CHIPALATTA

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Looking at 2016 … striking out the strikeouts


There will be changes. This time last year, few of us had heard of Evan Gattis. Colby Rasmus was on few Chipalatta fans’ radar. Carlos Correa was still mending from a broken leg. Lance McCullers Jr. was coming off a so-so year at Lancaster — at best.

So I’d expect some big changes for 2016.

Will all the changes be home runs? Doubtful. I’m sure Luhnow will swing and miss a few times. But learning to avoid the swings and misses is really what the changes for 2016 needs to be about.

The people who did the most swinging and missing were Colby Rasmus (154Ks/432ABs), Chris Carter (151/391), Evan Gattis (119/566), Jason Castro (115/337), George Springer (109/388), Luis Valbuena (106/434) and Jake Marisnick (105/339). A dishonorable mention goes to Hank Conger (63/201) who whiffed nearly a third of the time.

In all honesty, Gattis’ K numbers don’t look too bad. Frankly, he struck out less than 20 percent of the time, which is good considering his power numbers. Valbuena was under 25 percent as well, though his batting average doesn’t make up for not being the worst whiff offender. Of course he walked a lot more than Gattis, and both had idential .748 OPSs. Speaking of which, Springer, who whiffed 28 percent of the time, ended up with an OPS of .826. So Ks aren’t always a barometer of production.

Still, if cutting the useless Ks is the goal, it starts at first base. I am sure even Luhnow agrees with that. But where else? Do we replace Evan Gattis? He might not have been the worst whiffer, but his production wasn’t stellar for a guy who spent the middle of the lineup all season.

Between Rasmus and Marisnick, there’s a lot of whiffs even if there was also a lot of ground covered in the outfield. Rasmus is probably gone as a free agent, so does that mean Preston Tucker gets Rasmus’ end of the job?

Oh, and catcher, though a Gold Glove would go a long way to fixing that problem. Well, that and fixing the other spots.

I don’t know what Luhnow will find on the trade or free agent markets, but just like 2015, there will be options from the farm for 2016. But are those farmhands the answer when it comes to strikeouts?

A.J. Reed spent 2015 in Lancaster and Corpus. Between the two stops he racked up 122 Ks in 523 ABs. If he finds his way to Houston at some point in 2016, I’d guess his whiff rate goes up instead of down in the early going.

Tyler White, meanwhile, spent his year in Corpus and Fresno where he whiffed just 73 times in 403 ABs. Along the way he collected 99 RBIs and a .939 OPS.

Matt Duffy spent the year in Fresno earning an .850 OPS with just 90 Ks in 490 ABs.

Between those three — plus Colin Moran collected just 79 Ks in 366 ABs with an .840 OPS — the Astros seem to have some options at first and third.

As for the outfield, maybe John Kemmer is an option. He had 89 Ks in 364 ABs and a .988 OPS.

So, what farm options interest you. Reed and Duffy and White? Moran or Kemmer? Andrew Aplin? There are a few catchers in Fresno, but none look like the a real replacement for Castro. But one might be the replacement for Conger.

Should Houston focus on the farm?

Should Luhnow look for rentals again?

Which whiffer needs to be replaced the most? OK, which one after Carter?

 

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About BrianT

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

177 comments on “Looking at 2016 … striking out the strikeouts

  1. 1oldpro
    October 30, 2015

    Colby and his Ks eliminated by free agency.
    Carter’s K’s disappear the moment he does.
    Many of Gattis’s K’s disappear when he isn’t facing RH power and medium power pitchers. Let Tucker have those at bats, if you insist on keeping Gattis. But that puts Gattis on your bench most of the time when he can’t field and he can’t run. So, you either get rid of Gattis and give up zero WAR, or keep him and get zero WAR. Honestly, trading Gattis and using Tucker and White gives you everything you need at the DH.
    If you keep Castro, you can eliminate some of Conger’s strikeouts and all of his bad defense and his $2million arb salary by keeping a RH hitting catcher in Stassi. Don’t use Castro against LH starters because he is hapless against them.
    You cut down on Marisnick’s Ks by making him your fourth or fifth outfielder and utilizing his strengths on the bench and eliminating a lot of his weaknesses by not starting him.
    How about Duffy and Valbuena platooning at 3B? That should cut down Ks by eliminating ABs against opposite handers
    That leaves you Lowrie to trade and use his money to help buy a starter in LF with a high OBP and low K rate or to get a closer.
    I’m willing to trade Carter’s Ks for Reed’s Ks if we get a batting average out of Reed that is 50 points higher because that means we will still get home runs and more RBIs from Reed because he would have more hits. And Reed will hit RH pitchers better and will actually not face near as many opposite handers as Carter did. I also think Reed will make better throws to second base than Carter did and not put our star franchise SS in danger of getting wiped out like Carter did.
    That’s how I cut down on Ks
    The last thing I do to cut down on K’s is to have a new low K LFer, a lower K DH, and low K Altuve and Correa show Springer and Gomez that they need to fit in with the program by stopping this crap of swinging so hard that they fall down. Both have plenty of power in their swings to hit home runs by trying to hit doubles. In other words, explain to everyone that “homers/strikeouts” are no longer the only game we play. Now we are playing “score runs by every means possible”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan P
      October 30, 2015

      What he said….

      I really think that op has some pretty darn good roadmaps to what needs to happen here overall and specifically with the K’s. Valbuena and Castro are here, but probably should never hit against lefty pitchers.
      The one that is tough to figure is what to do with Gattis. The AL bench is short. Can you have a guy that you only used in the field 11 times on the bench.
      Now – here is an out of the box question. If Gattis’ knees are fully recovered (and I don’t have a clue about this)- could he be the backup catcher? His numbers catching with the Braves were decent – certainly he could throw guys out better than the current backup.
      They might want to trade Lowrie, but has his constant injuries made him close to untradeable?
      I think they walk away from Carter.
      I think they go a different way than trying to re-sign Rasmus.

      Like

    • Steven
      October 30, 2015

      I’m on board except Stassi, who will strike out even more than Conger. Go with Heineman.

      Like

      • uncleknuckle
        October 30, 2015

        I’m okay with Stassi getting the first shot as number two catcher. We know he’s a pretty good backstop already. Offense from him would be a bonus. But If he hits .180, then sure, we bring up Heineman, the singles hitter who should provide a serviceable OBP. Steven, we could end up seeing both of them before long. While Castro has come a ways defensively and our pitchers seem to like throwing to him, he’s been pretty much abysmal at the plate over the past two years. We might get the same production from a couple of rookies.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 30, 2015

        I mentioned Stassi because we were talking Ks. Castro hits better against righties and can’t hit a lick against lefties
        Heineman is a switch hitter who doesn’t hit lefties well from the right side either.
        That’s why I chose Stassi, a RH batter who hits lefties better than Heineman does.
        Actually, I want to keep both of the youts and trade the veteran, expensive catchers for relievers and save all that cash for my left fielder or Keuchel’s big raise.

        Liked by 1 person

      • uncleknuckle
        October 30, 2015

        1OP, those “youts”, that’s a Joe Pesci quote, My Cousin Vinny.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Zanuda
    October 30, 2015

    Need to look no further than KC on how to get hits and score runs. Of course their ballpark is not built for home runs but nothing wrong with scoring runs via station to station and aggressive (smart) base running. It’s nice to lead the league in home runs, its not nice to lead in K’s. Notice how many two strike hits KC has gotten in the playoffs. Although Altuve went into a slump at playoff time he typically puts wood on the ball. Others could learn something on being a contact hitter.
    And yes, Carter (better be) and Rasmus (too expensive) will be gone. Gattis the “one dimensional player, Valbuena, and Conger should be gone also. We have better options. Castro is saved by his catching ability, Marisnick by his defense and speed and Springer as noted needs to stop swinging for the fences every time.

    Like

    • Steven
      October 30, 2015

      I think the Royals built it to intentionally work that way. They don’t draw a lot of walks, but their K rate is almost 3% lower than the next closest team in MLB. I think the winning formula is there – you don’t have score 891 runs like the Blue Jays did, killing average pitching and winning a game 9-2 isn’t the goal if a good pitcher is going to beat you 3-2 the next day. The Royals manufacture by putting the ball in play, advancing runners, putting pressure on pitchers by fighting off good pitches, and can win a close game as well as the blow out.

      I don’t think the Astros make the overhaul you are looking for though. I do think Rasmus and Carter will be gone, but I think that Valbuena and Conger will be back, as well as Gattis. Not saying I want them back, but I wouldn’t expect a 6-7 person shift on the roster after a 86 win season.

