No news, good news for Astros at trade deadline?

So much for all the trade talk hoopla. Well, at least for the Astros. Maybe no news is good news though.

No Jonathan Lucroy. No Carlos Beltran. No Jay Bruce. No upgrade to the rotation. And, nope, no bullpen help.

Instead, it’s one of the quietest trade deadlines in recent memory as Scott Feldman was sent packing across tonight’s field to the Blue Jays.

The Astros’ big additions for the stretch drive will come from within.

Alex Bregman, Joe Musgrove, Yulieski Gurriel, Preston Tucker and Tyler White will be the names A.J. Hinch must count on. Carlos Gomez and Colby Rasmus will need to add their stretch run, contract-year kick too if the Astros plan to catch the new Texas Rangers and make the playoffs.

With the recent trades — some of which actually haven’t worked out for either team — it’s no surprise that Jeff Luhnow may have been a tad skiddish to pull the trigger. Seems he gets fleeced in trades, at least on paper. That said, some players traded by the Astros haven’t flourished either, so Luhnow may end up looking good on a few down the road.

Still, reading the tea leaves, it’s fair to conclude the Astros are keeping their powder dry, waiting instead for this winter and the 2017 deadline. On paper, this team isn’t that shabby. But with so many under-performing players, it’s easy to second guess management, from the field guys to the front office guys.

Is there something in the water? Is it the humidity? Are there more full moons in Houston than other parts of the league?

To be sure, the contract guys — Gomez and Rasmus — need to go on a tear! Someone must step up at first base so Marwin Gonzalez can slide back into his more traditional role. If Jon Lester can squeeze bunt, should Houston give Dallas Keuchel a shot at first base?

Vincent Velasquez would look good in an Astros’ uniform about now, no?

Hitters can get hot for a second half or last third of the season. It’s a little different for pitchers, which is one reason Houston should have sought a strong rotation guy. Was the price to high? Perhaps, but Dallas Keuchel and the rotation is pretty much what ya got for ’16. In other words, don’t expect much different from him, Mike Fiers, Collin McHugh and Doug Fister.

Mark the date though. August 1. Texas is 18 games over .500 and added serious personnel at the deadline. Houston is 6 games behind the Rangers, just six games over .500 and just 2 1/2 games back in the Wild Card chase. While sleeping through the deadline.

Quick deadline questions:

  • Houston is 55-49, 104 games into the season, with 58 games remaining. Astros would need to finish 35-23 to win 90. Do they? If not, how many wins do you predict?
  • Who’s your pick for surprise contributor (on the good side) for August/September?
  • Was Luhnow asleep at the wheel during the trade deadline process?
  • Speaking of Luhnow, has he done a poor enough job that Jim Crane would consider making a change this winter?

298 comments on “No news, good news for Astros at trade deadline?

  1. I gotta question…..the natives are getting restless (please….no offense ) how long do you think Luhnow is gonna stick with Bregman, and Reed? A whole Lotta people are calling for Bregman to get sent back to Fresno. I realize we are playing games that REALLY count, but Rasmus isn’t hitting, Gomez isn’t hitting, Castro isn’t hitting, so how long do you think Luhnow is gonna let these two stay up, I know this was Reeds first game back up. Is it Hudgens? Or what?

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    • With Reed…his bat speed is rather slow, and to be honest his swing reminds me of Chris Johnson’s. Mechanics look really bad, and his follow-through is terrible. Having never seen in play in the minors, I can’t speak to how it looked there, but it’s not a good sign.

      Bregman is mechanics and inexperience. Same with White.

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  2. Gurriel was 3 for 4 tonight in his Lancaster debut. Two singles and a double. Was taken out for a PR after singling in the seventh.
    Martes struck out 12 batters tonight in 6.1 innings. Gave up two runs on one bad pitch, a two run homer, but he was the winning pitcher. 95 pitches, 65 strikes, 1 walk.
    I expect rookies to have trouble with a Cy Young Award winning knuckleballer. I have no clue what excuse the veterans on this club have for their performances at the plate. Jose Altuve hits everything.

