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Astros 2015: Yes, it has been a fantastic ride


It would be easy to lament what has happened since the Royals came to bat in the 8th inning of Game 4. The last game-plus has been 11 innings of suck.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

I want to look at a few things that went right this season, and why each one is a positive sign for 2016 and 2017 when the Astros, you know, win the World Series. (Not that winning in 2017 means Houston can’t win in 2016 as well.)

So, without any further adieu, here are a few things that went right in 2016.

1. Jed Lowrie slides home on a single from Colby Rasmus and tears a ligament in his thumb.

Yes, it doesn’t sound like a great moment in Astros history, but when Jonathan Villar proves not to be up to the task over the next five weeks, the Astros decide to promote Carlos Correa.

Before the season started, most people on this blog were looking forward to Correa at the trade deadline, or for a cup of September coffee. Instead, we Astros fans were able to enjoy the start of possibly the best rookie season in Astros history, and certainly the auspicious start of what is likely a fantastic career.

2. Of course Correa was just one of several rookies who made a huge impact in Houston this season. On May 7, rookie outfielder Preston Tucker went 1-for-3 with an RBI in a Houston 3-2 win over the Angels of some LA Suburb. He ended the season with a .734 OPS and 13 HRs.

Eleven days later, Lance McCullers showed up, pitched 4.2 innings in a game the Astros eventually lost and went 6-7 while basically suffering through some horrid run support (3.74 runs/game). That said, his peripherals (9.2 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 0.7 HR/Ga).

Forget Springer and Altuve, this is a group that could be together for many years.

3. With the second pick of the draft, the Houston Astros select Alex Bregman, a good shortstop who managed to amass a .781 OPS between Quad Cities and Lancaster. Three picks later on June 8, Houston selected Kyle Tucker then managed to nab Daz Cameron in a supplemental round. All three played well in their levels, and the trio is part of a massive number of Astros signees. Keeping the pipeline full is important. Also, picking the kinds of hitters who make contact (see how well it worked for KC?) instead of the whiffers who were a big part of 2015 will be important.

4. By singling in the ninth inning of the final game, Oct. 4, Jose Altuve collects his 200th hit, the second season in a row we’ve seen that feat. With the fear of getting a down year out of Altuve, a second 200-hit year really made a statement that Altuve is going to be very very good for the long haul.

5. Dallas Keuchel, 20 wins. Collin McHugh, 19 wins. OK, wins are not a great stat. Run support, the moment when runs are actually scored. Heck, wins make ERA look like a Moneyball stat.

But winning 20 games isn’t easy. Heck, winning 19 is hard. Don’t believe me? Ask any pitcher in the AL not named McHugh or Keuchel.

Wins mean pitchers are going deep into games. Wins mean pitchers are outliving their poor run support on bad days. Wins mean quality starts, and that’s actually a pretty important stat.

6. On July 30, Houston traded four farmhands including Domingo Santana (a guy without much of a future in Houston) Brett Phillips (the piece that hurts), Josh Hader and Adrian Houser for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. Gomez is a two-time All-Star heading into his pre-free agent year, and Fiers is under team control through 2019. Oh, and he’s got a career FIP of 3.73, so I’m liking the look of Houston’s rotation going forward.

As for 2015, this trade didn’t work out quite as planned, but consider this: Go-Go is signed through 2016, so next season’s outfield probably looks like George Springer, Go-Go, and a platooned mix of Preston Tucker and Jake Marisnick. Tucker against righties had an .807 OPS in 2015, while JFSF against lefties had a .669 OPS. Not great, but I’ll take it over Tucker’s  mid-.400s OPS vs. lefties.

7. For most of the season, Houston led the division. Eventually the Astros snuck into the post-season. Still, if they can do it with half a season of Springer and only 2/3 of a season, imagine what will happen if Houston plays with its best players for most of the season.

Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot wrong with the 2015 Astros. The bullpen was not as lock-down on the back-end as it should have been. All those strike outs mean Houston wasn’t moving runners over. Scott Feldman continued — for the most part — to be a very replaceable pitcher.

