Awards and honors may pile up this year for Astros


Carlos Correa is a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate, Houston has multiple players pushing for All Star status and, if the season ended today, A.J. Hinch would be a cinch for AL Manager of the Year.

Even if the Astros don’t continue on their current pace to win … games, Houston and its players will have placed their names on the proverbial baseball map come September. Of that, there is no doubt.

Here’s a quick rundown of possible awards as the All Star Game approaches.

When the Astros were competitive and respectable, 2-3 All Stars was the norm. But the organization has had only its one obligatory pick the last five years.  Before that it was at least two or more: 2006-2009 (2), 2005 (4), and 2004 (4).

Jose Altuve is the only Astro with a shot at being voted into the game. He is presently running second to Kansas City’s Omar Infante, a much less-talented second baseman and who has apparently benefited from a royal ballot-stuffing frenzy. Altuve will be on the roster, but he won’t be the lone Astro.

Dallas Keuchel (8-3, 2.35, 0.978 WHIP) easily will make the All Star rotation and could be a candidate to start the game.

Now, George Springer has thrust himself into the discussion with his torrid June, Springer Dinger notoriety and circus catches. And, you were concerned he would hit .200 all season. He enters play today at .274/.379/.472 and is a challenger for 30 home runs and almost a shoo-in for 20/20 (20 home runs, 20 stolen bases).

Correa himself will not have enough at bats for consideration (no rule, just not enough playing time), but he would be a flash on the field for the American League team is there were a spot on the roster.

Rookie of the Year.

Correa has not only been a spark for Houston, but he has become a darling of ESPN and other national media, who have rightly noticed him as a possible future Hall of Famer. Early, yes, but he has the pedigree, charisma and makeup to become a Derek Jeter or other classic player.

Unfortunately, Correa may have spent too much time in Corpus Christi and Fresno to warrant serious consideration, not to mention that it’s the Year of the Rookie in major league baseball. To be sure, the best rookie stats may be in the National League, so Correa will still be in the running most of the season for AL Rookie of the Year.

Keep your eyes on him and a couple of players from Tampa Bay (Steven Souza Jr. and Joey Butler).

Manager of the Year.

If the season ended today, Hinch would be in as AL Manager of the Year. Has there been a time in recent memory when a manager was so “quiet”.  Have you heard one iota of controversy from the dugout of clubhouse? Has Hinch called out anyone in the media? Does anyone seem disgruntled?

No, nope and no sirree.

Of course, the Astros are in first place and winning cures a lot of ills. Still, Hinch, who will also serve as a coach in next month’s All Star Game, seems to have learned from his first failed round as manager and is navigating a tough stream with a patchwork roster and new coaching staff. Even if Houston doesn’t win the division, he’ll be a viable Manager of the Year candidate through the season.

Unlike the past few seasons, Houston will certainly have many players contend for post-season awards and honors this year. Correa, Hinch, Keuchel, Springer and Altuve, however, have not only helped put Houston on the map, but they’ve also made it easier for other players wearing Astros’ uniforms to be noticed now.

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68 comments on “Awards and honors may pile up this year for Astros

  1. In a preseason post the question was posed regarding post season award preferences, something to the effect would we like to see Altuve MVP, Hinch Manager of the Year, etc. I think if Hinch wins Manager of the Year it will be an affirmation and acknowledgment of team success. In the recent past we have been excited to see Altuve win the batting championship and Keuchel win the gold glove but I hope we are evolving into a fan base that will appreciate winning and not mere personal accomplishment.

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  2. Here are 1oldpro proposed awards:
    Rolaids Fireman of the Year- Roberto Hernandez
    Rookie of the Year-Joe Sclafani
    Manager of the Year- Bo Mills
    LF Gold Glove- Evan Gattis(zero errors)
    “Hey, I’m right Here” Award-Jon Singleton
    Defensive Player of the Year- Jonathan Villerror
    Sleep Number Relax Award-Brady Aiken
    Forfeited Sainthood Award-Louis Cardinals
    Bombardier Award- Luis Valbuena
    Least Number of Bats Broken Award-Kris Karter
    Manicure of the Year Award-Jose Altuve
    Worst Dugout Dancer Award-Chad Qualls
    Don’t Talk to Me Award- Lance McCullers Jr.
    Doe in the Headlight Award-Bambi McHugh
    Bird Nester Award-Arlington Keuchel
    Worst Barber Award-Hank Conger
    Elevator Award-Jake Buchanan
    Spare Outfit Award-Julia Morales
    Unnecessary Delay of Game Award-Carlos Correa

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  3. I think Dallas Keuechel is definitely in the hunt for the Cy Young award. A long way to go on that I know, but he has a lot of excellent starts this season.
    Hinch has been a solid anchor for this team.
    I am torn on the individual success vs. team success argument that dr. bill hits on. Yes, I would rather see the team do well, but many times the individual candidates are being pushed because they are on a good team and the Astros have been that.