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    • I would bet you money Marte name was brought up in any trades Luhnow was trying to make. He’s scary good! I know OP, I just shake my head when these “veterans” step up to the plate. Castro is a automatic out, and so is Gomez. The excuse Reed and Bregman have is, they are MINOR league players and have never seen this caliber of pitchers. There has to be a learning curve for these guys, but at the same time we HAVE to win ball games. Makes me nuts trying to figure out their approach.
      I’m thinking about you and your sweet wife, and asking the Lord to make an easier path to her returning good health. My journey in the chemo room is over until next January….it has not been easy, I have had to lean very hard on my husband, who has felt helpless in how to make me better. You’re doing great…tomorrow will be better.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gomez had the only extra base hit last night and scored the only run for the Astros, but the hate on him is still over the top. It’s pathetic and sad, but I have come to grips with it.

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    • .223/.283/.630

      No hate here, he’s just a bad ball player. Those are his stats for the past 365 days. He did have a nice double last night but also struck out on a pitch a foot off the plate. But Tim, that’s secondary. After watching the guy since we got him more than a year ago, I’m convinced he must be damaged goods. The Mets obviously knew something we did not. The one thing that really frustrates me is that it seems we are waiting for him to again become the player he once was. Heck, we might as well sign him to a one year deal in 2017 and give him another year.

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      • I’m frustrated with his production as well, but we have others performing the same or worse, but even after having a productive night the comments seem to focus on Gomez instead of the rest of the lack of offense. That’s all I am saying.

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  4. Kind of interesting that Reed and Bregman come up and look lost at the plate. Devenski and Musgrove come up and look nails. Is the step up to the majors that much more for hitters than pitchers? Probably not.

    I could sit here and say it is the difference between pitching coach Strom and hitting coach Hudgens, but more likely it is the fact that Musgrove and Devenski spent a lot more time in the minors than the other two.

    But I’m not completely letting Hudgens off the hook here.
    – Other than Altuve – is there anyone hitting better than expected? OK – maybe Valbuena
    – And is Altuve even listening to anyone but himself?
    – Why do these guys get in these super long funks – months at a time?
    – I know that many of these hitters are flawed, but I see no changes in anyone’s approach to hitting. Well I take that back – Tyler White had a better approach when he started the season and then got worse.

    I’m just frustrated – in the Astros last 6 losses, twice their pitchers gave up 2 runs and once three runs. Those games should all have been won with more than pitiful hitting.

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  5. I’m as excited as the rest of you on the performance by Musgrove last night. He tied a major league record for strikeouts by a relief pitcher in his debut. That record was set by Barry Jones in 1986. Who is Barry Jones, you may ask? This is my point. Let’s tap the brakes for Joe before anointing him the next great pitcher. His track record is very good, but let’s see how he adjusts once hitters adjust to him. I think he’ll be fine, but I’m not ready to declare him the next great pitcher yet.

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  6. I have looked at two sites this morning trying to find anything that Carlos Gomez is doing that is encouraging. His splits and new stats and old time stats and metrics are all pointing to a guy who is approaching the age of 40 instead of 30. It is staggering the differences in his production from two years ago, especially defensively. His BABIP is .308 for the year, so he has even been lucky in aligning to his BA.
    I don’t understand how a guy gets a base hit, damn near gets picked off of second base by the pitcher and scores easily on a single and somehow that gets him off the hook for having played horribly all year. Pointing out the obvious is not hating on anyone
    For gosh sakes, lets criticize every Astros batter who looked bad last night, so that we don’t appear to be hating on one particular guy.
    As far as Musgrove was concerned, he was awesome. His entire major league career has been awesome.
    What’s even more awesome is that we may have more awesome players who might be awesome if we give them a chance. Hopefully we might give up our guys who don’t play awesome, but make awesome salaries, like Rasmus and Gomez and Castro, who made AJ Reed look like an awesome hitter in comparison last night. And Reed made a spectacular play on that bounced throw from McCullers last night. I don’t have a clue how he was able to get his glove up to handle that bounce. It was so good that the ump couldn’t follow it. Thank goodness for replay.

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    • You’re missing the point. Gomez was one of the few productive hitters last night. So, let’s bash on him anyway for gosh sakes. He was still nursing a sore hamstring, but Hinch wanted him in the lineup because of his success against Dickey. He didn’t get picked off and he did score the run on a nice hit from Gattis. Rasmus has been absolutely brutal for the past 2.5 months, but even though he had a worst night than Gomez we still continue the Gomez bashing because, hey we don’t like the guy so we’re going to bash him even when he does produce. Silly and childish.