 

So, what was a big moment for you? Signing Will Harris? Seeing Springer catch fire? I’m not looking for the moments to come (trading Carter or not signing Valbuena over the offseason). I want to hear what made you say, “This makes me think positively about the future.”

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About BrianT

Brian Todd is a freelance writer working and living in Rochester, Minn.

239 comments on “Astros 2015: Yes, it has been a fantastic ride

  1. Becky⚾
    October 17, 2015

    Suddenlink.com won’t pick up Root Sports, and my husband HATES dish, so unless our cable company decides to pick up the Astros…I won’t get to see them. YA know what REALLY pissed me off, is there are a LOT of elderly folks that live out here in far Northeast Houston, who can’t get to the game, they can’t see the team on television, and can’t listen to the radio guys after dark. Hildreth and I have gone round and round about this, but they lost their clear channel to 790am because of talk radio. Makes me mad just thinking about it. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    Like

    • Tim
      October 17, 2015

      When you say ‘dish’ do you mean satellite dish or Dish Network? I ask this because ROOT Sports is not on Dish Network, but it is on Directv.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        October 17, 2015

        Either one…..he won’t change. Period.

        Like

    • sandy
      October 17, 2015

      Yeah, it’s was the same around here until this year. A lot of people just gave up when they couldn’t see or hear them. It used to make me furious when I would start listening then about the third or fourth inning I got nothing but static.
      I was thrilled when AT&T bought out Comcast.
      Does your husband not like having a satellite or is it just dish in general? Like Tim said Direct TV carries Root Sports.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 17, 2015

        AT&T did not buy out Comcast, they bought DirecTV. I should know, as I am a Comcast employee!

        Like

      • sandy
        October 17, 2015

        Sorry Billy, I ment bought the TV deal from Comcast😊

        Like

  2. astrocolt45
    October 17, 2015

    This is not directed at Becky or anyone but just found some interesting stats, at least to me. First it has been noted that Altuve sees only 3.23 pitches per PA. But I think that low stat is more a problem with his high contact rate than his refusal to take a pitch. He saw 2227 pitches in 2015 – 1st on team. (Some is because he bats leadoff and some because he played most games-154) Yet he saw 125 more pitches than Gattis. Gattis is second on the team). A player that has a bunch of Ks – will take 3 pitches with each AB and be at 4 if the pitcher throws a single “Ball.” I too wish JA would not expand the zone so much but he ended up with 200 hits. Just not sure if he had more BBs that he might also have more Ks.

    As to Gattis as a DH, compared to others in AL with 200 PAs – here is how he stacks up. BA – 12th, RBI – 5th, OBP – 14th, SLG – 8th, HR – 4th. ESPN WAR – 9th. And he is a one tool player (as are other DHs). And finally, Carter is near the bottom in every category for 1B. Except 2nd in Ks.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/statistics/_/seasontype/2

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      October 17, 2015

      You can direct it to me…..but Altuve rarely takes the first pitch.

      Like

      • astrocolt45
        October 17, 2015

        Becky, we were talking up and down this post about improvements for 2016. A player (perhaps Kemp) would be the more desirable lead off, but then if he gets on base, the 2nd batter needs to have patience. Not a forte of Jose. So in order to move Springer and/or Correa down a slot or two will require the addition of a different style hitter in either 1 or 2 slots. Altuve’s BA dropped .060 when batting 2nd (2015) but hit better in 2014 batting 2nd. If Lowrie regains his former form, he might fill a role (not at .222). His 3 year OBP is .330.

        And I was looking at the note of the coaches letting the players be who they are. So Gattis 5th/6th or finding a LF (Kemp) or 1st base (Maybe Alex Gordon ??) that can hit improves the offense even with Castro not hitting.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Devin_
        October 17, 2015

        A lineup of the following would make me happy:
        1. High OBP guy with average or better speed
        2. Altuve
        3. Correa
        4. Springer
        5 – 9 …anyone in the mix

        Like

      • Devin_
        October 17, 2015

        I don’t think Gordon is leaving KC, but if he did it certainly wouldn’t be to play 1st base somewhere. He’s winning gold gloves with his arm in LF.