    But would I trade those individual awards for a WS title? Hell, yes after being a fan for just over 50 years without one, yes in a heart beat.

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  4. I’m of the opinion the players should be greedy and want the individual rewards. It’s not PC for a player to celebrate their accomplishments, but I would rather hear elation after the game about a big HR than watch them flip the bat and posture on the field.

    ROY may be possible for Correa. Hitting behind Springer will give him lots of opportunities for success. The fact his defense makes the highlight reels just enhances his candadicy.

    Speaking of Cy Young candidates, I see that Kluber has 9 losses already this year despite solid numbers.

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    • So Conrad Gregor becomes a DH? He might take at bats from my latest long shot guy, Jon Kemmer. I shouldn’t have said anything! Seriously though, good move. It’s apparent that Phillips has nothing further to prove in Lancaster.

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  5. I am just happy we finally have some players that actually should be in consideration for awards. I’ll be even happier when we get out 2016-2017 team in place and on the field, dominate other teams, and start having at least one player in all the top 10 listings, both offensively and in the realm of pitching.

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  6. Reports are that the Angels are calling up yet another lefty, Andrew Heaney from Salt Lake to start against the Astros today. They want to exploit our lefty-weakness [after yesterday?]. You do know that what does not kill us makes us stronger, don’t you?

    BTW, for Salt Lake this year, Heaney has a 4.71 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. He’s started 14 games and pitched 78.1 innings [i.e. less than 5 innings per start]. He’s struck out 74 and walked 25 in those 78.1 innings. In his last start against Fresno (June 13) he went 6.0 innings, gave up 8 hits and 3 runs, walked three and struck out 5.

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    • So far their desperation move actually looks to be paying off. Heaney has somehow faced the minimum through three innings. Now back to the top of the order to see what we can do on ‘2nd look’.

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    • Going to my “sortable” source – here is what I find for the Astros vs. leftys this year:
      9th in BA (.245)
      8th in OBP (.312)
      3rd in SLG (.423)
      4th in OPS (.735)
      4th in runs scored (103)
      1st in HR (36)

      This is surprising, the eye test to me has shown them struggling and all I can think is that some huge games against some of the leftys (like the 8 runs in one inning against King Felix or the game last night) has tilted these numbers.

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      • DanP, this is ESPN for combined (not split). BA (.242) OBP (.310) SLG: (.430) OPS (.739) HR 1st (107) Runs (330). And King Felix is a righty. Obviously someone thinks they can not hit lefties as well and probably have some stats to support that.

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    • How about just looking at their record. It’s pretty simple. They are 27-16 vs right handed starters and 16-16 against left handed starters. They have faced more Lefty starters than any other team, and as long as they are not as good against lefties, they are going to get the treatment. The right handed batters on this team have to step up and beat left-handed pitching.

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    • Evan Gattis is .214 vs. lefties and .236 vs. righties, and has 3 HRs vs. lefties against 10 vs. righties. This is part of the Gattis mystery.

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  7. I guess Hamels really doesn’t want to get traded here as he gives up 8 hits, 3 walks and 5 runs in 5 innings this afternoon. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy…….

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  8. Okay, some of you wise men and women on this blog. Question:

    Why does someone like Alex Bregman — or any other top 10 first rounder — take under slot or tremendously under slot money to sign a deal? He could easily have said…”Nope, I want it all!” Can’t imagine an agent or player at that point says, “Yeah, I want to help the team, so I’ll take a million or two less!”

    Thoughts?

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      • First you guys, these kids do not have agents (wink, wink, wink). If I were to guess and if they were allowed to have an agent (and they are NOT), they would look at the slot and know if they slip one notch, they lose $1 Million anyway. So they agree near the next draft slot.

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    • Along those lines – Bregman reportedly is signing for $6 million which is like $1.4 million under the slot.
      I presume they balance things out Chip. The sooner they sign – the more chance for them to play significant time in 2015 in the minors and maybe even move up a step before the end of the season. They could wait until the deadline for signing – I think late July, but that might leave them little time to play this season. To me they may say I want to get up to the majors sooner and the only way to do that is playing. They could say – give me all of it, but in the end do they really want to go back in the hopper for another season and risk being drafted later?

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    • Would you rather be 1.2 or 1.5? What if there is a run on college arms and you slide to 1.10? Was he even born when Rashard Lewis was passed over three times by Houston in the first round?

      Basically, he gets the notoriety of 1.2 and higher dollars by agreeing in advance to an underslot value than he would have received at a lower slot. If he and his agent then play hardball after the draft they look bad and that agent is at risk of having future clients fall in draft due to signability issues. The player may also feel the negative consequences of such a negotiation down the line.

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    • Because the top slots are priced to sign super prospects and nobody in this draft projected to be a superstar. I’m really surprised if he gets $6mil because he isn’t worth that much. I had him pegged at $5.5mil

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  9. i had a rough estimate of 900k in savings before this deal, so thats 2.3 million (give or take) looks like they may be able to get with a pick or two that dropped because of sign-ability problems.

