All Star break: Handing out Astros’ awards


It has been a crazy down and then up first half for the 2016 Houston Astros. Looking back at the first half – here are the awards for various categories and a runner-up certificate too.

Rookie of the Year. Michael Feliz. For about 10 days this looked like a sure-fire award for Tyler White. But in the end, the position players making their debuts, (White, Colin Moran, Tony Kemp and A.J. Reed) did not earn this award. Michael Feliz with his 6-1 record, his 1.050 WHIP and his 12.8 K/9 IP was the top rookie. His 4.28 ERA was skewed by giving up 9 runs in his first two appearances of the season.

Runner-up. Chris Devenski. Folks supporting Devenski for this award would have a point with his much steadier performance, his 2.30 ERA and his 1.057 WHIP. Feliz gets the nod here due to his use in much higher leverage situations, especially the number of times he held extra inning games at bay until the team finally scored.

MVP. Jose Altuve. He is leading the team in runs scored, hits, doubles, SBs, BA, OBP and OPS. He probably picks up the peanut wrappers on out of town flights, too. He has become a more patient hitter and has raised his OBP .039 over his previous career high and his OPS .124. He is the straw that stirs the drink.

Runner-up. Dead heat. George Springer and Carlos Correa – Springer has slightly better numbers overall. Correa gets some extra points for playing SS and for being only 21 years old. He has also been the key hitter for 6 of their 13 last at-bat wins this season.

Top Pitcher. Will Harris.  If you ignore his outlier of an outing on Friday night (he gave up 4 of his measly 7 runs for the season in that 1/3 of an inning) he has been just outstanding. His 0.72 ERA and 9 out of 9 save opportunities heading into that game punched his ticket to the ASG Tuesday night. He has been absolutely reliable the whole season, one of the few players who has not been up and down.

Runner-up. Doug Fister. Despite his “Jered Weaver can’t break glass” fastball, Fister was the steadiest starter over the first half of the season, especially through the toughest times early on. He gave up 3 or less runs in 13 of his first 14 starts and gave the team a shot most times out, leading the team with a 8-6 record and putting up a rotation leading 3.55 ERA.

Comeback Player of the Year. Luis Valbuena. it is hard to decide whether to give this to him for his improvement over 2015 or his improvement over a nasty April. He bottomed out May 6 with a .174 BA / .528 OPS with no home runs and only four RBIs through the first 30 games. In the last two months he has put up a .304 BA/.955 OPS with 12 HRs and 33 RBIs, while playing a very good 3B.

Runner-up. Fister, who has come back from an injury riddled 2015 to be solid in 2016.

Disappointment of the Year. Dallas Keuchel. He is showing signs of finding himself in the last few weeks, but no one expected the Cy Young Award winner to lead the team in losses (9) or to have the worst ERA (4.80) among starters at the halfway mark.

Runner-up. Ken Giles. Similar to Keuchel, he has been straightening the ship lately after finishing April with a 9.00 ERA and May with a 6.33 ERA. His 1.72 ERA over his last 15 appearances is more like what was expected of him. Tony Sipp is pushing to take this runner-up tag away from Giles.

Most Professional and Under the Radar.  Scott Feldman. Thinking back to how Lucas Harrell “responded” to being moved to the bullpen a few seasons ago, Feldman has pitched brilliantly in relief. His 1.61 ERA and 0.89 WHIP out of the pen have shown his professionalism in responding to his demotion to the bullpen.

Runner-up. Marwin Gonzalez. He is not hitting as well as the last two seasons, but continues to perform well no matter where he is placed in the field, at all 4 infield positions and LF on occasion. The Astros’ Swiss Army Knife brings value and consistency no matter how he is used.

So….

  • Any arguments with the award recipients above?
  • Any other awards and winners you would like to add to the list?
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136 comments on “All Star break: Handing out Astros’ awards

  1. I think Devenski and Feliz share the ROY award at the halfway point. At the end of the season you have to pick one of them, but now, it’s a wash for me.
    Altuve is the MVP, but I am worried about his All-Star break because he looks exhausted.
    On the other hand, I think Valbuena’s comeback might be attributed to the fact that he has gotten some day’s off and is relatively fresh, compared to the Astros Big Three. When other players we face might be wilting in the summer heat, he seems to have gotten a second wind to help the Astros finish strong.
    I think winner of the Disappointment Award is the entire team in the first six weeks of the season. If we can give out good awards, the bad award needs to be shared by all the guys who failed to hit, pitch, and run the bases. That was a team effort.
    The real question is: what does the team need to do to duplicate the first half and finish the season 88-74? And, what will that get them?

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  2. I think Op and Dan I would agree with all the above – I give the nod to Devenski at the 1/2 way point , just by the hair of a Change UP. I was thinking on this last night,. If Bregman continues on his current pace. I would bring him up and send down Reed so he can work on his game some more. I would have Bregman play a lot of 3rd spot CC for rest, Platoon VB and Margo at 1st, Margo spots Altuve for rest.

