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Astros 2015: Recapping the learning experience


2015 has been a learning experience in the laboratory of mad doctor Jeff Luhnow and his minions, but more than just the front office has learned things this season.

The Team. The fan’s first wish coming down the stretch was for the team to make the playoffs at all. The second wish was to get by the wildcard and play a meaningful series. The Astros luckily got to do that. They learned what happens in a pennant race when each game becomes more important and they learned to step on the gas in the last week when every game meant a lot more to them than to their opposition, the M’s and the D’Backs. They learned what a one and done was like in the hottest cauldron of all, New York City, as they played a flawless game in the wild card. And they showed they had learned how to go toe to toe with the defending American League Champions, the KC Royals. They also learned that the late great Yogi Berra was unfortunately correct when he said “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

The Manager and Coaches. They probably ultimately learned that it does not matter whether you bring in Will Harris and Josh Fields or bring in Mike Fiers and Dallas Keuchel out of the bullpen, you will get second guessed either way. Hopefully they learned something about putting together a playoff roster and the fact that it does not do you any good to have people populating it that you do not intend to use at any significant moment. They also learned, we hope that Game 4 can be an all in-game, just like Game 5.

The Front Office. The dire hope is that they learned their plan can work, but that they must have less flawed players, especially on the offensive side of the ball. They learned that a top-notch best in the AL ERA for the pitching staff can be built at a reasonable cost if you have 3 top-notch starting pitchers pitching for peanuts. They learned that if you ignore certain problems in the lineup that they don’t go away.  They also may have learned that they are better at drafting talent than trading for it.

The Fans. They learned that any team can surprise you and that spring training expectations are meaningless until the rubber hits the road and the spikes hit the field. They learned that internal expectations rise with  the team’s performance and that once a team is in the pennant race and the playoffs that it is impossible to not picture a crown on that team’s head. They also re-learned that even over-reaching expectations can end in gut wrenching hurt when the team falters with the next round in their hands.

Now it is your turn.

  • What did you learn this season?
  • What do you think a particular person or persons in the organization learned this season?
  • What do you hope was learned this season by the team, the managers and coaches and the front office?
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About Dan P

Dan Peschong is a full time engineer and a long time Astros lover from the days of Joe Morgan to the days of Jose Altuve.

98 comments on “Astros 2015: Recapping the learning experience

  1. BrianT
    October 19, 2015

    The Royals taught Houston that making contact is important. Nothing good happens when you swing and miss. We learned that in the 8th inning of Game 4.

    Like

  2. Mr. Bill
    October 19, 2015

    I learned that while chicks dig the long ball, they dig them a whole lot more when they come with a couple or three high OBP, hard-to-strikeout men on base and result in a big win in a crucial game.

    I think – at least hope – that Jeff Luhnow learned that chicks hate strikeouts and popouts with runners on base a whole lot more than they dig the long ball.

    I think – I hope – that the top of the 8th inning of the 4th game against the Royals taught the FO that whatever the cyber-geeks say, smart swings up and down the line-up, and focusing on fouling off potential strikeout pitches, beat big hope-you-hit-my-bat home run swings in crucial games.

    Like

  3. astrocolt45
    October 19, 2015

    I hope they learned that a great pitching staff only sets you up to get a “tie.” I hope they learned that in today’s world you need two good defensive catchers. I hope they learned that 1st base is where you stick one of your better hitters. I hope they learned that Chipalatta is where you can get all the great answers from all the great minds.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Devin_
    October 19, 2015

    1. I learned Rasmus is better than I thought
    2. I think Velasquez learned he can be a dominating pitcher, but only if his control improves.
    3. I hope Pettis is watching tape to learn when the aggressiveness failed them. I hope Hudgens learned that hitters spoiling tough pitches jacks up pitch counts and eventually leads to mistakes by the pitcher. I hope Hinch learned you can’t win with Dierker-ball in the playoffs. You have to make each out count and not give them any easy at bats when a pitcher is struggling or tiring but tells you he is good to go. I hope Luhnow learned that we aren’t playing fantasy baseball – when a player executes is more important than how often when it comes to hits and HR.

    Like

  5. SargeH
    October 19, 2015

    What a great season the Astros had! I want more!!!

    I learned that the team still has plenty of holes in it, holes I had hoped had gone away during last year’s off season. I learned that Dallas Kuechel is the real deal and that Colin McHugh can win games when he is not “on.” I learned that the front office will bring up the star minor leaguers but not necessarily play them on a consistent basis unless absolutely forced to. I also learned that the front office is still hard-headed in some of their player movement, even in the thick of a hot pennant race. Additionally, I learned that the front office does not care what we, the fans, think.

