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Astros WTSWTM: Early spring training edition


It is not surprising that spring training is a prime time for baseball quotes as this is a time of speculation and anticipation and lots of discussion. Of course being baseball-speak, the speakers often don’t say exactly what they mean, which brings us to the newest edition of WTSWTM (What They Said What They Meant), where an exact quote is taken from chron.com (Spit!!) or Astros.com and it is then followed by a proper interpretation of exactly what they meant.

Astros’ owner Jim Crane on the team’s conservative spending habits.

  • What he said. “We’re never going to put a hard number on the plate. But you know, you’ve seen us, as we told you when we bought the team, as the team improved, we’d continue to spend the money in the right places and spend it in a frugal way.”
  • What he meant. “I kind of like being the Scrooge McDuck of baseball owners. Hey, which owner this side of the Marlins can say the word frugal and mean it?”

Angels’ owner Arte Moreno on what it is like to be – uh – non-frugal.

  • What he said. “Does one of these guys (big free agents) give us a better chance to win? Sure they do. But the reality is, are they a guarantee? And what we end up with, we end up with debt, we end up paying (luxury) tax and then it restricts what our flexibility is going forward.”
  • What he meant. “Damn it – Jim Crane’s payroll this season is going to come in around $96 million and he has only about $28 million in guaranteed salaries beyond this season. I have a payroll of about $167 million with another $350 million guaranteed over the next 5 seasons. I’m paying $52 million to Josh Hamilton, who does not even play here any more (thank goodness).  I know, I know Crane will have to start paying these kids or lose them, but his team beat mine out for the playoffs last season and will be on an upward arc while mine may be choking on Pujols’ salary. Oh and I have the worst minor league system around, while he has one of the best. I hate that guy.”

Crane on talking to his team at the  fifth training camp under his ownership.

  • What he said. “I just said, ‘Guys, it’s been five years. This is our fifth year in camp and a lot has changed. When we took over the team, we had the worst team in baseball and we had the worst Minor League system, and last year we made the playoffs and we improved the Minor League system to No. 1 [according to MiLB.com]. The plan is working and we expected a lot and that we’re here to support the team and give them what they need to win.”
  • What he meant. “Yo Mama, Arte.”

3B Luis Valbuena on the bum toe that he played through in the second half of 2015.

  • What he said.  “Very bad. Very bad. It’s so — wow. They tried to put me on DL, and I said, ‘Nope.'”
  • What he meant. “I hope no one asks why my stats went from .199 BA/.285 OBP/.715 OPS before the All Star Break (pre-injury) to .270/.359/.812 after the ASB. Dave Hudgens might club my foot with a bat in the shower, if he realizes that.”

Cy Young Winner (that is fun to type) Dallas Keuchel on Roger Clemens talking to the team in Spring Training.

  • What he said. “When that guy talks, we listen. Anytime he’s around, everybody does their best to impress. I don’t know if it is always a good thing, but it’s definitely a good thing to have him around and pick his brain.”
  • What he meant. “OK, the ‘I don’t know if it is always a good thing…’ part is because he gets so intense I am afraid some of the younger guys are going to lose their lunch. Sure he is old enough to be our father (his son Koby is 29), but do you want to have a possibly ‘roided up senior citizen in your face because you snoozed through a talk? And I think Nolan Ryan could kick our collective butts, too.”

Clemens on Keuchel being the #1:.

  • What he said. “You need a guy that welcomes that challenge to be a front-line guy. He’s experienced that now. Like I called him after he won his Cy Young Award, ‘Congratulations, take a deep breath and we have to do it all over again.’ “
  • What he meant. “I loved it, loved it loved it, when in the toughest situations, when he was undoubtedly tired and in a jam, how he would turn that death ray eye on A.J. Hinch when he would come out to check on whether he wanted to come out. And then after sending Hinch back to the dugout, he would dig deep and get out of the jam. That is what great pitchers do.”

Hinch on assigning roles such as closer to the bullpen.