    We need to trade for a Lefty in The BP

    Of course just My Humble Opinion

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  3. That half season is done and gone. The playoffs are in play for us, but we are in second place, over 5 games back – and that is all that should matter right now. And not picking on you, Dan, who I fully understand work hard to come up with something interesting to write about each week to keep the good discussion going, I personally would not give any mid-season awards to any Astros. We were, after all, projected to be on top of our division, with one of the best records, if not the best record, in the league. We were projected to have a strong MVP candidate not named Jose Altuve. We still have a long, long way to go. At least we seem to have some – though by no means all – of the pieces in place to make up ground and finish strong.

    But if we are to excel – not just survive and squeak into the playoffs – we need to honestly evaluate – and address – the remaining weaknesses on our team. To catch and overtake the Rangers, we will still need 1. an effective, non-back-up catcher DH, 2. a 1B that makes good contact and drives in runs, 3. an ace-quality TOR who pitches like an ace-quality TOR pitcher outing after outing, 4. a left-handed reliever who gets lefties out and doesn’t walk a person or more per outing, and 5. someone – anyone – who can consistently shut the door in the 9th inning. Some of those guys may be on the team – or at Fresno – right now. But the FO has some tough decisions to make. And the players have to decide if they want to wrestle the division away from the Rangers – and put significant distance between them and the Mariners and the As – or just stay ‘close’ to the wildcard and hope somebody falters big time at the end the way we did last year.

    Let the players rest and enjoy seeing Jose and Will represent them in the AS Game – but the FO needs to be working their tails off trying to diagram out a really, really strong finish to 2016 that opens the door to the kind of 2017 Sports Illustrated imagined for us a couple of years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I could say I’m not picking back, but I am Mr. Bill. We all know this is an imperfect team with holes as you listed them out above and we have talked about that in length along the way. I was just trying to have a topical topic at the break. If you don’t want to award folks for jobs done poorly or incomplete – then I will gladly offer up the following negative first half awards:

      The Genuflection award – Carlos Gomez for spending as much time on one knee as standing in the batter’s box
      The Rocky Balboa Tomato Can award – Tony Sipp for giving it up to all comers lefty or righty
      The Overly High Expectations Award – Carlos Correa for falling short in a season that all previous Astro SS’s would kill for
      The Casablanca Fan Award – Tie between Springer, Rasmus, Correa and Castro
      The Turning Silk Purse into a Sow’s Ear Award – Dave Hudgens for his ability to undo almost any hitter’s good qualities

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    • As far as the five things you think we need to overtake Arlington, Alex Bregman fits #1. James Hoyt fits #5 and the Astros have the prospects to get #4.
      You can forget #3.(of course, that’s where Luhnow will blow this comment so out of the water, like an Iranian naval vessel).
      I think they are happy with #2 in Marwin and Reed, but that is where I think they actually will surprise us.

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  4. Ran across this looking at the Astros Top 30 Prospects. Left-handed batter Kyler Tucker has killed left handed pitchers this year in his slash line: .344/.411/.406/.817 versus .272/.330/.391/.721 against righties. It’s early, but it’s encouraging for a 19 year old in a league of players that average 2.6 years older than him.

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  5. So here’s the question: I posited that the bad start and horrendous record in one run games was not simple luck or something we could expect to see corrected by simply expanding the selection size. So was I wrong, or did this team find the answers? I’m leaning towards the answer lying in between the two.

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    • When the Astros were 17-28 they were on pace for a 61-101 record. Since then they have been 31-13 which is a pace for a 114-48 record. This team is neither of those teams – it is probably closer to the pace they are on at 49-41, which is the 88-74 pace sited by op above.
      My personal feeling is that they will play a little better than that 88-74 pace the rest of the way – but probably no better than a 90 -92 win season.

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  6. Everything else has been correctly noted already, but we also need an outfielder who can hit. Not Marwin. And we really can’t wait for Jake or Gomez to start hitting at this point. If the powers to be want to leave Valbuena at third, then I’d ask Bregman if he’d like to start his ML career in left field. I’m sure he’d want to do that rather than sit on the bench all night and be a DH. He’s an excellent athlete. He’d do a better job out there than quite a few guys in the league.

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    • I just remember the Biggio in CF fiasco of a few years ago – and am not optimistic that we can do that kind of shift in the middle of the year.

      Perhaps we could instead let Bregman and Correa alternate between SS and DH. That way – theoretically – both would stay fresh physically during the stretch run, and when Valbuena falters [and he almost certainly will, as he has NEVER in his entire career hit at anywhere close to the pace as he has the last 3 weeks or so], we would have someone ready to step into his place.