      Like

  3. Mr. Bill
    October 30, 2015

    A love song to Tyler White, Tony Kemp, A.J. Reed, Matt Duffy, Joe Sclafani, and whoever:

    Please, come and mend our broken hearts.
    Please stop the K’s from piling high.
    Please can you stop the wasted chances?
    Please make the base hits fly.
    Please come and mend our OBP; and turn one-run losses into wins.
    Bring runs across for our Cy Young Hoss, and make us proud again.

    Like

  4. Devin_
    October 30, 2015

    Last spring I lamented the Carter – Gattis – Singleton K-triangle. This week I’m lamenting the Gattis – Tucker – Marisnick roster spot triangle. We have two DHs with little defensive value and one defensive specialist who becomes a giant vacuum on offense at times. We’ll carry 12 pitchers, at least, leaving 10 remaining spots. Figure 2 catchers, 4 starting infielders, Gomez and Springer leaves just 2 bench spots. That makes me think we see Marwin and Villar as the bench guys because they can actually play some OF in a pinch.

    The implication is also that you have to move or release one (or more) form Lowrie/Valbuena and Rasmus is not an option. Keeping Carter is still in play…

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      October 30, 2015

      If you keep Carter, then this discussion is moot, because you’re not serious about cutting down on the Ks if you keep the guy with the 33% K rate. He also is a guy who can play only one position, and not very well and who is going to get over $5 mil in arbitration and delivers one month out of the season.
      If you are looking for the Carter of September to show up next season then you are defining insanity, again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Devin_
        October 30, 2015

        I’m not advocating they keep Carter. I’m saying we are playing Moneyball and keeping players with obvious flaws, but hey, they can’t all be Carlos Correa. At some point Luhnow will weigh the expected value of the HR against the expected loss from strikeouts and decide what min/max we can expect for 2016 under various scenarios.

        Also, don’t be so naive as to think Carter’s Sept/Oct was a complete mirage. Chris Davis is going to make a ton of money this off season and his 2014 looked a lot like Carter’s 2015. Ideally this creates value for Carter on the trade market…but expecting him to perform better than his horrid first four months is not insanity. He is somewhere in between the extremes. I do think his expense means it is time for a scenery change.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 30, 2015

        Yeah, but Carter’s 2015 looked just like Carter’s 2014 and his 2013. So Carter’s September is a mirage. In 2015 he hit .199 and had a hot month to get it that high.
        In 2014 he hit .227 and had one hot month to get it that high.
        In 2013 he hit .223 and had two months where he hit .250 to get his batting avg up to .223. That is also the year he led all of baseball in K’s with 212
        The only reason he didn’t have 200 Ks this year is because he had 125 less PAs.

        Like

  5. Tim
    October 30, 2015

    I have, like everyone else, been an advocate of getting rid of Conger. I’m just baffled how someone can go from throwing out 20-25% of the baserunners to only throwing out 1 for an entire season without some unknown injury. If, and this is a big if, he can return to throwing out 20-25% again then I think he has value as a backup as he does hit RHs decently. The problem is that both he and Castro struggle against LHs. I just don’t see Luhnow giving up on Conger since he just traded for him.

    I want to keep Valbuena. I think he will improve his hitting next year now that he has had a full season in the A.L. His defense at 3B is very good and he does draw BBs so he has value. They just need to platoon him with a RH hitting 3B (Duffy?).

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      October 30, 2015

      Tim, your post leads me to a big question. If Hank Conger had an injury that kept him from throwing properly, what in the world was he doing on the ALDS roster against a team who can run like the Royals. If he was not revealing an injury, that is bad. If the club knew about it, that’s worse
      I would prefer that Conger be healthy and just plain bad, than to have the coaches and front office keep an injured player on the playoff roster. Keeping a catcher who can’t throw because of injury instead of one who could would be a stunningly poor decision.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Devin_
        October 30, 2015

        With days off after every two games you don’t play a backup catcher unless there is an injury.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 30, 2015

        I agree with you, but I’m just racking my brain how someone could have such a precipitous drop in throwing runners out. I don’t know how to explain it. What are your thoughts on why he was so terrible just one year later?

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 30, 2015

        Reason #1 is that he is older and slower. He takes longer now to get up and get in throwing position. His footwork is terrible
        Reason #2 is that as his incredibly slow delivery time to second base becomes more obvious, a lot more teams are taking advantage of him all the time.
        Reason #3 is that his arm is weaker than it was. He has significant drop on his throws to second.
        Reason #4 is that the Astros pitchers are groundball pitchers and throw a lot of low pitches and he is not a good low ball catcher and that slows him down even more trying to pick up pitches in the dirt and then throwing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        October 30, 2015

        While those are possibilities his body didn’t change in one year. In 2014 he threw out 18 baserunners and allowed 57 SBs and in 2013 those numbers were 15 and 42 respectively. This year they were 1 and 42. There has to be another explanation than what you stated.

        Like

    • Zanuda
      October 30, 2015

      Sometimes you have to fish or cut bait. Conger is the guy you need to let go. Admit it didn’t turn out like you thought it would. JL needs to eat a big piece of Humble Pie and move on. I’d have a lot more respect for him given that he did this. And another thing about Conger. If he was injured or something was wrong, then why the hell did we have him catch 100% of the time when Castro was injured? Stupid is as stupid does.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Steven
      October 30, 2015

      The bigger question is – how would you like to be that one guy that gone thrown out by Hank freaking Conger this year?

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 30, 2015

        J B Shuck!

        Like

      • Steven
        October 30, 2015

        Oh the irony.

        Like

    • Steven
      October 30, 2015

      On Valbuena – I think he does platoon more, and it will likely be on the other end of a Lowrie platoon. I don’t think Duffy makes this team next year. I’ve always been under the impression that when they brought Jed back, and Jed knew Carlos was coming, that there was some sort of gentleman’s agreement that by signing a 3 year deal he wasn’t going to be treated as a 1 year rental. It’s easy for us bloggers to treat these guys as assets and move them around in our heads like puzzle pieces, but their world doesn’t work like that. Maybe hitting .222 and spending half the year injured voids all such “agreements” but I think Jed is here, and if that’s the case, and MarGo is as well, I don’t see Duffy here.

      Personally if I am GM and manager for a day – I’m going with an infield of Reed/Altuve/Correa/Valbuena, with MarGo and Lowrie on the bench, an OF if Kemp/Gomez/Springer with Tucker on the bench, and Castro/Heineman behind the plate with Castro getting 75% of the starts to allow Heineman to adjust his rookie season without too much pressure. If I can get away with a 13th I would bring Marisnick so I don’t have to shift Springer around when Gomez has his inevitable 4 day hangnail, plus Marisnick can give you some small ball aspect on defense in the late innings and pinch running. Tyler White would be my DH, and I would tell him you don’t need to worry about doing anything else but showing up and hitting the ball – but having a DH that I could put on either corner in a pinch helps – though with Lowrie and Gonzalez it should never come to that.

      It’s not my world though, so I think Gattis is here, as well as Conger. Neither have options, and trading Conger now is definitely selling on the low. There aren’t enough robot dances in the world to turn him over for a decent prospect, but if he is hitting .260 in May and shown some at least some improvement defensively you never know. Luhnow doesn’t strike me as the guy who just cuts bait, he strikes me more as the wall street guy that tries and waits out a stock bounce back.

      Like

      • Tim
        October 30, 2015

        I also think Lowrie returns. If he gets back in shape and can stay, relatively, healthy he is a nice player to have. He doesn’t strike out at a high rate, will work the count and is an average defender at 3B. He also can play anywhere on the IF. Unless they part with MarGo Duffy probably doesn’t make the team starting 2016.

        Like

  6. Mr. Bill
    October 30, 2015

    We seem pretty content that we have the pitching to compete for the AL Championship – perhaps less one fire-balling closer. The main issue we are facing is what it will take to put an offense in place that can win one-run games against tough pitching – especially by scoring runs against the other team’s best late-inning relievers, and improve our record on the road where HRs are harder to come by. Subject to budget constraints, that will require us to answer the following five questions:

    Question #1: Who do we plan to build our 2016 batting order around? [Altuve, Springer, Correa – anyone else from the current roster?]

    Question #2: What is the offensive model we want to develop? If what we want is more OBP, more BARISP, more RBIs, with less Ks and wasted opportunities, what minimum performance levels [esp. OBP, BARISP, RBI, and Ks] will we need from each offensive position and each position in the batting order in order to make the model we want work?

    Question #3: Position by position [except for SS, 2B, and RF], is there anyone who could we add – from the minors first because it is more cost efficient – in order to increase our chances of hitting the minimums we have established?