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      • Silly and Childish, what ever happened to old no name calling Tim LOL. It must be awesome to be such a wise man

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      • Tim, it will take a lot more than making a modest contribution in a loss to get Gomez out of the dog house. His defense has ranged from incredible to incomprehensible this year. Offensively he has had too many strikeouts in what we perceive to be attempts to hit it 500 ft when a single would get it done. Why does Rasmus get a break? His September and October performance bought him some good will. Starting hot in April extended it, but you are correct – we have three outfielders not getting it done (Marisnick) and two infielders (Bregman, Marwin) covering LF as well as a DH (Tucker) at times because of that.

        I’m sure there will be a story about Gomez’ health this offseason with a feel good spin about how he is finally 100% heading into camp next spring wherever he signs. I doubt any of those stories will be 100% factual.

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      • Devin,

        Gomez has been horrible this year. He has out performed Rasmus since Gomez came off the DL May 31st. Also, Gomez had a good September and October for the Astros yet he wasn’t given a break like Rasmus, even at the start of this year. The hate was there in the off-season and has just continued.

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  7. In case no one has noticed, over the last three games – every one of which were against starters who came in with ERAs above 4.50 – we have managed to score a total of 3 runs. In the course of those 3 games, we have played 32 innings. We are thus averaging scoring less than a run per 9 innings played.

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  8. Here is where I am at with Gomez and it is pure numbers.
    He is a few plate appearances short of being a qualifier – but if you compare him to the 80 qualifiers in the AL….
    – .217 BA – he would be 77 out of 81
    – .280 OBP – he would be 81 out of 81
    – .332 SLG – he would be 79 of 81
    – .612 OPS – he would be 80 of 81

    Colby is not much better (78th, 77th, 74th and 76th)

    But in the end Gomez is one of the worst offensive players in the league after being one of the best a couple seasons ago. Totally puzzling.

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    • That is what I was saying earlier. I looked at his offensive production and it was so discouraging that I went to his defensive numbers at Fangraphs. I was shocked at the differences from two years ago in every category. Arm, glove and range.
      Like I said, his numbers look like those of a guy who was a great athlete who is approaching 40 years old rather than 30.

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    • The question in my mind is what do we do with Carlos and Colby? My ultimate goal in Sept., after call-ups, would be to see how an outfield of Springer [CF], Teoscar Hernandez [RF], and Tony Kemp [LF] works, with Marisnick the off-the-bench guy and PTuck the left-handed DH or PH off the bench guy. In the meantime,we are pretty much stuck with Carlos every day and Rasmus against all RH pitchers.

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      • While I won’t join the Rasmus/Gomez fan club, I will say Bill, with that outfield, we’ll have to see how it does in September because we probably won’t get to see how it does in October.

        The only real shot they have at making the playoffs is 2 starters catching fire, and Rasmus catching fire, and Gattis catching fire – but apparently these guys don’t play with matches. Correa could play a little better, but that is really expecting greatness from a really young guy. Altuve is already doing everything he can, hitting everything, and we are still scoring 1 or 2 runs. What happens if in the last month Altuve shows the human side and only hits like .280?

        If you open with that OF in April, I’m all for it. Give them time to make their adjustments, don’t write a lineup like that in August or September trying to win a pennant. Of course I make maybe a bad assumption in that you think we may be in it September…….

        While I am absolutely concerned with the number of young guys in the lineup right now, I would probably still release Gomez and call up Kemp. I am not sure that makes us better offensively, but it can’t make us worse.