      But, of course, the ‘elite SS platoon’ approach would not solve the problem that you have pointed out – which is the ugly albatross hanging around the neck of both Carlos Gomez and Jake Marisnick. I wish either Gomez or Marisnick could get it together and keep it together for more than a game or two out of ten or thirty. But neither seem to be able to do that. So I suspect our rally-killer-in-the-outfield problem is going to have to be resolved by trading Gomez and/or Marinsnick for prospects, moving Springer to center, and bringing up whoever will hit best out of Hernandez, PTuck, and Kemp. Rasmus can just move to RF if the FOs choice is not Hernandez.

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      • I think you are right about the OF problem and solution Mr. Bill. I did not realize how bad CF was until I went to the MLB sortable stats. The cumulative numbers for those playing CF for the Astros this season is .213 BA / . 269 OBP / .597 OPS with 6 HR and 31 RBIs. Good gosh – last season as bad as he was for 80% of the season – Jake M was .236 / .281 / .665 for the year.

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      • What unnerves me is that if the FO follows protocol from last year, what they’ll do instead is ignore the LH reliever market, keep both Gomez and Marisnick, and use the trade value of Hernandez, PTuck, Kemp, Reed, Martes, and Stubbs to bring in a couple of expensive rentals who once once appeared to be on the edge of becoming-stars but who have already given signs of beginning a steep decline.

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      • I’d be shocked to see Bregman and Correa taking turns playing short. Valbuena would go to first and Bregman to third before Correa would lose his everyday job out there.

        Bregman is in a much different place than Biggio was in the twilight of his career. He’s a young multi tool guy in better shape than he’ll ever be. So Mr. Bill, that’s not a good enough reason for me not to give Bregman a look out there. But indeed, better yet, get a guy from outside the organization that plays left and hits lefties. Bring Bregman up and put him at third. Move Valbuena to first and have Marwin play there when a lefty is on the mound. Take it a step further and find a dedicated DH too. Of course the left fielder and the DH is going to cost us prospects, but I’m willing to listen.

        I’ll worry about the pitching tomorrow. That’s not as big a consideration for me with Hoyt standing by.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dave, you could very well be right re: Bregman’s superior ability over a late-career Craig Biggio to make the jump from IF to OF. But with that said I am still not sure the FO believes – as I think you and I do – that the Gomez/Marisnick combo even needs to be replaced. If the FO keeps those two, and keeps doing with them what they are doing, I see nothing to be gaine by trading any of our best young players [Reed, Kemp, PTuck, Martes] being traded at all – because WE CANNOT WIN THE DIVISION WITH GOMEZ AND MARISNICK – not to mention Gattis and Castro – consistently killing our rally potential with BAs under .220 and with OBPs [except Castro’s] staying well under .300. If they are unwilling or unable to unload Gomez for prospects, and insist instead on throwing him out there game after game with the rest of the ‘under .225/.300’ parade, there is not going to be any room in the line-up for any new position player we might receive via trade.

        Which brings us to pitching. As OP said, a TOR guy ‘ain’t going to happen’. But perhaps the FO could market a bevy of the AAA guys that need to go to make room on the 40-man [i.e. guys like Fontana, Duffy, Singleton, Peacock, and Aplin] for a LH MOR or BOR starter and a solid lefty reliever. And since they seem to be totally ticked at Mr. Paulino over something we don’t know about, and at Mr. Wik over something we do know about, perhaps they will trade both of them for somebody else’s ‘need–a-change-of-scenery’ outcast.

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      • i agree that it isn’t going to happen. I suggested it with tongue in cheek. But somehow, someway, some time I really do want to see somebody serve as DH in Houston that can actually hit better than .225, generate an OBP over .325, and make solid contact against LH pitching. Using Correa at DH when Bregman is at SS and using Bregman at DH when Correa is at SS seems ridiculous to you and me – but not nearly as ridiculous as putting Evan Gattis, Carlos Gomez, or anybody else with a BA under .225 and an OBP under .300 in the DH position week after week.

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      • Dave,

        I have posted this on another blog, but I think the perfect person to target in a trade is Steve Pearce. He is a rental so the prospect cost should be minimal. He has hit LHs very well during his career and he can play both 1B and LF. He’s currently on the DL, but due back shortly after the ASB. This is the kind of player I would like to see the Astros pursue. Pearce will help the team against LHs and he won’t cost much more than a few mid-level prospects, in my opinion.

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      • Tim, you mentioned Pearce about a week ago here I think.. Someone did. If I could get a healthy version of the 2014 or 2016 Pearce, I’d probably do it without hesitation. But there are too many things that make me want to hesitate. Too often he has not hit. And he would be a defensive liability. Another slow guy. Coming off the DL. Is he having his moment in the sun right now, or has he been mostly an afterthought throughout his career for a reason? I’d rather put Bregman out their and get Beltran to DH. I think that was your thought too.

