Astros 2016: Questions, questions and more questions


The Astros are entering the home stretch of a different type of Spring Training in 2016. They are a team with a much bigger and better base and a lot less questions than previous years, which does not mean there are not some questions to be pondered and answered in the next couple weeks. For you, dear readers here are 10 random questions for you to ponder and answer:

  1. There has been talk about the Astros pursuing Brewer’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy in a trade. Do you want the Astros to chase Lucroy?
  2. Is there a position or positions you want the Astros to bolster by trade after seeing their Spring Training performance thus far?
  3. Should Josh Fields, James Hoyt or Jandel Gustave make the Astros bullpen?
  4. Is there any doubt that Tyler White should start the season with the Astros?
  5. Is there any doubt that Jon Singleton has not earned a spot with the team?
  6. With Lance McCullers Jr. out injured, who should fill the 3,4 and 5 spots in the rotation out of Scott Feldman, Mike Fiers, Doug Fister, Wandy Rodriguez and Michael Feliz?
  7. If the Astros back slide in 2016, even if from excessive injuries, would you stay the course with Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch or replace one or the other?
  8. With Max Stassi injured is the Astros backup C, Tyler Heineman, Roberto Pena, someone not yet with the organization or Jason Castro if someone not yet with the organization is Jonathan Lucroy?
  9. Who makes the team on the bench from the infield – Matt Duffy with a poor .208 BA (but great .970 OPS) or Danny Worth with an uncharacteristic .412 BA / 1.324 OPS or a wild card like Colin Moran with a .350 BA / .882 OPS?
  10. At least until Evan Gattis returns does Jake Marisnick make the team despite his .138 BA / .408 OPS, due to being able to back up all OF positions?
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150 comments on “Astros 2016: Questions, questions and more questions

      • Mr. Marisnick either did not get the memo today or got pranked. He walked out on the field sporting his grey baseball pants, when the uni of the day is white. Everyone burst out laughing, and he ran back into the clubhouse hurriedly to change. Hence, ‘fifty shades of gray’.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Thanks for the explanation Mr. Bill – we were wondering if you had lost your head or had very strange sexual fetishes.

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      • I confess there is a little bit of double entendre going on for me as well, Dan – but it’s not about fetishes. It’s about hitting – or the lack thereof. The bridge to the theme song to ‘Fifty Shades’ says, very poignantly: “Don’t complicate it. Don’t let the past dictate. Yeaaah, I’ve been patient, but slowly I’m losing faith”

        This expresses my current feelings about Mr. Marisnick pretty well.

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  1. So other than the fact that only a few hitters are hitting lately, only Keuchel is pitching well lately among the starters and having Mr. Giles pitching very hard batting practice during his appearances….what else is bothering us?

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  2. Tyler White is 1-1 so far today with a walk and RBI. I love his approach at the plate. In his most recent AB he takes a 1-2 pitch for a ball that broke down late and then singles on the very next pitch. Gattis would have swung and missed on that 1-2 pitch. He absolutely must make this team starting the season. He’s such a complete hitter.

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  3. I’m sitting here just rehashing the first 2 drafts under Luhnow. Most felt Buxton was the best pick in 2012 and Kris Bryant in 2013. Also, I think most of us regret the Appel pick, but laud the Correa pick. My question to you is, in hindsight, would you rather the Astros drafted Correa and Appel or Buxton and Bryant? Sure, we all wish now that they had drafted Correa and Bryant, but in my scenario above which would you rather have? Also, do you think the Astros would have been able to sign McCullers if they drafted Buxton instead of Correa?

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    • Not exactly the answer you want, but I would take Correa over Bryant. I say this full well knowing Bryant may produce enormous value on the offensive side that eclipses Correa’s.

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      • I would definitely take Correa over Bryant. A 30 HR SS is more valuable than a 40 HR 3B, in my opinion. The question is whether Buxton over Appel is enough to offset Bryant over Correa.

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  4. 1. I don’t think Singleton will start 2017 as the Astros first baseman because AJ Reed should own the job by then.
    2. I think Worth would be the first middle infielder called up if one of ours gets injured because he is mature and has looked good in spring and hopefully he will accept an assignment in AAA.
    3. I think Marisnick makes the team because Hinch and Luhnow don’t want to send him down.
    4.I think Wandy makes the team because of the way he has pitched this spring and because of the way our three Fs have pitched this spring.
    5. I think that if Colin Moran hits .320 with RBIs for Fresno and plays solid defense he could replace Valbuena if Valbuena isn’t hitting. Moran being left handed, would replace Valbuena’s LH bat nicely. Remember, Moran has to be on the 40-man before the Rule 5 draft so his position is much more flexible than White’s was last fall.
    6. If the team is winning and Tucker and White are hitting, Reed might stay down in Fresno. If the team is struggling at the plate and he is raking in Fresno, I can see him at 1B for the club by July.
    7. I think Straily and Peacock both could be DFAd because they have both looked bad this spring.
    8. I think Giles or Hoyt could be the closer because I think there is a possibility Gregerson starts the year on the DL.
    9. I think Tyler White makes the club out of spring training because he has aced all his tests in the last year, Singleton has not, and Gattis starts the year on the DL.

