Help needed: Questions — and no answers — for Astros


Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!  Spending the day in my childhood home with my parents. My dad is 87, my mom 81 and they are celebrating their 62nd anniversary this Mother’s Day!  Double celebration!

While sitting around with them, I had a few questions and realized I’m not sure I have the answers. Will you help?

Why do players come to Houston and either don’t perform or underperform? There is a slew of examples, but here are a few current cases in point.

  • Carlos Gomez. He was an All Star in 2013-14 and was hitting .262/.328/.423 when he came to Houston last year. He was the three-hole hitter in Milwaukee. Boom, not in Houston.
  • Ken Giles. Someone please help me with this one. Houston gave up a haul perhaps second only to the Herschel Walker deal a few decades ago. Geez, this guy still has an opportunity to turn things around and make the deal look good for Houston, but what happened from last year to this?
  • Evan Gattis slashed .253/.304/.487 in two Atlanta seasons and only .241/.282/.448 in nearly the same number of at bats. Of course he changed leagues, essentially moved to a new position (DH), but should that make that significant of a difference.

Of course, for every Gomez, Giles and Gattis, there’s a Collin McHugh or Will Harris or even Colby Rasmus, but what has caused so many players to arrive in an Astros’ uniform and either bomb or fail miserably?

Are the Astros really just one big starter away from righting the ship?

  • Good question. If that’s the case, Lance McCuller Jr.’s soon return should go a long way to making things “right”. But Houston still needs two solid corners, a dependable bullpen and a bit more. The Astros apparently are still in the market for a hard-throwing pitcher, either for the bullpen or the rotation. That, in and of itself, speaks volumes. But who’s waiting in the wings for the lineup? Rah-roh George! They haven’t been able to shore it up through other acquisitions, so Gattis is off to Corpus to get his catching feet back underneath him.
  • Questions:
    • Will McCullers turn around the rotation?
    • Do the Astros need to consider a trade for the bullpen or rotation?
    • Will Castro be on the block when Gattis is ready?
    • Is there a solution in the organization for either infield corner?

What’s the over/under panic date?

  • Houston doesn’t have the worst record in baseball and, in fact, two teams have worse records in the American League. Too early for panic, but not too early for exploring tweaks and remedies. If Gattis is learning to catch again, is Jason Castro expendable? Which outfielder becomes trade bait, and when? When does Alex Bregman move to third at Corpus Christi before jumping to Houston? When does Joe Musgrove have enough grooming and follow other AA pitchers making the jump?
  • Questions:
    • Over/under date for panic?
    • Who can help and when?
    • When should/does the team throw in the towel for 2016?
Advertisements

129 comments on “Help needed: Questions — and no answers — for Astros

  1. Wow awesome question Chip

    1 I have for life of me never figured out Astroritize. Good players come here and get really sick. Does a hitting coach make that much of a Difference? Does sabermetrics make everyone sicker?

    2. LMJ will make a difference for sure who goes Friers? If we can’t get the 5-9 hitters off the Interstate, not sure it matters if we have Koufax and Drysdale. If we keep running Gomez, Valbunea, Fields,l like JFSM he is not the answer, our Sipp is sunk. If Castro can just bat .235

    3. If June 1st we are 12-14 games under .500 , Poke a fork in us were done. I’m not sure who to call up. it seems whoever will get Astroitize after about 2 weeks

    Where the hell did this train start going off the tracks, I just don’t get . Tim’s last post was really god, however is 2016 a waste for 2017, a re-load WOW! Crane is OK with that? If so us loyal fans have been duped!!

    Like

  2. Hope you are having a great time Chip and your parents are having a wonderful double celebration.
    Over/under date for panic?
    If these folks are still floundering badly in mid-June – it is panic time. Right now we are only in “very concerned” time.
    Who can help and when?
    LMJ obviously helps, but he will likely not be throwing a lot of innings per game (even last year he did not always have long outings). Even with Valbuena hitting a HR last night – I would love to see Moran or Bregman or somebody else hitting in his place. If we are still flopping in June – bring up Musgrove or whoever would seem to be the best choice to come help.
    When should/does the team throw in the towel for 2016?
    Well that depends on when and how far back. But if they are like 10 back heading towards the end of June – they are very unlikely to come back. They should be looking at being sellers a bit at that time.

    I don’t know why things are the way they are with people we bring in – it makes no sense that so many of these guys can’t hit when showing up here (Dave Hudgens).

    Like

  3. 1. Lance McCullers will definitely help, but Joe Musgrove can’t get here soon enough also.
    2. With Luhnows trade record, I’m nervous about any more from him. He seems to give up a lot for less.
    3. Up to a week or so ago, I’ve been against trading Castro, but I just don’t see him as ever hitting over .230 again. We already have catchers in the minors that are good defensively and can probably hit .180- .220.
    4. I’m ready for Moran to have a shot at 3rd and Reed at 1st. I think we need to be patient with Bregman. He’s doing very well at Corpus and the second half of the season could be a time to see how he does at 3rd.
    5. I think the Astros should consider a coaching move with someone to help these kids with their approach to running the bases.