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  9. I’m with Dan. It is incomprehensible to me as to why players like White, Bregman, Reed, Gomez and on and on….come to the big league Astros club and then suddenly, their entire statistical averages take a dramatic change. Yes, there is a difference between the minor leagues and the majors…not at issue.
    I would suggest that players like Reed, Bregman and others should come into the majors and enjoys SOME immediate success because, theoretically, there is no book on them. Seems Tyler White may have exemplified that notion. Guys now come here and tank…end of story.
    Why is it that the hitters appear to be swinging for the fences rather than making smooth solid contact and putting the ball in play ??? Did somebody tell them some crap like “Home runs are more entertaining” ???
    I will tell you what is entertaining…….WINNING is entertaining.
    Why is it that Astros pitchers are keeping the pitches high in the zone ?? Pitching to contact ???? Why don’t we try pitching to make the hitters miss ????
    High strikes are totally contrary to effective pitching unless it is just a change of level or out pitch.
    All this notwithstanding….the FO continues to trot out more guys that don’t hit, than do. I am beginning to feel that this team just does not currently have the tools, either in players, coaching or management, to succeed this season. For me..success is measured by how far a team plays into Oct.
    All this is very frustrating and confounding to me. Sorry for venting.

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    • Don’t apologize. You have a right to speak your mind here and you make good sense. You are saying what Blum said on the air last night. They posted stats on winning while hitting home runs and he said that’s how the Astros roll: living and dying by the home run.
      But that is not how Luhnow drafts. He drafts guys who hit, who run the bases, who don’t strike out, who make contact and don’t chase bad pitches and who play defense. We have known and seen that since the day he was hired.
      Now, if you draft those kind of players and then allow them to swing for the fences when they get to the majors, and they stray from what got them here, you are going to end up with what we have, a bunch a players who swing hard and miss.
      Blum said this club is geared to home runs, but almost every guy we bring up is hitting for great average in the minors and then are brought into a culture of swing for the fences and it is not working
      Blum said that Gomez, who has faced Dickey far more times than any player on our team, was saying to swing for the fences on every pitch against Dickey. How did that work out for the Astros last night? Bregman, especially was trying to uppercut every ball Dickey threw. After facing Bregman once and seeing how he was trying to bomb everything with an uppercut, Dickey mixed in several fastballs to Bregman and got him to miss because Bregman was out of his area. Bregman is not a bomber, he’s been a hitter and he needs to go back to being a hitter. Guys like Tucker, Springer and White and Reed and Bregman and Correa were always guys who hit for high average and they showed good power because they hit a lot of pitches and got a ton of base hits, especially doubles. Now they go up there and try to hit everything over the fence. It’s not who they are.

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      • Great thoughts OP. My question is why. What happens to a guy tearing it up in AAA tanking miserable at the ML level. There has to be a reason. Learning curve? Hitting coach? Promoted to soon?
        Why do the pitchers get promoted and hold there own, some excelling? The hitters
        go from bad to terrible then go back to AAA and begin hitting again?
        Why doesn’t the FO address this problem?

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      • I say it is scouting reports. Pitchers go into a game with an attack plan for each hitter. Hitters make adjustments based on experience. What did HOU do in the Wade to Luhnow transition? We got rid of good bench coaches throughout the system and fired our scouting staff. I don’t think we have found the best replacements for guys let go for who knows what reason…and 2015 gave us false confidence into keeping/promoting guys who can’t cut it in player coaching and development.

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  10. Tim, Gomez does not deserve to get picked on. You are correct. He shows up for work. He tries. He’s just bad, but he’s not the only one. We need about six bats. We’ve got one outfielder that hits. So I’ll continue to pick on the guy responsible for building a roster of 25 guys, ideally with 11 or 12 that can hit. The two month happy streak is over. What has our GM done for us lately?

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    • Well, it’s funny you ask. Jim Callis just came out with his farm system rankings and our Astros are ranked 3rd overall. Our GM still has a team that has been one of the best teams over the past 2.5 months and a highly regarded farm system. I would say we are well positioned to compete for several years. Now, some will argue they don’t give a darn about our farm system as we have gone 50+ years without a WS title. For those that have that argument my counter-point would be that only 1 out of 30 teams walk away each year with that shiny trophy. It probably will not be the Astros this year, but we are a heck of a lot closer to that trophy than we were in February 2012.

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      • Tim, I’d rather have stats to support the claim than Callis’ opinion. I disagree with the alleged expert. Look at our AA and our AAA squads. We don’t have any more offense to bring up and the guys on our 25 man ML roster are not hitting, except for our main three and Valbuena who is having his career year. Tim, by now, I expected more. I expected our team to be improved over 2015. I don’t know about where we are now as compared to February, but I think we had more going for us a year ago than we do today.

