Top of the Week:


The Astros are three games from the mid-point of the 2015 season and only 13 games away from the All Star break. Still in first place in the American League West by four games over the Angels and five over the Rangers. Still on target for 91 wins and a playoff berth. In fact, if the season ended today, they would have a bye.

Brett Oberholtzer is gone, Jon Singleton is in Houston, Chad Qualls to the disable list and now Michael Feliz is back for a second tour. A.J. Hinch says other roster moves may occur before the All Star break. Houston is said to be interested in rental starter Johnny Cueto rather than Cole Hamels.

Oh, and can’t leave out the fact that the Astros signed #2 pick Alex Bregman along with Riley Ferrell and Zac Person, among others.

So what really matters on this Monday?

The taste test.

The Astros have enough young and untested players on the roster and need to find out what they have and which ones can be effective down the stretch of a long second half. Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers Jr have obviously already proven his worth, but Singleton, Vincent Velasquez, Preston Tucker, Feliz, Domingo Santana will be on stage front and center between now and the break.

Meanwhile, Jake Marisnick, Jed Lowrie, Scott Feldman, Sam Deduno and perhaps Brad Peacock will return from the DL soon, vying for a spot on the roster. That will require continued shuffling, trades or slick, creative maneuvering, but moves nonetheless.

Velasquez, Feliz and Santana could well end up back in the minors, but Singleton and Tucker, who has played more games in left field than any other player, will likely get longer looks.

The big question for the rotation, outside of picking up another starter, is how to manage the innings for McCullers and Velasquez, if he stays in Houston.

The $64,000 question.

If reports are accurate, Luhnow is still banking on 2017 as the money year. The Astros are apparently in search of a rent-a-pitcher for the remainder of the season, one who could bolt to free agency when the season is over. That would mean a player like Johnny Cueto, Kyle Lohse, Jeff Samardzjia, Mike Leake might have 10-15 starts for Houston depending on when they were acquired much like Randy Johnson in 1998.

It’s important to note that if the Astros do acquire a pitcher of that caliber, Houston could not extend a qualifying offer and could simply lose him to another club. Luhnow and the Astros would have no recourse in that scenario.

However, if the Astros do trade with a team like Milwaukee, Cincinnati or Oakland (interesting to note which teams/players the Astros are focusing on), you can bet that Luhnow will want their competitive balance picks as part of the return of taking on the player’s salary and giving up any prospects.

That has been a boon for Houston in recent drafts (can you say Lance McCullers Jr) and Luhnow has used that strategy well..and successfully thus far.

Some random numbers…

  • Since April 26, DH Evan Gattis has hit .260 with 10 doubles, 12 home runs and 45 RBI in his 59 games…during that time, he first in the American League in RBI and tied for eighth in home runs.
  • The Astros are 25-16 at home…they have gone 17-7 in their last 24 home games and 24-12 in their last 36 contests at Minute Maid Park.
  • The Astros have hit multiple home runs in 10 of their last 15 games.Houston has also hit multiple home runs in 32 games this season (29-3) and the 32 multi-homer games are the most in the big leagues.
  • The Astros have scored first in 12 of their last 15 games, including first-inning runs in 8 of those 13 contests…When they score first, the Astros are 31-9.
  • And they can play the Cardiac Kids’ card as well. The Astros have scored 123 runs in the seventh inning or later, which ranks tied for second in the major. Only Oakland (125) has scored more in that window.
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80 comments on “Top of the Week:

  1. Looking back on the season, we might remember Sunday’s game as a key in the development of this club. After a tough loss on Saturday and down 2 games to 1 against a veteran team and facing a good pitcher, we took advantage of a break. We capitalized on an inferior outfielder who made a mistake and we capitalized on an outfield shift that turned a single into a double and then got an RBI in the eighth from Castro, who had been dominated up until his SF.
    I’m hoping that the big moments we had against the Yankees might have case-hardened them for the three game challenge they will face against the Royals to finish out the first half.
    I like your point about the competitive balance picks. Having the thirtieth pick in the draft makes for a long wait, so getting the competitive balance pick would help make the wait sweeter.
    I have a question.
    If you use the tandem system as a plan to preserve a guy’s arm and help prevent injuries, what good have you done if you bring him up to the majors and can’t use him the way you need to because you’ve had him in a tandem? It’s ironic that a minor league pitcher is limited in his innings, and once he he’s good enough and makes it to the majors, he has to be sent back to the minors because he’s not used to pitching the innings.
    If the excuse is that you didn’t plan on the team being this good, this fast, then I would say that you didn’t plan well enough and should have been letting your minor league pitchers pitch more to build up their innings and their stamina.