        Like

      • Becky⚾
        October 17, 2015

        Gordon isn’t going anywhere…….the Royals are going to make sure of that.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 18, 2015

        KC is not a large TV market and they have an older stadium. They won’t have the resources to sign Gordon and Cueto. My guess is Cueto plays elsewhere next year, but I really don’t want him in Houston. Of the big name FA pitchers available I like Greinke and I think his quirky personality will mesh well with Club Astros.

        Like

    • sandy
      October 17, 2015

      This is strictly a guess, but, it looks to me like Gattis got worse toward the end of the year.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      October 17, 2015

      Kemp would be a good leadoff hitter, if we knew he would be capable of being a major league hitter, but we don’t know that. That’s why I would like to see a lot of Kemp against good pitchers. I wish he could have gone to the AFL
      Altuve is our best leadoff guy currently because of his high batting avg only.
      What we need at leadoff is a guy who does both hit and draw walks
      Where we need Altuve is to hit sixth or seventh so that his batting avg turns base runners into runs.
      If we had a real leadoff guy and then batted Correa second, because he is patient enough to let the guy try to steal and good enough to knock him in. Then bat Springer and then Tucker and then Gomez and then Altuve and then the last three, we would have a .300 hitter in the middle of the lineup to knock guys in who are now getting stranded all the time by the 5,6,and 7 guys who are hitting in the low.200s.
      I honestly believe Correa’s OBP to be near .375 next year making him an ideal #2 hitter who also has power and can set the tone of a game from the beginning. Springer and Tucker have always been huge RBI guys who will drive the runs in. Gomez will rebound from his second half and set the table at the 5 spot and let Altuve knock him in because Altuve is a doubles machine. Bat 1B White at the seven spot to knock Altuve in and Lowrie/Valbuena/Duffy in the eight slot and your catcher ninth.
      That lineup is going to have power and hit for average and utilizes the hitters where they will do damage all throughout the order. It also leaves the #8 slot open for Moran to move into it in late 2016 or April of 2017 if he hits in AAA like I think he will.
      All the guys I mentioned are already here, except for the leadoff guy and that could be Kemp in a fairy world, which is possible, because we just spent 6.5 months in our own little fairy world that was the Astros 2015 season.
      Who’s on the bench? Whichever one of Lowrie/Valbuena/Duffy who is not on third, Villar, Marisnick and Heineman/Stassi, which ever one wins the backup job in March.

      Like

      • sandy
        October 17, 2015

        That sounds great. Now if you can just convince Luhnow/Hinch to let them play and not just sit on the bench we could really make some progress.

        Like

  3. Becky⚾
    October 17, 2015

    The Royals are doing the same thing to the Jays as they did to us last week….bloop hit, after bloop hit. DANG I despise the Royals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sandy
      October 17, 2015

      Me too. I wanted to see their fans suffer ( yes I know I’m bad) but if they win the ALCS at least we can say we held our own against the best😪

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        October 17, 2015

        Sandy….it’s a girl thing!!! We want REVENGE!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tim
      October 18, 2015

      Maybe I’m in the minority, but I’m pulling for KC over Toronto. There are 2 reasons for this. First, I like when my team loses to the eventual champion. It lets me know we are very close to the ultimate prize. Second, I was disgusted how the Toronto fans reacted in game 5 against the Rangers (although I wanted the Jays to beat the Rangers) and don’t want to see them celebrating a world championship or even an A.L. pennant.

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      • Devin_
        October 18, 2015

        It’s so tough…I can’t cheer for Jose Bautista. I also can’t cheer for the Royals after they knocked out Springer for two months and knocked us out of the playoffs. I can’t cheer for the Mets after 1986. Part of me enjoys the Cubs’ streak of futility and wants it to continue.