  • What he said. “I think roles like that are a little over dramatized. We need a good bullpen and we need it all under the umbrella of developing a championship-caliber team. Anything that goes in terms of roles and who plays or who doesn’t play, and who starts and who relieves, obviously we’ve got to make a declaration at some point and have generalized roles. But (Luke Gregerson and Ken Giles are) both on our team. They’re both going to pitch extraordinarily important innings. We got to sort out the order by the time we get into the season. But I don’t really look at it any deeper that.”
  • What he meant. “C’mon, I did this same thing last spring. ‘Oh, roles are not that important. Maybe Qualls or Neshek or Gregerson will be the closer. Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah’. Be realistic. We just gave up a bunch of pitching talent for one major league fire baller and a low minors middle infielder. Yes, Giles will be the guy, but I’m not announcing it now. Come back in 5 weeks.”

Hinch on the first base competition.

  • What he said. “Obviously, we’ve got to break these guys defensively to make sure they can handle the position. We ask a lot of our first basemen in terms of where they play, how far off the base, receiving throws, balls in the dirt. We don’t give away 90 feet. At least that’s our goal. The first baseman’s a big key in that. These guys are all going to get to play at first. We got six or seven guys that are going to filter through first base. Some that are already on our team like Marwin (Gonzalez) or (Luis) Valbuena, others that are vying for some open roster spots. It’ll be a really sort of busy area for us in extra work, in early work, in the games.”
  • What he meant. “Yeah, sure. We are going to make our decision based on who plays defense best. If you believe that, you go stand in line behind Jon Singleton in the dessert line. And notice I mention the two guys, Valbuena and MarGo who are not really competing for the starting job as a kind of mis-direction. We’ve spent way too much time with inconsistent offense out of the 1B spot. If somebody grabs this job by the throat in spring training by playing great, sustainable offense – I will be begging Luhnow to let me have him even if he is the same height as Altuve.”

Speaking of Singleton. Hinch on his 15lbs of pure muscle weight gain in the off-season.

  • What he said. “Big fella. He’s strong. He knows what’s in front of him.”
  • What he meant. “I’m just hoping what’s in front of him is not chicken fried steak and hot fudge sundaes.”

1B Possibility Tyler White on…… Tyler White.

  • What he said. “I’ve always been a contact guy, always been able to make contact with a lot of pitches, and I think that helps with getting walks, because I’m pretty decent at fouling some balls off and stuff.  I heard a couple of things in high school and college: When you swing at strikes, you hit the ball well. I’ve tried to really take that into account and tried to really learn the zone.  I continue to work on that and try to get better at it and I take pride in strike-zone discipline.”
  • What he meant. “I’m an Astros fan like everyone else in the organization and it really hurt to see us lose to KC that way, but if you want a guy who follows the Royals hitting philosophy of taking pitches, spoiling pitches, taking walks, minimizing strike outs and getting on base – look at me. Nobody gave me a scholarship and I walked on Eastern Carolina and kicked butt. Nobody wanted me for 33 rounds and I’ve earned a spot at AAA by performance. Put me on the big club at DH or 1B and you will be happy.”

Astros 2015 Minor league pitcher of the year, Joe Musgrove on his great season.

  • What he said. “I trusted myself and trusted in the stuff I had and the coaching staff gave me enough freedom to kind of go out there and do what I do.  I think that was the biggest thing. I challenged guys, and I tried to put the ball in the zone and throw a lot of strikes and make them put the ball in play.”
  • What he meant. “Man, I was 12-1 with a 1.88 ERA at 3 minor league levels, struck out 99 batters while only walking eight. Hell, yes I trusted my stuff.”

Bonus quote. Top offensive minor leaguer, 1B A.J. Reed on showing up last spring in much worse shape than this spring.

  • What he said. “It was my first offseason alone and I wasn’t at school, where they’re kind of walking you through everything. I don’t think I was really ready for that and it was something I had to learn from. This year, I had a really good idea what I needed to do and where I need to be to be successful. I feel I’m in a really good spot.”
  • What you think he meant …….
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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.

73 comments on “Astros WTSWTM: Early spring training edition

  1. astrocolt45
    February 27, 2016

    Angels’ owner Arte Moreno, WHM: “Some owners like to spend money. Me, I like to waste it. Call me the Cole Hamels of MLB owners.”

    A J Reed WHM: “Wave a half million dollar check in front of a new bride and see what happens. I have been on the Abu Ghraid diet of bread and water since the first of December.”

    Tyler White WHM: “I hope to win the 1st base job. But my base problem is when I swing, I make contact. If I am sent back to AAA, I understand. I will work on my swing and miss, and then walking back to the dugout like I expected it. If that is what they want, I can change my game to do it.”