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    • Just a supposition on my part, but back when the tandem pitching started, I thought it was a good idea. My reason was it gave them a chance to look at more SP because they had few, if any, RP in the minors. It would still make sense to me in the lower class ball. However, AA and AAA pitchers need to get ready for MLB. Again, that was my assumption a couple years ago.

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    • They are convinced a pitcher should not throw massive innings until their mid-twenties. We’ll see if the experiment produces better health results in a few years…but even that evidenc may be circumstantial.

      Wanted to add that positioning due to extreme shifting almost cost us two runs yesterday. There was no reason for Altuve to be so far towards the line when Gardner knocked the run in. Maybe he thought Castro/McHugh were going to come inside hard instead of throwing away, soft. The second time, Altuve made the bobbling catch on the pop up after coming all the way from the other side of second…but he made a great play and saved the run.

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      • Devin,

        I also recall a few hits up the middle that turned into outs because our middle infielder was positioned behind second base. It appears to me, overall, the shifts have been more positive than negative.

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    • Great point op as to the criticial nature of Sunday’s game. Not only did McHugh pick up the club after Obie “walked”, but he continued his own reclamation effort to try to become a solid # 2. I agree, I think we may well look back on that game for a number of reasons.

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  2. What really matters is will and when will the Astros string together another 6 – 10 game win streak. I am of the belief that a streak such as this is necessary to place a larger lead over the rest of the division. Playing at .500 for the rest of the season is not going to make it to the division crown, maybe the wild card but not the crown.

    Johnny Cueto is an interesting risk. I am hoping that if the club chooses to trade for him, they do not tear the minors apart. A rental, ala Randy Johnson, is nice on one hand but the Astros are still in the early part of their turnaround and I do not wish to see that turnaround destroyed. Now, if he were to agree to stay on beyond this year, then all is good! The other pitchers mentioned above are not in Cueto’s class and I am not sure they could help the club across the finish line any better then the in house group.

    On a bright note though, as baseball purists used to say in the past, the teams in first place at the All-Star break usually went on to win their divisions.

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    • He wants to be a fee agent after this season and he’s looking for a contract in the $200 million + for multiple years. Not gonna happen here. That’s why I hope luhnow doesn’t trade for him. That would cost a lot of *very* good propects, and the guy has already had a injury scare this year. No thanks.

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  3. I was against the Randy Johnson trade in 98. He was a great pitcher and if we had had a couple of good left handed hitters, we might have done better against Dave Brown. Randy was pretty clear at the time that he wanted to go back to Arizona. After the season, he left and the three prospects given up became good MLB players. It was a loss for the stros long term. I hope we don’t do that again. I like our 2017 plan. Let this season play out without giving up top prospects.

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  4. Although there is still no official word on a promotion for Jacob Nottingham, Catcher Trent Woodward was officially assigned from Tri City to Quad Cities yesterday. Woodward has gone from Kissimmee, to Corpus, to Troy, to Davenport in the last month. His move gives Quad Cities one player over their limit.

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  5. I’m for picking up a Samardzjia or a Leake type guy. It won’t cost as much in talent, and we might be able to sign either guy longer term. We don’t really have another starter waiting on the horizon to step in. Certainly not Appel. I have to figure that McCullers will not get sent down as he nears his innings limit, whatever it is. That would be a rotten thing to do to a guy that has shown he belongs in a major league uniform. So my guess is that he keeps a pen job. I don’t want to have to count on a guy like Oberholtzer to get his act together. Peacock I think will always remain a question mark. I think Feldman will bounce back, but he’s not going to be giving us seven innings right off the bat. I think we really do need a starter. Let’s get one. I think this club will continue to make some noise in 2015 and more in 2016 with some tweaking.

