Astros quandary II: Correa, Villar and others


A lively conversation was featured here Monday concerning the Chris Carter Quandary and what to do with the inconsistenly streaky first baseman, who does consistently strike out at Mark Reynoldsian rates. Today the subject is other quandaries that the 2015 Houston Astros face.

The Correa Conundrum

What it is. Frankly, this is a quandary that the front office has done to themselves. The Astros have the #1 prospect in all of baseball in SS Carlos Correa. There could have been arguments about whether he would have been the best choice to play shortstop right out of spring training despite Correa having topped out with half a season of A+ ball. This was made tougher when the 20-year-old shortstop tore up AA and Jed Lowrie went down with a three-month or so injury. The Astros made a financial decision to not start Correa’s clock; a decision that they made in the opposite direction for other young prospects such as Michael Feliz and Lance McCullers Jr.

Looking Forward. The loyal Astro fan does not care if Correa starts arbitration in 2018 or 2019 or is an eligible free agent in 2022 or 2023. He or she is just going to be hacked off if the Astros lose this pennant by a couple games, a couple games they know the Astros could have won with earlier help from Correa. There is another twist to this in that Correa is struggling (for him) at AAA posting .241 BA/.307 OBP in 19 games. It is possible that the front office feels like the young man needs 200 or more ABs to get his feet under him before promoting him to the big club.

The Villar Puzzlement

What it is. Jonathan Villar is a physically talented ball player, who has morphed into the Astros super-sub because the normal super-sub Marwin Gonzalez, is the fill-in starter at SS most nights. Villar has hit decently for a middle infielder, hitting .276/.325/.697 in 2015. The problem is that he makes head case mistakes on the bases and in the field, especially when he plays at shortstop or third base. If they are not going to bring up Correa can they live with Villar? Of course he who lives by the Villar, dies by the Villar.

Looking Forward. Will the Astros bring Correa up, move Gonzalez to super-sub and Villar to the minors or another team? If Correa’s struggles at AAA deepen, do they jump to another player to be the backup like Joe Sclafani? Matt Duffy? Matt (Shudder) Dominguez? Or reaching down to AA and pluck Tony Kemp? Chan Moon? Tyler White? or (Gulp) Jiovanni Mier?

The “Other” Starters Uncertainty

What Is It. The only certainty coming into the season was that the top two starters would be Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh. Keuchel has been arguably the best pitcher in the AL to date. McHugh started out very good, but has had his ERA slide over the 4.00 mark mostly on the back of allowing 8 homers in his last 4 starts. But they have been the best two to date in the Astros’ rotation. Scott Feldman had been up and down, mixing in three bad clinkers with seven decent starts and then heading to the disabled list with knee problems. Roberto Hernandez had an ERA under two after one start. It was over three after two starts. It was over four after five starts. And after 10 starts, it is nearing 5.00. Deduno, Wojciechowski and Peacock were bad in their attempts to fill the fifth starter spot. Lance McCullers Jr. has been very promising, but at such a young age is not an innings eater and may end up being shut down later in the season. Brett Oberholtzer has been passable in two starts after being injured. So the question remains, what is the eventual rotation after the top two and what happens if McHugh keeps slipping?

Looking forward. What will this rotation look like in a month to six weeks?  Is McCullers the answer? Can Obie seize a spot despite putting so many runners on base? Will Feldman be better? Will Hernandez be gone? Will Appel ever get straight? Velasquez stay healthy? Mystery TOR pitcher get traded for and added to the mix?

These are just three of the Astros’ quandaries, there are plenty of others.

  • What do you think they should do about these situations?
  • Will these situations work out for the best or not?
  • What other quandaries do you think the Astros are facing as they move into summertime?
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125 comments on “Astros quandary II: Correa, Villar and others

  1. What was working well is turning southward. I would have played small ball and let Marwin squeeze in the run from third. Get one and hope for more. Instead a big goose egg. Awfully frustrating. Hopefully a minor set back.

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  2. That was a frustrating loss, but we knew going into this season that we would experience games like this. However, we probably lose Monday and Tuesday without the power so he giveth and he taketh away.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In my opinion, Correa should be up very soon after Super 2 status has passed. He is a huge upgrade from Villar and MarGo. We can’t afford to wait much longer.