    Hinch on Singleton-WHM: “He knows what is in front of him. In fact he told me, you guys gave me $10 Million. I have it figured out. Move to the West Coast and grow your own. Then try to make it on $250,000 a year for the next 40 years. I believe I can do that.”

    Crane WHM: “we’re here to support the team and give them what they need to win. Except a decent pay check for their work. But then again, that means the plan is working FOR ME.”

    Dallas Keuchel on Roger Clemens WHM: “Did you not see him throw a sharp pointed broken bat at Piazza? Of course we pretend to listen.”

    Hinch on Closer WHM: “Talk about dumb as dirt. Yeah, we are starting Aplin in left and sending Rasmus with $16 Million to AAA. And we paid all those prospects for Giles to be the 6th starter. Why do you ask me such dumb questions?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan P
      February 27, 2016

      Great job ac45 – especially Singleton and White – made me laugh.

      Like

  2. Devin_
    February 27, 2016

    Small correction – Tyler White played at Western Carolina. ECU plays in a higher caliber conference and their players get a bit more respect due to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan P
      February 27, 2016

      Oopsie….it was one of those directional schools….

      Like

  3. 1oldpro
    February 27, 2016

    Tyler White, what he meant. I spent a ton of time out on the bases last summer, waiting for the guy hitting behind me to knock me in. If they want me to aim for the Crawford Boxes, I can do that, too.
    Jim Crane, what he meant- Look, I can pay for that helicopter and that jet and that golf course and those wives, or I can pay for expensive ballplayers. I can’t do both.
    AJ Reed, what he meant-Last year they didn’t tell me anything until I reported out of shape. This year they emailed their instructions to my fiance and asked her if she wanted to live in Fresno or Houston. I’m in shape!
    Hinch, what he meant to say about 1B-I told them I wanted somebody who hits for a high batting average. They let Carter walk and gave me Singleton. I hope that answers your questions about how I feel about 1B.
    What Arte Moreno meant to say about Jim Crane- Have you seen his tiny little jet? It’s leased from Budget Rent a Jet.
    What Joe Musgrove meant to say-I saw what happened last year. If they send me to Corpus I have a chance to get to the majors. If they send me to Fresno I’m in trouble.
    Hinch, what he meant to say about his bullpen- Apparently, complaining too loudly about losing your job can cause a strained oblique. What will I do, choose the old guy who brings the whine, or the young guy who brings the cheese?
    What Clemens meant to say- What am I doing here? These guys don’t even know who I am. They think Keuchel is the old man.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 1oldpro
    February 27, 2016

    The highest paid player on the Astros spreads some love and fashion around:
    http://www.chron.com/sports/astros/article/Astros-Colby-Rasmus-helps-younger-teammates-get-6857971.php

    Liked by 1 person

    • astrocolt45
      February 27, 2016

      Just finished reading that. I still think Rasmus is overpaid, but not his fault and I still like the guy on my team.

      Like

  5. Billy C
    February 27, 2016

    Craig Counsell said that Jonathan Villar will be the starting SS for the Brewers. Hmm…

    Like

    • Dan P
      February 27, 2016

      Well he might give them a decent offensive year, but I would set the over/under on errors at 40.

      Like

    • uncleknuckle
      February 27, 2016

      One of these days he’s going to put it together. We don’t need to wait on him any longer though.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        February 27, 2016

        You keep thinking that dave, and I’ll keep laughing my rear end off everytime he costs the pitcher his game. Villerror, is a fool who COULD have been very good, but he let himself get in the way of learning the art of humility. Quit trying to be the hero, and just play the game. He did it to himself.

        Liked by 1 person

      • uncleknuckle
        February 28, 2016

        Becky, I’m glad you are as spunky as ever! A fool? Maybe I’m wrong, but I think he’s just a slow learner.