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      • I dunno know Becky… “On April 18, 2011, Leake was arrested by the Cincinnati Police for shoplifting six American Rag T-shirts worth $59.88 from the Macy’s store in downtown Cincinnati. Leake, who happened to have purchased an equal value of shirts earlier from Macy’s, claimed he was trying to make an even exchange without talking to employees or going to customer service. Leake pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of unauthorized use of property and entered a court-sponsored diversion program.” Cincinnati.reds.mlb.com. 2011-04-18 and Sports.yahoo.com. Not someone I would want in my clubhouse.

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      • I don’t really like Leake, but not for shoplifting thing. I can see the misunderstanding – though admittedly through his own sheer stupidity.

        He throws strikes. He doesn’t overpower. He has starts where he has it going – and he has starts where he takes you out of the game. I feel like we can get that same performance internally from Fausto. If we are going to make a trade, and I feel like we do, I would rather it be for a guy that can start game 1 or game 2 of a playoff series like Cueto. I do agree though that any move needs to be made with eye towards maintaining one of the 4 or 5 best minor league systems out there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • If this was 2016, a top of the rotation guy to put us over the top in a short series would be something I’d probably like to see. But Randy Johnson is that cautionary tale. He pitched great for us, but still was not able to get us through a playoff series. And I still don’t see this club going deep into the playoffs 2015. That TOR guy would be costly. Let’s face it, picking up any starter will cost us some talent. But Cueto would really pain us. I was still on the fence until Oberholtzer self destructed. Now I think we need a guy. Oberholtzer might be gone the way of Cosart at this point.

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      • Dave- if you have 15 good prospects and you give up 3 for Cueto for half a season, so be it.

        We can talk about 2016 or 2017, but it’s not 2016 or 2017, it’s 2015, and we have a very good chance of making the playoffs this year. You can think Kemp or Phillips or Reed is going to show up in 2017 and make this team an instant shoo-in, but I don’t believe that. Every franchise in baseball has eternal hope in their prospects, and most of them end up with a cliff note stating they were once great prospects.

        I would challenge that even for the best franchises the chances are remote that they challenge year to year. We certainly keep our chances up for 2016 or 2017 if we retain McCullers or Velasquez or Correa, but Kemp? Is he really a big piece?

        I guess it all comes down to asking price. As I said, I would go for a TOR guy even at a rental, but only if the asking price is right. If they want Phillips, fine. If they want Kemp and some non descripts, fine. Reed, fine. All 3 or any combination, thanks for playing we will roll with what we got, but I would make a move if the opportunity presented itself. Dan Marino played in the SB as a rookie, and later stated, after he retired, when he lost, he thought he would play in many more. The Astros did the right thing in 1998, they just met a torrid Kevin Brown. You take your shot when it presents itself, because it might be 2022 before you find yourself in first place at the all star break again. You may think you as an organization knows, but you really can’t.

        Think of it this way – the last time the Astros were in this spot was 1998. That was 17 years ago. Sure, in 2004 they were very good, in 05 even better – but they weren’t just kinda good and looking for a TOR pitcher, they had 3, they were very good. This isn’t Clemens-Oswalt-Pettitte. This is Keuchel and pray for a good start (that doesn’t last just 4 innings because they can’t throw strikes). We have a rare opportunity, and when they present themselves, take it. Well, as long as we take it at no TOO steep a price and we do better than Mike Leake.

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      • Steven, I hear what you’re saying, and really don’t have a strong argument in the other direction. As you said, it comes down to what we give up. I think we’ll see something happen and then we can all chew on it!

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      • I agree with Steven, if the asking price isn’t too much, in trading for a TOR pitcher. Rumors are that the Astros are looking to acquire a rental as opposed to Hamels. It seems to me the reason for this is the cost won’t be nearly as high. We have a stacked farm system and one of our top prospects along with a few other middle of the road prospects is not going to derail our chances in 2016 and beyond. We may not be there next year or the following year. A TOR pitcher puts us as one of the best teams in the A.L., if not all of baseball. Heck, this ‘ragtag’ team has the most wins in MLB of the 29 teams that don’t cheat (yes, that was a cheap shot at the Cardinals). I am not willing to trade multiple, top end prospects for a rental, but would have no problem trading one. In addition, in 1998, if you recall, the Astros were lauded for only giving up 3 prospects for one of the best pitchers in baseball. 2 of those prospects had good MLB careers, but I liked the trade when it happened and it didn’t derail our chances in the years following. The Astros made the playoffs 3 more times after and finished 2nd twice.