    Question #4: Who on our roster is, in all likelihood based on past performance, never going to meet the minimums we have established for the new, improved Astros’ model? These players should be gone – through trade (for minor leaguers, probably) if possible, but if not, through waiver and/or unconditional release. Is the FO willing?

    Question #5: Do we have enough depth at any level to trade real talent away for a short-term solution at our weakest positions [Heaven help us, please no more expensive additions at positions that are not on the top of our priority list!]

    Like

  7. uncleknuckle
    October 30, 2015

    Don’t be so hard on Springer. He led the team in OBP and cut down on his K’s significantly in 2015. The kid hasn’t even had the chance to play a full season. I’m so looking forward to watching him and Correa tear things up in 2016.

    Conger still sucks behind the plate even if he does throw out 20%. He’s an inning waiting to happen everytime he’s back there.

    When a guy strikes out a bunch and also produces a .285 OPS, and a zero WAR, he should be gone, especially if he’s not Jake Marisnick, who hangs on to a roster spot because he’s good at everything but hitting the ball. But at some point, even Jake will have to give us more than a .665 OPS and a .281 OBP if he wants to keep playing with the big club. We have talented kids who want his job who don’t strike out at such a remarkable clip..

    Carter has to go, if only for credibilty issues. Luhnow has to prove that he can fix first base.

    I would not get rid of Lowrie as of yet. Give him one more shot at staying healthy. He’s one of our lower K guys and he goes both ways. And if Duffy or Moran forces the issue, great. That’s a good problem. Duffy really improved on his K rate in 2015. At 26, he’s almost a codger by now. He’s due for a shot somewhere.

    Like

    • Tim
      October 30, 2015

      I disagree on Conger if he throws out 20% of the baserunners. He’s a better offensive catcher than Castro, but not the defensive catcher. However, if Conger throws out 20% of attempted SBs then he becomes a viable option as a backup. We all agree a backup catcher can’t throw out 1 out of every 50 SB attempts, but if he throws out 12 and hits double digit HRs with a batting average of .230+ he may be worth keeping.

      Like

    • Mr. Bill
      October 30, 2015

      There is, of course, a WHOLE lot more to being a defensive catcher than throwing out baserunners. And throwing out baserunners is way down the list of priorities. The ultimate issue is always how does the pitching staff perform when the catcher in question is the one behind the dish. In Conger’s case, the pitching staff was at its worst when he was calling the shots. Even getting beyond pitch calling, placement, and target setting, there is the obvious problem of a slowness of reaction in Conger, especially in dealing with the low pitch. Since our staff thrives on the low pitch, it is no wonder the staff under-performs badly with Conger behind the dish. We did not lose the large # of games Conger caught primarily because of the stolen bases Castro might have prevented. We lost those games because Conger did not bring out the best in the staff the way Castro does.

      Like

      • Tim
        October 30, 2015

        That’s because he couldn’t throw anyone out. Was it the same in LAA?

        Like

  8. Kevin
    October 30, 2015

    In the short amount of games I saw Stassi catch his arm looked as good as Castros and he blocked balls in the dirt better, Castro gest slow and lazy at times.

    The only reason Conger should be in our dugout is, if he will take $100 a game to do that Zombie dance when a real baseball player hits a dinger.

    That’s IT.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Billy Castillo
      October 30, 2015

      100% AGREED, Kevin!

      Like

    • sandy
      October 30, 2015

      Hahaha. Made my day.

      Like

  9. Tim
    October 30, 2015

    Castro has averaged nearly 9 PBs in his 5 seasons with the Astros. Conger has never allowed more than 1 in any season. The PRIMARY reason everyone wants Conger gone, including myself, was because of his 2% caught stealing percentage last year. The only complaints I heard about Castro in the past was his putrid offense, and justifiably so. No one complained enough about his defense for giving it the reason he should be gone. Trust me, if Conger threw out 20%+ of his baserunners in 2015 he would be the least of our concerns. It’s really that simple.

    Like

    • Tim
      October 30, 2015

      And I do agree with Kevin that the zombie dance is awesome.

      Like

    • Billy Castillo
      October 30, 2015

      I was pretty hard on Castro’s defense before this past year. Heck, before Conger came here, Castro was my whipping boy here!

      Like

      • Tim
        October 30, 2015

        And now Castro is a GG candidate. Before this year Conger and Castro provided about the equivalent defensive value, but Castro separated himself this year. I’m not making a case to keep Conger, but I am saying that if he threw out 20%+ of the attempted SBs we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. How many backup catchers can give you double digit HRs and throw out 20%+ baserunners? Not many, but those that can have value to their team.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        October 30, 2015

        I for one would still like to see a comparison of two things:
        [1] the Astros win-loss record when Conger was doing the catching vis-a-vis when Castro was doing the catching, [irrespective of whether a base got stolen by the opposition]; and
        [2] our various starting pitchers’ WHIP, BAA, K/9, BB/9 and HR/9 when Conger was doing the catching vs. when Castro was doing the catching.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 30, 2015

        Why? Wouldn’t that record change if he threw out 20%+ baserunners?

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 30, 2015

        Tim,
        Not if he was calling games poorly, or having issues blocking the plate.There were quite a few wild pitches that could’ve very easily been called passed balls.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 30, 2015

        He only allowed 19 WPs and 1 PB compared to 41 and 7 by Castro.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 30, 2015

        In ~ 30 less games.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 30, 2015

        Do the math, Billy. Conger started in 56 games compared to 102 for Castro. Yet, despite playing in over 1/2 the games of Castro he had less than 1/2 the WPs than Castro and 1/7th of the PBs. Next?

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 30, 2015

        Are you always this rude if someone disagrees with you?

        Next, indeed.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 30, 2015

        How was that rude? I’m just debating with you. I didn’t realize your skin was that thin.

        Let’s compare Carlos Perez to Hank Conger. Carlos started in 75 games, yet had less HRs and RBIs, the same fielding percentage, and allowed 32 WPs and 7 PBs so he had a slightly worse season than Conger except for one telling stat…he threw out 25 of 66 baserunners trying to steal. There isn’t one person on this blog that wouldn’t rather have Carlos Perez over Hank Conger as catcher. Why? Because he was so much more effective at throwing out attempted steals. There is no other stat that makes Perez a better catcher except caught stealing %, which goes back to my main point that if Conger threw out his previous average of 20-25% baserunners we wouldn’t be having the conversation that Conger needs to go.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 30, 2015

        I dunno…the ‘next’ thing wasn’t the most polite thing to say. Difference between debating and being argumentative because someone isn’t agreeing with you.

        Back to the point… the numbers only tell part of the story. Those wild pitches very well could have been called passed balls, but his range is so limited that he couldn’t so much tip the ball or do enough for it to be charged to him. Also, ‘to do the math’ (as you so politely put it) look at the staff ERA with him in there vs Castro. Not all of that can be explained by the massive difference in CS%, as could the amount of homers allowed (per innings played). Simply put, in addition to him not being able to throw a dead man out, and having absolutely no mobility behind the plate, his game calling (bluntly put), sucked.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 30, 2015

        You keep mentioning the WPs being PBs for Conger, but why does Castro have more than double the WPs and 7x the PBs despite not playing in twice as many games? Why doesn’t that argument apply to Castro?

        The ‘next’ comment was indicating it’s your turn in our debate. It looks like you’re reading too much into it. Next?

        Like

      • SargeH
        October 31, 2015

        Billy, you mentioned, in this string, Conger calling a game poorly. Actually, neither of the catchers really call the pitches. Watching the games, one will see that the Astros’ catcher will look to the dugout after the opposing batter steps in, and the catcher is receiving signs from HInch or someone else signaling which pitch to throw. Only the TOR pitchers do not have their pitches called by the bench.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Becky⚾
    October 30, 2015

    You guys are all hired by the front office to be Luhnow’S go to guys! But…..we have to come back down to earth for a minute. Conger is gonna be here extra year. The organization doesn’t have much faith in Stassi, or he would have already made it up to Houston, same for Duffy, and sadly Tyler White too. A,J. Reed will get an invite to spring training…….but we won’t see him until 2017. Luhnow is real big on keeping guys in the minors for a long tie, unless your name is Carlos Correa. Mark Appel will be given every chance in spring training to make the rotation. I have a feeling he has made some big strides in the last year. Remember Valbuena is going to arbitration again this winter, and personally I think he has made a case for a nice raise. He still strikes out waaay too much, but he ended the year with 25 HR’S. That looks good on paper, and I imagine Luhnow will look at him long and hard, before making the decision on whether we keep him, or let him walk. We are still on the hook for $9 mill for Gomez, who hasn’t impressed me yet. Do I want the organization to give the kids in Corpus, or Fresno a chance to how us what we have? HELL YES!! Do I think Luhnow will?? NOPE. Luhnow is not wired like some GM’s…..he doesn’t trust the guys on the farm……they might make an error, perish the thought. I still think Luhnow will go out and get a big time closer.