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  4. Becky⚾
    October 17, 2015

    Op…..I don’t know WHY Luhnow is so uneasy about letting more than one rookie on to the big club. Does the guy have nightmares about them playing over their head??
    It appears to me, at least that he likes to go to sign a Rasmus type guy rather than let a minor leaguer come up and play. Unless the guy in the minors is Correa, they stay down there. That’s why I think Duffy wasn’t called up, and same for Tyler White. I’m gonna give Luhnow one more season to improve the team with what we ALREADY have, rather than buying some guy for waaay too much money. That is exactly what the Cubs have done, and look where they are now. As far as a lead off guy, I wouldn’t have a problem letting a guy like Kemp lead off…..because it’s gonna be at least 3yrs before we see Daz Cameron up here to be *that* guy. We really DO have some awesome talent in our minor league teams, so let’s see what we have, before you use them as trade bait to get a guy we won’t be able to keep more than one year.
    I’m done getting on my soap box now. Thanks for letting me vent. Becky⚾

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    • BrianT
      October 17, 2015

      Correa, McCullers, Tucker, Velasquez. Your whole supposition that Luhnow is anti-rookie is demonstrably false.

      Hey, you want to complain about the Conger trade (I agree), the Gattis trade (I can be persuaded) or the Marisnick trade (we fleeced Miami), go ahead. But your idea that he’s anti-rookie is just wrong.

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      • Devin_
        October 17, 2015

        Didn’t we start the season with only one rookie – Wojo?

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      • sandy
        October 17, 2015

        If he’s so pro-rookie then why does he keep them down on the farm while trading for a Gomez type.? Just wondering. Why couldn’t Tyler White get a chance at first and Duffy at third and Stassi behind the plate? We have a lot of talent let’s see what they can do HERE.
        Becky is right about the Cubs.

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      • Becky⚾
        October 17, 2015

        Let’s see who (if any) rookies Luhnow is willing to put at 1st and 3rd. I’ll bet you money we don’t see ANY guy coming up making the roster out of spring training.
        Other than McCullers, and occasionally Tucker we didn’t see too much out of Velasquez either. Luhnow did say something about A.J. Reed at the media presser, but I doubt he sniffs the big club next year. Like I said, I’m on a give Luhnow one more season to show me something, but I’m not impressed so far.

        Like

      • Becky⚾
        October 17, 2015

        Correa was a no brainer, and you know it.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        October 18, 2015

        So far, Kike Hernandez was the best player in the Marisnick trade. His ;307 BA, .346 OPB, and .846 OPS, with occasional home run power, and gutsy play, would have come in pretty handy all year. We didn’t get anywhere near that from JFSF – except for a little while in April, til opposing pitchers adjusted. Cosart seems to be everybody’s focus – but I do not know why other than that he was an SP. He was a guy everybody in the world knew had both big talent and major troubles, and no one was sure which would win out. If we could have traded Cosart for Marisnick, the deal would have been a wash at the time and in hindsight a fleece But that’s not what happened. We lost Kike, and got Moran. We have yet to see Moran take one ML at bat.

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      • 1oldpro
        October 18, 2015

        Mr. Bill, Marisnick has more WAR for 2015 and for his Astros career than Hernandez has for 2015 and his career with the Marlin/Dodgers. Marisnick has more WAR since that trade than Cosart and Hernandez had for Miami combined.
        To be fair about it, you can’t compare Moran and Kike because one was in low A and the other was in the majors when that trade happened.
        That trade involved a bunch of young players, but something tells me that Moran, Frances Martes and Derek Fisher are going to make that trade a big win before the story ends.

        Liked by 1 person

      • astrocolt45
        October 18, 2015

        BT, I don’t think “anti-rookie” is correct, but “pro don’t start the clock” would appear valid. His hand was forced by injury to Lowrie (no pun intended), and also with Fausto/Peacock/Wojo not performing – insert McCullers. But to be fair to JL, I don’t think he was actually playing for 2015 until near the All Star break.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        October 18, 2015

        OP1, that could be, and I certainly join you in hoping it is. But with our team bleeding out at 3B this year and needing another OF NOW enough to trade away Brett Phillips and a stable of others, Kike would have sure come in handy in 2015.

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    • sandy
      October 17, 2015

      And more than likely they would be better than whatever we got by trading them.