    Like

    • Larry, here is the problem with Musgrove. The most innings he has ever thrown in the minors is 100. That was last year and he did it over three classes in the minors. So what are they doing to get him innings this year. He has pitched in 6 games with only four starts and has a total of 26 innings pitched. That is less than five innings per outing.
      How are we going to expect this guy to come up to the majors and pitch seven innings per start for us against major league hitters when he has never had to do it in the minors.
      He is one of our top pitching prospects, who is in his sixth minor league season and he is not even allowed to pitch in AAA where we have starters who have never been top prospects in their entire minor league career. He is pitching in a tandem system in AA and is averaging less than five innings per outing. That is an out and out travesty. And they are doing the same thing to Paulino and Martes and every other top prospect. Can you see Musgrove coming up and throwing seven innings in the majors? This organization doesn’t know how to win because they hired a team of managers and coaches whose job it was to lose for four years and then all of a sudden, win.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I think the main problem is that Luhnow is the GM.
    The next problem is that Luhnow first kept a terrible manager, Mills. Then he hired a Carlos Gomez type manager, Porter, who was all show and no go. Then he hired a manager who would do what Luhnow, a lousy manager himself, told him to do.
    Turns out, Astrotown was like those TV western towns with the false fronts all for show. Not enough baseball sense in that town. A strong wind came in and all the false buildings blew down, exposing the mayor as the real town dunce.
    I’ll answer one of Dan’s’s questions with a question. After all those high draft picks, how is LMJ all we have to show for on our staff. That’s Luhnow. And McCullers is not pitching because he didn’t pitch enough in the minors to get himself ready properly this year
    Why do we not have a star young center fielder when we had two of them lined up in the minors, Springer and Phillips? That’s Luhnow
    Why did we have to trade five pitchers for a closer, who’s not a closer and isn’t even a good reliever? That’s Luhnow.
    Why do we have a bad first baseman making $10million and playing in the minors? Luhnow
    Why do we have our super utility infielder playing 1B and the best 1B prospect in baseball playing in AAA? Luhnow.
    Why is our best minor league hitter an infielder we picked up on waivers. Why isn’t Danny Worth in the major leagues while we pay a third baseman $6.1million to hit below .200 with no power or RBIs to speak of? Luhnow.
    Who’s decision was it to not pitch any young arms a decent # of innings in the minors for years and yet ride your ace into the ground until he is exhausted?
    Who is it who has failed miserably at drafting catchers?
    Who decided to not throw Keuchel normally in ST only to have him not sharp at the beginning of the season?
    Why have most of his major decisions and moves backfired? Because he’s a lousy decision maker. It’s simple really. In the real world, we call a manager who makes all the bad moves a bad manager. We fire the guy who is making all the wrong decisions and hire a replacement who we pay a lot for to make the right moves and get the company back in the black.
    This is Luhnow’s fifth year on the job. We are one of the worst teams in baseball.
    We know who the problem is.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Will McCullers turn around the rotation? – Yes/

    Do the Astros need to consider a trade for the bullpen or rotation?- No because with my luck it would be a trade with the Phillies/

    Will Castro be on the block when Gattis is ready?- Probably not…they’d just release Stassi or something. Would be nice if they gave him an actual shot, but that isn’t happening here.

    Is there a solution in the organization for either infield corner?- Reed and Moran.

    Like

  6. First things first. Give all the thanks you know how to give that you have your parents. I haven’t had mine for almost 30 years and I miss them now more than ever.

    Just watched Altuve do his thing. AL-2-VE. Plays second, steals second. What more can you ask? AL-2-VE.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. While I hate scapegoating I think Gomez going away will be addition by subtraction. I feel almost as strongly about Valbuena. Gomez is overtly selfish and grossly unproductive. When he was playing well in Milwaukee he was at least second fiddle to Ryan Braun who was the veteran leader and producer. When Gomez came here the unspoken expectation was he would take a leading role. He was handed center field. He showed pretty quickly that despite a history of winning a gold glove he was and is an inferior CF compared to Marisnick and probably Springer. Reminds me of the Fowler situation. In 27 games he has driven in 4 runs despite hitting in the middle of the lineup. He has left 45 men on base! I don’t think he is a positive presence in the clubhouse. Meanwhile Valbuena has 5 RBI but has only left 24 men on base in 25 games.

    I have never liked Hudgens as a hitting coach. Before coming here he had a history of declining offensive production while with the Mets. Can you name any Astro hitter who got better last year while under his tutelage? Even Altuve in 2015 was overall a less effective hitter than he was in 2014.