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  6. Let me admit I know nothing about pitching. (Well that is just one of many that I know nothing about). But concerning LMJ and VV, I don’t see how it would work to move them to the bullpen. First, do you want 2 of your 12-13 slots taken up by guys that can only come in every 3-4-5 days because we are going to limit their innings. And second, if a good RP pitches 70 + innings a year and a SP pitches 180 + it would seem that there is more to “arm fatigue” than just innings pitched. I realize one job it totally different, but bullpen work apparently caused as many arm injuries as SP with much fewer innings.

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    • I suspect ac that no one really knows what causes, or more importantly, what can be done to prevent these injuries. When I suggested that maybe they should just extend the rookie starters, it was correctly noted that no GM wants to take a chance, even if there are no data on the “cause”. Back in the early 1970’s I recall the Orioles having a great collection of 5 young starters (walker, estrada, etc). I believe they all ended up with arm injuries that limited their careers. But between 1970 and 2015 all that has “improved” is the surgery needed to treat the problems, not a good analysis of cause. So, people are conservatively clueless.

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  7. I think we are giving the tandem system a bad rap. I’ve given the box scores fairly close scrutiny and when one of our high upside pitchers starts they often go 6 or 7 innings. Having said that I did notice Devenski at CC pitched 4 innings of relief on his last appearance. But when he, McCullers, Appel and Velasquez have started they seem to go as long as they can. Off the top of my head I think only Devenski has pitched in a relief role among those I named and I still don’t think he’s regarded as the same class as the other three.

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  8. Drellich reports that the Orioles are interested in a couple of our AAA outfielders, Hoes and Presley.
    The Astros have signed a pitcher who was the #1 starter at the U of North Dakota for the last four years. Andrew Thome was ranked the #422 player by Baseball America in this year’s draft, but wasn’t drafted. He said the Astros showed the most interest in him all year and he now works for them.
    Jayne Hansen finally has it up on her blog: Jacob Nottingham is a Lancaster Jethawk as of this morning!

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  9. Seems like something has to happen in Fresno too. Duffy is the lone guy at first right now, they’ve only got three active outfielders, but 15 pitchers. Am I missing something?

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  10. I don’t want to comment on too much that might take away from the 3 part mid-season wrap-up coming later this week (unembarrassed tease and self promotion was intentional), but it will be interesting to watch what happens with the starting pitching – between the lame healing (Feldman and Peacock), the ones already here (McHugh and King Keuchel) the young ones on limited innings (LMJ and VV) and whoever they may trade for (Cueto?) , they will be making some tough decisions down the stretch.
    I want to say that there is evidence that young pitchers who are 25 and under and see a 20% or more increase in innings from one season to another see more serious injuries than those that don’t. But I do not know if it makes a difference if they are put in the ‘pen and warm up every other day or whatever.

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    • Which one of you three guys is dusting off the copy of your mid-season article penned last Winter, called “How do we stay in first place the second half of the season?”

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  11. Dan, you’re right, none of us know. But that also means Luhnow will err on the side of caution, in order to protect his investments. Long gone are the days of David Clyde.

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  12. This should be interesting tonight:
    Wendy starts for the Rangers
    And Norris will throw for the Os!!!!
    My money is on wandy!

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  13. Dan,
    I hate to be a pain regarding the discussion of arm injuries, but a recent article in the Journal of Sports Medicine & Physical Fitness suggests no relationship between innings pitched in those under 25 and future injuries. It appeared in April 2015 and the Press Release is here

    http://consumer.healthday.com/fitness-information-14/baseball-or-softball-health-news-240/limiting-innings-pitched-doesn-t-prevent-injuries-study-698183.html

    It seems this is an ongoing debate and certainly one study is not going to settle it, on either side, but I guess the bottom line is no GM is going to test this out anyway.

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    • Hey I’m not a doctor and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. I would wonder if they were only looking at the limiting of total limits and not looking at limiting the increase in innings which is the Verducci effect.

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      • I hear you & I have no idea. Researchers always manage to massage data to make their point. I just googled it cause your first answer above piqued my interest.