        Like

  6. 1oldpro
    February 27, 2016

    Jonathan Villar interests me at shortstop for the Brewers as much as Ober interests me as a Phillies pitcher. I don’t care anymore about them than I do any other player who is not on the Astros.
    Ortiz went to Clearwater yesterday and talked to all the ex-Astros who work for the Phillies and then wrote articles for the Houston newspaper about it. Why? Just to irritate and scratch at a scab to see who he can infect or make feel bad.
    I care about how Sneed pitches for us, not how Villar plays for Milwaukee. Villar always had talent and everybody knows he’s going to either make it or not make it and it matters little now because that is going to happen for some other team, not ours.
    Dexter Fowler interests me because he made a move to get more money and his move cost him millions of dollars. I talk about him not because he is an ex-Astro, but because he was so stupid and because we might play the team he is on in the World Series.
    I care about Carlos Correa and could not care less about Jonathan Villar(or anyone on the Brewers, whom I dislike intensely as an organization and as individuals).
    I couldn’t stand Gomez, because he was a Brewer. I like him, now, because he’s an Astro.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Billy C
      February 27, 2016

      Eh…was just making conversation.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        February 27, 2016

        And I wasn’t picking on you. I was more venting about Ortiz and the hated Brewers, and laughing at Fowler and Close.

        Like

      • Billy C
        February 27, 2016

        No worries…if anything, the fact that Villar has been anointed the starting job without having earned it reminds me of a certain ‘hazy’ 1B we have…

        Like

      • astrocolt45
        February 28, 2016

        I looked up “Ambivalent” in the on line dictionary. It said “see 1OldPro at Chipalatta.com.” 🙂

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        February 28, 2016

        I have mixed feelings about your comment, ac45.

        Liked by 2 people

    • BrianT
      February 27, 2016

      It amazes me how Ortiz — a hack sportswriter at best — can write something as wonderful as he did with that article on Jon Kemmer then turn around and give us a bunch of “who cares” on former Astros who aren’t fit to play on this team.

      Like his buddy Villar, he seems to show promise one moment then let one under the glove the next.

      Like

  7. BrianT
    February 27, 2016

    Reed: “Christmas Day 2014, I opened a gift from Singleton. It was a book called “How to be a Major League First Baseman.” Turns out, it was a fake book cover over a Paula Deen cookbook. But I figured, hey, I’ll give it a shot. Fool me once, shame on you, Jonny. But unlike what nearly every pitcher does to you, I won’t get fooled twice. Or thrice!”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Becky⚾
    February 27, 2016

    Tyler Kepler wrote an AWESOME piece in the New York Times today about Dallas Keuchel! You should go online and read it! Also, read where Brad Lidge taught our shiny new closer, his deviating slider! I can vividly remember how awesome that pitch was, and how Uncle Albert hit one out of the park, never to be seen again!
    Go to http://www.nyt.com

    Like

  9. astrocolt45
    February 28, 2016

    If I may twist it a little to What was he thinking – Jon Daniels, GM, for the Rangers signs Ian Desmond for $8 Million (SS who hit .233 last year) and gives up their 1st round pick to do so. Drellich posts on Twitter that the “Rangers …have an aggressiveness that the Astros don’t.” Yet all the Rangers comments think it was a waste of money. They plan to move him to LF probably, but still a steep price for a player going downhill.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      February 28, 2016

      You’re right about the reactions of the Ranger’s fans. Desmond is a good gamble to rebound, but giving up the #19 draft choice for a SS to play LF for one year is kinda weird. He has never played LF in the majors and he’s 30 years old.
      Their payroll jumps to over $155 million, so I guess they just have the money to burn.
      The Rangers have to have a completely different plan than the Astros. They will spend anything to win now because they are such an old team. It’s a good plan for them, but it’s not a good plan for the Astros.

      Like

    • Devin_
      February 28, 2016

      He is a more expensive version of Villar – one with more power and less speed, but the error tendencies are the same.

      Like

  10. 1oldpro
    February 28, 2016

    I enjoyed reading the atricle about Neal Cotts that Ortiz wrote. Cotts discusses what the Astros think about him and his feeling about joining the team.
    It is a straight up kind of piece that one would expect to read from an Astros beat reporter without an agenda. More of this please.
    What the Astros have done with McHugh and Fields and Sipp is being noticed by other MLB players and it is refreshing to hear that they want to come here.
    Here it is if you are interested: http://www.chron.com/sports/astros/article/New-Astros-reliever-Neal-Cotts-settled-into-6859106.php

    Like

    • uncleknuckle
      February 28, 2016

      Cotts will be interesting to watch. Not really a left handed specialist, but rather has had about the same effectiveness against right and lefty hitters. An erratic career. A couple of very good seasons. Tommy John surgery. Four hip surgeries. Was out of MLB for almost four prime years. Got to give the guy a tip of the cap for wanting it so bad. And if Strom can help make this guy effective again at the age of 35 after all he’s been through, then both guys will deserve a lot of credit.