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      • Dave, you’re welcome to disagree, but I’ll put my money on Jim Callis’ opinion of the Astros farm system over Dave from Chipalatta’s opinion. 🙂

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      • I don’t. I would say its much more difficult to judge all teams and their systems from afar even if you are an “expert” than it is for a fan to know HIS team. I’m sure Jim Callis keeps up with the Cubs minor league system more than pro or bill, but when it comes to the Astros system, I’ll take my Chipalatta folks. I do have to remember their view of our minor leaguers are peppered in homerism, but its still a good dish none the less, and accurate. I mean, I remember Pro, Bill, and Dave (and others) telling me Jose Altuve was a pretty good hitter WAY before Jim Callis knew Altuve was going to be a good hitter – or any other ESPN/SI/etc. expert.

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      • Steven,

        While I am sure the bloggers here appreciate your confidence in them Callis, Law, Morosi etal are financially invested in reviewing and assessing the farm systems for every team. It is a big part of their job description. I don’t doubt that the bloggers here have a strong working knowledge of our top prospects, but I still trust the experts when it comes to an unbiased evaluation of our players.

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      • But that flies in the face of the evidence – who knew about Tyler White nationally before they told me? Heck, I didn’t. They mention him, talk about his hitting, I go look, and by gosh, there he is. That was more than 2 years ago. I didn’t hear Whites name on MLB network until this offseason when he was a few “experts” sleeper pick for ROY- and we will never know how he would have stacked up for it because the Astros panicked on him. Same with Altuve. Same with Reed. Now the whole world was talking Correa and Springer. Got it, the naturals, everyone gets. The others, I think this site might be, just maybe, the best site to get information on minor leaguers as a collection that I know of.

        Jim Callis makes his rankings off a collection of stats. He does it by some formula. He feels like because a AA player is doing this or that, and we have a few more of them statistically doing this or that, we are a good system. Then he puts them in order. I’m not impressed with these experts and their system. I see people here talking about the details of some young man that they researched, not a collection of stats. I’ll use stats with the best of them, but the prospect is still sometimes more (or less) than his collection of stats. The Astros saw this in Keuchel, McHugh, and sometimes the other way in a guy like Singleton.

        I’ll admit I spend about zero time on the internet though, I only have 3 sites I visit daily, si.com, facebook, and ol chipalatta.

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      • I can assure you Jim Callis and the others knew about Tyler White, but he was never a top prospect until late in his minor league stint. Thus, there is no reason to mention him when he is not a factor in the farm system evaluation. Tyler White’s skill set never lent to being considered a top prospect. He started hitting, never stopped and people started taking notice, just like here on Chipalatta.

        I heard plenty about Reed from all the experts. He has been a highly touted prospect almost from the day he got drafted.

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  11. Feliz is moving to the rotation….Peacock is up from Fresno (already in Houston)
    Musgrove is moved to the bullpen, to limit his innings. No corresponding move yet.
    Peacock…..REALLY?

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  12. What it looks like to me is that Feliz will take LMJ’s place, Peacock will take Feldman’s place and Musgrove will take Feliz’s place as a short reliever in the BP.

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    • But I guess there was a lot of guessing because McTaggart has just tweeted Musgrove as Sunday’s starter.
      So I guess Peacock is a long reliever. McTaggart has a video clip of Peacock and he says that Jordan Jankowski taught a slider to Peacock that he says has really helped him.
      LMJ to the DL but it, does not seem to be as serious as we were making it out to be. Who knows?

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      • Slider is no good if he can’t throw a slider for a strike, and that slider probably isn’t going to help him locate that fastball. I gave up on Peacock a long time ago.

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    • The math isn’t working for me. If Feliz and Musgrove are both in the rotation does this mean we are going to a 6-man rotation of Keuchel, Musgrove, McHugh, Fister, Fiers and Feliz?

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  13. OP…..I think they will still stretch Feliz out, just in case. It makes sense to me, just in case one of the other guys gets traded, or goes down. Although I have no knowledge of that, it probably wouldn’t hurt. Jake Rogers the catcher we drafted from Tulane was promoted to Quad City this afternoon. I’m glad to see movement throughout the minors…..plus two more Hooks pitchers were given a one way plane ticket to Fresno California today!! Looks ,Ike J.A. Happy will be the only lefty we see on this home stand!! Wouldnt hurt to say a little prayer for McHugh tonight……I will!!!
    If you remember last year, McCullers had to be sent to Corpus to rest his arm…that to me is troubling. I *hope* he doesn’t end up having surgery, ESPECIALLY TJ!!!