    I think Giles was/is a victim of excessive expectations. I still think he is recoverable but needs a prolonged stretch in low leverage situations. How long did they keep Harris in low leverage spots last year before he started seeing more pressure?

    Replacing Valbuena should be easier than replacing Gomez. Moran and Reed as well as White have significant upside and can expect to get better with experience. There is no reason to expect Valbuena to even regress to his norm. As for Gomez, could Jake be any worse offensively? He would be better defensively and I would submit is a better clubhouse presence.

    There has to be a significant psychological drag on this team that is common to any kind of organization where highly paid employees are performing far below their reasonable expectations. Altuve is about the only player playing well above his pay grade. Correa and Springer are probably performing up to expectations. Rasmus is the only highly paid guy earning his keep.

    Panic time comes at the 50 game mark for me. I really don’t think anyone in the division is going to run away and hide but this team has too much talent to wallow near 10 games under 500 by the end of May.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jason Castro will be going on paternity leave in the next few weeks, so we will see Stassi coming up to take his place, so there’s that. My over and under is that these guys get to 10-12 games back, then I’ll throw in the towel. The crazy tandem pitching in the minors is counterproductive. These guys need to try and go 7 innings in Corpus, because when they are promoted, they will be expected to go at least that.
    I expect the return of McCullers will do wonders for this pitching staff. He has been sorely missed! It’s pretty evident that Gomez has not added anything to this club, but I doubt Luhnow will trade him because he would have to admit failure….and he aint about to do THAT. Yesterday I said Giles needed to pitch on a regular basis and sitting on the bench is not doing him or this team any good. We need all hands on deck when it comes to this worn out bullpen, and if he’s not pitching he’s taking up space. I have a feeling no one has the guts to rat out Luhnow to Jim Crane, Luhnow has been blowing smoke up Cranes leg for 5yrs now, and unless Nolan Ryan wants to take the helm…….we are stuck with Luhnow. Great to see you back Chip! We’ve missed you, but Dan has kept us in the game! Good or bad we love our Astros!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 1. Coaching and off the field support. Remember when Beltran was here and made the team buy a machine that fired tennis balls with numbers painted on them to use in the cage? Our team was one of the worst in the majors in terms of preparing the players to take the field back then and I’m not sure anything has changed.
    2. Yes. They can do it without another starter, but getting through a turn in the rotation with less stress on the bullpen gives us better odds for the late season.
    3. Don’t Panic. Seriously. With two wildcards there is a strong possibility that teams a few games under .500 at the start of September can still be in the race. We have to start winning series. I think a realistic goal is to be .500 at the All Star break. If they can’t get there then I would look to move the FA-to-be contracts.

    Like

  10. A solid game for the Astros. Seven solid innings from McHugh where his hook seemed to be getting better and better. Sipp with two scoreless innings that rests the others in the pen. Good enough offense with some clutch hitting and decent base running with Altuve a spark again.

    Like

  11. 



    Why do players come here and not perform?
    I’ll counter that with another question, why do under performing players leave here and become stars for other teams?

    If McCullers comes back and pitches like he did last year, if MC Hugh continues to pitch like he did today, if the real Kuechel returns, and Fister and Fiers don’t completely fall apart, then, no. We don’t need another starting pitcher. Especially if Luhnow is doing the signing / trading.

    Like others have said the AS break.

    Like

  12. Ken Giles – needs to be fixed. At the rate we are going, WillHarris’ and Tony Sipps arms will fall off by the all star break. That will be panic time. McCuller’s being back (if 100% healthy) will help the rest of the rotation by inserting a power arm in the midst of all of the soft tossers. Hopefully that will interrupt hitters timing a little.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Giles is taking up a spot that could be taken by another reliever, who could help us out right now. The kid needs to go get regular work, because he’s not getting it here right now. He’s not broken…*YET*, but if we’re not careful he will be. You are exactly right Will Harris et all, are going to end up needing TJ if Luhnow isn’t paying attention. That is EXACTLY what happened last year in the series with the Royals.
      *************** DEAD…..ARM***********

      Like

  13. I find it a bit humorous that some on here that were praising Luhnow last year and during the off-season is suddenly putting all the blame on him for our slow start this year. I definitely feel he has made some mistakes, as it is difficult to argue otherwise, but there are other issues that have contributed to the 12-20 start. I’m not as high on Luhnow as I was last year, but he did a great job rebuilding the minor league system and, in my opinion, if he was allowed to do what the Cubs ownership allowed Epstein to do, we would be in a much better situation. I will reiterate again that I think Crane is as much, if not more, at fault for how this season has gone. Get off your fat wallet and start investing in this team with superior free agents instead of middling relief pitchers and BOR pitchers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I gave him a bit of credit last year but no praise. And I’m about ready to take back the credit.
      Can’t blame Crane for not trusting the players you’ve drafted to move up to the big club, or numerous other goofy things he’s done, like this tandem training for young pitchers and inferior trades. Can’t blame Crane if elite players won’t come here because they are treated like numbers instead of humans.
      The only thing we can blame Crane for is keeping Luhnow around too long.