      Like

  11. Dan P
    February 28, 2016

    The only problem I had with the NYTimes article is that if the fans up there are that positive about Keuchel then the Yankees (double spit!! and gag me with a spoon) will offer him $400 million for 10 years and a cabinet spot under President Trump when he turns free agent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sandy
      February 28, 2016

      I remember an article from last summer in which Keuchel said he wants to stay in Houston. Make it happen Luhnow.

      Like

  12. Becky⚾
    February 28, 2016

    Dan…it won’t be Keuchel that the Yankees are gonna give a $400 mill contract, it will be Carlos Correa. I’ll eat dirt, if I’m wrong. The piece about Giles using a slider was pretty cool. Lidge taught his slider to this kid!! By the time he becomes our full time closer, Uncle Albert won’t be an everyday player. The Brewers are still in talks about trading LaCroy, but I hope Luhnow just says no to that trade. We have traded too many top prospects to them and the Phillies.

    Like

    • Dan P
      February 28, 2016

      Well Lidge’s slider was quite a pitch paired with a big fastball so that sounds like a great weapon for Giles.
      I’m hoping the Astros wrap up Correa long term long before he is available to any other team.
      How they treat their first sets of stars will be watched with great interest by fans, players and agents.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        February 28, 2016

        I agree 100%. The last time a big contract was given, was Carlos Lee ( I think).
        Luhnow doesn’t have to pay our young stars multi million dollars, but we and the players want to see how serious Crane is when the day comes to lock up guys like
        Correa, Keuchel, McCullars, ect…

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      February 28, 2016

      Actually, it won’t be Correa who gets the $400 million from the Yankees. Bryce Harper becomes a free agent at the same time Keuchel does, after the 2018 season. All of the Yankee expensive contracts will have expired and that is why the Yankees haven’t spent a dime on free agency this year. They will probably go after Harper and Keuchel at the same time. Harper grew up a Yankee fan.
      Correa won’t be a free agent until the 2022 season.

      Like

      • astrocolt45
        February 28, 2016

        This is like being in the 7th grade and determining who you want to take to the Senior Prom. Let’s enjoy them now and HOPE that by 2018, the players want to come to Houston to continue the World Series Championships. It will take money, but 3+ Million fans a year will generate enough cash for Crane to cough it up. Time will tell.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Diane
      February 29, 2016

      Carlos Correa, please don’t go Beltranean on us.

      Like

    • Steven
      February 29, 2016

      I don’t know that Keuchel is going to pitch well enough over the next 3 seasons to warrant a 200-250 mil contract. I think he will be very good, I don’t know that he will repeat this year again though. I can see a 6yr, 120 mil offer if he projects the way I expect. That BABIP against is going to be hard to maintain as well as that K rate for a guy that had never done that before, either one at any level. Even a move up 10 to 15 points – which still nets him well below league average – will see an uptick in most stats, and if that K rate falls even half a point at the same time it makes his 2014 season look more probable than a repeat of 2015. I think he will stay in the Astros affordability camp, and the Astros should keep him.

      Correa though, the sky is the limit. I am going to just enjoy these next 5 years knowing he is unlikely going to be a career Astro. If I was a betting man, I would think long term that this roster, in 2020, is going to have Altuve, Keuchel and Reed leading the charge. I expect Springer and Correa to be looking for big paydays, but the practice of trying to predict a baseball players fortunes 5 years down the road is almost certainly a fools errand.

      All I really care about is this year. If Keuchel and McHugh both win 15+, if McCullers progresses and wins double digits, if Fister and Feldman and Fiers give us innings, if the bullpen becomes a dogfight between 2 guys pushing themselves for the closers role – which we are better for – and the outfield stays healthy, we should lead the AL in wins. I like this team a lot – I could stand for a little less strikeouts and a little more contact – but the pitching staff is what will decide fortunes, and they are good if everyone stays upright. Good days to be an Astros fan.