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  7. I suggested that Bregman could be a left fielder before the season started. I still think he could. But I believe the Astros have more confidence in the outfield we have now than dave, Dan and Bill have. Last year Luhnow said he was happy with his team and he stuck with them, adding Kasmir.
    He said the same thing last week. He may add a piece or two but why pay for a bat when he has one ready to be moved up, in Bregman?
    Of all the guys who are free agents and might be leaving at the end of the year, Valbuena is showing the most right now and may get the most attention at the deadline and bring the most in a trade if he stays hot. That makes room for Bregman right there at third and gets a bat into the lineup that can hit left handed pitchers as well as right handed pitchers down the stretch. We need guys who will lift this team up, especially against LHP.
    With four days for Springer Rasmus, Marisnick and Gomez to rest up, I think our outfield will be fine.
    There is one stat that merits mentioning that I noticed. Danny Worth has played in only 13 games since being brought up on June 14th. In those 13 games the Astros are 11-2. I am not saying that he is in any way responsible for that, but I am saying that the Astros have a lot of confidence putting him in a game that they are winning and he has not hurt their cause. I’m also saying that he earned his shot with the Astros and has done well in the little chance he has had to play.

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    • I am just trying to figure out what – if anything – the FO has in mind for Mr. Worth other than as trade bait. Surely they do not envision him taking over 2B, SS, or 3B. I can’t imagine them see him replacing a significantly more versatile MarGo at supersub. They have thus far refused to use him regularly at DH. So while I like Worth – and wish they had given him a shot at DH instead of continuing to slot Gattis in there just about every time he wasn’t the starting catcher – I don’t know what role HInch is willing to let Worth serve. He’s not fast enough to be a late-inning pinch runner like Kemp or Hernandez. He doesn’t have the raw power to pinch hit in the late innings the way PTuck, Bregman, and Valbuena do. So what is his role?

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      • His role is ‘guy auditioning for 2017 when Marwin is too expensive.’ I’m not sure the power is an issue because of our home ballpark. Anyone can hit it out down the line and average runners turn doubles to the gaps into triples.

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  8. the one move you could make that wouldnt cost us anything is bringing up bregman to platoon 3B and DH. valbuena could play 1B and 3B. that helps solidify the corners if it works. if reed et al get hot, put them in the 1B DH mix. save the trades for TOR and/or big bat OF, and perhaps LF reliever.

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  9. So, now about this LH reliever we’re talking about. We want a LH reliever to get LH batters out and we cant get rid of Sipp because we owe him $15million. So we need to find someone who can get LH batters out and RH batters out, too.
    So here’s Hoyts stats.
    Left handed batters have been put into games to face him late in games. We know that because there are many more RH batters than LH batters in AAA, as there is everywhere. But Hoyt has faced only 86 RH batters and 84 LH batters. Opposing teams know a RH batter has almost no chance of hitting him so they are running out as many lefties against him as righties. His numbers?
    .104/.169/.182/.350 against righties. Amazing!
    .205/.298/.274/.572 against lefties. That means he has pitched 28 full innings against LH batters and has given up only 15 hits and 10 BBs. That’s a WHIP under 1.00 by a RH pitcher against all LH batters. That is actually equally amazing.
    Against an equal number of LH batters and RH batters he has handled lefties like a closer and has handled righties like Mariano Rivera.
    Why is he still in Fresno? Three reasons
    1. Our bullpen has been really good.
    2. The more he throws that new splitter in Fresno the better it gets, and
    3. The team will not carry as many starters in the playoffs so they will have more room on playoff rosters for relievers and most of the batters we will face in the playoffs will never have faced Hoyt.
    Last year, most of our relievers had faced the Royals a lot and their batters were very familiar with their stuff. I think a good reliever has a tremendous advantage over batters if they have never seen him, especially if he throws 95 and has four good pitches.
    I think the Astros are saving Hoyt for later in the year.

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  10. MLB sortable stats has the Astros as next to last in the AL in both hits and team BA. We are 7th in the AL in EBH, 8th in the AL in OBP, 9th in the AL in OPS, total bases, and runs scored, and 10th in the AL in SLG. We also lead the league in striking out.

    Considering where we rank as a team offensively in the league in which we play, it is indeed a wonder that we are 7 games over .500.

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    • Based upon further review, the call on the field is reversed. This team has not underachieved, it has overachieved. Indeed, the record we have at ASB is a bona fide miracle. It is therefore indeed time to celebrate and give out awards.

      ROY – Chris Devenski, only because Feliz pitched in the bigs for us a little bit last year, and we expected to see him do well this year. Devenski had been great in the minors, but his funky delivery and emphasis on a change-up had some of us skeptical that his MiLB success would translate to the big time. He has pleasantly surprised us, so he gets the nod. Plus, Feliz’ last outing was just painful.