    Manager AJ Hinch learned that the front office has his back. The players also learned that Hinch has THEIR backs. It was refreshing to not have to hear about how so and so did this or did that wrong, like Porter did to his players. Hinch was proud of his mother “truckers.” 😉

    I hope the front office learned that the holes at First, Third, Catcher, and DH still need to be addressed and fixed. I also hope the front office learned that some minor league stars CAN step up and perform at a high level in the majors.

    I have not learned whether Luhnow dictates the lineup cards or does Hinch …

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      October 19, 2015

      And to tag Sarge, I hope they learned that a “dead pull hitter” for the other team changes his approach in the late innings when a single to the opposite side wins the game. And our guys have not learned that yet, except in those very rare occasions.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dan P
    October 19, 2015

    I learned a few things myself:
    – I learned that triples occur in an alternate universe where a guy who is slow enough that he has no SBs and slow enough that he gets pinch run for after legging out a triple – can have 11 triples when the next highest on the team has 4.
    – I learned that I have a new favorite player, hopefully for the next decade + and his name is Carlos Correa.
    – I learned that if a player is good enough (Correa, LMJ, Altuve) that AAA experience is of zero worth to them.
    – I learned that Colby Rasmus is one calm cool laid back cat who will perform while many around him are grasping their bats too tightly.

    I hope that the following was learned:
    – By Evan Gattis – that swinging harder does not bring a ball a foot outside the strike zone back into the strike zone
    – By Carlos Correa – that you can be the only reason that your team even had a chance to win a game, but if you boot a key defensive play, the media will only want to talk about the one bad play.
    – By AJ Hinch – That perhaps a guy who just threw 120+ pitches two days before might not be the best choice to pitch in between starts.
    – By Jeff Luhnow – 3 weeks of good Chris Carter does not make up for 5+ months of bad Chris Carter

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Kevin
    October 19, 2015

    Wow I think you all summed it up pretty well here. I hope the FO remembers this is still baseball, people player driven, not ones stock portfolio or Calculus homework.

    We all know the holes we have beaten that egg for 3 months, now fix them LUN!

    I also learned that if there isn’t a Chipalatta post for few days , I go into massive withdrawal symptoms.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 1oldpro
    October 19, 2015

    I learned that you cannot give up on young players who have multiple tools. Villar and Marisnick got better and we should not get rid of them until they have shown their full selves.
    I think Jeff Luhnow learned that good, hard throwing relievers are better than good soft, throwing relievers in the playoffs.
    I hope that the organization learned that hitters who hit for average are much more likely to get key hits than hitters who don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tim
    October 19, 2015

    I am going to echo most of the sentiments above. I learned that a guy with 20+ HR power is nice, but it is even nicer when he can hit .260+ with an OBP of .325+. I also learned that every good bullpen needs that late inning, strikeout closer, especially in the playoffs. I learned that, in most instances, contact hitters are preferred over high K hitters. Also, I learned the value of a good defensive catcher and that a good defensive catcher doesn’t have to be a strong offensive player, but he can’t be a weak offensive player along with weak offensive players at 3+ other positions. I also learned the value of a good, defensive backup catcher.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      October 19, 2015

      This ^ is spot on.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Devin_
      October 19, 2015

      Almost – a strikeout specialist is needed. Having a closer that players have trouble even hitting the ball seems like a big plus, but often times they start the ninth fresh and don’t have to prevent contact, just baserunners.

      Like

  10. 1oldpro
    October 19, 2015

    Off topic, I know, but I have given up watching football in the last year, so when I saw the video of the fourth down, sorta-fake punt play by the Colts last night on a 30 second ESPN video, I nearly passed out.
    How is it that teams go completely brain dead, in crucial situations, when playing against Belichick? That had to be the worst football play I have ever seen. How does no coach or player call a timeout when two defenders are over a long snapper on fourth and long and a non QB under center and nobody to stop the rushers?
    The only thing I could compare that to in any sport would be a defender in the NBA going up for a rebound, pulling it down, and then slam dunking it in the other team’s basket. It just makes no sense.

    Like

    • Tim
      October 19, 2015

      I haven’t given up watching football, but it doesn’t have the same desire and passion for me that baseball does. Yesterday, I watched the Texans game and it was the first football game I watched from start to finish this season. Needless to say I’m looking forward to the start of the Hot Stove League.

      Like

    • Dan P
      October 19, 2015

      It is amazing op – sometimes I think that coaches think they have to be extra cute or do weird things to beat the best coaches like Belichick.
      I think the Texans themselves get in this mode when trying to win at Indianapolis (where they have never won) and end up shooting themselves in the foot.
      What can you say?

