Astros’ youth movement is in full swing


In the dark, early days of the 2014 season a Houston Astros’ lineup might contain the names of Jesus Guzman, Robbie Grossman, Matt Dominguez, L.J. Hoes, and Alex Presley. While quite a few people in the lineup were youthful, this was not quite what the fans were hoping for when it came to a youth movement. Leaving the best outfields in the minors (George Springer) to start the season did not help the grumpy fanatics rally around the plan. Where were all these young guns who were going to raise this franchise phoenix-like from the ashes?

Fast forward 14 months to mid-June of 2015. The Astros are Jose Altuve-less for a few games, but the offense clicks anyways. On a rainy Monday night 1st round pick George Springer (2011) leads off the game with a single. First overall pick Carlos Correa (2012) then singles and Preston Tucker, who is only a lowly seventh round pick (2012), but who is the brother of a 1st round pick (Kyle -2015) singles and drives in a run. For the game the three newbies have seven hits, five runs scored, three RBIs and thanks to Springer, two home runs. Oh and Springer goes flying around making diving catches, Correa is playing smooth and flawless shortstop and Tucker is a better left field than Chris Carter and Carlos Lee.

This is exciting. This is what the fans have been dying to see. And a couple of cherries on top of the sundae are the recent performances of wunderkinds Lance McCullers Jr. and Vincent Velasquez, LMJ a supplemental 1st rounder out of the 2012 draft and VV, a second rounder out of 2010. Before the season, neither of these power pitchers were expected to sniff the majors until 2016 at best.

Probably more than anything it is a relief to Houston fans to see players being called up from the minors and acting like they belong.

Hopefully, the 2015 season will someday be looked upon as the year the organization turned the corner and put the pedal to the metal on the way to the top.

So….

  • Who among these five youngsters is the most important to the long-term success of the team?
  • Who do you think may be a bit of a flash in the pan?
  • Who are you looking forward to seeing next? (Domingo Santana is reportedly on the way to take Colby Rasmus‘ place while he is on bereavement leave, so he does not count.)
  • Can these young guys lead the team to the playoffs this season?
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72 comments on “Astros’ youth movement is in full swing

  1. I would say its a tie between , Correa, springer, VV, LMJ, Sorry (-:. Flash in the pan Castro, Oh wait that was 2 years ago. I would really like to see Kemp, this little dude just keeps moving up and hitting. I think to make the payoffs we still need a proven solid arm as a starter.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess Correa is the most important because of his age. But Springer could be the guy that actually completes the Astros future, because he is the oldest and will be a player on this team that will be looked at as the first of the big boys.
    I don’t see any flash in the pan guys but will go with VV because of the injury history.
    I’m looking forward to seeing Kemp next.
    I think these guys can lead the Astros to the playoffs this year, if they are allowed the playing time.
    I don’t think we have seen half of the youth infusion. By 2017 Fisher, Moran, Reed, Phillips, Nottingham, Heineman , Bregman, Musgrove, Gustave, Appel, Hader, Marte, Bostick, Feliz and possibly Devenski will be setting the AL West on it’s ear.

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  3. Who among these five youngsters is the most important to the long term success of the team?

    Correa will be the most important player for the long term success of the team. His willingness to do whatever it takes for the team attitude will loam large! He took a lower bonus to sign and that can help in the future as the Astros take on more contract money. Additionally, as he matures, he will probably move willingly to third base which will open the shortstop position for Bregman to remain at short.

    Who do you think may be a bit of a flash in the pan?

    I believe all of the five mentioned will be strong competitors though out their careers.

    Who are you looking forward to seeing next?

    I am looking forward to seeing Appel finally arrive. I hope he does much better in the majors than he has in the minors.

    Can these young guys lead the team to the playoffs this season?

    I have the utmost confidence that they will.

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  4. Are you paying attention to Drellich’s twitter feed? Some recent info:
    – AJ Reed tied for 2nd most milb with 15 HR
    – Singleton tied for 3rd most with 14 HR
    – Phillips tied for 4th most with 13 HR
    – Singleton leads milb with 60 RBI in 61 G
    – #2 is Reed with 56 RBI in 62 G
    – #13 (tie) Fisher 48 RBI in 56 G
    – #13 (tie) Phillips 48 RBI in 60 G

    Phillips is a leadoff hitter.

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  5. While I love the exciting play of Springer and Correa, I will pick Tucker as most critical long term, mostly because of his LH bat and ability to hit lefties. I see Velasquez as the most likely “flash”, because of walks, but am picking him only because I feel obligated by the question to pick someone. Would love to see Kemp next. If BA’s continue upward and McHugh reverts to form from earlier this season which I do expect—–yes, I can see them in the playoffs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So has anyone read The New York Times story on an FBI investigation into the possibility that the St. Louis Cardinal organization has hacked into the Astro data base in order to steal player and prospect information?