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  14. Totally off the subject, but it is so weird watching games these days. For 40+ years if my baseball watching a hard ground ball past the pitcher would be a hit 80% of the time. Now there is someone waiting there 80% of the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. On “baseball tonite” ESPN they were talking about trades for a pitcher and there was a lot of talk about the Astros. There was no consensus on who and how but they did seem to think that we need another pitcher although they sung the praises of Kuechel and LMJ. It was interesting that they mentioned packaging Appel and a couple others for a “Hamels” but more than likely a short term rental for a “Cueto”.

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    • I know I sound mean………..but Bud Norris burned some mighty big bridges when he left here, so if he falls down the rabbit hole, so be it!

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  16. * I wonder how good Correa/ Altuve will look after they have played together for a year or so.
    * If Springer can get to the ball, he catches it. The very definition of plus glove tool.
    * Jason Castro is tied with Yadier Molina for sixth in dWAR among all major league catchers. He has come a long way defensively.
    * Please, just once, can an Astros batter go to the plate looking for a first pitch curve ball hanging over the center of the plate and deposit it on the train tracks. The entire team would benefit from that example.
    * Even though someone appears to have messed with Preston Tucker’s approach at the plate, I still get a confident feeling when he steps in to hit.
    * An article that made sense to me, assessing the success of the Astros this year is the one I read the other day that pointed out that the Astros have a team with the third lowest negative WAR players in Baseball. In other words, the Astros have very few bad players on their team.
    * When LMJ first came up, it took him 3 innings in a game to find a groove. Now it seems to take him only one inning.
    * When Marisnick comes back, maybe he will think it’s April 6th again.
    * When the lineup is released every day, I don’t even think about who is playing SS.
    * Pinch me. The Astros are 3-2 on this home stand so far.
    * I hadn’t realized the Royals had just swept the Athletics in Oakland.
    * Among the top 62 rated shortstops in the major leagues in 2015, Carlos Correa already has the seventh highest accumulated WAR for the year. at 1.8.

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    • The WAR one may not be very worthwhile. A team with the most wins in the AL should have a high accumulation of WAR or else the statistic is only telling you who has been proficient at providing empty output.

      Tucker’s walk in the 7th or 8th last night speaks to your confidence. Most guys on the team end up striking out on those pitches. He turns a 1-2 count into a walk.

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    • They mess with everyone’s plate approach – witnesseth Springer’s lost stance/approach/swing. Now Tucker. I do not have faith in current batting coach, nor did I when we hired him. Wasn’t he kicked off of the team he was coaching in winter ball. Not good recommendation. Plus he hasn’t helped anyone, rather is hurting them. Know it’s too soon to “fire” him, but the players need to quit listening, and go back to what got them here.

      Strom is a completely different story. Would be great if we would get Appel here and let Strom work with him everyday to get him back to where he was, plus necessary steps to get to next level. Guy’s got too much talent to slip away.

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  17. I haven’t been on much lately a lot of family issues, but Tons of great posts from all, Thanks for keeping me updated and entertained for a few minutes every day.

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  18. Michael Feliz’s trek back to the Astros is a nice, quiet move, because Strom has a chance to view his progress on the things they sent him to work on in Corpus. Since he is taking up a 40-man spot, they can use his help if they get in a bind, they can work with him in bullpen sessions, and they don’t burn up any more options by having him up a second time, or even a third time this season.
    With the pitchers they still have in CC and them already having sewed up a top playoff spot. the Astros can work closely with a guy who has a 98mph fastball and lots of minor league success. Feliz is an ace in the hole.

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    • 1OP, I am no roster genius, but we are getting loaded on the 40 man with pitchers (22 today) Lowrie will take up a space (we hope) after the break. It may necessitate moving one or two of the pitchers to the 60 day DL. But the log jam, longed predicted by Chip, has arrived at least with the pitchers. We need a couple or more trades even if it means trading 40 man spots for future prospects. Eventually we will need to DFA several off the 40 man and get nothing. I would bet we have the waiver wire FULL of guys right now.

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      • Roberto Hernandez did his reputation and his value a lot of good with his consecutive appearances this past weekend. He saved our bacon. Somebody might be able to use a guy who saves a first place team’s bacon.
        Presley already cleared waivers so he does not hurt the 40-man.
        Hoes has helped the Astros by hitting in AAA and increasing his value.
        We may be able to deal a 40-man SS in July.
        I think the Astros have the means to clear a couple of pitcher-roster spots if they need to.