      Like

  13. 1oldpro
    February 29, 2016

    When I say that the Yankees will go after Keuchel in 2019, I am pointing out that they will have the money to go after anyone. It’s the Astros job to get Keuchel happy and locked up before that happens, if they want him for the long term. The Astros will have the money to do that. I have no doubt whatsoever that the Astros will have the resourses to sign Keuchel and Correa for what it will take.
    A World Series Trophy is a game changer for the Astros. It is the ticket to the revenue stream and to the free agency bonanza that awaits their core players here.

    Like

  14. 1oldpro
    February 29, 2016

    Respected writer Jonah Keri, of SI and CBS Sports, has rated the Astros as the best team in the AL, and only behind the Mets and Cubs as the best team in baseball.
    John Sickels has rated the Astros prospects. He has trouble choosing between Reed and Bregman as #1, which I think is a great spot to be in. It’s a good read.
    http://www.minorleagueball.com/2016/2/28/11131432/houston-astros-top-20-prospects-for-2016?_ga=1.267743177.632964759.1454965691

    Like

    • sargeh
      February 29, 2016

      I like Martes’ description… “Stolen out of the Marlins’ system…”

      Like

  15. 1oldpro
    February 29, 2016

    I have been a die hard Astros fan since their first game in 1962. In all those years I have never seen the Astros so highly thought of. Five players in the Top Ranked 100 of MLB and five players ranked in the top 100 of MILB prospects and a system considered by many as the deepest minor league system in terms of B and C rated prospects.
    I have never seen the Astros with a top ranked SS and an All Star second baseman. I have never seen the Astros with a young Cy Young Award winner or a young batting champion or a ROY winner on their team, let alone have them on the team at the same time. I have never seen the Astros with an outfield like the one they have right now. I have seldom seen the Astros with a pitching staff this deep and this young, let alone have three B+ pitching prospects behind them in the minors.
    Going into the spring training opener, this is the best Astros team I have ever seen and the most respected Astros team I have ever seen by the baseball community.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Devin_
      February 29, 2016

      I’m hopeful the pennant race experience will help offset any nerves or pressure to deliver on those expectations. I agree with you, however, that this is new territory for the franchise. Time to place half the squad on the All Star team and start adding fans to the bandwagon from coast to coast!

      Like

    • rj
      February 29, 2016

      sounds like our front office knows what they are doing…

      Liked by 1 person

      • astrocolt45
        February 29, 2016

        Just be thankful they did not listen to me. Adding to 1OP above, for all those years, it has been “maybe” we can be good this year. Not this year. Way too much talent.

        Like

    • Dan P
      February 29, 2016

      I’m with you overall oldpro – would differ on the outfield – the 1998 OF of Moises Alou (38 HR/124 RBI), Derek Bell (22 HR / 108 RBI) and Carl Everett (15 HR/75 RBI) with Richard Hidalgo in the 4th spot was probably their best ever.
      But they have never had a better SS and seldom had such a young and deep pitching staff….
      I am excited, but I have to rein it in a little, since I have lived in Houston, Texas the town where dreams go to die….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Diane
        February 29, 2016

        Dan, I can only agree with you. Houston’s record in pro sports does not lead me to be “high,” no matter how much talent we have. Steady as she goes is about as elevated as I can get. (Let’s not forget that this season, they’ll be gunning for us from the opening pitch.)

        Like

      • Devin_
        February 29, 2016

        Dan, I was all set to call you a liar and suggest Alou never put up numbers like that, but he did! And then his 1999 season was even better! I’m shocked!

        ….but I still think Springer can approach that output with a lower avg due to much higher Ks.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        February 29, 2016

        I moved out of state in the late 90s and did not follow the Astros quite as close for a couple of years because of kids and jobs and coaching. That year was kind of a blind spot for me as I had no access to their games, even with that eight foot satellite dish that moved every time you changed channels.

        Like

      • Dan P
        February 29, 2016

        And Devin both of those seasons were in the Astrodome (though I don’t have any blood tests to show what Alou was or was not on at the time).

        Like

  16. 1oldpro
    February 29, 2016
    • Dan P
      February 29, 2016

      This is one case where I’m glad that the Astros are not like the Cardinals.
      I am so glad that these guys have not forgotten what it is like to be a newbie.
      Gomez and Rasmus – a big “like” from me.

      Like

    • Dan P
      March 1, 2016

      Rice pitchers – High GPA / High IQ / Low ERA and extremely clever….