    Wow!

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  7. So when did Bill Belichick start running the Cardinals and the Patriots?
    Im truthfully wonder how they would punish them – would mlb take away draft picks or fine them.
    If Bud Selig was still in charge he would probably give the Cards a bonus for hacking the Astros, who he apparently abhorred…..

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  8. Could we get a re-rank of the Astros top prospects now that we’re midway-ish through the year?

    Would Kemp be the top guy now? Appel?

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    • There once was a team from St. Louis –
      an old rival who wanted to screw us.
      They sent in a ‘mole’,
      to hack “Ground Control”,
      had it published, then snickered: So, SUE US!’

      Liked by 1 person

      • There was a young lad named Luhnow.
        He knew only one password – some how.
        He changed jobs,
        Left those old snobs
        But used the same password – “Holy Cow.”

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  9. For me Correa is the no brainer choice for most critical because of the position he plays. Successful teams are almost always strong up the middle and while corner outfield spots are important offensively shortstop is critical defensively and then when you get a bonus of Correa being an offensive force as well his contributions could dwarf the others. If Springer were to eventually end up in center then he might rival Correa’s impact. I would hesitate to rank any starting pitcher as most critical simply for the fact that starters only play every fifth day and even the best perform in a fraction of a team’s games/innings.

    I’m looking forward to this little cameo for Santana. I hate to see Tucker sit today but this seems like a good spot to test the waters with Santana. I’m hoping he has some success if for no other reason to get the bad taste of his bitter cup of coffee from last season out of his mouth.

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  10. Matt Dominguez claimed off waivers from the Brewers. Good luck Matty D. !!!
    Good old “balking Bob Davidson” what’s a game with him on the bases, without a balk!!

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  11. Velasquez is having a bad hair day……..time to get someone up to take over.
    He’s getting his pitch count up…..BIG time.

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  12. There was a radio question the other day. Another solution to AM radio is to buy the MLB At-bat app’s premium subscription for $19.99. You can then listen to the radio feed through it…which is what I’m doing right now. Also, last time I mention this unless asked, but if you buy the MLB TV subscription you get the MLB At-bat premium for free.

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      • I saw something on TCB about a month ago that works. If you sign up for MLB TV, you will be blocked out. However, if you clear your cache, wait about an hour before the game with the computer off – then use Chrome. It has a Free add on of Zenmate. It will show that your computer is sitting in Virginia or California. So you sign in to MLB TV and click on Nationals or Orioles or Tigers or Dodgers FIRST. On one of them, it will show you are blocked out and go to game audio. Then go to the Astros and watch the game.

        It is a little bit of trouble and will work about 80% of the time.

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    • It looks much worsworse than it was. Tulo got a week hit with 2 outs and he threw a lot of good pitches to CarGo before the HR. I’m not sure why Conger was calling for the curve he threw though…was a situation where you knew Velasquez didn’t want to miss the zone…

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    • I think he’s showing he can pitch in the major leagues. Sure he’s a work in progress, but he struck out 7 ML players which tells me he has the stuff to get guys out at this level.

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  13. The Rockies’ team BA is 4th in the majors – .267. Astros are 27th, hitting .237.
    Rockies’ team OBP is .315 to the Astros’ .306. Velasquez just faced a good MLB offensive team – and had some good moments, but found out he still has some work to do. And that WALKS ALWAYS COME BACK TO HAUNT YOU.

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  14. When Lowrie returns, what happens to Valbuena? I was looking at his stats vs Carter and not a big difference between the two.

    Do we call up Singleton and give him another shot?

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  15. The Astros bounce back from that bad 0-6 road trip with a very satisfying 4-1 home stand. They need to carry that momentum out on this 8 game road trip.
    They are fun to watch for the first time in a very very long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I was at the game today and Velasquez was getting hit hard the whole time. A lot of the outs were deep fly balls and I haven’t looked at the stats, but he did not get many ground balls. He struck guys out, but when they made contact, it was solid. Marisnick had a very busy day in the field.
    At the end of the game, one of the Rockies pitchers, coming in from the bullpen, walked to the edge of the field boxes, and ignored all of the begging boys and handed the baseball to my beautiful little granddaughter. Thanks Christian Friedrich.
    Cargo’s shot down the line was foul and how the ump missed it, I don’t know. The overturn was huge.
    Correa’s fabulous dive and throw was spectacular in person. The turf is beautiful. One of the runs scored would have been dead at the plate, had it not been for a full count and the runners breaking on the pitch. That ball was scorched by Altuve.
    I could not believe that the Rockie runner tried to run on Marisnick. What a throw to nail that guy dead at second.
    Domingo looked very comfortable today.
    The Astros closed the top two levels and my Value Days Tickets ended up in the field boxes. What a great day! Thanks Mrs.1OP for the great anniversary present. And thank you to the Astros. We were very entertained.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great report and Happy Anniversary Mr. and Mrs. 1OP! The kid was hit hard. No doubt. I do like his mound presence though. I’m just so pleased to see kids like Springer, Altuve, Tucker, Correa, McCullers and hopefully now Velasquez, and heck, maybe even Santana and Marisnick, all young ballplayers that understand the game, love playing it and are loaded with talent. Wonderful days ahead!