    Like

  11. Roger
    October 30, 2015

    I agree with Becky on the big time closer, but disagree (respectfully) about Luhnow and kids on the farm. At least one kid—maybe two will impress big-time in ST and be reguIars. I think Carter, Singleton, Rasmus, and Conger are gone(probably Kazmir too), Gattis and Tucker platoon, Appel does not make it as a SP out of ST, but may factor in later, Valbuenna and Marisnick remain, but Lowrie may not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sandy
      October 30, 2015

      Roger, I hope and pray you are right. However, I believe Becky is correct in her assessment of Luhnow. If he had any faith in the youngsters Stassi, Tucker, and Duffy would have seen playing time in September. The only other explanation would be Hinch not having faith in them. Either way I don’t see the kids next year.
      But I I would so like to be wrong.

      Like

    • Steven
      October 31, 2015

      My question is this what you think will happen, or is this what you hope will happen. I can’t mince the hoping part, but I doubt that’s what we see. I think Tucker is going to get a chance to win LF outright, Gattis will DH 140+ games and Conger is here. Those are pretty much different from what I hope will happen though.

      Like

  12. 1oldpro
    October 30, 2015

    I think Hank Conger is a lousy catcher. I think he’s lousy at giving a good target. I think he calls a lousy game. I think he is incredibly slow at getting out in front of the plate to field squibbers. I think he is especially bad at getting in front of balls bounced in from outfielders. I think his last second hop in the box is distracting to umpires and I think he is notoriously slow at picking up popups behind the plate.
    He is horrible at hitting curve balls and he is slower than Matt Dominguez running the bases. When he caught the Astros had a big time losing record and when Castro caught they had a big time winning record.
    I think he might have a bum shoulder, but I don’t care. There are a lot of things I dislike about his catching.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Billy Castillo
      October 30, 2015

      Well said, OP. Not all of his issues were throwing related.

      Like

    • sandy
      October 30, 2015

      Everything you said!

      Like

    • Tim
      October 30, 2015

      He had his worst defensive year ever in 2015, but I stand by my statement that if he threw out runners at the same clip as in the past those minor issues would hardly be noticed. Castro had some of those issues in the past, but everyone kept referring to his weak offense. The advanced metrics show, other than his poor caught stealing %, he was a decent defensive catcher. No one would be worrying about getting rid of him if he was more adept at throwing out runners in 2015. He made less errors than other catchers who played in less games. He was one of the best catchers in regards to amount of WPs and PBs allowed in comparison to games played.

      Like

      • uncleknuckle
        October 30, 2015

        Tim, obviously 1OP noticed quite a bit more than just an inability to throw. I certainly noticed his ineptness behind the plate, ineptness way beyond a failure to throw guys out. I won’t speak for others, but watching the guy play, it’s my opinion, as I stated hours ago, that he sucks behind the plate. When he started games, the club was 25 and 31. With Castro, 60 and 42. If the guys on the mound are not feeling good about their battery mate, it’ll show up over the course of a season. And I think that is clearly reflected in the win-loss record of each catcher.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 30, 2015

        I don’t know many other backup catchers that will give you a .759 OPS. I want Conger gone because he can’t throw out baserunners, but if he returned to his norm I would abslutely keep him and his .759 OPS.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 30, 2015

        Dave,

        Arguments based on the eyeball test don’t work for me. Give me stars to support your assertion and I’ll accept it. Stassi will never be the offensive catcher Conger is, but unless Hank can get back to throwing out runners at a reasonable rate then Stassi or Heineman should be the backup.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 30, 2015

        Stats, not stars.

        Like

      • astrocolt45
        October 31, 2015

        Tim, I have no issue if they want to dump Gattis and make Conger DH. But by any measure, Conger is MAYBE good enough to be an emergency or bullpen catcher. Pitcher and catcher are two positions that any offense is a bonus. Conger is a nice enough person but is a terrible defensive catcher. Yes, that is based on an eye ball test, but that is what made me cringe pitch after pitch. Now as to why Stassi was not used defensively (backup catcher), I have no idea.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 31, 2015

        That’s fine, AC, if the eyeball test is your measurement. However, prior to this year the stats indicate he was an adequate backup catcher.

        Like

    • Tim
      October 30, 2015

      In 2014 LAA was 46-33 in games Conger played catcher.

      Like

      • uncleknuckle
        October 30, 2015

        That’s a relevant stat.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 30, 2015

        Thank you. It does point to the fact that his game calling must not be that bad or how else can you explain the Angels doing so well with him catching.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 30, 2015

        And their record when he didn’t was….?

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        October 30, 2015

        What that proves is that you looked at his stats for 2014 and saw one thing but looking at him catch it’s obviously false. In 2015 he sucked for the Astros. Time after time I give the stats that a winning team loses when he catches while they win when Castro catches. You ignore that and ask for stats and there is no better stat than the same team loses for one catcher and wins with the other.
        And the eyeball test for a catcher’s defense is essential. Stats don’t do it when you watch a catcher catch. The reason you ask for stats is because you know he sucks but you don’t have a clue why, but you won’t back down, so you ask for stats.
        The fact is that this year, for this team he was lousy, but for argument’s sake you want to go back in time and use stats from the past to create some mystery. There is none. He’s lousy.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 31, 2015

        OP…here’s a stat that backs up our assertion. The Angels had a .582 winning percentage for the games Conger played in. For the season, their winning % was .605.

        So, their winning percentage was lower when Conger played then when he didn’t. Just like the Astros this year!

        Like

      • Steven
        October 31, 2015

        Yes, but didn’t Castro get to be the catcher for most of Keuchel and McHugh starts? I mean, sometimes his winning percentage is based on who he gets stuck catching as managers like to have battery mates work together as much as possible.

        I’ll say this though – Conger obviously caught Keuchel at least some, and at the end of the year Keuchel wasn’t singing the “my catchers were great” he was singing the “my Castro is great.” It’s telling.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 31, 2015

        Op,

        That’s because he couldn’t throw anyone out trying to steal. In 2014, he was able to and the Angels had a winning record when he was catching. You keep ignoring this. My point, once again, is that if Conger threw out baserunners at a clip like he had in the past the Astros would win more games with him at catcher. Unfortunately, he only threw out 2% of the attempted steals and this hurt the Astros.

        Billy, this discussion isn’t about Chris Iannetta. He is a good defensive catcher, but the winning % with Conger behind the plate was on par with the Angels winning %. If Conger can throw out 20-25% baserunners he can help a team win. Next?

        Like

      • Tim
        October 31, 2015

        Also, Chris Iannetta threw out 21 of 70 base-stealers in 2014, which, once again, helps a team win ball games. Being 17 games over .500 compared to 13 with Conger can be attributed to the number of runners caught stealing.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 31, 2015

        Conger also caught many of the games in September when the bullpen imploded.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 31, 2015

        By the way, as I know OP is a WAR guy. Conger had a 0.5 dWAR in 2013 while Iannetta had 0.1 and in 2014 Conger had a 0.8 dWAR compared to -0.3 for Iannetta.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 31, 2015

        ‘Billy, this discussion isn’t about Chris Iannetta. He is a good defensive catcher, but the winning % with Conger behind the plate was on par with the Angels winning %.’

        It was still less than with Iannetta, just like it was less than with Castro. Not as significantly less as it was this season, but still less, and it cannot ALL be blamed on the difference in CS% for the reasons OP pointed out, and for what Steven posted in the last paragraph, all things you conveniently ignore.

        Next?

        Like

      • Tim
        October 31, 2015

        Billy,

        Please do your own research instead of relying on others to do it for you. Please review who was the starting pitcher in 2014 when Conger was catcher compared to Iannetta and you can easily account for the miniscule difference in win %. The fact remains that Conger was a serviceable catcher in 2013-2014, but not in 2015. What was the primary difference in his defensive statistics? I give you a clue…it is the one statistic I have been arguing about incessantly yesterday and today, but no one wants to take notice because it doesn’t go with their discussion. Conger was a lousy catcher in 2015, but he wasn’t in 2013-2014 and the one statistic that stands out between these seasons is his caught stealing %. Next?

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 31, 2015

        First of all, I don’t rely on others to do research for me. Perhaps I need to fetch you a dictionary so you could learn the meaning of ‘rhetorical question’. (See? I can be just as snippy as you). That ‘miniscule’ difference in winning percentage accounts for a win differential of 4 games if prorated over a 162 game season, which could spell the difference between winning the division or going in as a wild card.