      Like

      • I can blame Crane for elite players not wanting to come here as he won’t pay for elite players. I can also put some of the blame for not bringing up the prospects because most of those decisions are financially motivated due to Super 2 status and extra years of team control and money decisions fall back on Crane.

        Furthermore, it’s very ironic how we keep bringing up the Singleton contract as a Luhnow mistake and then fault him for under-paying the best 2B in the game and low-balling Springer, but trying to over-pay for Grossman and Dominguez. I think we are being very biased in our criticism of him. Essentially, he can do no right regardless of how the moves have worked out for the Astros.

        Like

    • Since I am only the fake GM I will give myself fake criticism for the building of this team.
      Since Luhnow is the guy who actually has made all the stupid moves, I will give him the real criticism.
      Since I absolutely gag when I even think of Crane, I will gladly throw him under the bus with his GM. Can I blame Obama, too?
      There, everything is now in it’s proper place. I feel much more flexible.

      Like

    • This isn’t TCB. I think the consensus here was that Luhnow was talking a plodding approach to restoring the franchise. We probably have him more credit last year for the mirage of a start that was April. In the end, it was revealed that we did know what we thought we knew: the Astros were a .500 team that could beat or lose to anyone without discrimination.

      As for Luhnow, I’ll give him credit for overpaying for Bregman. He looks like a solid player and capable hitter. However, he blew the 2014 draft to make that pick possible. He also should get credit for his crew finding and drafting:
      – Mengden
      – Nottingham
      – Phillips
      Unfortunately, he loses credit for giving them all away without helping the team. Was he forced into those trades because players wouldn’t come to Houston (Hamels) or GMs were hostile or unwilling to do a square trade? Probably. If so, he should be replaced. I think Hinch blew a handful of games last year and as many this…but if I’m Crane, I have informed Luhnow he is on a very hot seat. If the 2016 draft and signing goes poorly I would give him his walking papers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • He didn’t blow the 2014 draft. He took the consensus #1 pick, which the far majority of GM’s would have done if they had the #1 pick. Unfortunately, pre-draft physicals are not allowed and, if they were, I can assure you Luhnow would not have drafted Aiken. As it turned out Luhnow was vindicated when Aiken eventually had TJ surgery, which Luhnow was concerned would happen if he signed him to the agreed contract. If Aiken never materializes as a TOR because of the TJ surgery then it further supplants Luhnow making the right decision.

        Also, it is ironic you want to blame him for trading Mengden, Nottingham and Phillips, who have not appeared in a single major league game and really aren’t tearing up the minors (Phillips had a very nice game the other day, but his power is lacking and most don’t see him as a blue chip prospect). What about McHugh, Correa, Sipp, Martes, Musgrove, Devenski, Tyler White, McCullers, Abreu, Paulino. Reed, Teoscar Hernandez, Fisher, Moran, etal? If we’re going to fault him for trading prospects with high ceilings, but have done nothing in the major leagues then we have to give him credit for drafting/acquiring the same type prospects?

        Finally, why is Bregman an over-pay?

        Like

      • No, those are Luhnow-colored glasses. Aiken was the consensus #1 HS arm. Rodon was the consensus #1 college arm. Depending on which draft evaluator you read you would get a different answer on who the 1.1 should be. Also, ignore that – he blew the bonus negotiations trying to get three for one.

        Bregman was chosen at 1.2 despite being considered the third best SS in the draft by at most of the prognosticators. This ignores where he would rank against arms, but most I read said he would be a solid pick at 1.5. Then, as the draft approached, many began tying him to the Astros. I say it was an overpay, but if Luhnow was convinced another team was taking him at 1.3 or 1.4 I can understand. Also, I do not know the salary demands other targets would have had of Luhnow.

        Like

      • No, those are Luhnow-hated glasses. While a small percentage suggested Rodon as the top pick, the far majority thought Aiken was the best player in the draft, thus making him the consensus #1 pick.

        The negotiations were handled properly because once Aiken refused to sign for the lower amount he was unable to sign the #21 pick (his name escapes me now) because this amount coupled with the $7.4M slot money assigned to Aiken would have pushed them over their bonus pool allotment and resulted in a heavy tax on Crane, which we know he wouldn’t have allowed.

        Like

  14. Plenty of Blame to go around , honestly I thought it was on Palin. I have never been a Uncle Jeff fan, he has made some good moves and bad moves, is it all his fault no. My problem with both Crane and Uncle Jeff is they both have the smartest guy in the room syndrome and they’re not. Crane to me seems a bit slimy and Uncle Jeff a bit of a narcissist. I’m not really sure anyone likes Uncle Jeff but Uncle Jeff.