      MVP – Altuve all the way. This team revolves around and draws its energy from him like the earth revolves around and draws its energy from the sun. As Jose goes, so go the ‘Stros.

      Top pitcher – Harris, of course. But based on some of his last few outings I think he’s getting tired arm syndrome already now, so I hope to see Neshek or Gregerson or Giles really turn it on in the 2nd half to match his 1st half numbers.

      Comeback Player [Comebacker] – Valbuena. Never in his life has he hit like he has the last 3-4 weeks. Don’t know if he can keep it up, but for this award he is the only one in the running, as nobody else but our MVP is doing significantly better than they did last year.

      Disappointment of the Year [DOY] – Gomez. He is the gift of disappointment that just keeps on disappointing. .217/.282/.614, killing rallies, drawing millions, and blocking Kemp, Hernandez and Tucker. It doesn’t get any worse than this.

      Professional Under the Radar Player [PURP]: Gattis. Not because he’s hitting any better, which unfortunately he isn’t – but because we finally found out the dude could still catch! Who knew?

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      • Additional Awards for 1st half 2016:

        1. Good Riddance Award – Have a good life – somewhere else – Eric Kratz!

        2. ‘Oooh-oooh Wishin’ You Were Here’ Award – This is a tie – Please come Back, Josh Hader – we need your left arm!; Come back Daniel Mengden, nobody does the ‘stache the way you do!

        3. Turning Heads Award – Alex Bregman. Runner-up Teoscar Hernandez. Second runner -up Joe Musgrove.

        4. What on Earth Happened? Award – Tyler White.

        5. ‘You Ain’t Got a Thing If You Ain’t Got that Swing’ Award – Preston Tucker

        6. Long Drink of Water, Short Cup of Coffee, Award – A. J. Reed.

        7. Schizophrenia Award –

        8. ‘Lovable Wierdness’ Award – Colby Rasmus

        9. ‘Unlovable Wierdness’ Award – Carlos Gomez

        10. ‘High Heat’ Award – Kenny Giles – who finally, in his last outing, hit 100 mph. Unfortunately, Jason Castro couldn’t catch it, it went to the backstop, and a run scored.

        11. ‘No Heat’ Award – tie, Doug Fister, Dallas Keuchel, and Scott Feldman. Everybody’s windows are safe – their fastballs bounce off of stretched out freezer paper.

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      • For whatever it is worth – the ERA with Gattis catching is 3.07 – with Castro it is 3.97.
        My leaning towards Feliz includes my personal thought that those string of 4 or 5 extra inning wins with Feliz holding the rope turned the season around or at least kept it from becoming a death spiral.

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      • I think they are 7 games over for the same reason they were good a majority of last season (when they were), they rode hot streaks to incredible months. An incredible April of last year and an incredible June of this year. I think they settle in close to .500 the rest of the year, and finish around 84 wins – unless a few players that we expected more from – Keuchel, Correa, Gomez – get hot to replace Fister, VB, when they inevitably come back to earth.

        It’s a streaky team. They have shown us both the good and bad this year already.

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      • If you’re into pre-season predictions the Astros win total was projected around 88. Thus, they haven’t over- or under-achieved. They are right about where they should be, which is 7 games over at the ASB.

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  11. Regarding the Schizophrenia award, you have to understand. All the voices inside my head were all talking at the same time, and we couldn’t make up our minds. If you thought we were going to name you as the recipient of that award, what you are probably up for instead is the Paranoia Award. Astroholics beware!

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  12. Funny stuff going on here guys! I’ve read all the posts and I gotta tell you, Mr. Bill you missed your calling….you should be a stand up comic!! No real baseball going on so I’m just gonna stick around and be a “lurker”! By the way….I agree with most of your comments about the mid season awards Let’s hope we can rid ourselves of the only guy I’ve ever seen who manages to screw himself in the ground every time he comes up to bat!! That is all…..carry on. Becky ⚾

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    • I’m sorry, Becky. After reading your double post, I just cracked up because of Bill’s schizo post just before that. I thought you did it on purpose and I howled like the bush people!

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  13. I went back a month ago to look at the standings on June 11th. Texas had the best record in the AL and the Astros trailed them by 9 games. In the last month the Astros have the best record in the AL, have moved to within 5.5 games of the Rangers and have passed five teams in the standings: Yankees, White sox, Seattle, Detroit and Kansas City.
    Remember also that Texas hardly lost a game in June, but here we are on July 11th and the Astros are starting to get close and are healthy and young and moving up.

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    • It is exciting to finally see this team starting to come together. They will probably hit another rough patch this year, but let’s hope it’s not a prolonged rough patch as it could be too much to overcome. They could probably handle losing 4 out of 5, but would need to right the ship shortly thereafter.