        The second thing goes with this little gem… ‘I give you a clue…it is the one statistic I have been arguing about incessantly yesterday and today, but no one wants to take notice because it doesn’t go with their discussion.’ Actually, we *have* taken notice about your incessant arguing about the fact that Conger had his worst ever year in regards to his caught stealing %. Nobody has dismissed that. However, you are dismissing the fact that Conger has other issues, too, because it doesn’t go with your discussion. Earlier OP accurately pointed out that Conger’s lack of speed hindered his ability to get in front of the plate to field squibblers, which is not the best thing in the world when most of our pitchers are ‘pitch to contact’ types. Here’s another thing…he actually had a CAREER BEST fielding percentage this year, and that includes his minor league stats. Truth be told, he’s NEVER been a good defensive catcher overall (and neither was Castro before this year) and he’s only going to get worse. His future in this league is as a platoon DH, and that’s only *if* this year’s power surge wasn’t a mirage.

        Next?

        Like

      • Tim
        October 31, 2015

        Billy,

        Thank you for making my point. If he had his best fielding percentage in 2015 then what logical reasons can you give for him being a lousy catcher in 2015, but not in 2013-2014? Again, please look at his caught stealing % in 2015 compared to other years. The other items mentioned were also there in prior seasons, but the ONE telling stat that explains the difference in 2015 was, again, his horrible job of throwing out base-runners. Next?

        Like

      • Tim
        October 31, 2015

        Btw, don’t worry about the snippy comments. They don’t bother me unlike yourself. I have many liberal friends and the vast majority of them get very touchy and sensitive when I don’t agree with them so you fit the mold.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 31, 2015

        ‘. If he had his best fielding percentage in 2015 then what logical reasons can you give for him being a lousy catcher in 2015, but not in 2013-2014’

        As I said before, he wasn’t a good defensive catcher before this year. All he had going for him was his alleged pitch framing abilities and the occasional pop (although not nearly as much before this year). Here’s the thing…as an Angels fan for some years , I’m probably a bit more familiar with Conger than you are. His defense, game calling abilities, and (yes) ability to throw out runners were considered to be deficient. But don’t take my word for it.

        http://www.insidesocal.com/angels/2013/02/14/angels-catcher-hank-conger-its-definitely-a-big-year/

        http://www.angelswin-forum.com/forums/topic/3094-mark-gubicza-hank-congers-a-very-good-defensive-catcher/

        http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2014/11/5/7164887/hank-congers-suspect-framing-numbers

        These complaints about Conger are nothing new! He just went from bad to awful this year. Unless he somehow gets himself into shape, it’s only going to go downhill from here.

        Next?

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 31, 2015

        ‘ I have many liberal friends and the vast majority of them get very touchy and sensitive when I don’t agree with them so you fit the mold.’

        Has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we’re not agreeing. One can have a debate without resorting to being sarcastic or attacking others. Apparently, that is beyond you. I wonder if your friends get touchy and sensitive because you talk to them the same way you’re talking to me here, rather than the fact you don’t agree with them? I’d imagine so.

        But the fact that you had to throw in the ‘liberal’ comment in there speaks volumes, and at least sheds some light on why you seem to have a problem with me.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 31, 2015

        My other post seemed to have disappeared, so I’ll do the cliff notes version.

        I’ve been an Angels fan for a very long time. There have been discussions about Conger’s poor defense for years. He had a very poor reputation in the past for his defense and (yes) his ability to throw out runners. Many of those articles are still on the web, dating all the way back to 2010. The only thing that changed this year is he went from bad to awful *all the way around* defensively.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 31, 2015

        Billy,

        I have no problem with you or anyone else on this blog. I welcome a healthy debate, but you said I was being rude just because I was disagreeing and debating with you. I think you’re being a bit sensitive and touchy, but there is nothing wrong with that as everyone has different personalities.

        I never said Conger was a strong defensive catcher. What I said is if he went back to throwing out between 20-25% of attempted SBs and hit like he did last year he would be a serviceable backup. If you can get an OPS of .750+ and the ability to throw out a fair percentage of baserunners while continuing to be adequate defensively then that player is worth keeping as a backup catcher.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 31, 2015

        Tim,
        Maybe it wasn’t your intention, but the ‘do the math’, ‘do your own research’ and ‘next’ things came off as rude. Had nothing to do with us disagreeing, it’s the *way* you came across.

        In any case, what’s done is done. I’ll let it go.

        As for the thing with Conger, it’s not just he wasn’t a good defensive catcher, it’s that he’s always been a *bad* defensive catcher. ‘Adequate’ would have been an improvement! Angels fans felt the same way when he starts as Astros fans do today. His range factor as always been weak (but admittedly much better than Castro’s before this year), but he had an abysmal fielding percentage (for a catcher). To put things in perspective, before this year his fielding percentage was not only worse than Evan Gattis’s was as catcher, they were worse than what Gattis did this year in his 11 games in the OF! As for why he had a career year fielding percentage-wise, it’s for the sad fact that his range has diminished to the point where he’s simply getting less opportunities to make plays.

        Now, as a platoon DH, he can have value, as he’s got a good amount of pop hitting left handed. Always has. Other than that, though, what we saw this year was no fluke. Again, there are articles online from his time with the Angels that bear this out.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 31, 2015

        Billy,

        That doesn’t make sense. If his range is so limited why does he have one of the best ratios of WP/PBs allowed? If a pitch gets past a catcher it has to either be a WP or PB (unless no one is on base or a runner doesn’t advance). I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree because, in my opinion, if Conger throws out 20-25% attempted steals I want him as a backup catcher. I want a little more than a .750 OPS as my DH, which is why I don’t want Gattis as DH, but I absolutely will take it from our backup catcher.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 31, 2015

        Btw, Gattis had a .943 FP as a LFer for Atl in 2013 (his only time in the OF with them). Conger never had a FP that low as a catcher. Also, Carlos Corporan, who many felt was a good, defensive backup catcher had a FP nearly identical to Conger coming into this year.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 31, 2015

        His range becomes an issue with bunts or weakly hit grounders. His CS% isn’t going to get back to the 20-25% range because his reaction time and release are too slow to get anybody out these days. That’s something that is only going to get worse, not better. Unless he’s batting LH (where he had a likely unsustainable .892 OPS this year) as DH, he doesn’t have any (positive) value, as his weak (and getting worse…) defense doesn’t offset his poor performance batting RH.

        Like

      • Tim
        October 31, 2015

        Billy,

        He threw out over 20% in 2014 with the same body. If it was a gradual decline over many years I could buy your statement, but he will only be 28 opening day next year, which is not a declining age. He may not get back to 20%+ caught stealing percentage, but going from 22% to 2% in one year doesn’t show of a gradual decline. He had been fairly consistent going into this season.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 31, 2015

        ‘He may not get back to 20%+ caught stealing percentage’

        We agree!

        Seriously, though, that 2% probably won’t be repeated, but I expect him to be around 15%. And yes, Stat wise he hasn’t been declining every year, but he is indeed slowing down (and I say this having seen him play quite a bit before this year). It’s not so much weight gain but more he’s not in the best shape, and I think his knees are older than 28. On his best day, he made Brad Ausmus look like Tony Eusebio, and he’s not even at that point any more.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 31, 2015

        That was backwards…I meant he made Tony Eusebio look like Brad Ausmus.

        Like

  13. sandy
    October 30, 2015

    Tim, you’re probably right. If he threw out runners as well as in previous years it would be easier to accept keeping him. But Stassi is a better catcher and he’s cheaper, so a smart GM would go that route.
    Besides, I don’t believe the confidence a pitcher has in his catcher is a minor issue.

    Like

  14. uncleknuckle
    October 30, 2015

    Tim, you could go on all night. Obviously, you’re still in mid season form. This is the off season for me now. I’m already getting out of shape. That’s a fair point about the eyeball test. But it’s my opinion. It’s not my argument. I also provided perhaps the most simple stat available, the one that carries the most importance and that is the win-loss record attributed to each catcher. You can now respond with a full filibuster. I’m done for the night. Peace out, as the locals say.

    Like

    • Tim
      October 30, 2015

      See my comment above on the Angels record in 2014 with Conger at catcher.

      Like

  15. Tim
    October 30, 2015

    Off topic, but the early betting lines have Toronto as the favorite to win the A.L. next year. The Astros and Rangers are the 2nd favorites. What a difference a year makes.