      Like

    • Steven
      October 19, 2015

      I’ve always been a football first guy. What I love about baseball is the grind and the ability for a player to control most aspects of his individual performance, but the only baseball game I have ever watched that was crazy exciting was the 18 inning playoff game with the Burke/Ausmus heroics – and who can forget the gutsiness of Clemens. Really both those seasons playoffs were great except the sweep in the WS. I think I enjoyed them a lot because it was a veteran team that you could have real expectations for. We all know the current club had a great season, over performed expectations, but we knew the playoffs were going to be a tough haul for the lack of experience and some of holes in the lineup. The Royals played the 8th inning of game 4 and most of game 5 like they knew they were supposed to be there – it was in the body language.

      Still nothing beats the back and forth of a great football game. That bowl game between the Aggies and Duke a few years back was one of the best sporting events I have ever seen.

      Like

  11. sandy
    October 19, 2015

    I learned a lot that has already been mentioned above. On a personal note I learned that I can watch other local sports and enjoy a win or shrug off a loss but when it’s Astros in a playoff race I need medication.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin
      October 19, 2015

      That’s awesome since I’m still in Rehab LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Becky⚾
    October 19, 2015

    I’ve learned that when the season started none of knew that Dallas Keuchel would turn out to be the likely candidate for the AL Cy Young award! I’ve learned that bad trades happen to every team….Luhnow is not immune to making said trades.
    I’ve learned that this is a cut throat business…..and not bringing up a kid from the minors because of money later makes me want to despise this owner.
    I’ve learned that keeping Villerror in Fresno was a *GOOD* thing.
    I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Becky⚾
    October 19, 2015

    Happy for my friend in the front office! Brandon was named Director of Baseball Operations! Super nice kid, who worked his rear end off for this organization!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Diane
    October 19, 2015

    Learned that Chip fans are true fans.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. 1oldpro
    October 19, 2015

    astrosfarm.com is a website I go to for info. Currently, if you go to the site they will have info on players it is following from our system that are playing winter ball. It will give their line from the games of the previous day. It is a quick way to find out how they did and the calendar allows you to go back to previous days. If you hit the team abbreviated near the right end of the player’s daily line it will link to the box score which will give all the info from that game.
    If you go to “Stats” link it will list all the players in our system and their stats. You can write a players last name in the upper RH box and it will pull up a huge page on his stats with graphs and graphs and such.
    It is this infograph layout that showed me that Jon Kemmer, a LH batter, actually hit more HRs to left field and left center, than he does to right and right center this past season. That type of power greatly suits a power hitter in Minute Maid Park, because of the Crawford boxes. The fact that Kemmer actually hit .327 for a full year in Corpus eliminates the “small sample size syndrome” that can affect looking at his year objectively. The fact that Kemmer hit large numbers of HRs to the opposite field indicates he can go that way purposely and not accidently. The fact he hit for a high average means that he would have a better chance of going to the Crawford Boxes with success because he makes more contact than lesser batters would.
    This website is huge and a person with a great computer could find all kinds of info on it, as it is just one of thirty parts of the giant mlbfarm.com.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Dan P
    October 19, 2015

    Further:
    – I hope the front office learned that a repeat of 2015 does not guarantee them making the playoffs again. 86 wins does not always get you into the playoffs.
    – I believe the team learned that they could rely on Dallas Keuchel (starting games) and giving them a chance 90% of the time and that Carlos Correa is going to be a leader for the ages.
    – I learned that you can become attached to a flawed, imperfect team just as much as a better team and that you can die just as many deaths with them.
    – I hope the front office learned that they can trust their minor leaguers to step up and help this team.

    Like

  17. Becky⚾
    October 19, 2015

    Speaking of minor leaguers A.J. Reed won the Bowman hitting challenge for the AL this past week. The Bowman hitting challenge is kinda like the All Star homerun contest, for this exception…..you get points for length of the ball hit, and BIG points for a moving target. Reed won both….hands down! Do I really think Reed has a REAL shot out of spring training?? Not really, but he is going to turn some heads when this kid gets to Fresno! In the mean time….we have Matt Duffy, and Tyler White who are BOTH MLB ready…..right NOW. Thank you Devin and OP, I’ve just put both of these sites in my favorites list, so I can check it often! Old Pro and I also listen to some of the minor league games on the computer!
    If you think for one tiny minute I’ll be watching any more games with the Royals you’re nuts! I have been watching the NL games tho, and I’m still pulling for Joe Maddon’S Cubbies!!
    And yes Dianne…..Chip’s fans really ARE the true fans!!