      Speaking of the Rangers some fans on another blog are dismissing them already. I think that’s a huge mistake. They are in a funk right now, but they still have plenty of talent and a very strong minor league system to make trades that will help them down the stretch. The biggest issue with the Rangers, right now, is the starting pitching. They obviously need a healthy Darvish for the 2nd half, but that may not be enough. I expect them to make a trade for another SP (Moore or Odorizzi might be targets they pursue), but I would also be concerned about their bullpen if I was a Rangers fan. They have relied upon the bullpen extensively in the 1st half and they could experience what the Astros did last year, which is a bullpen meltdown late in the year. They may also look to make a trade for some bullpen help. Profar is a valuable trade asset along with several strong prospects at the higher levels of the minor leagues.

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  14. I am in agreement with all of the awards you presented, Dan. My thoughts on the rest of the season? I suspect continued inconsistency of hot and cold from this team. I think the key to making the playoffs will be staying healthy. We have not been hit by the injury bug that has struck other teams and we have been able to take advantage of their woes. I am glad the starting pitching is stepping up. I have concerns about the bullpen – the most reliable guys have been used heavily already and I hope they don’t run out of gas in October. It’s nice to know we have Hoyt waiting in the wings. Speaking of bullpen, what has happened to Tony Sipp? Does he have contract-itis? Or have hitters seen him enough to reveal why he was on the waiver wire? Everybody has identified the weak spots on this team. But based on players that appear to be available in trade, I think I would probably just stand pat and keep our prospects for now. Ryan Braun is the only name I find intriguing (as Ash would say) but I find his past actions abhorable. But I think any trades should probably wait until the off-season. Maybe the outcome will be better in trading for ML players if it is not done during the heat of the battle.

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  15. Bravo, Messrs. Bill and Dan, on the comic trialogue. Bill, whichever one wants to answer, just curious. What was (?) is (?) your profession? I’ve always assumed you’re retired.

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  16. Almost all of our minor league teams will be off today so that they can watch the MLB All-Star Game. But most of them played last night and Corpus Christi, Lancaster, Quad Cities, Tri City and Greeneville won their games.
    The AAA All-Star Game will be held Wednesday night in Charlotte. Fresno is represented by Brady Rodgers, Mike Hauschild and James Hoyt.
    As an aside, I wanted to point out that after the Futures Game Alex Bregman said for the second time in an interview that he would be happy to play any position including left field, if the Astros wish him to. He stated that his goal is to get to Houston and help the Astros win the World Series this year. In an article about Bregman, his Futures Game teammates all said that Bregman’s best asset is that he works and plays so hard that he makes everyone around him a better player by his example. That has shown to be the case in the Astros farm system as Corpus Christi soared with him on the team and Fresno turned their season around when he and Teoscar arrived. At the break Fresno has passed Reno and is now only two games behind Tacoma for the lead in their division.

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    • Yes, 1OP, I noticed that Bregman made a point of suggesting he’d be perfectly happy in left. And I think he knows he would not be embarrassing himself out there either. I’d love to see the new kid out there next to the old kid, finally getting his shot at playing center where he has belonged all along. Might that help get the juices flowing on this club?

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  17. In the old days I would watch the whole AS Game to see if an Astro (and often we only had one on the team) would get in the game. This time I know Altuve will start and play and frankly I am hoping that Harris gets to rest tonight.
    What do y’all think?

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    • I won’t be watching. I’ll check for Altuve highlights after the game. I don’t mind Harris pitching…he’ll have another two days off. I suspect we see fewer innings due to him as the closer than if he were one of our setup guys over the next two months.

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      • Well that should be true Devin – of course with all these extra inning games he is being used more than just as a closer.

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  18. All nonsense aside, we’ve been watching Keegan closely for a couple of years. He has been very effective at the A and AA levels, as his record, ERA and WHIP [1.11 this year; 1.12 lifetime in MiLB] show. He still seems a long way from the Majors however, as he doesn’t have an impressive K/9 at Corpus, and he has been known to walk more folks than he needs to.

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    • Most minor leaguers don’t make enough money to afford an impressive canine, even in Corpus.. And if he spends so much time walking folks, he’d never find time to walk a canine. Yuhl have to agree with me on that!
      The one minor leaguer that can afford a canine is Singleton. His would need one of them seeing-eye canines to help him see the baseball better. Cause, it’s hard to see a baseball with all that smoke. That smoke can actually make your career go to the dogs.
      If I was a minor leaguer pitcher and I had a K/9, I’d call him FIP.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Ned Yost just made my favorite “other” manager! Bringing Harris in to get that last out……was sooo cool! Don’t you know how pumped up Will was! Yost went up about 1,000 points on my respect meter tonight! Sucked that Altuve had an error 😧😧. Ok……what’s this about Bregman coming up this weekend? Fine with me, but whose gonna get sent down…or out? I do NOT think Reed gets sent back to Fresno…..he’s been given 1st base. Period. I think Worth gets traded for cash. My opinion only.
    Had my first of 6 chemo treatments today, they put 4 different drugs in the IV before they hang the bag of chemo. One of the drugs is steriods……oh. my. Lord!! I’ve already gnashed my teeth….had a crying melt down, and cleaned up the kitchen twice! I’ll be up until 3:00a.m. before I wind down and crash into bed! My husband knows what it’s like the first day, but he loves me anyway!! Becky⚾

