Welcome to our Chip tradition of Free Blog Weekend. There are some food for thought items below, but the blog belongs to you as any subject (Astros’ related) is open season.
What are the odds?
Not that this blog proponent has ever been to Las Vegas and not that these specific bets were available at the beginning of the season, but after nine games what would be the odds that:
- Jed Lowrie would be leading the team with three home runs? He had only six in 136 games in 2014.
- Lowrie and Jake Marisnick would be leading the team with five RBIs?
- Seven Astros would have home runs, but none of them would be named George Springer or Chris Carter? (And the other “big” bopper, Evan Gattis, got his Chantilly Lace first homer in the eighth inning of the ninth game).
- The Astros’ hitters would be leading the majors in strikeouts (oops – that one you probably would have gotten even money on)?
- The team would be next to last in runs scored in the AL, but 4-5 and only a ½ game out of first in the AL West?
- Luke Gregerson would be sharing the saves lead with another reliever, but it would not be Chad Qualls, Pat Neshek, Will Harris or Tony Sipp? (It is Sam Deduno).
Experience may mean something
There was an interesting discussion yesterday about the failure, especially of young hitters, coming up and struggling with the Astros. Of course, you don’t know if some guys are going to be AAAA Brett Wallace types, who will never develop or guys who would develop if handled/coached the right way.
Age and experience factors are important when looking at the development of young players. Looking back at a typical 2014 in late April after Springer was brought up, you might have Jose Altuve, Dexter Fowler, Jason Castro, Springer, Marc Krauss, Carter, L.J. Hoes, Jonathan Villar and Matt Dominguez in the lineup. That lineup at that time averaged about 233 games of mlb experience or a little less than 1-1/2 seasons. If you drop out Altuve and Fowler, the other seven players had an average of 147 games in the majors, not even a full season. Having that little experience in the lineup was hurtful to the development of some of these players, especially when the only experienced players (Altuve, and Fowler) were grouped together towards the top of that lineup.
Earlier this week when the Astros got murdered 8-1, the starting hitting lineup (without Castro, Lowrie or Colby Rasmus) was just a tad over 26 years old. In addition, those nine guys averaged 279 games of MLB experience, or about 1 3/4 seasons apiece. Even some guys who are definitely not youngsters are relatively inexperienced. Gattis is 28, but has only played in 221 MLB games, Carter at 28, (407), Conger at 27 (254).
The result was the worst game the Astros have played this season.
The Oakland A’s, the Astros’ opponent that night, had inexperienced players like Mark Canha and Marcus Semien, but they had them sandwiched between much more experienced players like Sam Fuld, Ben Zobrist, Billy Butler and Josh Reddick.
The hope here is that players like Springer, Gattis, Marisnick and Grossman will benefit over time by having more experienced players like Altuve, Castro, Rasmus and Valbuena around them in the lineup.
- Do you have any first impressions of new manager A.J. Hinch?
- Either through the new TV deal or renewed interest, are you watching more of the Astros this season?
- Is McHugh or Keuchel the ace of the staff? Who do you like better and why?
- When Brett Oberholtzer is ready, who goes and who stays?
So what do you want to talk about today as the Astros start a three-game series with the Los Angeles/California/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Angels (or something like that)?