    I’ve said this before if you gave some of us on Chipalatta, the money to surround ourselves with baseball people, Inherit the worst farm system, trade away the few good folks we had for re treads, so we can lose 100 games for 3 years for a lot of high picks.

    I’m not sure we wouldn’t have a better team in 2016

    Bottom Line to me, Uncle Jeff’s way of doing business is not really working long term. and personally I just don’t care for it or him.

    5 years time for a change!

    Like

  15. All of this is simply an over reaction by frustrated fans to a bad start. I get it because I’m as guilty as the next person of over reacting. All I’ll say is that I’m glad the GM and owner don’t listen to fans recommendations or the Astros would still be without a pennant.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Tim, I have said that IF the Astros do not pull out of this tailspin that I would make the moves, including the major one at the end of the season. I don’t think that holding a GM accountable after five years, especially with the fifth season being a losing one without the disadvantage of major injuries to major players is overreacting. Imagine if we had the injuries the Rangers have faced, or the Angels are facing with their pitching staff.
    As one can plainly see, once we pull the minor leaguers we will need in the next couple of years out, the minors will be pretty barren and that is because we traded a lot of good prospects for players who failed to deliver. By “failed to deliver” I mean right now, because that is why we traded to get them, to win right now! and that plan is not currently working.

    Like

  17. Glad to see Mr. McHugh throw well yesterday. That is a great encouragement. And i neither credit JL nor condemn him with that statement

    Like

  18. The pitching will come around I think. McHugh is a pretty good example. Last couple of starts, the rest of the guys have kept the Astros in the game as well.
    The early part of the season, pitching was a disaster and with the runs the Stros were scoring, they should have had a better outcome.
    All that said, The Astros are just a subpar hitting team and I do not see a lot of relief in sight. There are 3 guys hitting with an average above .250. The better teams in each division, AL and NL, all have about 6 (some more) players that hit .250 or better.
    Aside from Tuve, Correa and Springer, who do the Stros have that we should expect more from ? Rasmus is a .240 hitter, White ?..the book is open on him. Marwin ? He will be there..but not yet. Gomez, Valbuena, Castro ?? Good Luck !
    At the end of the day, the Stros are going to need another couple of sticks in the lineup that are not currently on the traveling squad.
    It would appear that a rookie, not named Lance B., will just struggle in the near term.
    If any of you have any real live suggestions with reasonable expectations for a salvage of this year, I would love to read that.

    Like

    • TNT, to salvage the year I would play Rasmus in LF and Gomez in CF through June. I am paying them a total of $24.8 million for the year and they need to earn it.
      I would play Gattis against LH starters and Castro against RH starters at catcher through June. I loaded $8.7million into their cart and they need to earn it.
      I would play Valbuena at 3B and Marwin at 1B through June. They are making $8.1 million between them and I want them to earn it.
      I would start Feldman and Fister in the rotation through June. They are making $15million between them and I want them to earn it.
      That’s $56.6 million invested in those 8 players this year alone, way more than half of the team’s payroll. If the team isn’t back in the race by June 30th, anyone could at least say the Astros gave it their best shot, the moves that were made the last couple of years didn’t work, and then the team could move on to the future.
      The plan for salvaging the season would be to go with the guys we gave up all our prospects for (and most of the money). If they don’t do that, then they would have wasted all the stuff they gave up.
      Let White and Tucker, Fiers, Feliz, Devenski play DH, bullpen, spot start, and fill in where needed and get them some more experience so that they are better next year, when those other guys are gone.
      If this formula doesn’t work, and the team is out of it by the end of June, well, you know……

      Like

  19. Tim, I don’t think it’s an overreaction. Last year I took some heat for stating that if the Astros did not make it into the post season, Luhnow should be fired. In retrospect, the only thing that went wrong was that the young upstarts got hot late and did give us some October baseball. It was great fun, but as of now, we traded away some real talent and got little in return. And maybe we got giddy a bit prematurely. I know I did. I overlooked the fact that this 2016 club still has real holes in it. And there are not many answers on the horizon to provide immediate help. We traded most of them.

    Luhnow got us Kazmir, Fiers and Gomez. None of those guys really had much of an impact in getting us into the playoffs. Indeed, Gomez helped us once there, but Fiers was pretty much left out of the equation altogether. Kazmir was gassed. My main point here is that some of the best trades are the ones that don’t get made.
    Let’s face it, those three guys are not doing much for us today.

    Meanwhile, Mengden is throwing 98 MPH fastballs by guys in AAA right now. Six starts in AA/AAA, an 0.50 ERA and a 1.056 WHIP.

    Brett Phillips, after a slow start, has his OPS up to .827 in AA ball. Santana is admittedly struggling, but I’d rather have his numbers in right today and Springer in center were he belongs, and not ever seen Gomez in an Astro uniform. At best, he’s a immature 30 year old.