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    • Margo sure looked ready to get outta town in that last at bat. He swung and missed at three straight balls under the strike zone.
      What I didn’t like today was the lazy loss. Dallas was lazy not holding Machado on in the first and he walked into second base and then scored. The Astros were lazy with runners in scoring position.
      AJ Hinch was lazy bringing Qualls into the game when he had the lead and a rested Neshek in the bullpen. Neshek has been great, Qualls has been lousy and you have a one run lead with their big guys up. Qualls was lazy throwing a high sinker. How about your last chance power guy bunting to first base for the last out of the game?
      The Astros lost like a satisfied first place team with no inclination to fight for that win.
      Just having Correa in Fresno, Villar in LF and Marwin at SS showed that they were content to let this game be lost and fly away to Toronto.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Suffice to say Marwin is in a funk. The big problem is he has to backup Valbuena and Carter as well as start at SS due to Villar inconsistency.

        I would have preferred they start Rasmus against Gonzalez yesterday than JFSF. 90 mph fastballs are right up his alley. As for Jake, what happened to those nice line drives to RF?

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  4. Villar got to the plate four times today and never hit a ball in play. Marwin was 0 for 4. Seven of the nine players in the starting lineup are hitting under .240 and Marisnick and Altuve are the two guys who were hitting over .240 and they are both in slumps. What a lineup!

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  5. We have a Stadium, forget the price
    Nobody goes there, but they tell me it’s nice
    We’ve got Pat Neshek, and we’ve got Chad Qualls;
    Sabermetrics tell us who gets the call.

    They say we’re lazy but we’re still in first place.
    we don’t make excuses – don’t have to save face.
    Life’s been good to us so far . . . .

    Jose’ Altuve’s hittin’ .295.
    Check Springer’s pulse, I’m not sure he’s alive.
    Chris Carter’s trendin’, hittin’ bombs on the track;
    He and Gattis tell us they’ve got our back.
    They set no records, except for most K’s
    but they’re only letters – ignore our BAs.
    We’ve got a shortstop who can’t catch the ball;
    Hit him a grounder, he fumbles ’em all.

    Lucky we’re in first after all we’ve been through
    (tell ’em they’re lucky) (YOU’RE LUCKY!)]
    We can’t loose Keuchel’s games – oops, sometimes we do
    Life’s been good to us so far . . .

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  6. The boys danced too long at the “disco” last night, and it showed.
    They didn’t deserve to win this game. They played like cr@p.

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  7. Jonathan Mayo was on ROOT Sports SW today and he has the Astros drafting Brendan Rodgers and Dillon Tate with their first 2 picks. I would be very pleased if it plays out that way.

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    • I’m thinking the Astros board is the same as Arizona’s, with Swanson at the top and Rodgers second. I wouldn’t mind Tate at 1.5.
      Those two were #1 and #2 a month ago and they have dropped because Rodger’s season ended a month ago and Swanson has had a good Tournament and caught everyone’s eye, but a month ago these two players were supposed to be the class of the draft. Sometimes the NCAA Tournament is just like the combine in that it blinds people to what they’ve learned from years of scouting and watching video and studying stats. I think getting those two would be a coup.

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    • I would be OK with that. I want one arm and one bat from the first two picks. There is too much misinformation about the prospects floating around right now to really know much as a fan. There are guys touted as throwing 95-98mph who realistically are more like 88-92 depending on the inning, wind conditions, and accuracy of the radar gun.

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  8. As I venture forth on vacation I leave you with an assignment. Check out the batting stats for JA Reed in his first 51 games as a 22 year old Jethawk this year and compare them to a 22 year old George Springer in his first 51 games as a Jethawk in 2012. It is very interesting.
    Don’t know how much computer access I will have in the next couple of weeks.
    How does a retired guy need a vacation? I don’t know.
    Peace
    Work away today
    Think about tomorrow
    Never comes the day
    For my love and me.

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    • Enjoy your Nights in White Satin, OP1, as the Days of Future Pass. Just give just a little bit more; take a little bit less, from each other tonight.

      Meanwhile, out here in Astroland we’ll be biding our time, sitting on the Threshold of a Dream.

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    • A.J. Reed. – Lancaster JetHawks first baseman – presently hitting .299/.365/.470/1.018, with 15 HRs, 12 DBLs, 2 TRPLs and 48 RBIs. In 51 games he has walked 36 times, struck out 54 times, and scored 41 runs.

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  9. Ok folks don’t suffer from the moody blues over one loss. We are all watching and waiting to see if this team will contend all season.
    I know never in your wildest dreams did you think they would be this good. But all I can say is that isn’t life strange?

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    • Don’t cross him, don’t boss him – he’s wild in his sorrow.
      He’s ridin’ an’ hidin’ his pain.
      Don’t fight him, don’t spite him – just wait till tomorrow, and maybe he’ll ride on again.

      Who is he?

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  10. SI has a GREAT article on McCullars…..if you’re having trouble with the site, just click on MLB and it’s the first entry. They did an extensive report on his strike outs and composure on the mound! GOOD READ!!

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