    Like

    • Devin_
      October 30, 2015

      Let’s see what TOR does with Bautista and Encarnacion this off season. Both are (likely) coming back on team options, but will be FA after the year. TOR owes Martin and Tulo a lot of money. Donaldson is arb eligible and will get a ton. Price is outside their price range. I suspect they line up to make a run, but position themselves to be sellers mid-season if things start poorly.

      Like

  16. 1oldpro
    October 31, 2015

    It’s kind of an interesting read, going to Lone Star Ball and looking at the reactions to Maddux leaving the Rangers. It seems the reaction was that the move was inevitable.
    It is also ironic how things worked out for Dan Jennings in Miami. A GM who fires the manager and takes over the team gets fired as manager and then fired as GM.
    There is a moral to that story somewhere in there, I’m sure. Why do I have this feeling that somebody could go into Miami and turn that thing around down there.
    Is anyone else surprised that the Mets are in the Series now, and yet, have four incredibly young and talented starting pitchers in their rotation. How in the heck have they come up with these guys? I wonder if the Cubs’ lineup vs the Mets’ pitching will be a battle we’ll be watching for years. In the spring, I commented on the Mets’ hitters tearing it up on the Grapefruit league.
    I still marvel at the irrelevance of the Atlanta Braves. The Mets picked the perfect year to get good because the rest of the NL West was “Oh, Boy!”

    Like

    • Tim
      October 31, 2015

      I went to a Mets/Dodgers game at Citi Field in late July (pre-Cespedes). The talk on local radio was that Wilpon will not spend to improve the team due to his losses from the Madoff scandal and that Alderson was a horrible GM. Their offense was struggling mightily. It is amazing how things turned around so quickly, primarily from one trade (Cespedes). Now, they look to be a team to contend for several more years even if hey don’t re-sign Cespedes.

      Like

    • Becky⚾
      October 31, 2015

      Who in their right mind would want to work for Loria??? That guy has some severe mental problems. When he signed Stanton to that RIDICULOUS contract, it was in the contract that Stanton wouldn’t be traded……When he got hurt this year, Loria started rumors that he was “entertaining” offers for the kid. Loria is seriously mental.

      Like

  17. Roger
    October 31, 2015

    I think 1 op is just totally right-on with his perfect description of Conger’s catching:
    “He’s lousy!

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be the ‘collective’ fly on the wall at a Luhnow-led brainstorming session and hear the same words?

    Or–perhaps we could get CNBC’s John Harwood to ask Conger—“are you a real catcher—or a cartoon character catcher from a comic book?”
    Sorry–

    Like

    • Tim
      October 31, 2015

      Yes, he was lousy in 2015.

      Like

    • Becky⚾
      October 31, 2015

      Roger……What do you do with Conger?? If he is as bad as WE know he is, what value do you want to get for him? I promise you, Conger WILL be on this team next year. Luhnow would rather eat a live snake rather than admit he got screwed on that deal with the A’s.

      Like

  18. 1oldpro
    October 31, 2015

    In the hoopla of the playoffs, I kinda lost track of George Springer.
    I hadn’t noticed that his batting average was 45 points higher this year than last.
    That resulted in his OBP being 31 points higher than last.
    That resulted in his OPS being 22 points higher.
    All the while, his K rate dropped from 33% to 24.2%
    His RBIs dropped because he was batting leadoff or #2 most of the season.
    You know what? If this guy keeps improving, doesn’t get hurt and the Astros figure out a way to get him more in the middle of the order, he could be the player we all thought he would be before ya know it.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      October 31, 2015

      It’s interesting that he got hit by pitches eight times in a short season and that he only grounded into 4 DPs.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        October 31, 2015

        And one of those pitches took him out for 6 weeks. Just think how much more he would have hit, if he hadn’t been out of the lineup. I think having Correa behind him for a full season will help a LOT!

        Like

    • uncleknuckle
      October 31, 2015

      Not to be redundant, but I don’t see any reason why Springer can’t give us a .900 plus OPS in 2016. He should not be hitting 1 or 2.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        October 31, 2015

        100% agreed. It’s a waste of his talent.

        Like

      • Becky⚾
        October 31, 2015

        Altuve
        Gomez
        Correa
        Springer
        I would put him in the 4 hole….

        Like

    • Tim
      October 31, 2015

      Imagine a lineup in 2017 with Springer, White, Correa, Reed, Altuve and either Duffy or Moran at 3B. Maybe Kemp in the OF and a FA for the other OF spot. Dang, I like it!

      Like

  19. 1oldpro
    October 31, 2015

    Royals one win away from a Championship.

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      October 31, 2015

      GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR…………..

      Like

    • Tim
      November 1, 2015

      Unless the Mets rally to win the next 2 games our Astros will be the only team to push the Royals to an elimination game, and they had 2 elimination games against the Astros. I am pulling for the Royals to win this series and hope they close it out tonight. It makes the Astros season look really good and it gets us closer to the start of the Hot Stove League.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sandy
        November 1, 2015

        Yep, I agree. At this point I’m pulling for the Royals too for the same reason.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. uncleknuckle
    November 1, 2015

    When you try to hide a defensive liability at second base, it will come back to haunt you at some point. No reference to Halloween intended.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 1, 2015

      I think leaving Tyler Clippard in the game, with him being too scared to throw strike 3 to Cain was the losing move in that inning. His manager left him in there and he shriveled up like a snail when Cain swung out of his shoes at those two pitches. The moment was way too big for Clippard, and once he let the Royal locomotive get going downhill, there was no stopping it.
      The error was bad, but it was caused by having to rush to make a play because of the two walks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • uncleknuckle
        November 1, 2015

        The error was bad. But our guy would have also gotten to the next ball, the one that got through with the go ahead single. I agree OP, not much difference between a 5 out save or a 6 out save when you’ve got a chance to tie up the World Series after being down two games.

        Like

    • Tim
      November 1, 2015

      That has always been the knock on Murphy. No one disputes the guy can hit, but his defense is atrocious. I have seen a few sportswriters indicate the Astros may be a strong pursuer of Murphy as a free agent this offseason. Unless they plan to DH him I don’t see a spot for him on the 2016 Astros.

      Like

  21. Lester J. Gillis
    November 1, 2015

    You are right OP, Clippard should have been pulled after the first walk of the inning. If you are prepared to use Familia for the final 4 outs, you should be prepared to use him for the final 5.

    The Astros are rumored to be interested Murphy as a free agent, but he has never been a good defensive player. I think giving him a big payday would be a terrible decision. Like his bat, hate his glove.

    Like

    • Devin_
      November 1, 2015

      I assume the rumor was started by a writer with no sources and no clue.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        November 1, 2015

        Ah, so probably a Chronicle guy…

        Like

    • Tim
      November 1, 2015

      I read your post after writing mine above. Otherwise, I would have just replied to your post, Lester.

      Like

      • Lester J. Gillis
        November 2, 2015

        No problem, especially when we agree Murphy would be a big mistake for the Astros. One thing I don’t hear too many people discuss when they talk about how good the Royals are is how good their defense is. The Astros may not be quite as good defensively, but they are close, and that’s one area where they can be the Royals equal pretty easily, if they aren’t already.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. sandy
    November 1, 2015

    Let’s all hope that Luhnow address the positions that need upgrades when he starts dealing.

    Like

  23. Becky⚾
    November 1, 2015

    Explain something to me: why in the hell should the Astros trade for Alex Gordon?
    He’s 31yrs old…..he’s good (I’ll concede that fact)…..but don’t we want to see what we’ve got in house, before you even THINK about trading prospects for him? One of the guys over at Climbing Tall Hill is trying to make the case for a trade for him.
    Jane Hanson has some good info on whose playing winter ball on her blog.
    Oh yeah, almost forgot congrats to your Texans for winning their game today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sandy
      November 1, 2015

      Astros need to fix first, third, DH, and probably catcher before getting another outfielder. Marisnick is a great defensive center fielder. His bat wouldn’t matter so much if they got rid of some of the K guys.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        November 1, 2015

        Sandy……EXACTLY!!!

        Like

      • Steven
        November 3, 2015

        Marisnick still has to bat 1 out of 9 times everytime through the lineup, so yea, if you want consistency, his bat does matter. This team struggled with consistency, it struggled against power righties, and you propose to keep one of the most unproductive hitters on this club in the lineup? There is a place for him on the 25 man, I think, but playing everyday and batting 4-5 times every game, is not one of them.

        Like

      • Steven
        November 3, 2015

        And, btw, Marisnick IS one of the K guys.

        Like

    • Tim
      November 1, 2015

      Gordon will be a free agent. He won’t cost any prospects.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 1, 2015

      Becky, they aren’t talking trade. Gordon is expected to decline his option and opt for free agency.
      The Astros need a LH hitting or switch hitting out fielder. Correa, Springer, Altuve, Gomez, and Gattis are all RH, as is White. They need lefty hitters in their lineup, too.