    And then there’s Josh Hader. No longer a skinny 160 pounds, he’s bulked up to 185 and is also topping out at 98. His AA stats through six starts include an 0.94 ERA and a 1.081 WHIP. Milwaukee seems to think he might be their best starter prospect in the last ten years.

    Of course we’ve seen what VV has done. He’s no fluke. He might be a top of the rotation starter and we never gave him a real shot with our club. Giles will hopefully turn into the closer we were expecting, but if Vince remains a force as a starter, that trade will never be even. And Appel has finally shown signs of turning the corner. And finally there’s Eshelman at A+ ball, with his 0.946 OPS and the 6th best UTR in minor league baseball this year.

    Sure, Luhnow has done some good work under challenging constraints. But I believe firmly that he overreacted in 2015 when he started smelling post season baseball. And sure, Crain wanted to see those seats full. But it was Luhnow that made those bad deals last year. And it was Luhnow that made the Giles deal.

    I also believe that our minor league organization is not all it’s cracked up to be.

    So what happens in 2016? What does Luhnow have to do to keep his job? I’m going to say the same thing I said last year. He should be fired if this club does not make it to the post season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave,

      Last year you probably did over react with that comment. Luhnow should not have been fired even if the Astros missed the playoffs. Would the Astros have even been close to the playoffs without McHugh’s 19 wins or Sipp’s 1.99 ERA out of the bullpen? Is Luhnow a victim of his own success? Absolutely! The team’s success last year prompted him to trade off some of our top prospects in an effort to have a successful postseason. Those trades didn’t work out, for the most part, but in hindsight, the Astros would have been better off with some improvement in 2015 without challenging for the playoffs. If the Astros were a 76-78 win team Luhnow probably doesn’t make those trades and the prospects would still be here. What we don’t know is how hamstrung Luhnow was by Crane’s budget when making these trades? Was Gomez his first choice or simply the best trading chip available with team control beyond 2015 and at a reasonable cost? There are so man factors we’re not privy to, but Luhnow did a magnificent job rebuilding the farm system and because of this success expectations were ramped up.

      im not opposed to dismissing Luhnow at the end of the season if this team completely falls apart, but I do realize Luhnow played a major role in turning around this franchise from the doldrums and I’m not going to put the majority of the blame for our slow start on him. I doubt there were a handful of guys that could have turned around this franchise so quickly the way Luhnow did. Thus, I’m not going to panic and demand his resignation now.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an impressive OPS for a pitcher. Maybe they should make Eshelman a hitter. Is this the same Eshelman that had a 1.895 WHIP last year? So, we want to use a shor sample size instead of career numbers to make our case? Really?

      Like

      • Yes Tim, guilty as charged. Obviously that was his small sample WHIP for 2016. His walks are also down a full 2 from last year, again, a small sample. I’m flattered that you’d dig for artillery to counter my points. As we say locally, peace out.

        Like

      • Hey Tim, you almost had me tricked! That 1.645 WHIP in 2015 you pointed out happened over 49 batters. He was just out of college, getting his feet wet for the first time playing pro ball. This years 0.946 WHIP is based on 121 plate appearances. My short sample is bigger than your short sample!

        Like

      • Tim, he threw 10.1 innings in 2015. Obviously, the 2016 sample is not conclusive. Daveb is taking the position that his 30+ IP this year are more meaningful than the 10 last year if we are making early judgements.

        I think you are wrong about the 2014 draft but am not going to go into it much further. I think you are not factoring in that Luhnow approached it as well as 2013 with the same mindset as 2012. Rodon wanted full slot. Bryant wanted full slot. Luhnow dangled Moran’s name as a bargaining chip before selecting Appel and signing him for $1m under slot…if I recall correctly. That’s his MO. Given Correa & McCullers, maybe I should be happy it worked 1/3 of the chances. This is baseball, after all.

        Like

      • They’re both short samples and that’s my point. It’s WAY too early to consider Edelman nothing, but a low level prospect. It’s doubtful he even makes it to the majors.

        Like

      • Devin,

        If he had gone with the consensus in 2012 he would have had Buxton, but no Correa or LMJ. Again, if Aiken had not had the elbow issue having him and Jacob Nix may have been better than Rodon. If pre-draft physicals were allowed and he still took Aiken instead of Rodon then you can make a strong case he messed up the draft. As it stands he drafted 2 players by getting one to go under slot and those 2 players could have been 2 outstanding pitchers. They may still turn out to be very good, but elbow issues and TJ candidates are a dangerous mix.

        Like

      • Hey Tim, your guy Luhnow is the one who took Eshelman in the 2nd round last year, 46th overall. Why would he waste that pick on a low level prospect, doubtful of ever making it in the majors? As it is, the Phillies think enough if him to be their 15th best prospect today, One thing I know. You and I will be be watching his progress. The Eshelman story is academic really. If Vince keeps acting like a top of the rotation guy, we’ll have gotten fleeced on yet another deal, with or without any of the other guys included ever having a meaningful ML career.

