All Things Astros and a whole lot more
If you’re looking for deep and insightful, you’ve come to the wrong blog.
Those West Coast games go late. And I was up late. So instead of penetrating analysis, you’re getting “the stuff in Brian’s head this morning.” Be glad I’ve filtered out the song lyrics, 1980s commercial jingles, and that group of tales known as “Stupid Brian Stories” that I generally only tell people I know well … or people who have a drink with me.
So, without any further adieu, here are seven random thoughts.
1. How lucky are the Astros to have Marwin Gonzalez? He is a luxury. Put Marwin on most teams, he’s probably the starting shortstop or second baseman, or third baseman. Once again — at the old age of 26 — he’s quietly putting together a quality season at the plate. In limited action, he’s hitting .294 with an .824 OPS. Oh, and he’s struck out roughly once in every six ABs. All while filling in at SS and 1B. If MLB handed out All-Star appearances to the best bench player, he’d be in the running.
2. George Springer has got to be getting some consideration for a Gold Glove in right field. I’ve now seen several just amazing plays on line drives. Forget the stolen homer against the Rangers. In that same game he tracked down a line drive that was slicing away from him. Did the same thing in Seattle this week. I know everyone’s all “Marisnick’s amazing in center,” and I’d agree. But Springer has been equally amazing in right.
3. Speaking of Springer, he and Evan Gattis look like they are on the verge of finding “it” at the plate. Chris Carter still looks lost and befuddled, but I don’t think we end April without Springer and Gattis starting to deliver. Which is a good thing, because Luis Valbuena and Marisnick can’t lead this offense forever.
4. Which brings me to Jeff Luhnow. It’d be easy to say the Gattis trade was a bust, but once Gattis starts mashing, he’ll carry this team for a couple of weeks. Then Jose Altuve and Springer will do it. Then Carter will find his stroke along with Colby Rasmus or Robbie Grossman. Then Jason Castro will start hitting clutch or Jed Lowrie. And that’s the beauty of this offense. They don’t all have to be hot. Just two or three of them at a time. But the important thing is, each one of them is capable of it.
5. OK, I’m just going to say it. I think Jake Marisnick was abducted by aliens and replaced with a copy who can square up on the ball. No, I don’t think Jake From Pluto’s Moon can sustain his otherworldly .361 BA or .970 OPS. But I think we’re looking at a guy who can deliver an OPS of .730 or better over a season. And that, combined with his defense and base running, make for a top-notch center fielder. I just hope they’re treating the real Jake good on Pluto’s moon.
6. Once again, I am amazed that Houston ever picked up Tony Sipp. Yes, he’d have completely different stats if Springer hadn’t grabbed that homer against the Rangers. But Sipp has, otherwise, been nothing short of stellar again. He’s a lefty who can get anyone out. He and Will Harris have made it hard to bring up Josh Fields from AAA.
7. And speaking of the minor leagues, the Hooks are 7-4. The Grizzlies are 8-5. Lancaster is 7-6. And Quad Cities is 10-3. Combined, Houston’s farm system is 32-18. I haven’t checked all 29 other farm systems, but I’d bet they aren’t as good. For example, the Cubs’ vaunted farm system is (Iowa 6-6, Tennessee 6-5, Myrtle Beach 8-3, South Bend, 5-8) 25-22. St. Louis’ farm system is 23-26. The Twins’ is 26-23. And yet, other than a lot of conflicted feelings of Carter vs. Jon Singleton at first base, and wondering how the organization can fit Fields into the bullpen, no one is really clamoring for an infusion of youth at the moment. And that, folks, speaks well of the Luhnow Plan.
So, what do you think about my seven thoughts? What random thoughts of your own would you like to share?