Free Blog Weekend: No, the 2015 season isn’t over for Astros


So if the playoffs began today, the Astros would indeed back in. But those playoffs are still a couple of weeks away and those 15 games will determine what type of team Jeff Luhnow has assembled and just how much magic that A.J. Hinch really has in that thar brain.

In reality, the first 147 games didn’t matter a bit, other than to position the organization for this time. These are the games (plus the last four) that fans will remember come October and spring training.

Houston has an eight-game home stand that begins tonight and the team will probably need a 6-2 run in that stretch to get back in the fight for the division title. That would include a sweep of the Rangers next week.

For a team than has spent 139 days in first place and now trails by its largest margin of the season, morale is likely at a low point as well. Hinch’s job to prepare the team for this weekend is perhaps his most important job since spring training. Does he alter his lineup? Does he call a pre-game meeting to drill home the importance? Does he pull aside younger players and encourage them?

Probably not. At this point, it is what it is. At this level, players should be able to motivate and prepare themselves for the most part.

But let’s make no bones about it. If the Astros don’t make the playoffs, the season is a success. Huge success. Tremendous strides forward.

Yes, there are questions, head scratchers and bumbles along the way, but a success nonetheless. Here are a few.

  • Houston now has a shortstop, perhaps Rookie of the Year.
  • The rotation is one of the best in baseball and Luhnow could lock up a couple of those guys this winter.
  • The bullpen has been steady…all season.
  • Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh are no one-season flukes.
  • Will Harris is the real deal. Add Tony Sipp to that list.
  • Correa. Vincent Velasquez. Lance McCullers Jr. Preston Tucker.
  • Marwin Gonzalez. Again.
  • The farm system. Again.

Can you add to the list? And since it’s Free Blog Weekend, let the festivities begin!

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136 comments on “Free Blog Weekend: No, the 2015 season isn’t over for Astros

  1. Right now we’re all in the coulda, shoulda, woulda mode. I guess if we had been a .500 team all year we’d all be happy campers. The problem is that we got to ride the adult rides and boy was it fun. Now we’re back in kiddie land and reality has set in. We want to get off the hobby horses and get back on the tilt-a-whirl.

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  2. It has been a frustrating stretch for the team but not unexpected. Like we explored earlier in the week this streak has been fueled by inexperience, lack of veteran leadership, injuries, lack of front office action and a sudden turning the back on minor league call ups that are with the team.
    We know this has been a flawed team, a team that rode an early season hot streak and struggles by the other teams in the division to the lead.
    We have waited a long time for our team to be competitive. It hurts to think that everything is getting wasted.

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  3. I still believe we win the division.
    I also agree with the statement by Dan P and others that this is a flawed team.
    So what does all of this imply for the reliance/over-reliance on new age stats? Is that just a flawed system, which occasionally looks impressive, while masking the flaws with somewhat abstract data?

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    • 1. Hire a successful hitting coach and let him coach, because he got successful coaching his way. If you hire a coach to just coach Luhnow’s way, you wasted his success. You could just sit a laptop out in the dugout with videos of Ted Williams.
      2. Stay true to the way you drafted! For four years we drafted position players who could hit, walk, run, field, not strike out. Then we assemble a team of players who strike out, don’t walk, don’t hit, don’t field and can’t run(Conger, Carter, Valbuena, Gattis, Villar and Rasmus).
      3.For goodness sakes, get Strom and Ryan to assemble a group of pitching people to develop pitchers. Look at our minor league playoff teams that got bombed in the playoffs because we draft pitchers and then watch them underperform at crunch time throughout the system. LMJ is the only pitcher on our 40-man that Luhnow drafted, and he’s a puppy that they have treated like a puppy all year.
      4. Luhnow said he was going to build through the draft. Stop trading off your best position prospects for guys who are going to jump ship.
      5. You’re a stat guy. Look at your stats and get rid of the guys who are costing your team wins. Since when do you want to hold on to guys that are costing your team wins? Negative value players have negative value. If they subtract wins, subtract them and add the players you invested draft money and years waiting for. If a player is worthless to you, he has zero value. Get rid of him. Trade him.
      5. Play your good young players from the start. By the middle of the season they won’t be newbies any more. If White and Kemp and Duffy and Tucker had been called up to replace the do-nothings we had in July, they would know what’s expected of them next year. Now they have to spend another year figuring it out.
      LMJ and VV at least know what it will take next spring? They at least got to play some.

      Liked by 1 person

      • As to hiring the hitting coach. I read a book long time ago called “Up the Organization” by Robert Townsend. He took over Avis when it was unknown. Hertz had the rent car business tied up. He hired an ad agency to review the company and come up with a slogan. They came back and said all we can say is “We are #2 but we try harder.” When the ad agency made the presentation to the board, they wanted to turn it down because no one should ever admit they are second best. Townsend, as I recall, told the Board that he hired qualified personnel and contractors. If the Board would not go with a known ad agency, he would resign. They acquiesced and the rest became history.

        If you know more than the expert you hired, then do not waste the money on the hire.

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      • I’d also have that new hitting coach tell Jose Altuve that he needs to mature further. He needs to become more selective at the plate. He can hit .341 again if he makes pitchers put the ball over the plate. And his OBP should always be in the .375 plus range. We don’t need a dozen homers out of him. And if he wants to be a base stealer, he needs to focus more on learning the pitchers in the league and being fully aware of what he’s doing on the bases at all times. A guy at his age should not go from 56/9 to 37/12.

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      • Trying to comment on DaveB’s note. Can’t figure how to get in the middle. Altuve has regressed to .352 OBP (from that .371). Does he swing out of the zone? You are correct, Yes. To me his biggest downfall is he hits the dang thing most of the time (81%). Those result in pop ups or ground balls. He is at his best when he drives the ball. After the game with the Rangers he made some comment about grounding into the DP. Ash (I believe) mentioned that he would like to know if it was a canned statement or he meant it. To me (in my opinion) if you squeezed the BS out of the statement, he said “I am Pressing.” He already has the same amount of RBIs than last year. That is not why he is batting at the top of the order. I am a big cheerleader of his plus the other two at the top. But to expect them to win every game alone is not going to work. I basically agree with your statement. Just think that “HRs” have ruled the day for this year, so everybody needs to hit them.

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  4. By the way, if I am GM, there’s no way I’m going to throw AJ Reed under the bus after his fantastic year by spilling the beans on his being out of shape. Because he’s not going to report out of shape! He’s going to report to spring training in shape, because I’m going to have his back and somebody making sure he reports in “the best shape of his life!”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Might as well have a Villar bobble head night. That is the worst base running mistake I have seen all year. This one was right in front of Gattis. (If you are not watching the game, Astros had two on with 1 out. A fly out to RF caused Rasmus to tag up and move from 2nd to 3rd. Gattis was on first and tried to get 3/4 of the way to 2nd.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. At this point, kazmir is a bust.

    Stassi in? Guess I need to turn the game on. Guess that means Yokozuna, er, Conger will be starting tomorrow

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