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  19. I don’t want Cueto. There have been references to arm soreness. We already been down that road with Albers and Crain by trying to find “bargains”. I could easily envision Astros giving up prospects for Cueto to save talent and have him end up on DL for rest of the season…..no thanks.

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  20. The elbow rumors would help keep his value down and a trade pending a physical is insurance of your investment. His numbers are very good this season on a team that is performing lower in the win column than their stats suggest they should be. Cueto’s price is not going to be huge because of the rumors and his pending free agency. But that $5mil second half salary would not be too big for a suitor to absorb or for the Reds to pay for him to stay. Cincy needs to decide whether to save the five mil and get either a real good prospect this year or a supplementary pick next year. Of course, that could backfire if they made him the qualifying offer in the offseason and he took it. They would then be paying him way over $15 mil next year and facing the same thing next July.
    One thing that tells me that his elbow is not bad is his pitch count in the last month. If a guy who stands to sign a huge contract in the offseason were hurting I don’t think he or his agent would be allowing him to throw 110 pitches for a team that is sixteen games out in their division.
    Just my take on it.

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  21. Good to see Jon Singleton get his first hit this time around last night, to see he and Preston Tucker both contribute to the win with great at bats when we needed them. Also good to see Domingo Santana step up the plate, get a clutch hit, and drive in two runs.

    And Lance McCullers, Jr. – well done, young man! Well done indeed!

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    • Mr. Bill…just think how good McCullers is gonna be next year…and the next!!!
      Here’s my 2016 rotation:
      Keuchel
      McHugh
      McCullers
      Devenski.
      Velasquez
      Appell!!

      Hader.
      Musgrove.
      And????

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      • While it won’t be next year that we see him, I am also pretty excited about Akeem Bostick for 2017. And if we still have enough money to sign him after paying Daz $4M, Thomas Eshelman’s pro career could get interesting pretty quick as well.

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      • I don’t know if you are going to see the best of McCullers for another 3-4 years. There are still some command issues. He needs to throw better non strikes. His strikes are there – usually not right down the heart, and they have good movement and velocity. I think he sticks, but I think when he is around 27 he can be very special. Just needs to work on that not missing the strike zone by feet – instead miss it by inches, get some more swinging strikes, a few weak grounders or popups, and keep your pitch count down. I still think Velasquez, if he stays healthy, will actually be better, but has similar issues right now. Future looks good with those two and Keuchel, and its not like McHugh is 37.

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  22. Chris Devenski’s 1.16 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and 7-1 record has won him the start for the Texas League South All-Star team tonight. Enjoy the moment, Chris – you have earned it!

    Hmmmmmn. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Dallas Keuchel get the start for the AL in the major league version?

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    • Stassi has been struggling at Fresno all year. If he’s injured, he’s not talking about it. As for Aplin, he also struggled in Fresno early, so he got sent down to Corpus. He tore things up pretty good at AA, so he got promoted again just recently. Let’s see what he does with his second opportunity in the Fresno air – albeit with very little ‘protection’ because the line-up has been decimated by the promotions of Correa, Tucker, Santana, and Singleton. If Aplin and Kemp could get adjusted at the same time, they would be fantastic table setters. Sooner or later somebody with some power and RBI potential will be up from Corpus to help them out. After all, A.J. Reed from Lancaster has to go to Corpus soon, and that should result in Conrad Gregor [one of our other Texas League all-stars] getting promoted to Fresno.

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  23. Marisnick to go for a rehab starting tomorrow……he will probably be activated during the Cleveland series. Fedman is progressing, but no time table for his return…I would assume he will go out to a rehab assignment Monday or Tuesday.

    Steven…….you should pay attention to the guys in Corpus……THAT’S where the talent is!! The pitchers are AWESOME! VOTE YOU GUYS! Altuve NEEDS your vote!

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  24. At the hanger tonight, game time temp was 93 degrees and the wind was blowing out to right at 28 MPH. Lancaster down 7-6 in the seventh. Nottingham 1 for 3 w/ a BB. Troy Scribner started and gave up all 7 runs.

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  25. Nice solid win with Keuchel being Keuchel – 7 hits and 0 walks and of course 8 shutout innings.
    Springer gave him all he needed with as 2 run homer. The Astros look like they belong vs the best team in the AL.

    Like

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