        Like

      • Dave,

        I hate to break it to you, but even Carlos Correa was a low level prospect. Very few make it to the major leagues, but obviously some do. It sounds like you’re not aware what low level prospect means. It means a prospect in the lower levels of the minor leagues. Where he was drafted is of no relevance to him being a low level prospect. 99% of the players are, at one time, a low level prospect.

        Like

      • Tim – you are correct that most had Correa as the 5th to 7th best player in the 2012 draft. I am willing to proclaim Luhnow and Heck geniuses for that selection.

        Like

  20. The whole Luhnow thing is such a rollercoaster ride. We were with him when he helped tear the team down. We were ready to ride him out of town when the 2014 draft went down the drain. We were back with him when the Aiken injury occurred and the 2015 team went on a solid tear and the minor league teams were so solid too. Now we are (justifiably) mad about the trades and the slow start and the way players play when sent elsewhere and the way they play when they get here and the tandem, etc.
    I guess where I fall on this is that I am willing to give Hinch more slack at the moment than Luhnow. Luhnow has been in control for 4+ years now and where we are has much more to do with his moves than with Hinch’s moves.
    My biggest complaint with Luhnow has been the quantity of prospects, especially pitchers sent away. Those are very valuable trading chips and I just have not seen the value in some of these moves he made. I never understood the Conger trade. I did understand the Gomez / Fiers trade though I thought we gave up too much. I understood the Giles trade, but I can’t see giving up that much pitching for him. I am just more concerned with the cumulative tradeoff of prospects. That is how the team got in the hole back in the mid-2000’s with the minor league system.
    I still want to see how things shake out – it is too early in the season to give up on this team.

    Like

  21. Switching the topic here, Jim Crane was in Fayetteville NC a couple of weeks ago for preliminary discussion with city officials about the new milb ballpark they are proposing there.
    Having a High A franchise there, the low A franchise in Davenport, a AA franchise in CC, a AAA franchise in Round Rock and the new spring training facility in West Palm Beach would make the Astros minor league facilities just fabulous. It really would be a shine.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Next objective: win a 3-game series with Cleveland.

    The match-ups are:

    Game 1: Fiers v. Kluber [3.35 ERA, 0.95 WHIP; for career we’ve hit .200/.226/.442 against him; Gonzales, PTuck, and Springer have hit him well]

    Game 2: Devenski v. Bauer [5.14 ERA; 1.43 WHIP; for career we’ve hit .149/241/.444 against him; the only player who has hit him well is PTuck]

    Game 3: Fister v. Salazar [1.91 ERA; 0.90 WHIP; for carreer we’ve hit .200/.286/.486 against him; the only player who has hit him well is Marisnick]

    Like

  23. Conger.F-
    Kazmir. F
    Gomez/ Fires. Gomez F…….Fires C-
    Giles. As it sits right now F, but I think the kid will turn out ok ((( I hope )))!!
    So far the best trade has been Cosart for Moran, Marisnick and ? I can’t remember who else we got for him. AND….Cosart is in AAA now.

    Like

    • Getting Musgrove in the J.A. Happ trade or Chris Devenski in the Brett Myers trade are also some of Luhnow’s great trades. He has done very well when trading veterans for prospects, but has failedd when trading prospects for veterans. Overall, he probably has fared better in trades, but the most recent trades haven’t looked good. The Conger trade, although not good, did not amount to losing too much in prospects. Tropeano is a BOR and Carlos Perez is a very good defensive catcher with limited offensive skills. He’s probably worse than Castro overall. He’ll probably come out on top in the Gattis trade.

      Like

    • Giles still a F, because he may turn out to be fine, but VV is better now and in the future, and while I’m not overly confident in it happening, what if Appel becomes a star?

      Like

  24. You know what is awesome. We all love our Astro’s and want them to win, We may disagree a lot on Uncle Jeff, but we all do it without getting ugly name calling etc.

    We just want our guys to win and for me, I want the Astro organization to be a place again where everyone wants to come and play. Can than be done with Crane and Jeff, I don’t see it. IMHO

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well said. You have touched on the very reason this blog is successful. We speak openly about our team, all our ideas are ours, and we may not all see the same points but we are civil. We have mutual respect for each other, treat each other equally and pray that others join us and make things even more interesting. There is a ton of knowledge shared on this blog on one subject alone and yet we continue to grow because we have love for our team and for each other.
        My fear is offending someone here on this blog by saying something hurtful. As long as we adhere to this we will go on for a long time.
        I think that is why Bopert can come back here and comfortably chime in whenever he feels like it, because he knows that he is accepted here.
        People who are bored with nice bloggers move on to other adventures while our ever-larger family expands.
        Everyone, take a bow.
        Now, about that fabulous lineup…..

