All Things Astros and a whole lot more
Thanks, White Sox.
Wow, never thought I’d say that.
OK, so I got that off my chest. Now here’s a few other things I need to unload. (Hey, we Astroholics need to take therapy.) So, here’s some things I think I need to say. I’m sure I’ll be healthier once I’m done.
1. After each win, the outfielders meet and bow to one another. I think it’s amazing and fun. Where did that come from? I’ve watched most games. No one ever mentioned it, and I think it’s an awesome bonding move and a great thing for fans to see.
2. What is with Alan Ashby? Every time Jason Castro makes halfway decent contact on a ball — out or not — he’s all, “That could be the swing that turns it around … blah, blah, blah.” So, what’s with Ashby’s love affair with Castro? Is it a brotherhood of catchers thing?
3. Who is the Astros’ baserunning coach, because that guy needs to be fired? Oh, sure, Houston leads the league in steals, and is mostly efficient at steals. But how many times must we see guys get picked off at first? And do we have to keep running on the Buster Posey and Carlos Perez types out there? I mean, someone is going to steal on those guys, but a lot of guys are going to get gunned down too. Where have you gone, “Cheo” Jose Cruz? Our running game turns its lonely eyes to you. Woo, oo, oo.
4. Last season, Houston scored 629 runs. Total. In 115 games thus far, Houston has scored 502 runs. That’s a pace of 707 runs. Right now, only the Blue Jays and Yankees in the AL (plus Arizona) have scored more runs than Houston. Pace-wise, maybe three other teams (AL and NL) will score more runs than Houston. So, how in the heck can an offense that can be so anemic (see: road trip, recent) be so good? It’s enough to make someone buy some black market Vern Ruhle bobbleheads or sleep each night in a Rafael Landestoy T-shirt.
In 33 games at AAA Fresno, White has the team’s highest OPS this season, just barely edging out … Preston Tucker. They have whiffed at roughly the same rate, but White walks about twice as often. So White is a little more OBP and a little less SLG. (He still has Fresno’s third highest slugging percentage this season only behind the promoted Tucker and the traded Domingo Santana. So I’d take that.
Duffy, meanwhile, has only struck out 74 times in 444 plate appearances while walking 40 times. His OPS is higher than Carlos Correa‘s admittedly small Fresno sample size, but still, an .862 at AAA is not nothing. Jon Singleton‘s OPS is slightly higher at .911, but he has struck out 74 times in just 344 PAs. It’s the difference between whiffing roughly one in six PAs vs. one in four.
As for pitchers, I’m pretty sure we’re getting Lance McCullers and Vincent Velasquez back — and maybe Michael Feliz — on September 1. So adding Devenski or Aaron West seems a little far fetched, especially since we’d need to open a 40-man spot for either … plus for White or Duffy. But here’s an interesting fact: Devenski has walked just 23 batters in 99.1 innings. Pretty good, right? West has walked 9 — nine, nueve — batters in 71.2 innings. He’s pitched in 25 games, most in tandem relief. That means he’s gone at least 16 outings without walking anyone.
6. Speaking of the 40-man roster, if we’re going to see White or Duffy or Devenski or West or whomever, who gets DFA’d. Now, I know all of you are saying, “Becky votes Villar.” And I’m sure she does. But this is a guy with a combined 1.2 WAR for his career, and a positive WAR on the season. If he’s DFA’d, he is out of our system. And we get nothing in return. Nothing. I find that a little hard to swallow.
Instead, I see some low-hanging fruit in Robbie Grossman, who is barely pulling his own weight at Fresno, or Luis Cruz, whose biggest asset is he’s a lefty reliever. Too bad he’s not a very good one. Kevin Chapman is looking a lot less “prospect-y” these days as well. And unless there’s a horrible nagging injury we’re all unaware of, I’m pretty sure we could DFA Matt Stassi and keep him in the fold … or not. I just am not a believer.
So, who do you move off the 40-man?
7. If Springer comes back before the end of August, then here’s a pretty good potential lineup.
I don’t know about you, but if I’m an opposing pitcher, I’m not thrilled facing that. When you consider Tucker and Marwin Gonzalez are the bench along with Chris Carter and whatever catcher, plus you can expect a homer at any minute from any spot in that lineup with the possible exception of Altuve and Lowrie, that’s scary. Damned scary.
It almost makes me want to put away my Bill Doran pillow cases (made from old giveaway jerseys) and just sleep like a normal person.
Ah, now I feel better. Go Royals … except for Edinson Volquez. That guy can rot in heck for all I care.