      Like

  17. Mr. Bill
    March 1, 2016

    Eight Questions to be answered early in the ST schedule:

    1. Does Doug Fister have enough velocity and movement left to get the big strike-out, pop-up, and DP ball when the team needs it?

    2. Can Luis Valbuena learn to beat the shift by spraying the ball to the opposite field at will?

    3. Can Preston Tucker or Tyler White play 1B at least as well as Jon Singleton?

    4. Did Jake Marisnick learn anything about hitting during the Winter?

    5. Can Luke Gregerson and Kenny Giles be friends and share – or even redefine – the ‘closer’ role?

    6. Is Pat Neshek healthy enough now to be effective again?

    7. Is Brad Peacock a pitcher or a thrower?

    8. How far from ready is A.J. Reed?

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      March 1, 2016

      Great questions to be answered soon, Bill.
      At this time last year I was wondering if the Astros had enough to become a .500 ball club. Is Correa really as good as we think he is and how is his broken ankle? Will MMP mean a big power boost for Valbuena vs Wrigley? Why Chris Carter? Is Rasmus a Tyler Greene with an outfielder’s mitt? Roberto Hernandez? What part of Lowrie’s body breaks first? How can Altuve top being the Batting Champion? (Silver slugger, sure. Gold Glove, No Way!). Is Jon Kemmer good enough to be in AA, where they need outfielders? Does Tony D have enough energy to last all year managing Fresno?(PCL Champions, No Way!). How bad was LMJ’s changeup, that he had to throw it that much in Lancaster? How are we going to get by without Fowler’s OBP? Will the Astros break the major league record for Ks?

      Like

    • Steven
      March 1, 2016

      1. Yes.
      2. No – he is what he is.
      3. Tucker, no, White, yes – but both hit better and could be as passable on defense.
      4. Probably not, I don’t think he needs to learn how to hit, I think he just isn’t a good enough hitter – but he is here to help in a lot of other ways.
      5. No, one will get it, likely Giles, and Luke will retire remembering his glory year as a pretty successful closer.
      6. No – I’ve always had my doubts about whether Neshek ever really was effective or just some smoke and mirror guy that got out of some.
      7. Thrower with good movement, needs to learn to pitch.
      8. Ready.

      Like

  18. Mr. Bill
    March 1, 2016

    It is almost time: Astros v. Phillies, Thur. 3/3/2016 Brighthouse Field, Clearwater Florida. The game starts at 1:05 ET. The sky is predicted to be partly sunny, with a 0% chance of rain. The temp should get up to about 75 degrees, and the wind should be blowing in from the South Southwest at about 7 mph.

    That is about as good as it gets for Spring Baseball in Florida, folks. All we need now is to see our stars shine and our hopefuls blow us away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Devin_
      March 1, 2016

      I hope Philly throws Appel, Olber, Velasquez, and whoever else was in that trade against us! JJO and Drellich might be too overcome with emotion to write anything for weeks!

      Like

  19. 1oldpro
    March 1, 2016

    The new Astros Top 30 Prospect pipeline is announced by MLB and Jim Callis and can be found now on the Astros website. White and Kemmer are finally included in appropriate slots. Pleasant surprises are Moran moving up tp #6 and Franklin Perez appearing in a very strong slot. Bregman #1 and Reed is #2.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      March 1, 2016

      Help me out where I am missing the boat here, OP1. Valuation of an organization’s prospects – by MLB or anyone else – seems to me to be so subjective as to be meaningless. It’s kind of like the Oscars or the Grammys – comparing apples and oranges, yet declaring one to be better than another when they have no objective basis for the decision. I’ve always believed that the only value whatever that comes from the MLB or any other group ranking prospects is to increase – or reduce – the ranked players’ trade value vis-a-vis other players in the same organization. I just can’t think of a single organizational purpose that it furthers.

      Like

    • Steven
      March 2, 2016

      I would agree Bill, and I assume that Luhnow has paid it exactly zero attention as well.