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    • What on earth do you mean, Kevin? 0-4 with 2 strikeouts? Psshaww – he’ll get hot any day now. Or so I keep being told.

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  10. Exactly, Tim. And decades ago that would have been the kiss of death. But, as we enter the 10 th inning i like our chances. A different feel.

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  11. Wow – two pinch runners – two outs on the base paths. I can understand Springer running for Tucker but MarGo is slow – why is he running for Valbuena?

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  12. Could we get rid of Qualls aka (guy who can’t get anyone out) now. Another poor outing for him. Why did he get put into the game anyway? We must win against the Yankees this weekend.

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  13. It has gotten to the point that you almost feel bad for Qualls because he just can’t get anyone out. He was facing a hitter in Ianetta who was batting on the interstate and walked him and then gives up a hit to somebody I had never heard of before. They really need to DFA him and look at other options. Do they really have any other choice?

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  14. You know we all get old and Quails is there. He recruited a lot of our BP to come to Houston this year, so I appreciate that. I’m not sure what they will do with him, but I’m with Becky we blew that game with stupid base running. Champions don’t make those crucial screw ups.

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    • We actually blew that game when we paraded batter after batter up to the plate against a rookie pitcher and didn’t hit. There was no way that game should have ever ended up in the 13th inning with Chad Qualls pitching. Our hitters rested on yesterday’s laurels and let the Angels take a game that our batters should have won.
      Our pitchers got Trout and Pujols out all day and only a rookie shortstop kept us from being shut out by a bunch of bums.

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  15. I think the conversation about Chad Qualls happened last week when he gave up another game winning run. Chip..I think you took up for him and because we were all angry about his dismal numbers. The kid who hit the walk off said he saw Qualls throwing nothing but sliders and thought that’s what he would see. Right on target Qualls through him a slider…and that’s the end of the story. Qualls was lights out in 2005…but this is 2015 and like me Qualls is 10yrs. Older and that slider ain’t cutting it anynore. Love the guy..and I want him to succeed but it doesn’t look like he’s gonna do that with the stuff he’s throwing. And…Kris Karter is just taking up space on this roster. What to do with him…it don’t know. What I do know is the astros are paying a hot hitting Jon singleton to mash the ball in fresno.

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  16. Since Appel has been promoted, there needs to be a move on Fresno’s roster to make room for him. Fresno was shut out on two hits tonight 2-0

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  17. Let’s look at the positives from the game. McCullers pitched great and perhaps more importantly Valbuenna got 2 hits, neither of which was a HR.

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  18. Joe Musgrove had a good outing For Corpus Christie last night.
    Akeem Bostick was promoted from Quad Cities to Lancaster, where he can hopefully shore up their pitching woes.

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  19. I rarely get on Hinch’s case, but I will this time. In a game where the Astros had 7 hits in 13 innings he pinch ran for the guys who were responsible for 3 of those 7 hits and including walks 4 of the 10 times the Astros got on base yesterday. And then both baserunners are lost on the paths for bad baserunning (getting picked off / over-sliding the base). By pinch running he ran his bench down to only Conger and he was never able to pinchhit for any of his 0 for 5 ‘s – Carter, Santana or Castro. Valbuena has finally gotten a little hot lately and he ends up watching the rest of the game on the bench. And he was pinch run for by MarGo, who is not that swift a runner.
    I know Hinch thought that it was the type of game where he needed to “do something” to make some scoring happen, but all he did was waste 12 out of 13 innings of excellent pitching.

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  20. Qualls is another good reason why we should be trying to add a starter. We don’t have any identifiable pen help in the minors. But if we get a new arm for the rotation, both McCullers and Velasquez become options to Qualls as relievers. That also potentially solves the issue of innings count with those young guys. Again, it comes down to whether or not Luhnow will try to win something this year. I’m still on the fence.

    Drives me crazy when major leaguers don’t know how to slide. The big galoot stutter stepped his way into second and then for good measure, had his leg up in the air, all to make a tag easier. Then Marwin couldn’t stay on the bag and remained obvious to the fact he was clearly out. Course Springer didn’t help either, but he’s not used to sitting on the bench all day when healthy.

    Op is right though. They should have never been in a position to lose that game. That series was there for the taking. The Angels didn’t seem all that into it.

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  21. One loss like yesterday is no big deal. The problem is accumulating a bunch of them.

    Dan – it’s interesting you called out Hinch yesterday. I don’t disagree – the moves weren’t successful, but it makes me think of the TB run to the world series. Maddon was lauded for making nonconventional moves that succeeded so often. Then, against the Phillies, none of them helped them win any games.

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    • I am willing to say that if Springer had stolen a base or just have scored on Gattis’ single / double I would not have said a thing – so there is a little back sightedness, but I saw no reason to replace Valbuena who has been wielding a hot stick with MarGO – I questioned that one before MarGo overslid 2nd.

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