      Like

    • Devin_
      November 1, 2015

      Becky, It all comes down to what you value. Gordon is a failed third baseman who has made a tremendous impact as a left fielder. In terms of runs saved. Offensively he is a good hitter who has never been great. If you want a FA corner outfielder, he may be more attractive due to his age and consistency over Heyward or Cespedes.

      I pass on him without getting into the bidding if I’m Luhnow.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        November 1, 2015

        I agree Devin. I looked at his career stats and wasn’t blown away.

        Like

      • Becky⚾
        November 1, 2015

        I don’t know…..I just keep thinking we SHOULD have someone on the farm that can play out there. Have we completely given up on Preston Tucker??? I want to see some of our OWN young kids get a chance to show us what they’ve got. This whole world series has given me a bad taste in my mouth, when I think that could have been US. I’m *grumpy* today 👑

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        November 1, 2015

        Gordon is an above average, defensive LFer and a high contact hitter, which is what the Astros need. With that being said it will probably take a 5/$75M contract to get him and I will pass. If they decide to offer him that contract they should front-load it like they did with Feldman and Lowrie.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 1, 2015

        He also is a high OBP player. Right now, Gordon is better than anyone we have in the high minors and I like what he brings to a team, but it depends on the contract whether I want him on the Astros. He will definitely be less than Cespedes and Heyward. Heyward may end up being the most over-paid player at the end of free agency this year. I’m hearing he may approach 10/$275M and that is a ridiculous salary for him.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. sandy
    November 1, 2015

    Good question. Have we given up on Tucker? If they have then he needs to be traded. He just looks uncomfortable as a pinch hitter.

    Like

    • Tim
      November 1, 2015

      Tucker should only be a DH. He is Evan Gattis-like in LF.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        November 1, 2015

        Then I wonder why he didn’t hook up with a team down in the Dominican to play winter ball? Who knows…..they may end up sending him to play somewhere in the next few weeks. He sure didn’t get much time in left while he was up here.

        Like

  25. sandy
    November 1, 2015

    Boy! Those Royals are something. Tied it in the ninth.

    Like

  26. Becky⚾
    November 1, 2015

    Well……….there it is folks the last baseball game of 2015. Winter meetings are just around the corner Dec. 6th. Let the wheeling and dealing begin!!! Just think how good we would have been this year if we had a 1st baseman like Eric Hosmer………
    (((( sigh ))))).

    Liked by 1 person

  27. 1oldpro
    November 2, 2015

    Looking at the Steamer projections for Rasmus for next season, he projects to take a tumble in a bunch of statistical categories.
    If the Astros are a sabermetric team, their projections have to take into account all the data, and then value it against their spending vs league spending criteria.
    In other words, as a low payroll team, they can ill-afford to pay Rasmus a $15.8 mil salary and have him end up close to his projected WAR of 1.0.
    The Astros got the unexpected 2.7 WAR from Colby for $8 mil this year. Since they know they absolutely are going to face a huge increase in Keuchel’s pay for 2016, I think they should account for that money right off the bat by letting Rasmus test the free agent market.
    My comment does go with the context of this post about strikeouts, because Steamer projects 168 Ks for Rasmus next season, and a drop in his walks and BA.

    Like

    • Devin_
      November 2, 2015

      I want to agree, but also like arguing (but not at the level of a heated discussion on Conger). Guys like Sandoval got huge pay days because of postseason production. Guys like Biggio were delayed entry into the HoF due in part to lower postseason productivity. Should we assume Colby is an October force? My personal opinion is he got hot in the last week of the season and carried it into the playoffs…not worth a $15.8 risk, but certainly worth considering a few years at a few million less per year.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        November 2, 2015

        And look what happened to Sandoval and the Red Sox.
        Daniel Murphy would have made a fortune if the Mets had been eliminated by the Cubs. Now, you have to wonder how much the WS performance cost him.
        To me, statistics needs to evolve in baseball to the point where you can use them as a basis going forward, not paying for what a player did.
        There is so much to account for the human factor in the game, but, somehow teams are going to have to learn to say no. The few teams that put themselves in a position to where they don’t give in to the pressure of huge payrolls could be out in front of the pack in the next five years and just might end up being the next KC.
        Houston is at that crossroads right now.
        They have core players who don’t make huge amounts of money, a lot of talent in the minors and some players in the majors who are making more money than their performance dictates. If they can get a prospect for each one of those veteran players who are going to run up our player payroll this year, carefully stick one prospect after another into their everyday lineup and sign their core to reasonable contracts for the future, they ensure continuity in delivering winning players to their club for the next five years.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Devin_
        November 2, 2015

        The counter is that KC paid a steep price to bring Cueto and Zobrist to town, but they did win the WS. One might argue sending so many, high caliber prospects is more costly than spending millions from an owner’s pockets.

        Like

    • Zanuda
      November 2, 2015

      Maybe baseball players should be like stocks or mutual funds. Remember what they say. “Past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future performance”. In other words, “Caveat emptor”. Let the buyer beware.

      Like

  28. 1oldpro
    November 2, 2015

    Don Mattingly leaves the Dodgers and becomes the manager of the Miami Marlins.
    He leaves the team with the highest payroll in major league history and goes to the team that had, by far, the lowest payroll in the major leagues in 2015 and is owned by a guy who is considered one of the worst owners in all of sports.
    Here is a guy who has a ton of confidence in himself. Or he’s completely nuts.
    Or both.

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      November 2, 2015

      He’s not nuts, but Loria *is*.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. TNT
    November 2, 2015

    Just curious.
    Does anyone see any resemblances whatsoever between Jake Marisnik(?) and J.D. Martinez from an offensive point of view ?
    Many fans believed J.D.could be an offensive force but never really shined in Houston. He goes elsewhere and his production significantly improved. I always felt Jake had a good swing and did actually show good production early in the season but I think either his confidence got shaken or the book opened on him..or both.

    Like

    • Devin_
      November 2, 2015

      No. Of JDM, our Becky use to rave that she really liked him because he would square up at least one pitch per game and hit a rocket…even if at someone. Then, JDM had some injuries and really struggled to hit fastballs and fell out of Houston’s plans. His pitch recognition wasn’t bad and many here thought he could break back into a starting role given the chance. With Detroit, he changed his approach by emulating Miguel Cabrera and started driving the ball to RF.

      Marisnick has poor pitch recognition, but lots of athletic ability. The similarity at the plate that I see is Hunter Pence. In April, Marisnick was staying back and hitting hard liners to RF for hits. The rest of the season he was trying to pull everything and just rolled over or waved weakly at sliders away. I think if he would just go with pitches and let his speed work for him you would have a valuable hitter in the lineup.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        November 2, 2015

        JDM was and still is a really good kid, he just needed to get out of Houston. Somehow this organization has a way of screwing up young kids.

        Like

    • sandy
      November 2, 2015

      I love Jake. I like his enthusiasm in the field and on the bases.
      I hope they hang on to him and give him some substantial playing time.

      Like

  30. 1oldpro
    November 2, 2015

    That is a great question.
    Their hitting problems were similar but their circumstances were completely different in that JD was desperate on a losing team and Marisnick is not desperate on a winning team.
    Will Marisnick do the work to correct his problems like JD did? I don’t know.
    Hunger made a huge difference in Martinez’s game. Is Jake hungry enough to remake himself as a hitter, or will he just use his other tools, which were better than JDs, to coast along?

    Like

  31. uncleknuckle
    November 2, 2015

    Jake and J.D.? Really hard to make any comparison. J.D. had much bigger minor league offensive stats then Jake ever put together. Interesting to compare Jakes offensive stats this past year to J.D.’s last in Houston. Very little difference. Marisnick had an 81 OPS+, Martinez a 79. Jake is just a much better athlete. If J.D. had the same tools, the club would have invested more time and effort in him.

    Nothing in Jakes history tells me he’ll ever become the hitter Martinez is today. But he won’t need to. That takes us back to last years lengthy discussion on how much Jake would need to hit to keep a job in 2015. Of course he ended up at .236, with a .281 OBP and the .665 OPS. And although he stole 24 bases, he got thrown out 9 times. That’s not a good percentage.

    We’ll probably end up in the same discussion all over again. How much do we need he outfield defense? What does Jake have to do offensively in 2016 to stay on the 25 man? I think more than 2015.

    Like

  32. Billy Castillo
    November 2, 2015

    Thankfully Jake finished well (including the playoffs), so hopefully that is a trend as opposed to a Carter-esque mirage.