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  14. A paltry 11 runs scored in the last 50 innings of play for a scoring average of 1 run every 4.5 innings. Gattis, Castro, Reed, White, Bergman, Gomez, Rasmus, Tucker not hitting. Carrying 12 fielders and 8 of them hovering around the Mendoza line, or in some cases well below. With Marwin and Valbuena out of the lineup I honestly think that you could walk Sringer. Altuve/ Correa every time up still hold the Astros to less than your starting pitchers ERA.

    Does anyone remember the difference it made a few years back when they fired the hitting coach and brought in Bagwell on an interim basis? Worlds different!

    It is time to can Hudgens and bring in somebody….anybody. Why did we fire John Mallee to bring in Hudgens??? Mallee is doing quite well with another very young team; the Chicago Cubs. That and the fact that I have been friends with him for the past 15 years makes me really wish that Hinch had kept him on.

    I think that it is a foregone conclusion that Hudgens needs to go before he totally ruins every hitter on the team, as well as every prospect they bring up. Should we look internally and promote Disckerson or Radison, should we try to lure Bagwell into finishing the season on an interim basis, try to lure Bergman away from 2nd Baptist, look outside the organization (and Astro family), or just let Altuve assume the position? I personally like Dickerson, as he already has a track record of sorting out players ruined by Hudgens and sent back to Fresno.

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    • Mallee wanted to leave for the Cubs, he’s from there. As for Hudgens, he should have NEVER been brought back from last year, and you can get in line with all of us who think he should be let go. Something is wrong when you send a guy back down and he starts hitting like a rock star after striking out 100 times up here. Falls on deaf ears apparently.

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      • Kind of true, but Mallee left after being informed that he would not be retained for the following season. Regardless, he’s doing much better with the Cubs than Hudgens is with the Astros!

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  15. From what I can tell, the hitting approach is dictated by Jeff and the stat guys. I am basing this on an interview I saw with him on MLB Network several years ago. He said they really didn’t want hitters to swing at close pitches if there were 3 balls in the count because a borderline pitch was more likely to lead to a weak ground ball and would rather hope for a walk. This is the only example I have but I am sure they have other philosophies based on their statistics. No matter who the hitting coach is, they are going to have to teach the organization’s philosophy or else….

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  16. Blue Jays hitting homeruns like the Astros USED to…..3 so far. Don’t tell me we are gonna lose this game too. JEEZE……

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  17. 2 more weeks of this pathetic offense and we will be out of the race. Call up Teoscar tomorrow and go with a Springer, Hernandez, and a Marisnick/ Rasmus platoon in the outfield. Put Yulie on a plane to Fresno tonight and see what he can do against AAA pitching. Give him 2-3 starts and get him to Houston. We don’t know what he and Teo can do against major league pitching, however we do know what the rest of them can do….. and it ain’t good.

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    • If you do that you have just as much a chance of screwing up Hernandez as you do getting anything more in production from him. Don’t make moves from desperation.

      Let Hernandez come to ST and earn a spot. If he does, make it with regular playing time. Don’t call him up in August, in a pennant race, and treat him like a savior to the offense. Ask Bregman how that is working out. The special ones can do it. The rest of them end up tuckered out.

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  18. Also, FO needs to start figuring out what to do with Keuchel. He’s arbitration eligible through ’18 and a FA in ’19. He was an ace for 1.5 seasons and a marginal 5th for 3. He’ll be 29 in January.

    There are three options:
    1) Bet on return to 2015 – buy out his remaining arbitration with 1-2 options on the back- end. Say 3/$10 with a team $15 option (he already turned this down in the offseason but now leverage has shifted to the team)
    2) Bet that ’16 is the real Keuchel – put him on the trade market hoping that some team will pay closer to his ’14/’15 numbers than ’11, ’12, ’16 numbers or
    3) take your chances in arbitration and decide what to do when he’s a FA in ’16

    Your thoughts??