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    • About question #7, I said Straily and peacock get DFAd because the Astros have 37 pitchers on The major league Roster and Fresno’s rosters combined and can only have 25 total of them on opening day of Fresno’s season. Some will be placed on the DL, but not 12 of them. Some are going to go.

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      • The point of the specific series of questions I asked, including the why or why not follow up was to see to what extent, no matter how much we protest that spring training stats and performances don’t mean anything, we each consider them in the course of forming judgments of what players to be excited about for 2016 and 2017 and which players about which we will be more skeptical. If one of our favorite players bombs, of course we blow it off by saying we need to ignore the ST stats, because everyone knows they are not important. But with all but our favorite players, the truth is we all judge where the guys on our team [and others] are, and form opinions about how much they are contributing to their team, by their stats.

        For example: Before ST started, who was talking about Danny Worth? Before ST who really believed Wandy had a leg-up on guys like Wojo, Peacock, and Straily? Before ST who was absolutely convinced that Singleton couldn’t be our first baseman and Tyler White could? Before ST who had any real confidence that Colin Moran was ready to take over 3rd base from Valbuena – or that Bregman most definitely wasn’t?

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      • Bill, that’s fair enough. Nobody was talking about Worth before spring training because nobody had ever heard of him. In all fairness, nobody was talking about any middle infielder of the Astros, other than the three that will be on the team.
        As far as Wandy is concerned, I think people have had him in mind because we only have one real LH starter and one real LH reliever.
        I said before spring training started that Tyler White would be my opening day DH and that Reed would be my opening day 1B, that we should go with two young catchers and trade Castro and that Colin Moran would be my opening day 2017 third baseman when Valbuena becomes a free agent and that I would try Bregman at the top of the lineup and in the outfield in 2017.
        I said not to pay Gattis his money and let him walk.
        I said to trade Singleton to Colorado three months ago.
        I said Conger was the worst defensive catcher I had ever seen.
        I said all of these things long before spring training started and I wouldn’t change anything now.
        Peacock, Singleton, Rodgers, Castro and Marisnick all said they worked on stuff, but all of them have looked lousy and they didn’t play any winter ball.
        But the guys who really did work on stuff and played winter ball are the guys who have stood out this camp, and that is White, Reed, Hoyt, and Gustave. They played winter ball and showed real dedication and hard work and now look at their performances. compared to the others.

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  5. What he [A.J. Hinch] said [about Carlos Correa]: “I’m happy with where he’s at heading into the last week of camp”

    What he meant: “Watching this kid play the game is like watching Michelangelo paint, Dickens write, Beethoven compose, Baryishnakov dance, and Joe Walsh shred on guitar, all at the same time. You might want to get several copies of his autograph, folks!”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. They also asked him about Jon Singleton and he said “Well, he has been giving good effort, but the results have not been there” (I confess I made that quote up)
    What he meant, “Watching Jon play the game is like watching Beethoven dance, Joe Walsh paint, Dickens compose, Baryshnikov write and Michelangelo shred on guitar.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting that MLBTR has listed Carlos Gomez as the #2 ranked free agent of 2017 as far as his potential earning power. They predict he could sign a deal for $150 million if he stays healthy and has a good year.

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    • It is a fairly weak free agent class next offseason. I like Gomez, but I’ll take a pass at that salary. I think he is going to have a good year (20/20 season), but at his age I wouldn’t pay him $25M/year. We lack depth in the OF, but we can always move Springer to CF, which he showed yesterday he can handle just fine, and I am fine bringing back Rasmus if his salary demands don’t exceed 3/$45M. The problem that we are facing now with our lack of OF depth is with a weak free agent class next year getting an OFer in free agency isn’t going to be cheap. I’m not sure how we replace Gomez and/or Rasmus.

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      • Tim, I think moving Springer to center should be part of the 2017 solution. He’s been playing out of position since joining the Astros. But that does not address the depth issue. Obviously it still leaves an equally big hole in right.

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      • I agree, Dave. I am guessing the Astros will trade from their corner IF depth to address the lack of OF depth. I don’t expect a trade to happen until next offseason or at the deadline this year.

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