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      October 19, 2015

      True to my word, I haven’t watched a game since the Astros were eliminated. I can’t make myself watch other teams. The Astros are my investment.
      I will flip to the games to keep up with the scores and the flow. The playoffs seemed to have turned from a road show to the home team dominating so that shows me that baseball is a game that moves in it’s own direction and that direction is like the wind. It’s still weird that the Royals are the veterans left in the playoffs. Strange turn of events. No Giants, Yankees, Cardinals, Red Sox or Dodgers.. How refreshing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • SargeH
        October 19, 2015

        Myself my friend! I, also, will not watch any other games for the rest of the current playoffs.

        Like

  18. Roger
    October 19, 2015

    I learned that:
    1. It isn’t easy to go to ST, then watch portions or all of almost 140 regular season games, and the playoffs— while attempting to remain sane and function elsewhere.
    2. I need to better appreciate/understand the complexities of sabremetrics.
    3. A winning season can happen with relatively low paid players, with limited big league experience, who have exceptional skill and exhuberance.
    4. Passionate fans, such as on this blog, can have major differences of opinion as to talent and management capability, yet present convincing arguments as to why they are right.
    5. Nice guys don’t necessarily finish last.

    I hope and actually believe that upper level management learned that they need a high velocity closer, & fewer free swingers. I think they learned the former during the season, but just couldn’t get the trade done, and they became convinced of the latter during the playoffs. There will be multiple changes.

    I think Hinch learned that he can be a fine leader.

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      October 19, 2015

      Roger on #2 (pun intended). If you can get someone someplace to explain how pitch framing is the result of the catcher, then there are some really GREAT catchers that caught a ton of “balls” on the Astros this year that got called “strikes.”

      Like

      • astrocolt45
        October 19, 2015

        To borrow from John Kenneth Galbraith, and to remove economists from his quote, “Sabermetrics is extremely useful as a form of employment for Sabermetricians.”

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Becky⚾
    October 19, 2015

    I’ve learned that this team has a MAJOR problem with situational hitting. When the other team gives you the gift of bases loaded and no outs……you HAVE to capitalize on it. And if there is anyone who can preach this is Mr. Bagwell.

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      October 19, 2015

      Can I get an amen on that? A M E N ! ! !

      Like

    • Devin_
      October 19, 2015

      I don’t want to make anyone cry, but I decided to look up what our guys did with runners on third this year. The matrix is too complicated to represent in text here when you factor outs, so this is only speaking to men occupying which base regardless of out or inning:

      Gattis
      –3 : .421 Avg, 1BB in 20 PA, 10 RBI, 0 SF, 7K
      -23 : .222 Avg, 2BB in 23 PA, 14 RBI, 2 SF, 3K
      1-3 : .214 Avg, 1BB in 17 PA, 7 RBI, 2 SF, 5K
      123 : .455 Avg, 0BB in 12 PA, 12 RBI, 1 SF, 0K

      Carter
      –3 : .286 Avg, 4BB in 20 PA, 7 RBI, 2 SF, 4K
      -23 : .250 Avg, 0BB in 11 PA, 8 RBI, 3 SF, 3K
      1-3 : .125 Avg, 2BB in 11 PA, 2 RBI, 0 SF, 4K
      123 : .400 Avg, 1BB in 6 PA, 4 RBI, 0 SF, 3K

      Valbuena
      –3 : .231 Avg, 3BB in 18 PA, 5 RBI, 1 SF, 5K
      -23 : .143 Avg, 1BB in 10 PA, 4 RBI, 1 SF, 5K
      1-3 : .200 Avg, 4BB in 15 PA, 5 RBI, 1 SF, 1K
      123 : .375 Avg, 0BB in 8 PA, 6 RBI, 0 SF, 3K

      Altuve
      –3 : .462 Avg, 1BB in 15 PA, 7 RBI, 1 SF, 5K
      -23 : .222 Avg, 1BB in 11 PA, 5 RBI, 1 SF, 3K
      1-3 : .167 Avg, 0BB in 7 PA, 2 RBI, 1 SF, 1K
      123 : .214 Avg, 1B in 19 PA, 12 RBI, 3 SF, 0K

      Castro
      –3 : .000 Avg, 0BB in 7 PA, 2 RBI, 2 SF, 2K
      -23 : .000 Avg, 1BB in 7 PA, 0 RBI, 0 SF, 4K
      1-3 : .143 Avg, 2BB in 9 PA, 1 RBI, 0 SF, 3K
      123 : .286 Avg, 0BB in 8 PA, 8 RBI, 1 SF, 1K

      Springer
      –3 : .100 Avg, 4BB in 15 PA, 3 RBI, 0 SF, 3K
      -23 : .250 Avg, 0BB in 9 PA, 4 RBI, 1 SF, 2K
      1-3 : .000 Avg, 0BB in 5 PA, 1 RBI, 1 SF, 2K
      123 : .143 Avg, 0BB in 8 PA, 3 RBI, 0 SF, 2K

