Astros’ Update: We interrupt this trade talk …


Another starter? Another bat? How about a legit closer who is a flame thrower? Yes, apparently Jeff Luhnow is keeping his phone charged and the ringer on this week.

Until that other shoe drops, here are a few things to take your mind off the non-stop Cole Hamels talk.

 

1. During Tuesday’s win, Bill Brown and Alan Ashby mentioned that the Astros have 24 come-from-behind wins this season. Make that 27 now.

Thing is, after nine outs last night, down 4-1 against a good starter and a good lineup, the 2014 (or 2013 or 2012) Astros would have started looking to tomorrow. Game over. Those teams just didn’t believe they could come back. This year’s team does.

But why?

Now there are a couple of reasons this year’s team doesn’t give up. One is the bullpen generally stops the bleeding. Collin McHugh gave up five runs. In past years, you could have counted on the bullpen to give up three or four more. But this year’s bullpen held the Angels to the five runs McHugh had given up.

Still, down 4-1, last season’s bats would have gone quietly into that good night. So, what’s the difference in last season’s offense and this one’s? Well, this season, the Astros are hitting a slash line of .244/.311/.425 with 138 HRs in 101 games. Last season, the Astros hit .242/.309/.383 with 163 HRs in 162 games. The K rate is essentially the same.

What’s the difference? Well, essentially it’s the difference between 1 HR/game and 1.3 HR/game. The other interesting part of this is how that power comes. The 2014 Astros had five players with double-digit homers. Most notable were Chris Carter (37), George Springer (20) and, yes, Matt Dominguez (16). This season’s Astros have 10 players on track (7 homers or more at this point) for double digit homers.

Carter not getting it done? Jose Altuve is hitting. Jose having a rare 0-for night? Carlos Correa is hitting. Or Colby Rasmus. Or maybe Jed Lowrie starting this weekend. Or Evan Gattis or Luis Valbuena or … you see how this works. This is a much deeper lineup even if, overall, it’s not better besides the power.

So, how does this team believe in itself enough to come back all these times?

 

2. Speaking of Evan Gattis, he is currently ranked third in the AL in triples with seven. The two guys ahead of him, center fielders. The guy tied with Gattis, a center fielder. The guys right behind him, center and left fielders, and one second baseman. Of the top 14 (five triples or better) triples hitters in the AL this season, all have at least three stolen bases. Well, all except Gattis, who has none.

Other than a good chuckle about Evan “Cheetah” Gattis, why do I bring this up? Simple. Unlike the other triples hitters out there, Gattis isn’t using his speed to make it happen. It’s his power. Last night he banged the ball so hard off the wall the outfielders spent time chasing it down before they could corral the ball. Time that Gattis, who didn’t really start running until after he rounded first base, used to end up standing — standing! — on third base.

Power is really making me rethink how to build a lineup. Sure is nice Luhnow thought of it first.

 

3. MLB has updated its prospect lists. Alex Bregman is Houston’s new No. 1. How he merits a higher spot than Brett Phillips (No. 2), I have no idea. Anyway, you can certainly see the Astros top prospects list at your convenience right here. But those farmhands aren’t the ones I want to mention. No, I want to look at those diamonds in the rough. Here’s a short list to keep your eye one.

Tyler White, 24 at AAA, DH. He’s hitting .402 in 20 games at Fresno after hitting .284 in 59 games at Corpus.

Jamie Ritchie, 22 at Lancaster, C. His career OPS is .854. If he can play some defense, he might be why Jacob Nottingham was seen as expendable.

Akeem Bostick, 20 at Lancaster, P. He’s struggling, not Appel bad, but struggling a bit, in Lancaster. But that’s after dominating in Quad Cities with 0.76 WHIP and 1.50 ERA.

Nick Tanielu, 22 at Quad Cities, 3B. I would like it if he were a year younger, but Tanielu’s .773 OPS has been pretty consistent since he was drafted in the 14th round last season.

Are you watching any diamonds in the rough? Who, who’s not on the top 20 prospect list, do you think might be that future MLB player who is flying under the radar right now?

 

So, there are a few things to consider while we ignore the nonstop rumor mill.

 

 

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158 comments on “Astros’ Update: We interrupt this trade talk …

  1. I confess I am at a bit of a loss as to what this latest trade is supposed to accomplish for the Astros – either in 2015 or beyond. Anyone have any ideas on how this makes us better?

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    • How it makes us better? Seriously? None of the players given up were playing for the Astros this year. It definitely makes us better this year, but down the road we may feel the pain.

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      • Tim, I’m just looking at Carlos Gomez’ stats [.262 BA, 8 HRs], and the reviews on Fiers all of which say he is a catastrophic inning waiting to happen. But dream on.

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      • Sweet attitude, Tim. Arrogance and sarcasm are always so becoming. Sorry to ruin your rant, but no, I am not on a bandwagon. I don’t do bandwagons. I like Marisnick fine, though I realize he is at this point mostly a defensive CF. As I see it CarGo will give us about the same defense as Marisnick, and maybe a .20 point BA increase, a .30 or better OBP increase, plus at most six or seven more home runs [he’s only hit 8 and we are well over 1/2 way through the season]. But with the black holes we have at 1B, C, and 3B [before Lowrie’s return, at least – and we’ll see how quickly Jed can get back up to a contribution level], that small increase in offense – not by any means a ‘huge upgrade’ – doesn’t look to be near enough to get us over the hump. And now, to top it all off, we have one more non-star, league average or below player competing with Carter, Gattis, Valbuena and Singleton for at bats.