      Like

    • Tim
      October 18, 2015

      Let’s not forget the Cubs paid big bucks for Jon Lester and traded for Miguel Montero so it wasn’t all rookies. Without Lester and Montero they probably don’t make the playoffs. You have to balance a young team with proven veterans.

      Like

  5. Mr. Bill
    October 18, 2015

    One thing we have discovered JL should NOT ever do again – trade with anybody in our division. He did it with the Angels and he did it with the As. The first we have paid for already, many times over. The second we could be paying for for throughout the next decade. The Angels most definitely knew who Conger was, and the A’s must have had a suspicion that Kazmir’s arm was done for the year.

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    • 1oldpro
      October 18, 2015

      Still, It would be great to see Akeem Bostick mowing down the Rangers for years after Corporan was retired.

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        October 18, 2015

        True dat, OP1.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. 1oldpro
    October 18, 2015

    Tyler White went 1 for 4 yesterday with two Ks. in a win. White was the DH.

    Like

  7. astrocolt45
    October 18, 2015

    Someone asked about Gattis Pre and Post All Star. His stats Pre .241/.268/.444/.712. Post .252/.307/.488/.795. Altuve SBs/Caught Stealing. Pre 25/8. Post 13/5.

    Like

    • Tim
      October 18, 2015

      I’m still not a Gattis fan, but a .795 OPS is decent. However, we need to do better from our DH, in my opinion.

      Like

      • Tim
        October 18, 2015

        Unfortunately, I think Luhnow looks at that .795 2nd half OPS and Gattis’ minimal salary and plugs him in as our everyday DH for 2016.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. BrianT
    October 18, 2015

    Saying Gattis was a waste is ridiculous. He had the fifth highest OPS among AL DHs.

    Do I wish he wasn’t fooled by low, outside off speed pitches? Yes. Do I wish he’d shown up in the divisional series? Yes. I wish Altuve and our vaunted bullpen had done so as well. We’d be up 2-0 on Toronto right now

    But Gattis is not the problem going into next year.

    Neither is Luhnow’s alleged reluctance with rookies. Tell me how many other teams had so many games from so many rookies? Correa. Tucker. McCullers. Velasquez.

    Oh, and where did these rookies come from? Who drafted, signed or traded for these rookies?

    If Luhnow was reluctant to start the clock, we would not have seen LMJ in May. We’d have cycled through Oberholtzer and Wojo a couple of more times.

    And let’s not forget, Luhnow made moves that got this team — this team that lost 92 games last year and 111 the year before — into the playoffs.

    You don’t go from 200-plus losses to a team with no flaws overnight.

    Yes, I’d like to be rid of Carter and Valbuena. I think we start 2016 with Lowrie at third. Not sure who at first, but there’s got to be someone, even if it’s just Marwin.

    Like

    • Tim
      October 18, 2015

      I agree with what you’re saying. Luhnow is not perfect, but he is light years ahead of Ed Wadw, in my opinion. I’m curious, though…taking salary out of the equation would you rather have Gattis or Carter as the Astros DH in 2016, assuming Luhnow will keep one of them?

      Like

      • BrianT
        October 18, 2015

        Gattis. Period. If those are my only choices.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 18, 2015

        I would take Carter. His BABIP was very low this year and even only hitting .199 he still had a higher OBP than Gattis. If he gets his average up to .225, which is a reasonable expectation, his OBP will be around .330, he will probably play every day and, thus, will have around 30 HRs. He does strikeout more than Gattis, but he also gets on base at a much higher clip. I would prefer they upgrade 1B and DH, but if JL is going to keep one I prefer Carter.

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    • 1oldpro
      October 18, 2015

      You’re wrong about Gattis. He had 0.0 WAR and a 99 wRC+. He was a replacement player at age 29 and is projected to earn $3.4 million in arbitration next year. His stats in the cleanup spot for 600 PAs next year at that salary is a chokehold on the Houston Astros. Over the course of the season he was a huge reason why we failed to score more runs.
      He is a swing and miss strike three machine and if we can trade him for a prospect, we need to do it.
      If your cleanup hitter and DH contributes ZERO wins in 600 plate appearances, you need to make a change!