      Correa
      –3 : .313 Avg, 3BB in 19 PA, 10 RBI, 0 SF, 3K
      -23 : .250 Avg, 1BB in 11 PA, 4 RBI, 2 SF, 5K
      1-3 : .182 Avg, 1BB in 14 PA, 7 RBI, 2 SF, 1K
      123 : .500 Avg, 0BB in 2 PA, 4 RBI, 0 SF, 0K (the hit was a triple)

      I didn’t look up Lowrie/Tucker/Rasmus/Conger/JFSF and probably a few others.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 19, 2015

        My gosh, Springer was horrible! That is amazing.

        Like

      • Dan P
        October 20, 2015

        Gattis’ numbers are better than I would have thought.

        Like

      • astrocolt45
        October 20, 2015

        If there was ever a chart to show “situational pitching” to a batter (albeit a small sample size) this should do it. “Hey Guys, LOOK, when you are batting with first base open or runner on 3rd and 2nd base open, you are going to get -0- hittable pitches. Go ahead and take the walk. If you have to then, choke up, lean over the plate, and take one for the team. But quit striking out.”

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Becky⚾
    October 19, 2015

    Matty D. Signed a 5 yr 17 mill contract with the Blue Jays today. Good for him!
    I always liked that kid…..he tried but never could get his bat going. I’ll say this about him though….he is an A+ defensive 3rd baseman.

    Like

    • sandy
      October 19, 2015

      Wow, good for him. I liked the kid a lot too. Couldn’t get his bat going but his replacement didn’t do a whole heck of a lot better.

      Like

    • Billy Castillo
      October 19, 2015

      That’s…a rather large contract for someone who spent last year in AAA.

      That said, I’m happy for him.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        October 19, 2015

        Billy….the Jays picked him up from the Brewers in Sep of this year. He was actually having a decent year in the minors, so he’s been added to their 40man. I wish him well, he was a polite kid. He always made time for autographs for the kids.

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      October 19, 2015

      That’s unbelievable. Why would anyone pay him that kind of money?

      Like

      • Dan P
        October 20, 2015

        Maybe they think he will be the next Jon Singleton.

        Liked by 1 person

      • astrocolt45
        October 20, 2015

        Maybe he said, “If you want me to play for you next year, you have to pay me what JL offered me.” 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Devin_
        October 20, 2015

        It seems a bit odd, but it is below the ML average for a player. Does it mean Donaldson is heading elsewhere? He may win AL MVP and is eligible for last arbitration this winter. Encarnacion has a team option for 2016. They also have Smoak with last arbitration this winter.

        Is there a source for this? I couldn’t find confirmation. I hope he gets an opportunity – seemed like a nice guy who has the potential but couldn’t get over the hump…but I partially blame the Astros coaching and braintrust for that failing. I know, dead horse, but when you see a guy’s mechanics progressively worsen you have to wonder why.

        Like

      • Kevin
        October 20, 2015

        Ditto might be a nice guy but man I was glad to see him go, 2016 we will have a solid 3rd Baseman

        Like

  21. 1oldpro
    October 20, 2015

    Browsing this morning, I came across an acorn from the October 15th chron. It was a short article by Ortiz in which Luhnow says that AJ Reed will be given a shot to make the Astros in the spring.
    I had not heard about this, but it makes sense. Reed does not have to be protected, and won’t be on the 40-man in the spring, but as MILB POY he looks good to be getting a try by the big club. His bat will fill a position of need and his extra work in the AFL is like an extra level of the minors to look at him this fall.
    Luhnow comments that first base does not have the same skillset requirements as SS and that Reed is a college draftee, unlike Correa.
    My hunch is that Luhnow is serious. I believe he has gotten a ton of information from the Big 4 coaching staff that he had at CC and that the top priority in determining Reed’s roll will be his conditioning upon reporting to spring training. If he blows the Astros brass away, he might make the team. If he still needs work, they might give him the Super 2 treatment Correa got last year and bring him up when they think the June date has passed.
    I think the jumps by Correa and LMJ last year from AA have educated Luhnow as to star jumping from the minors to the majors by elite prospects and Bryant’s jump to the Cubs gives him precedent.
    There is a fine line between helping a team in a position of need by inserting an elite prospect early at a league minimum salary and boosting playoff chances, and keeping a player down until he shows major league stuff. GMs are starting clocks earlier because starring at a young age and low cost is a terrific way of adding value in the world of MLB that has turned to huge salaries in the downsides of players careers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Devin_
      October 20, 2015

      Oldpro, I wonder how much the talk is to give incentive to White and Singleton to come to camp in the best shape of their lives. I look forward to seeing Reed and White against MLB pitching this spring. The tough thing is they won’t see real velocity until April. I hope Luhnow got good data from AA last year on both guys.