      Liked by 2 people

    • That assist by Marisnick was sweet. Altuve made a great pick on the short hop and then had to wait for the runner to get there.

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  17. I love the fact that there’s a different hero every night. That’s what makes this team so much fun. Velasquez will get the ball in 5 days, and I think that’s pretty cool.
    Santana said he felt like the weight of the building was lifted off his back, after he got his first hit today…….let’s hope that was one of many to come!
    Happy Anniversary to you and your wife OldPro!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good to have plain old Joe back in the fold. I hope someone gets traded soon though, so he’ll get a real chance to play.

      Becky, your guys won’t get promoted from Lancaster to Houston. Some guys hit there and then stop hitting. I don’t think that will be the case with Reed and Phillips, but they need to find room for them in Corpus. They’ve done enough out on the Coast.

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  18. Last night Fresno and Dan Straily, Tony Kemp and RJ Hoes kicked Matt Cain’s butt in front of a sellout crowd in Fresno. After years of sucking as a AAA affiliate of SF now Fresno has a winning team and nobody quite knows who to pull for out there.
    The Giant’s new AAA affiliate, Sacramento is starting Jake Peavy against Fresno tonight and Kemp and Hoes jumped on him with two runs in the first. Wonder how big a crowd they have tonight? I really can get into this” our guys beating up their guys” routine. How about you?

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  19. You think back to when Altuve, JD Martinez and Jimmy Paredes were brought up from AA in 2011. There was no one to fill their void – no one to fill that vacuum. Now when someone gets promoted or DFA’s – there are kids with great credentials chomping at the bit to move up a level.
    This is the flow of prospects that was missing in the old days – this is truly the legacy Jeff Luhnow will be known for going forth.

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  20. The Mets just designated Dillon Gee for assignment. Should the Astros pursue him? If so, should they claim him or see if he clears and the Mets haven’t found a taker in 10 days and try to sign him?

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    • He was pitching pretty solidly until he went on the DL on May 3rd with a groin strain. In 3 appearances since he came back he has been bombed. 9.1 IP / 16 R / 13 ER / 22 Hits.
      I’m betting he came back too soon. Problem is – what would you do if you picked him up – can’t send him down and doubt you can immediately put him on the DL.

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    • I’ll have to leave that to the team. They have info on his stuff I am not privy to. It seems the AL would be tough for him, but maybe he’s just stale, having been with the Mets since he was drafted. You would think he would want to try it someplace else. He’s never been great, but he is not as bad as his numbers this season.

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    • You could send VV back down and, if Gee needs to go back on the DL, bring him back up when that happens. You could also look to move VV or LMJ to the pen to limit their innings. I am just throwing some ideas out there.

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  21. Phillips now has as many games in High A as Correa did and as many PAs. How do they compare? Phillips was two years older, but that is not a bad thing. Their BAvg is the same, very high. Phillips shows more power and less patience at the plate. Both absolutely dominated the California league. Phillips seems ready for a new challenge soon.

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      • Sometimes you just do what you have to do. Maybe you move someone back to Lancaster or you let someone go or you make a trade, like they did with Torreyes.
        Yesterday I noticed that the guy who is leading the Cal League in HRs, and SLG turns out to be a 27 year old journeyman named Burg who is not listed as a top 30 prospect with the Rangers. They picked him up and stuck him in a league that is 5 years below his age.
        At this point, Phillips has to get preference, because he is turning out to be a stud.

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    • Did you catch his start against Vandy? The weather was unkind, but into the sixth inning they were having serious difficulty hitting him. The stuff wasn’t all that impressive, 88-90mph on the fastball, but I think the arm movement added a lot of deception. I’m interested to see how he fares in milb…especially if he gains some weight and adds a tick more velocity.

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      • There are some sabermetrics that they really like about him. I’m interested to see if they will sign him under slot. After he was out of the game because of the suspension, Vandy jumped on his replacement.

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  22. Reed is still ahead of Springer’s stats after 63 games in Lancaster, including more walks, less Ks, more RBIs and higher BA/OBP/SLG. Reed has no steals though, but other than that he is looking great.

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  23. The Astros announced 8 more signings this morning. Their 4th round pick signed for $250,000, which was $272,000 under the slot. They have saved well over $1mil under slot on their signings so far.

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