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      • BrianT
        October 18, 2015

        He has zero WAR because he’s a DH. His OPS was quality.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 18, 2015

        He has zero war because he contributed zero wins because he didn’t play a position and his batting average and OBP were terrible.
        His OPS was the quality of eggplant.

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  9. Devin_
    October 18, 2015

    I was all set to defend Gattis, but I think he needs to show massive improvement for next year. The HR (and triples I suppose) are the big value he adds to the lineup. The problem is I tried looking up those HR and decided they weren’t as impressive as he thought. Most were hit off guys I wouldn’t consider for a spot in our rotation or bullpen. The most impressive where one of Tyson Ross, a couple on Taijaun Walker, one off Ivan Nova, and one off Jeff Weaver.

    Like

  10. Devin_
    October 18, 2015

    Also, I think Drellich is trolling us now. He reported in the Chron today that a baseball source reported a package of Musgrove, Martes, and Hader would have brought Kimbrel to Houston. I’m pretty impressed with Musgrove as well, but don’t believe Luhnow would have turned that down given Kimbrel contract unless Crane said no due to money concerns. Based on acquiring Gomez’ contract I can’t see that to be the case.

    Like

  11. Roger
    October 18, 2015

    I completely agree with Brian T’s points about both Gattis and Luhnow. In addition, the team has made enormous progress and deserves considerable credit. I live in Pittsburgh—need I say more? Twenty years of awful performance until recently. Everyone in Pittsburgh examined all the possible reasons—including some that are being tossed about here— concerning Luhnow’s/ Crane’s’ motivation with the Astros. Let’s keep things in perspective—3 awful years versus 20.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim
      October 18, 2015

      Great points, Roger, and I agree 100%.

      Like

  12. Tim
    October 18, 2015

    I want to go back to the discussion on giving Rasmus a QO. Rasmus had a 2.8 WAR this year and a .789 OPS. He won’t be 30 until next August. I’m fairly confident some team will give him, at a minimum, 3/$45M contract. I think the Astros would be foolish not to give Rasmus a QO and reap that draft pick if he rejects and signs elsewhere. There are much worse things than giving a 2.8 WAR player $15.8M for one year. I seriously doubt he accepts the QO as this is probably his best, and last, chance at a multi-year contract.

    Like

    • Roger
      October 18, 2015

      I’m on the fence about Rasmus and the QO, but am slightly leaning towards Tim’s position—while simultaneously hoping that if we do make an offer—that Rasmus chooses not to accept it. I tend to subtract out Rasmus’ PO performance because if he really IS that good then why did we not see that consistently during the regular season—and what’s to make us think we WOULD see it next season? His fielding is good—but not great, and I think a Tucker/Marisnick (or someone else–other than Marisnick) platoon might work better. I also understand the questions about Tucker’s fielding ability–so he could be a platoon DH, as suggested by others.

      Like

      • Tim
        October 18, 2015

        I feel the same that I hope he rejects the QO and signs elsewhere so we can get the draft pick. However, I’m also fine with Rasmus returning on a one year contract at $15.8M. Yes, a bit of an overpay, but it’s only one year. I would be surprised if he accepted the QO as I think he and his agent will want to cash in on his outstanding playoff performance.

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      October 18, 2015

      Wait For It! Wait! Tim, I agree.
      Why? because the QO makes him more attractive to the Astros and less attractive to other teams because he would cost them a draft pick.
      The only way I wouldn’t offer him a QO is if we agreed not to when we signed him.
      Rasmus would be good for us for a year, especially if we shed ourselves of guys who did not contribute last season and their projected salaries.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. BrianT
    October 18, 2015

    AC45,

    I would argue Luhnow was playing for 2015 the moment he called up Tucker. Tucker is an outfielder and was not, if memory serves, on the 40-man when called up.

    Luhnow could have called up Hoes or Presley and everyone would have defended that move. Instead, he reached for the best player, not the safe pick.