      Like

      • uncleknuckle
        October 20, 2015

        Devin, I think as much as we like the way White has hit, at 5’11”, he’s a pretty small target over at first. I look for him to potentially be a quality DH.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 20, 2015

        Devin, very few players showed the bat White showed in AAA. Studying his splits, the 259 AB’s he had were remarkable. His stats against Lefties are so good that one tends to overlook how well he hit same side righties. His BA and OBP were as good or better against same siders, than Preston Tucker’s overall stats were.
        If Reed were to make it on the team in ST he earns his spot as a LH power hitting 1B. If White makes it on the team, he makes it on his bat as a RH, power hitting DH who can fill in at 3B and 1B. And, he would make it with a very rare distinction: He is one of very few minor league power hitters who has a career OPS of over .900, but has more BB than Ks in his minor league career, which is 1250 at bats.
        Most RH power hitters who have that high an OPS have it because of SLG. He has it because of SLG and OBP. That is rare because a RH hitter faces a ton more righties in the minors and usually same side pitchers dominate. In the majors, White would actually face more lefties than he did in the minors, and he absolutely destroys lefties.

        Like

      • Dan P
        October 20, 2015

        Op – memo from the front office – “We don’t need a hitter who destroys left handed hitting. We only use hitters who destroy rallies……

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 20, 2015

        Dan, could you imagine White at DH, even if he only hit .260 and refused to swing at bad pitches. He would walk more than the guy he would be replacing and strikeout less. He probably doesn’t have the polar bear type power, but if he makes more contact, there sit the Crawford Boxes, waiting for contact hitters with power.
        Can you imagine if Reed could just hit .250 as a 1B in 2016. Imagine the improvement that would bring to the Astros next season over who we had at first base the last two years with Singleton and Carter and their below .200 averages. Reed hit 6 HRs to LF as a left handed batter last season and his hit chart shows at least 7 or 8 more flyouts to LF that would have been into the Crawford Boxes. He has power to all fields.
        Both of those guys would be making league minimum and would replace two guys who will cost at least $10 million. That leaves the team a lot more money to go after needs!

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Dan P
    October 20, 2015

    Things I wish were learned
    – George Springer learns that he can hit a home run with a swing that is 90% as hard, but makes contact and that he will never hit a home run with a 150% swing that hits air.
    – Evan Gattis learns that the strike zone box shown on the TV screen is not only close to what the umps call, but also related to what should actually be reached with a bat …
    – Jeff Luhnow learns that he is not the smartest guy in every room
    – AJ Hinch learns to trust his whole roster or ask for a change

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Tim
    October 20, 2015

    There is talk already that the Astros may be the frontrunners for Daniel Murphy. I like Daniel Murphy, but unless he is going to play DH I don’t see where he fits on this team, especially if they plan to give Reed every chance to earn the 1B job. I can’t see Murphy only signing for 1 year as a stopgap for Reed at 1B. I really don’t like the idea of him playing 3B and we already have a great 2B. Thoughts?

    Like

    • Devin_
      October 20, 2015

      I don’t see how he would be a fit. His arm isn’t strong enough for our bullpen. He isn’t a better hitter than Altuve and will cost a lot more. I guess he could play 3B, but with the exception of this October would he be better than Lowrie/Valbuena? Also, you could probably have Hanley Ramirez for a song if you want to take on salary…why buy high on Murphy?

      Liked by 2 people

    • 1oldpro
      October 20, 2015

      When I read about this I thought, does this columnist actually follow the Astros?
      Has this guy ever heard of Marco Scutaro?
      Astros’ first base options: Singleton, Carter, Valbuena, Duffy, White, Gonzalez, Reed.
      Astros third base options: Lowrie, Valbuena, Duffy, White, Villar, Gonzalez, and Moran in AAA, Davis in AA
      Astros 2B options: Altuve, Altuve, Altuve, Kemp, Valbuena, Lowrie, Gonzalez.
      If the Astros sign a free agent, it better be a LH hitting LFer who can hit and get on base or a hard throwing reliever or a hard throwing closer or another hard throwing reliever or a hard throwing starter. They could try to trade hard swinging batters for all of the above.