        Liked by 1 person

    • True dat, Kevin. I’ve been known to have spirited debates with others here, but I don’t recall anyone calling me an idiot or vice versa (although some may privately think that about me at least they keep it internal :)). I have seen name calling on other blogs and on the Chron, but this site is full of classy individuals, even if you’re all wrong about Jeff Luhnow. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think Bo and I have very similar thoughts when it comes to Crane. I’m not sure where he stands on Luhnow, but neither of us are big fans of Crane.

        Like

  25. Well 1OP, Tyler White is simply a better hitter against right handed pitching than Marwin is. Back up to .247 with a .780 OPS, he’s emerging from his first ML slump and has to do while playing ever other day.

    Like

    • They committed the money to those guys so let’s play them til the end of June and then see where we are. That is how I answered TNT’s question above.

      Like

      • I saw that 1OP, but I’d rather have a lineup made up of the guys that give us the best chance to win. I think White should be playing at least five days a week.

        Like

  26. Over the weekend the Cubs walked Bryce Harper 13 times including 6 times on Sunday and swept the Nats. Now if we had only done that to Cano…..

    Like

  27. AL-2-VE strikes again. A 2-run DOUBLE, in addition to playing 2nd and stealing 2nd a whole lots. ,,,,,,,,,,AL-2-VE ……….. !!!!!

    Like

  28. Knocking Kluber out in 3rd is great – gets their bullpen in a deficit position. And he is their Keuchel – so let’s kee it going guys.

    Like

  29. The only thing the Astros need to do is figure out how to solve Bauer, who has completely baffled them in the past, and win tonight with their #5 starter on the hill.
    They don’t need to think beyond tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin, they scored 7 runs last night without a homer, and almost everyone contributed. Fiers pitched very well against their ace who has beaten us consistently in the past. Giles pitched out of an 8th inning jam that he did not create. Feldman mowed them down in the ninth.
      The defense was amazing.
      We got their bullpen in the third inning of the first game of the series.
      Last night was the game we dream of as Astros fans.
      Can they keep doing it?

      Like

  30. My application for writing for the new Hockey Rumors website was rejected when I casually mentioned I am not a fan of the three point shot. I guess they don’t want an OTHG.

    Like

      • I’m pretty sure there is a rigorous training program involved.
        They don’t accept candidates from Ranger’s territiory.
        There is an age limit.
        I would have to get back on the grid.
        There is a lot of travel involved.
        I would never get Crane’s approval.
        I don’t want to lose the friends I have here.
        Who would take care of my goldfish while I traveled with the team?
        My wife won’t let me
        I type real slow.
        My brain moves too fast to stay on the topic.
        I’m not computer literate.
        I’m on a diet
        I don’t want to start drinking.
        Who would be on call to help Mr Reese and Mr Finch when they need my protection?

        Liked by 1 person

  31. No, but there are tornadoes. That F5 was about 25 miles from here and we did not even know about it, because the sun was shining here. Found out about everything after it had moved toward Atoka. Crazy!

    Like

    • JEEEEEZE………I saw that last night! OH…..LORDY I would be scared to death!!
      You take care of yourself…you’re WAAAY too important to us for you and your family to get hurt!

      Like

  32. With Richards and Simmons out for a long time the Angels may have to at least consider trading Mike Trout. Now, we know they wouldn’t trade him to a division foe, but for discussion purposes what would you be willing to give up for a player of Mike Trout’s caliber? Springer will have to be in the deal plus a whole lot more.

    Like

    • There is zero chance the Angels are considering trading a 24 year old superstar that is signed long term because of temporary issues with injuries, or if they did they should all just be fired. Even if they go into complete rebuild mode, which I would argue is impossible with Pujols contract – unless they find someone like the Yankees that can eat paying 20+ mil to a declining but still somewhat effective player.

      But for arguments sake – I would say the Astros don’t have the pieces to make the deal. I can’t think of anything in our system that is worth Mike Trout in a real combination. It might have to be something like Keuchel, Springer and Altuve, and I wouldn’t make that deal. As much as we all love Correa’s future I’m not sure they do that straight up. I don’t think there is a Trout deal that makes us better.

      Like

      • Lets see Uncle Jeff his 20 computer nerd-assistants, throw in Pettis and our Batting Coach, Ashby in the booth Blum can go full time, Hmm what else?

        Like

    • The only player we would have who we could talk about trading for Trout would be Correa, and if you trade Correa you would make Altuve so mad you would have to trade him, too. Correa is a free agent in 2022 and Trout is a free agent in 2021 and Correa is much less expensive in the seasons leading up to their free agency. Trout is a better player, but I would not try to trade for him, because Correa and others needed to go in a trade wipes us out of a team for the next five years.

      Like

      • Do you not think Bregman and Trout would make us better than having Correa and Springer? I’m just throwing it out there for discussion purposes.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s