    Same with McCullers. He’d been great at AA, but had just arrived in Fresno not even throwing a pitch. If he’d opted for whatever passed for healthy that week among AAA pitchers, everyone would have said, “Well, he wants to see a couple of outings from LMJ before throwing him to the wolves.”

    And let’s not forget, while good, McCullers was hardly perfect in his first few starts. Still, Luhnow went with talent.

    Of the top 21 AL rookie position players tracked by MLB, only Boston, Oakland and Minnesota had more games played by rookies. None of those teams is in the playoffs.

    And ask Twins fans how they feel about that. Buxton was a bust.

    You want AJ Reed at first? Me too. But he started the year in Lancaster. That’s a hard jump to make by anyone not named Altuve. You want Moran at 3B? He was injured then ineffective before catching fire at the end of the season. Not exactly call-up material.

    Like

  14. sandy
    October 18, 2015

    No argument Brian. He did cal up quite a few rookies through the season. But other than Correa and McCullers none of the others saw any consist playing time. Namely Tucker.
    Playing Conger over Stassi appears to have been a mistake.

    Like

    • Tim
      October 18, 2015

      Whose mistake was it? Luhnow or Hinch? Ultimately, the lineup construction is up to Hinch. Luhnow brought up Stassi and put him in the major league roster. It is up to Hinch to play him over Conger.

      Like

  15. BrianT
    October 18, 2015

    Look, I certainly don’t think Jeff Luhnow hung the moon. But he also didn’t steal Christmas.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      October 18, 2015

      Yup…he pawned Christmas and traded the moon.

      Like

    • astrocolt45
      October 18, 2015

      Brian, I think we can all agree that in our past life, we all would have made a few different choices. (So lets give JL a break)

      First, I agree that JL has turned around the minors. Also, he put together a team that exceeded my expectations for 2015. Now to take the other side of that argument, he did the turn around at the expense of causing chagrin for three years and alienating a huge fan base of casual fans (and maybe his own players). So we can argue if it was worth it or not. As to the 2015 team, if we stand pat can we reasonably expect this same team to finish in the playoffs? My answer is I doubt it. So I am only taking where we are today and talking about going forward. I can’t change anything for 2015 and only “suggest” thoughts about 2016 and beyond.

      Like

    • Tim
      October 18, 2015

      I’m curious if anyone on here would rather have Ed Wade over Jeff Luhnow. If so, then I have to ask, why? I agree he has made some mistakes, such as letting go of J.D. Martinez and trading for Hank Conger, but those calling the Gomez trade a failure are some of the same people who called the Cosart trade a failure when it happened. Sure, you can say you don’t like the trade, but to say we lost that trade is just being very short-sighted and without factual basis because the players we acquired, to date, have performed better than the players we traded away. I am pro-sabermetrics and I believe Luhnow has done a fairly good job, so far. I do agree with AC45 that he and Crane alienated some of the casual fans with the tanking that was done, but I also realize that was the best and quickest way to get the Astos back to being a legitimate contender. I will reserve the right to change my opinion on Jeff Luhnow, but as of today I think he has done a better job than most expected. Did anyone think the Astros would be in the 2015 playoffs?

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 18, 2015

        I HATED Ed Wade…so no, would not want him back. I’d put him down there with Bill Wood.

        I don’t think the Gomez trade was a failure (hell, we got Fiers out of it too), and I think the Cosart trade was a good one then, and still do. The trades I give him sh*t for are obviously the Conger trade, and also the Kazmir trade.

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      • Tim
        October 18, 2015

        I don’t like to use the word ‘hate’, but I can say I thought he as one of the worst GMs in baseball. His penchant for players like Bill Hall, Pedro Feliz and Kaz Matsui was maddening. Even the Pence trade doesn’t look so great now. There’s still time for Singleton to turn it around and Santana may end up being a quality major leaguer, but at the time, it was lauded by most experts as a coo by Ed Wade to get the players he did and that doesn’t seem to be the case. Also, he made a comment once that once he got a trade he liked he took it without trying to negotiate any further. What GM doesn’t try to get as much as possible out of a trade? Ed Wade, in my opinion, was even worse than Tim Purpura. Poor Tim was never given a chance, which is probably a good thing, but he wasn’t around long enough to have the track record like Ed Wade did..