      Like

      • Tim
        October 20, 2015

        I agree, OP. With that being said I would take Murphy over Gattis as DH. -:)

        Like

      • astrocolt45
        October 20, 2015

        I am not going to be surprised if the Astros pass on Rasmus and start ST with Gomez, Springer, Marisnick, Tucker and (don’t tell Becky) Villar. Villar has proven he is not an infielder. And I just don’t see his trade value worth much. But for some reason, the Astros keep brining him up to the majors. This is not my wish list – just how I see how the cards might fall if the Astros want to save money for the other holes in the line-up. And talk about strange stats, the best hitter (BA) for the Astros in the playoffs was — wait – wait – wait – JFSF.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 1oldpro
        October 20, 2015

        AC45, they keep bringing him up because he is only 24. This season he hit .284 in the majors with an above average OBP and a decent SLG in 120 PAs. His fielding improved, his K rate dropped and BB rate rose. He helped lead his team to a championship in the PCL.
        He made all the improvements that you would wish a 24 year old would make over his year 22 and 23 seasons.
        If he continues maturing at the rate he did this year he is going to be a major league SS with an extra tool, speed.
        Now, he is not Correa and there are not many like Correa out there. But teams are looking for shortstops because they don’t have a young great prospect at SS..
        I am of the opinion that Villar’s value and performance are on the rise and that the Astros should have him on their bench next season if he shows up in March as an improved player. Some team may see him as their future SS and he might be worth a lot.
        In that case, hanging onto him, would have been a terrific move by the front office.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        October 20, 2015

        I was impressed with the improvement I saw from Villar and thought he handled 3B decent enough to consider him as a super sub for next year. He can play almost every position except pitcher and catcher, can draw a BB and hit for a decent average. I know Becky doesn’t want to see him again, but I would not give up on Villar yet.

        Like

      • Dan P
        October 20, 2015

        I think I would pinch run Gattis for Villar – less chance of handing away needed base runners….

        Liked by 1 person

      • astrocolt45
        October 20, 2015

        I was not banging on Villar nor the FO. Last year he managed about 1 error every 4 games no matter which position he played. Yet they seem to think he has value someplace.

        And as has been noted before, Jeter at age 21 made 29 errors in 123 games. So if he turns out to be able to field as well as Jeter, he will have lots of value. And the TV announcers love his right handed batting.

        If he continues to hit in the majors at .284/.339/.752 – he is going to take someone’s job.

        Like

      • uncleknuckle
        October 20, 2015

        He’s not as smart, but Villar is a better athlete than Marwin. And he’s cheaper.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Bill
      October 20, 2015

      Tells me that Jed Lowrie is pretty definitely on his way out.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 20, 2015

        Most likely.

        No great loss IMHO.

        Like

      • Becky⚾
        October 20, 2015

        Villerror has absolutely NO place on this club. PERIOD.

        Like

  24. Becky⚾
    October 20, 2015

    I personally think Luhnow said what he did about A.J. Reed, is just blowing smoke.
    He has not intention of letting this kid even sniff the big club out of spring training.
    He would be a REAL nice piece to include in a package for a big trade.

    Like

  25. 1oldpro
    October 20, 2015

    According to Jayne at WTHB, Baseball America transactions sheet was wrong and LJ Hoes has not elected free agency and is still in the system.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      October 20, 2015

      Not sure whether to be happy for him or sad for him.

      Like

      • astrocolt45
        October 20, 2015

        Hoes is hoping he can get Presley’s $1 Million contract to play in AAA next year.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Tim
    October 20, 2015

    I wonder if Luhnow will have any interest in Ben Zobrist. I love everything about his game. He reminds me of Mark Loretta with more power.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. 1oldpro
    October 20, 2015

    Great career OBP that has actually improved with age. In the last year he has more walks than Ks. Being a switch hitter and a high OBP guy could he lead off? He has played some OF. Could he play LF? His batting line looks a lot like Fowler, but with less differentiated splits.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      October 20, 2015

      Tim, my following comment is a reply.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Devin_
      October 20, 2015

      Yes, he can play LF. I’m pretty sure he filled in there while Alex Gordon was on DL.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 21, 2015

        I may be just wishfully dreaming, but a lineup of
        Zobrist LF
        Correa SS
        Springer RF
        Reed 1B
        White/Tucker platoon
        DH
        Altuve 2B
        Gomez CF
        Valbuena/Duffy platooning 3B
        Stassi/Heineman platooning C
        would be very affordable and would drive opposing pitchers to drink with base hits and a good amount of power. The players we would have left to trade would provide tons of money to be able to upgrade our bullpen and pay Zobrist.
        Trading Lowrie, Gattis, Carter, Castro, Gonzalez, Conger gets us prospects or relievers, frees up money for extensions, clears roster space and opens up the 40-man. Keep Villar as your utility guy. Let Kemp start the year in AAA.

