willing to admit I could be proven wrong.

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    • I am torn on this one – but I will be really happy if I can say in a couple of years that I was wrong and we don’t miss Cosart and do love what we got in return.

      Liked by 1 person

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