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    • Devin_
      October 18, 2015

      I think Luhnow did a mediocre job in his first couple years. The problem with my criticism, however, is he likely could not bring players of legitimate quality to town who were not far past their prime due to Crane’s contractual allowances.

      I think the 2014-15 offseason was a mixed bag. I think he wanted to move Castro and Carter, at a minimum, but was only able to move Dexter Fowler. His prime targets in the pitching market spurned his offers and left us lucky to land Neshek and Gregerson (and Fausto). The Rasmus signing seemed expensive at the time, but worked out well.

      As for the trades, the Gattis trade was an obvious, short-term win for Houston. Folty may get it together in Atlanta and make it look bad, but that didn’t happen this year. Gattis set a career high in games played while DHing. Had we hit him 7th in the lineup I imagine we would all see it as a success. Since he received the majority of his at bats at cleanup we are a bit more critical (rightfully so). The Conger trade was probably a wash. I’m being generous, perhaps, but don’t think Perez and Nitro won the Angels too many games. Conger cost us a few with the glove/arm, but also won a couple with the bat. The club seemed to love the guy as well which is something that doesn’t show up in the sabremetric / fantasy obsessed stat lines.

      I’m looking forward to the winter meetings this year. We do have a legitimate club. There are harder decisions to make on players. The big question I would have is if no moves are made and everyone was brought back, what kind of record should we expect? I suggest 81-81 is about right. So, how can Luhnow tweak the roster without losing the chemistry and adding wins on the field?

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      • Tim
        October 18, 2015

        I agree with everything you said and I’m not going to fault him for the roster construction the first 2 years because he had no payroll to improve the team. Most of his trades are incomplete, but his success in the draft has been amazing. I’m not even going to call taking Appel over Bryant a miss yet just like I’m not going to call taking Correa over Buxton a hit yet. However, to get the success, so far, out of late round picks like Kemmer and Tyler White gives me hope for future drafts and a big part of why I want to extend a QO to Rasmus.

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      • astrocolt45
        October 18, 2015

        Devin, I could argue with your post, but see no reason to do so. And I have suspected all along that Conger was part of a 2 or 3 team trade that fell apart.

        However, I think you are right on the last paragraph. This team played at a .500 rate as currently composed. I don’t see much drop off if Rasmus and/or Kazmir decide to leave. I do see a few areas for a big improvement. The question can we depend on the FO to make those changes.

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  16. Tim
    October 18, 2015

    One player in our system that I am very high on and I think will play a big part in improving our team in 2016 is James Hoyt. From May 14th to the end of the season he had a 1.50 ERA and 52 Ks in just 36 IPs while only giving up 9 BBs. If the Astros trade for someone like Kimbrell and add Hoyt to replace Qualls I think our bullpen will be much improved, especially if they can re-sign Sipp.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      October 18, 2015

      I liked what I saw of Hoyt last spring. When he went down to AAA and struggled at first, I figured he was working on weaknesses and on specific stuff he was given to make him a better pitcher long term.
      He seemed to come around and I would not be surprised if he made the bullpen out of spring training. Would not be surprised to find out he worked on his secondary stuff and threw it a lot last season.

      Like

  17. Becky⚾
    October 18, 2015

    Tim I talked about Hoyt in spring training. He really has got some put away stuff!
    Ask the pitchers in Fresno, when he came in to close their games!! I’m not saying the guy was lights out……but he was pretty successful.
    Since I didn’t have any Astros games to listen to, and they were out of the playoffs…I did my other favorite thing…I went o the casino, and won a jackpot!! Somebody had to win around here!! Brian this might be the mother comments we have EVER had on one conversation!! You three guys need to put your handsome heads together and start a new post on Monday! ! Going to bed…I’m pooped!!

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      October 18, 2015

      Most…not mother!! Dang auto correct!

      Like

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This entry was posted on October 15, 2015 by in Astros.
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