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    • I will be pleasantly surprised if 2015 Keuchel shows back up. Not sure he has the stuff to continue to adjust to league as they adjust to him. Losing just a tick on FB each year will make it tougher. And if the tighten the strike zone or other changes to increase hitting advantage – well, that is just plain scary.

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      • Good points. I wonder if the rapid increase in innings over a relatively short period of time has caught up with him (85 in ’12, 153 in ’13, 200 in ’14, 232 in ’15). Seeing the velocity drop is concerning and I also don’t see the stuff to live off a mid- 80’s fastball and tighter strike zone. However, I would offer him 3 years @ $10M per year with a $15M team option at the backend. Relatively small investment for even 1/2 what he was in ’15. If he wouldn’t take it I would go to arbitration with him in ’17 and let future cards fall where they may.

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    • I don’t want to jump on his first 2 seasons and say that is him because he was young, adjusting, and lots of pitchers have been bad early.

      I think its very possible that the Cy Young was the worst thing that happened. He lost some velocity coming in this year from the previous seasons – he was hungry before, and he came in a little over confident. I’m betting we see that missing 2 miles an hour back next season, and a hungry guy that has something to prove, but he has to put the same work in this offseason that he did in prior ones trying to get there.

      It could also be from overuse last year, and that is probably not fixable. It could be an injury that hasn’t leaked to us. Only the Astros really know, or at least are in a position to know if Strom’s head isn’t in his fourth point of contact, we can’t, and I would need to know those things before I started making decisions that are in the millions of dollars range.

      My money is we get a better Keuchel next year. Maybe not Cy Young one, but better, even #2 better. We still need an ace, McHugh is a miscast #3 at #2, Keuchel is a miscast #2 at #1, and I don’t think that we are getting Fister back since he probably put himself in the 10-12 range looking multi next year, and while someone pays that I hope its not us.

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  19. No idea what Luhnow and company will do with Keuchel. I “think” they will give him a crappy deal, he turns it down. Who knows.
    This team is soo much better than this. They look lost at the plate, and this is the WORST time to get stuck in limbo. Fortunately the team in north texas, has accommodated by losing at the same time these guys are. Happ is on his game, and pitching like hammels. We can gripe and fuss all we want to….but the hitting coach is NOT going to get fired. The perplexing problem right now, is trying to figure out who can actually hit the baseball. I just don’t get “it”…..bring guys up from Fresno, and they can’t hit a beach ball. I dunno…I’m pulling my hair out tying to WILL these guys to hit. This team is getting on my last dang nerve.

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  20. After all those years of 100+ losses and high draft picks they have two position players ( Correa & Springer) that have successfully made the move to the major league level. The pitching side looks promising but they won’t ever succeed without offense.
    It’s time for Crane to reevaluate the management and make changes.

    Am I advocating firing Luhnow? Yes.

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    • I’m prepared to wait until the end of the season and evaluate at that point. But I will say that Crane has got too many people hoodwinked. I think we should have higher expectations at this point.

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    • Just highlights the fact that prospects are NEVER a sure thing. Sometimes their greatest value is providing human capital in trades for proven players. A lot of our prospects are getting a little long in the tooth and have very short windows. I would look to move them in the offseason or at waiver wire deadline. You only have so many chips, so use them wisely.

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    • Wahoo I’m in FO philosophy stinks look at this 25 man minus 2.5 stars, its an average team at best. Don’t tell me about prospect and were the 3rd best rated minor league system, the last time I checked that got you a cookie and milk. It’s about winning Championships and this FO will never do that period!

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      • Yes, let’s just get rid of all our prospects and return to the 2007-2013 years. I’m sure we all enjoyed those years. You may not care about our prospects or minor league system, but I’m guessing most here do based upon the reactions after the Kazmir, Gomez/Fiers and Giles trades.

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    • You can advocate for it, but it’s not going to happen. He’s a very smart and successful G.M. Take a look at the G.M.’s you consider better than Luhnow and tell me what they have done. Should the Rangers fire Jon Daniels? Should the Yankees fire Brian Cashman? Should the Pirates fire Neil Huntington? The list goes on and on.

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      • He improved the worst run organization in baseball, you could have done that with all the picks and dumping salaries his early years. We are better than when Mclane sold, Ill give you that,. All I’m saying ,I will bet you $500 we never sniff a world championship under Uncle Jeff, we have a ton of good prospects The FO will screw it up again.