        Like

      • sandy
        October 21, 2015

        I learned tha OP would make a fantastic GM.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        October 21, 2015

        I like dreamin’, cause dreamin’ can make us win.
        I like dreamin’, of bein’ in the Fall Classic once again.
        So when the stove gets hot,
        and the phones light up all night,
        lets wrap Ben up in our arms,
        and send Evan and Chris on the farthest flight!

        I like dreamin’, cause dreamin’ can ease the pain.
        I like dreamin’, cause strikeouts are hard on an old man’s brain.
        So when other GMs call,
        may Jeff this time get it right,
        and address our team’s real needs,
        and trade Hank Conger to Texas just for spite.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 1oldpro
        October 21, 2015

        Sandy, my first job as GM would be to figure out a way to replace the owner and win the fans back. Wait a minute, can I do that?

        Liked by 1 person

      • astrocolt45
        October 21, 2015

        I don’t understand why anyone would take a hitter that has 200 hits + 33 BBs + 38 SBs and move him down the batting order. That reminds me of back in high school people saying Elizabeth Taylor is ugly because she has a mole on her cheek.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 1oldpro
        October 21, 2015

        I thought my reasoning was simple.
        1) Zobrist leading off would immediately start the pitcher’s pitch count off on the wrong foot. He is notorious for high pitch counts.
        2) Altuve is a very impatient hitter, but still, the highest average guy on the team. Correa is more patient at the plate, a trait I love in the #2 spot in the order.
        3. Altuve hits for high average so I want his best trait, getting hits, to pay off in RBI’s. If Altuve is leading off with Castro batting ninth like this past season, he hardly ever has runners on base to drive in. If Altuve has base runners in front of him he has guys on base to drive in.
        4) I thought Altuve’s problems this year getting picked off stemmed from the same impatience. He wanted so badly to get a rally going that he took chances. In the six spot he can relax and use his speed as a way to keep an inning going without feeling he absolutely has to steal to get a rally started.
        5) I’m a pitcher who has just faced Zobrist, Correa, Springer, Reed and White or Tucker. Now I get to face one of the best hitters in baseball. I’m already stressed. If I pitch around him, He’s gonna steal and I still have to get Gomez out.. If I pitch to him he’s gonna drive in the run. The pitcher is thinking “Damn it why am I facing a .315 hitter in the sixth spot.”
        If a guy is going to swing all the time and hit for a high average and not take many pitches, I want him in a position to drive in runs.

        Liked by 1 person

      • astrocolt45
        October 21, 2015

        If I were Crane, I am not firing you and Hinch for that batting order, but would strongly suggest you place Altuve at the top, or insert right after Zobrist. That is – if you want to keep your job. 🙂

        Like

    • Tim
      October 21, 2015

      The Astros are, reportedly, going to shop Carter. If they did pursue Zobrist he could also be a 1B option for 1 year if they want to give Reed more time in AAA. He can also play 3B if they look to trade Lowrie and/or Valbuena. Zobrist can play every IF position, but SS is probably far-fetched and he can play LF. All I can say is that Zobrist is exactly the kind of player you want on your team. He does whatever it takes to help a team win.

      Like

      • Devin_
        October 21, 2015

        I imagine Luhnow is taking offers on anyone not named Correa right now. Everyone on here is on board with Zobrist coming back to the organization, I think. I wonder what his thoughts are, though. Just because you are versatile doesn’t mean you want to shuffle around every other day.

        Like

  28. Bopert
    October 20, 2015

    I learned that Correa is good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sandy
      October 21, 2015

      And he’s destined to get better.

      Like

  29. sandy
    October 21, 2015

    OP makes it look simple. JL will probably make some questionable moves, possibly take some guys that are doing well and have them re-learn a new position, keep some guys that are under achievers – just because.

    We’ll see.

    Like

  30. 1oldpro
    October 21, 2015

    Tyler White was the DH yesterday for his winter league team. Tyler was 2 for 3 with a homer a single, a walk and a flyball to right that advanced a baserunner from second to third. His two run homer in the eighth inning broke up a double shutout in a 3-0 win.
    Tyler has not played catcher yet in winter league ball. Something tells me his catching days might be over. I hope so.

    Like

  31. daveb
    October 21, 2015

    1OP, you know, there might not be room for Tucker in a Tyler White/Tucker platoon at DH. As you’ve noted already, he doesn’t seem to mind who he hits against.

    Like

    • uncleknuckle
      October 21, 2015

      White that is.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      October 21, 2015

      Yes, I know. After pulling for Tucker for so long, I found it hard to platoon him. But we still might need a LH power bat on the bench in the late innings and to go with Duffy, a catcher and the super utility guy. In the end, Tucker might have to be in AAA until we need him and put Marisnick as the OF on the bench because he can play all three OF positions.

      Like

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This entry was posted on October 19, 2015 by in Astros.
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