    Like

  33. Becky⚾
    November 2, 2015

    Several differenceS between Marisnick and J.D. Martinez. JDM was lousy in left field, Jake is awesome in any of the outfield positions. JDM had a mental problem while he was here…..he was so damned afraid of getting sent back to AAA his brain was nearly fried with the hitting coaches trying everything to “fix” his swing. He even flew his high school basball coach into Houston to try and figure it out. JD *NEEDED* to get out of Houston, he was struggling sooo much here. I’m glad he was able to get straighten out in Detroit. Jake is going to be fine…….I don’t care what a select few of you say. None of us know what he might be working on over the winter, if he’s not playing winter ball, he may be working with another hitting coach. Don’t think for one minute that he wasn’t told what to work on, when the season was over. He wants to keep a job……he knows what he needs to do.⚾

    Like

  34. sandy
    November 2, 2015

    JDM did have mental problems. I always wondered how much Porter played into that situation.

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      November 2, 2015

      Sandy……A lot !!!

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        November 2, 2015

        Just like Cooper ruined Towles. Thankfully, JDM didn’t get to that point, but if he had to play under Porter for much longer, he might have.

        Like

    • Steven
      November 3, 2015

      First, I don’t know what you mean by mental problems. The fix on Martinez was simple, it was a mechanical adjustment the Tigers coaching staff helped him make, and he became one of the most dangerous hitters in the league going to opposite field. It really was that simple, he has said so many times.

      Not liking Porter really shouldn’t be free reign to blame all of a players problems in their failures to adjust to the big leagues either as fast as you want or at all on him. In the end, these are professional athletes, and their success or failure is their accountability and not Bo Porters, whose job was to help them some but mostly manage a lineup card and create positive matchups for them to succeed in. He wasn’t great at it, he had me scratching my head at times in his matchup choices, but JDM didn’t fail because of Porter. Porter wasn’t even the only manager he saw in Houston, much less through the entirety of the Houston system, that missed JDM’s needed adjustments.

      As for Jake, I’m guessing I’m one of your select “few.” Marisnick is a fine 4th OF’er. He can run. He can catch and throw with the top 10% in the league. He can even get hot and have spurts of success – thats what happens when you are big, strong, and your bat is fast enough. The bottom line though – Marisnick never really had JDM’s success at high levels in the minors, the better the pitching got, the more he struggled. It doesn’t matter how big and strong you are, you have 4/10th of a second to decide what to do with a bat and put it there, it’s all instinct, and I don’t see him developing a hitter’s instinct. He will be fine, as long as he is matched up well and not asked to bat 600 times. If the choice on the roster is keeping him or Tucker though, and that’s where I think it might go, Marisnick will lose that battle because Gomez is a gold glover and Springer is a good enough fielder that he doesn’t need to be replaced in the 8th of a close game, and LF in MMP is a lot easier.

      Like

      • Tim
        November 3, 2015

        I agree with most of what you said, but I think if the choice, for next year, comes down to Tucker or Marisnick Luhnow chooses Marisnick. Jeff seems to value his defense and speed off the bench. Of course, much of tis may depend on who they add via free agency, but as it stands now I think Luhnow values what Marisnick offers over what Tucker offers. This is just my opinion, obviously.

        Like

      • Devin_
        November 3, 2015

        I disagree with two points:
        1. Springer has the potential to be a gold glove RF. He just has to slow down on some plays. I would like to see him in CF, but if we have a Gomez out there it isn’t necessary.
        2. When Becky speaks of mental issues she is saying that JDM had to get out of his own head. Once you start thinking in the box you are toast. He had made up his mind what to do, whether to swing too often before the windup with the Astros because he was pressing so hard. Getting to Detroit was a needed fresh start. I don’t have any inside info, but suspect the hot start at Toledo gave him a lot of confidence. His level headed manager probably helped. As for Porter, I fully believe he tried to put players in a position to succeed. It didn’t always work.

        Like

      • Becky⚾
        November 3, 2015

        Steven….why I said he was menta, was there were TOO MANY people trying to “fix” him……and he nearly had a total meltdown because of it. When he flew his high school baseball coach in to help him, it had gone down the tubes. He looked like he had never even held a bat when he was at the plate. It was painful watching him bat.
        JD needed to get away from this organization, it had gotten toxic for him.
        Jake will still be here next year, but I’m afraid Tucker won’t be. My opinion only.
        Sorry if you thought I was singling you out.

        Like

  35. 1oldpro
    November 3, 2015

    Here are some things that have to happen this week.
    By Friday, the Astros have to make their moves on the three players they have on the 60-day DL. They have to reinstate them and keep them on the 40-man or DFA them. The players involved are Peacock, Deduno and Feldman.
    By Saturday they have to submit QOs to free agents or lose them to free agency with no compensation, if compensation applies. If they do tender a QO the player has seven days to either accept and be bound to the team for $15.8 mil or reject and become a FA. Kazmir can be offered a QO but does not offer the team compensation of a draft pick if he rejects the QO and signs elsewhere. The FAs are , Thatcher, Perez, Kazmir, Rasmus and Sipp. If they aren’t offered a QO they are off the roster and can negotiate with any team, including the Astros.
    In addition:
    Although the Rule 5 draft is not until December, the 40-man rosters have to be set by November 20th, 18 days from now.

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      November 3, 2015

      They will try to keep Tony Sipp, I think…..and Feldman will be back next year.
      The rest of your list is …meh, but we don’t know WHAT Luhnow will do.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 3, 2015

      Sipp is a free agent for the first time and turns 33 next July. His career earnings are peanuts for a pitcher his age with his value as a lefty reliever who is not just a LOOGY.
      This is his one chance at a payday. I hope the Astros will be given a chance to bid on his services, but right now his agent is talking to every team out there.
      He will try to get the best deal he possibly can to ensure financial security for his family’s future and this is his best shot.

      Like

    • Mr. Bill
      November 3, 2015

      No surprise, but the Astros are not picking up the team option on Chad Qualls.

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        November 3, 2015

        Instead of paying him $3.5 million to pitch for Houston next year, we gave him $250,000 for the buy-out and made him a free agent.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        November 3, 2015

        Good move.

        Like

    • Tim
      November 3, 2015

      Isn’t Rasmus the only Astros FA with draft pick compensation attached if he rejects the QO and signs elsewhere?

      Like

  36. Mr. Bill
    November 3, 2015

    Congratulations to former Astro LHP pitching prospect Josh Hader. As you will recall, Josh is one of the talented youngsters we sent to the Brewers in exchange for Carlos Gomez. Monday Josh struck out side in an inning of work in the Arizona Fall League. For the Fall Josh now has 11 Ks in 7 IPs, and in the 7 innings he has pitched opposing hitters have managed to hit just .125 against him.

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      November 3, 2015

      Yep, I said it earlier this year, that kid might be “the” one who we let get away. His makeup is very similar to Chris Sale. Oh my aching head😳

      Liked by 1 person

      • 1oldpro
        November 3, 2015

        Hader is the 14th ranked prospect in a system that is not as deep as the Astros.
        He is 21 years old and is going to end up being a reliever and has a 60 rated fastball and a 50 rated change as his 2 best pitches.
        Riley Ferrell is the 13th rated prospect in a deeper Astros system. He is 22 years old and has tons of experience as a LH closer. He has a 70 rated fastball and a 65 rated slider as his two best pitches. Expect Ferrell to rise quickly in the Astros system.
        They both have command and control issues, but apparently the Astros saw enough in Ferrell to include Hader in that trade.
        I am confident that Ferrell is in the Astros’ plan.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Devin_
        November 3, 2015

        Riley Ferrell is the big, RHP reliever out of TCU. Are you thinking of Michael Freeman, the big, LHP reliever out of OSU?

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        November 3, 2015

        Thanks, Devin. I messed that up. But, I’m still glad we have Ferrell. Tell me more about Freeman. I know some people who think he is a good prospect.

        Like

  37. 1oldpro
    November 3, 2015

    OK, so you’re the Nationals and you had a horrible 2015 and fired your entire coaching staff, who had lost the clubhouse.
    So you start off your 2016 by trying to lowball Bud Black and end up getting embarrassed publicly by him telling everyone what you did.
    Then you hire Dusty Baker as your manager.
    Nothing works right in Washington, DC.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sandy
      November 3, 2015

      AMEN!

      Like

    • Billy Castillo
      November 3, 2015

      Dusty Baker?! Oh man…I feel bad for Stephen Strasburg. His arm is probably going to fall off by the All Star Break.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        November 3, 2015

        Yep!! Dusty Baker is not a friend of the pitchers.

        Like

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This entry was posted on October 30, 2015 by in Astros.
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