    Liked by 3 people

    • By God, woman, you are somethin’ else! Mrs 1OP and I went to the spine doctor today and set up her surgery for two weeks from now. She’s scared, but she said she’s had enough pain and is ready to do something about it. She and I have been through a lot, but this looks like the toughest go.
      We prayed for you tonight, as we do every night.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am humbled by your kindness and prayers OldPro. I’m going to be ok, my not so good colonoscopy is the purpose of this round of chemo. Tell your sweet wife that they have made HUGE strides in back surgery, and ALL OF US want you to let us know when she and your doctor decide to have it done. It will be OUR turn to lift you both in prayer. Deal?
        You missed seeing the pat on the shoulder Ned Yost gave Will Harris when the game was over.More than anything it was a pat on the shoulder of A.J. Hinch, letting Hinch know he respected his pitcher! Did you see that? A touching moment. If Luhnow brings Bregman up, I hope he doesn’t dissapoint. Three guys have come up from Fresno…..and sadly they are way over matched at the big league level. I sure hope the rest of the team is having a good rest…..the second half of the season is really a grind. Night everyone!

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  20. Will Harris pitched to the most important batter for the NL all night and struck him out with the bases loaded in the eighth inning for the third out.
    I did not watch the game. I’m glad Big Papi was there and played, because that brings back all of the old memories of past ASGs for me. I cannot stand the little shrimp Buck behind the microphone. He reminds me too much of Alan Ladd, who was less cowboy than my four year old brother was. My little brother really was a tough little hombre, but he and Alan Ladd both had to stand on a Coke boxes to get up on a horse.

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      • I understand they had Alan Ladd’s leading ladies stand in a ditch, so that the diminutive leading man would be more impressive.

        I think I will ask Chip if everyone’s comments can be printed in a smaller font than mine so I can tower above y’all…….

        Liked by 1 person

      • They also paired him with Veronica Lake on a number of movies because she was a gigantic 4′-11-1/2″. Must have saved time on digging ditches.
        He must have been either a strong guy or very forgiving, because he was in a number of movies with Lake – who was so easy to work with her nickname was the “Witch” (well within one letter of that).

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  21. On the radio (740AM) they were talking about how Rob Dibble had tweeted out last night that Jose Altuve’s 14 HRs are proof that either Jose is juiced or the ball is.
    This apparently did not sit kindly with the home folks, who bombarded him with many tweets (which is probably what he was trolling for…)

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    • Rob Dibble is the biggest idiot around. He was horrible on the Dan Patrick show and then the Nats fired him for some controversial on-air comments during a game. I would rather listen to Skip Bayless before Rob Dibble…and I can’t stand Bayless.

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      • Well that is pretty bad – because I would listen to almost anything instead of Skip Bayless.
        It is interesting how you end up at a point like this. Dibble is looking at the 14 and saying – he will hit 28 this season (even thought the ASG is not the halfway point). Yes, Jose is hitting on a pace for like 25.5 HRs after having a career high of 15 last season. However, he has slowed way down since hitting 6 in April. He has only had 8 HRs since then. If he continues to hit on the pace he has in May to today – he will end up with 20 or 21 HRs which is not some PED quantum leap.

        Now why he is hitting 440 foot home runs at 5′-5″….. well he swings hard and accurately and he is solidly built and he is picking up power when you would expect a young man who just turned 26 to start picking up power.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yea, I don’t think he is juicing. I remember stating on the blog a few years ago that I fully expected Jose to blossom into 20 homerun power around 26-27, and maintain it for a few years.

        The selectivity is a nice bonus, I didn’t expect that to come. I always thought he was a really strong and that would keep his average high but there isn’t a lot of convincing evidence that non-walk type guys wake up one day and become walk type guys, especially with his first pitch swing rates were at that time compared to the rest of the league. I was worried that if he lost some of that aggressiveness at the plate that his average would suffer. Glad to see that he is starting to become a complete package.

        Yes, Dibble is an idiot. Its a shame that a guy is considered by some to be an expert because the good Lord blessed him with the ability to throw a baseball really hard.

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      • Steven-

        I remember very well you saying it, and I remember disagreeing with you.

        I’l eat my crow medium rare, thank you!

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      • I think the selectively has much to do with the long balls. I saw him hit one a couple of years back to pretty much straight away center at Minute Maid. Way beyond the wall. The power was there. Waiting to get a pitch in the right place was not.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Billy, I’ve ate plenty. I for some reason thought Robbie Grossman would be a major league caliber player.