      Like

  20. 1oldpro
    March 1, 2016

    The rankings of players by Fangraphs, BP, MLB, ESPN, SB Nation and any of the others serves that organization. They do it to get readers. It’s that simple.
    It is up to us what we do with it. Do we share it? Vote on it? Lambast it? Drink it?
    I share it, for the joy of conversation.
    When I saw that one of the important members of the Marlins bullpen had an MRI on his elbow today and read that the Marlins were going to be looking for a reliever to trade for, I went to their top 30 Prospects List to see what they have to trade. I looked it over and didn’t see much that would satisfy me in a trade for, say, Josh Fields or James Hoyt or Neshek or a grumpy Gregerson. It showed me that most of their prospects are still two or three years away and they don’t have a catcher or LH Reliever to trade that would help our team right now.
    Having that list available to peruse was a very valuable tool at my disposal.
    Other than that, it is valuable in negotiations with other teams in trades when evaluating the value(Ranking?) of a minor leaguer, so I see that as a useful organizational purpose.

    Like

  21. 1oldpro
    March 1, 2016

    So Drellich tweets out that Salvador Perez signed an extension, and then stabs the Astros about Altuve being underpaid.

    Like

  22. Becky⚾
    March 1, 2016

    A guy we’ve barley mentioned is RHP Micheal Freeman. He’s still with the Hooks, but I totally expect him to go to Fresno very soon after the season starts. He absolutely dominates left hand hitters. Don’t sleep on this kid……he’s VERY good!!

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      March 1, 2016

      Becky, he is a LHP and dominates lefties. But a lot of people think he is going to be good, including me. I see him in the Astros bullpen by 2017 sometime.
      Hope you’re feeling ok. I’m heading to your neck of the woods to visit family tomorrow. I understand it has been very mild in Kingwood lately.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        March 1, 2016

        Kingwood has been BEAUTIFUL!! Very nice weather…..and beautiful trees!! I had #7 chemo today. I’m standing on 3rd base waiting for my Lord to hit that homerun, so I can slide in to home plate next Tuesday! Thank you my friend for your prayers. I have heard them, and so has our Lord! I value your friendship, and baseball knowledge more than you know. When my oncologist tells me it’s ok to have an adult beverage, I’m going to have THE BIGGEST BUD LIGHT I CAN FIND! I can’t wait to see this Freeman kid in person….all I hear is *W O W* about him! I’m sooo excited about this year, I can hardly stand it!! I got a new HD radio, so I won’t lose the games after 8:30 p.m. So…..bring it on boys!!⚾⚾⚾

        Liked by 1 person

    • Dan P
      March 1, 2016

      Man – 6′-8″!! That is a long drink of water. keep bringing those kids up.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        March 2, 2016

        David Paulino and Micheal Freeman are the same hight! Both are 6’8″!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Devin_
        March 2, 2016

        Doesn’t he throw sidearm?

        Like

  23. sargeh
    March 2, 2016

    On another different subjects… viewing the headlines on TCB and their photo cover for the “Crawfish Boil – March 2, 2016” of the Milwaukee mascot and the pup is a very unfortunate choice of usage… jus’ sayin’. Wow.

    Astros’ County has a story from Fox Sports’ JP Morosi where he writes about MLB’s Rob Manfred is interested in expansion. Was it not just a decade ago that MLB was seriously considering killing two clubs, Minnesota and Florida, in an act of downsizing to save the league? What a difference a decade makes.

    Like

    • Dan P
      March 3, 2016

      sarge – I still think that there is some generational danger relative to baseball going forward. The younger generation that wants sound bites and tweets and quick, quick, communication does not enjoy the leisurely (and sometimes slower) pace of baseball. I know they are trying to work on picking up the pace of the game, but will it be enough for people with no attention span?

      Like

  24. Mr. Bill
    March 2, 2016

    For what it’s worth, our main rivals in the AL West, the Rangers, have won their first ST game of the year – prevailing 6-2 over the Defending World Champion Royals. The Rangers [mostly its more talented rookies, especially Nomar Mazara and Justin Ruggiano] banged out 13 hits, while the Royals [mostly starters] managed only 4 [two of which were solo homers by prospects].

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      March 2, 2016

      Pufft….I ain’t a skered, of those “old” Rangers. We got us a brand new team! With a shiny new closer, a AL ROY, and a AL Cy Young award winner on our team! The Rangers are OLD.

      Like

  25. Wayne
    March 9, 2016

    Fyi White is from Western Carolina University. His on base % is needed in the starting lineup. bat him 2nd and move Springer to 5th.

    Like

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This entry was posted on February 27, 2016 by in Astros.
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