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  2. The Brewers got a good haul in this trade. Losing Phillips hurts the most, but the others I can live with, although Hader is a tough loss also. With that being said Gomez is a great bat that will really help our offense and moving LMJ to the pen strengthens this area also. I wonder if we are done trading.

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    • Interesting adjective. I guess I have never considered a guy hitting .262 with 8 home runs at this point in the season a ‘great bat’, but hey, whatever.

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      • I also recall you saying the Astros made a mistake in the Jarred Cosart trade. So far, you’re wrong, but things could change. Yes, sarcasm and arrogance is how I roll and I’m fine with it.

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    • He was injured early this year. Make a look at his OPS since he has returned as well as his OPS the past 2 seasons. Leave it to you to over analyze stats from an injured player earlier in the year, but then again you have always over valued prospects. Gomez is a big upgrade offensively and that is not in dispute.

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      • Dude, you do realize that just because you say it is not in dispute does not mean anything, don’t you?

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      • Carlos Gomez is a tremendous upgrade over Marisnick. The last two years he has been over 20 HR, his OBP will be 40 points higher than Marisnick, and he is signed through 2016. He also steals tons of bases too boot.

        He still wasn’t worth that haul. Neither of those should be in dispute.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. fires being a rental is incorrect. he is only signed thru 2015, but is not eligible for free agency till 2020. not eligible for carb till after 2017.

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  4. fiers is a decent young pitcher under team control for multiple years. gomez is a professional hitter. this strengthens the team for THIS years pennant run. what we gave up hurts. i however am glad they have decided to go for it full bore this year.

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  5. Well, we all have our guys that we’re going to miss. My immediate one is Santana. I suppose he’ll be a starting ML outfielder right away. I’ll be able what he does or does not do right off the bat.

    I think the mentality behind Gomez is that we get a quality fearless outfielder who will produce much more offense than Jake.

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  6. It always hurts to trade for proven talent. Fiers to me is an upgrade on Feldman and Gomez is an above average CF and bat and has a lot of fire and spunk! add him springer back and lowrie Nice! for 2015 and 16

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  7. This trade definitely upgrades the team this year. There isn’t much disputing that, but it could hurt down the road. I think Phillips is going to be a stud. The Astros have a strong minor league system, which allows us to make a trade like this. We may regret it 2+ years from now, but right now we are a better team than yesterday.

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  8. I like this trade because both players are here for more than this year, we were able to keep all of our top pitching prospects, we freed up some 40-man space, I hated to lose Phillips, but he is the reason Milwaukee made the deal.
    Tomorrow is the last day of August and the Astros are in first place. If we stay there, the first playoff series is a 5 gamer for us. We are talking playoffs, man. Playoffs!? Playoffs!? First ones since 2005.

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  9. Well guys I don’t get too invested in any players any more, because it hurts to lose them, but I was REALLY looking forward to seeing Josh Hader pitch up here next year. The pitcher we got is 30yrs old and really not very good. Didn’t see this coming, but it is what it is. The Padres weren’t really going to trade Tyson Ross, unless they absolutely had too, and Kimbrel was not going to go anywhere. Devin asked me who was in the package for Hamel’s, and I don’t know that answer. All I know is it was BIG. 790 had Jim Callis on this afternoon and was shocked that Hamel’s took the Rangers offer. Something tells me luhnow is not done yet.

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    • Concur – Fiers is no superstar, but the guy is pretty good. He strikes out a lot of people. He has had some bad luck this year, and poor defense behind him, that has contributed to a .316 BABIP against that has never been matched at any level. The Brewers were probably scared of that impending arbitration date as to their willingness to include him. Apparently Luhnow was targeting him as the reason he was willing to take on Gomez’ salary.

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  10. I’ve read some more here and on ESPN, etc, listened to Luhnow, and done the sensible thing—-I changed my mind. I think I like the trade.
    However, I don’t see Marisnick going to Fresno.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Carlos gomez said they (astros) gave him a couple of days to get here, his reply was get me a flight out of here right now….I want to get in there and play!! I like his attitude!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a man who wants out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin very badly. And I understand the feeling is mutual. But hopefully, you are right, and he and George Springer will be best buds and inspire each other.

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    • Like i said he has always been full of Piss and Vinegar guy. think he will fit in well in the dugout! The kind of guy pisses you off, but want him in your foxhole.

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  12. I like this trade, so it was probably a bad one. Being serious, I think Santana will be a quality OF. I think Phillips is a good starting CF who never develops the power or speed of Gomez. The big questions are whether Gomez can stay healthy and what happens after 2016 when he is a free agent.

    Oh, dont put Lance in the pen.

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  13. When I first heard of the trade, I was not happy. Mainly because I don’t follow any team, office, or person that had anything to do with Bud Light. But after reading and looking at it, I am not sure we “won” the trade, but it is not lopsided – either way. Sweeping the Angels. Hey, that makes a good day anytime.

    Liked by 1 person

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