        Heck I told Tim a few weeks ago he was crazy to think VB was on an upswing. I need an extra helping after that.

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      • I think I’ve eaten more crow than everyone here combined. That’s what happens when you give strong opinions. Many times they return to you in the form of cold crow.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. I was reading an article about Altuve yesterday, which was on MLB.com, I think. It was mentioned that when the Astros were trying to decide whether to sign Altuve as a youngster, the thing about him was that he had the quickest hand speed they had ever seen.
    To me, quick hand speed means quick bat speed, and that translates to getting the ball to jump off the bat. If a batter has good bat speed and the ability to barrel up the ball better than most hitters in the game, he’s going to hit some home runs. If he’s walking more, that means he’s taking bad pitches. That means he’s hitting better pitches and not lunging like he used to do a lot on low outside pitches and dinking them to right field for singles.
    Anyone who watches Altuve a lot can see that his swings are harder this year because he has decided to wait for a pitch in the zone and take a rip at it, rather than going after a ball and dinking it. The .341 hitter he was in 2014 is a lot different than the .341 hitter we are seeing today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well at least we did not mention Stephen A. Smith… oh wait …..I just did. Or Mr. Chris “Back back back” Berman….oh darn…….

      Like

      • Is there anyone more annoying than Chris Berman? His time passed about 20 years ago. I am old enough to remember when he was actually entertaining, but that was in the 80s. Berman is an embarrassment to ESPN and I can’t stand listening to him call the HR Derby or NFL Countdown. He needs to retire.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Annoying is the word, Tim. When a guy becomes a caricature of himself it is time to move on. Back back back was fine about the first 100 times. But after 50,000 times it loses its flavor. I used to like his punny nicknames “Jose you can call me Al-tuve” (I don’t know if he ever did that one – but that is what he would do). After awhile it is a little forced, cliché and not new at all.
        A couple trick pony in the days of the Iron Horse? His time has passed.

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  23. Historically, the off day before the start of a series is when Luhnow has made moves.
    Historically, Luhnow has tried to bring up big-time prospects on the road, so that they get their major league debut without the pressure of having to deliver in front of a crowd that has come just to see his debut.
    I think the day Alex Bregman steps on the field as a Houston Astros player, they are going to be a better team.

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    • AJ Hinch was just on MLB Network Radio. He said Bregman will not be in Seattle this weekend. He did say he is proving himself and not too far off from getting the call.

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    • Any inside dope on how Correa and Bregman get along? Bregman seems to be a very confident, team-leader kind of guy. Any possible conflicts with Correa?

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  24. One more comment on Dibble – in 1988 he struck out 8.9 batters per 9 innings. In 1989 (when he was 25.5 years old – just a little less than Altuve) he struck out 12.8 batters per 9 innings. So what was he taking?????

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  25. From wikipedia:

    Dibble criticized Nationals rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg for missing a start due to an injury: “Suck it up, kid. This is your profession. You chose to be a baseball player. You can’t have the cavalry come in and save your butt every time you feel a little stiff shoulder, sore elbow. It was revealed shortly afterward that Strasburg had torn an elbow ligament and required Tommy John surgery

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  26. Damn, is there anyone more annoying than me? I argue. I’m cynical. I change my mind. For the life of me, as much as I love Jake Marisnick and his ability to play the game of baseball, he’s just not good enough at the plate to be a major leaguer. And how can we continue to accept a guy with a .634 OPS over the past full year in centerfield, with flat out negative defensive stats? Look it up. Carlos Gomez is a bad baseball player. I’m being polite. We can put better players on the field tonight!

    Becky, God Bless you for fighting your good fight. And I think maybe your husband deserves a bit of a nod too. Mrs. 1OP, I have not had the opportunity to argue with you about our game, except through the words of Mr. 1OP, but I do pray your back feels much better after remarkable hands do indeed fix you.

    Almost time to see what summer brings us on the playing field. I ca’t wait. It’s just now 4:30 AM here, but we’ve got some loud island birds that like to tweet, even before our roosters wake up. Be well all.

    Like

    • I can understand everyone’s frustration with Gomez, but we don’t have any better options. Since he came off the DL on May 31st he has a 0.739 OPS and a 96 wRC+ so he has been serviceable and better than Marisnick. I couldn’t figure out how to limit his defensive metrics during this time so I can’t say if he has provided positive or negative defensive value from May 31st to the present.

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      • As we know every player goes through hot and cold streaks and Gomez probably more so than others. He was so horrifically bad in April and May that it was inevitable he would have a return to normalcy, even if his normalcy is below par. He is still below his career average so it is very possible he could continue to improve going forward. I am not married to the idea of Gomez being our everyday CFer, but until we have a better option I would prefer to ride with him.

        Like

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