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      • Kevin,

        That’s such a blasé and horrible response. Every Chron commenter keeps saying that and they couldn’t be more wrong. Please come up with something better as that flimsy explanation does not work.

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    • How soon we forget that we had one of the worst farm systems in the majors and 3 time 100 game losing team when this guy was hired.

      Hey, no one has been more critical of his trade record than me. He has been fleeced at times. If VV stays healthy that Giles trade is going to be remember in the annals of baseball lore because the guy has cy young stuff, not to mention he added a 1-1 to the deal. He has picked up players that have performed below hopes or expectations in Carter, Conger, Gattis, Gomez, Fiers, Kazmir and Giles.

      He has also done a great job though in trading the other direction, getting a good deal of prospects that are fairly highly rated. While he bombed on two 1-1s he got one right that no one else saw and he has drafted well overall.

      He rebuilt the bullpen, a major piece of the franchises turnaround, mostly by learning from his mistakes early and making mostly the right moves (I still think, even after at least being decent, that the Neshek deal was a mistake).

      What do I think? I think his experience as a manager of minor league systems is apparent. The Cardinals system has seen a decline since his departure, and ours has seen an uptick. I don’t think that is a coincidence. I think he may need to rely on more people around him when judging his major league trades and free agency, and that is up to him to make that adjustment. So far he has been lucky that none of the prospects he traded away outside of VV look really great. Folty, not great, Tropeano, injured, Perez, not so good this year, Santana, Phillips, etc., no one has turned into the next superstar. If that happens, it may change the tune.

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      • I agree with this and will argue Luhnow is already learning from his mistakes by virtue of not making any trades at this deadline in an over inflated seller’s market.

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  21. Bregman says he is working on what he was doing before, when he was hitting.
    Hoyt was called up to the majors on the day MLB named him as a Top 20 prospect.
    Colin Moran was a beast last night. Maybe he comes out of his slump.
    Heineman is out hitting Stassi by 50 points, on the same team.
    Toronto is a better team than Houston. Four months in, the records are the proof.
    Five years into a rebuild if you still have the #3 ranked minor leagues, maybe you should go ahead with them and let some older players sit or look for work elsewhere.
    If your AAA first baseman has 17 dingers and your AAA third baseman has only seven dingers, who do you think would have the most RBIs? Guess again.
    Gustave was unavailable last night, so Jankowski comes into the bottom of the 11 inning after Kemmer has given Fresno the lead, and strikes out the side, all swinging.
    Gurriel must have tweeked something when they put in a pinch runner for him Tuesday, because he didn’t play last night. That’s the only logical explanation I see for a guy who hasn’t played for a long time to sit out, when they are trying hard to push him up to the majors.

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      • Thanks, Tim. I now have two daughters, one daughter-in-law and five grandchildren to help me take care of my wife and I am definitely more confused now than when I was alone. But, it’s so much more fun this way.
        Family

        Liked by 2 people

      • OP, I’m so glad the grizzled veteran (lol) has been joined by the less grizzled and totally ungrizzled. 🙂

        Like

      • I meant the ‘grizzled veteran’ comment as a compliment. I hope it was received that way. When your user name is 1oldpro the grizzled veteran term was in jest, but a compliment nonetheless.

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    • Kemmer’s performance last night brought his BA for the year up to. 270, to go with a .340 OBP and a .796 OBP. Jon has 11 HRs and 43 RBIs for Fresno. He’s averaged slightly less than a strikeout per game. Hey, the way our outfielders have been underperforming, giving him a look in September doesn’t seem too farfetched. The outfield guy I really have hopes for, though, is 22 year old Ramon Laureano, who is at least one year, probably two years, away.

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      • Bill, I’m more concerned with Kemmer’s lack of defense. One thing about our ML club today. We do have four excellent outfield defenders, especially when Gomez has his head in the game.

        But as far as Kemmer and hitting, I fear that .340 OBP will translate into something under .300 against major league pitching.

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  22. Why would you get rid of Keuchel? He is their most consistent starter and the only decent lefty pitcher on the team. He is vastly underpaid by league standards, is a warrior with no injury history, and coming off a down year, his salary arbitration will yield a modest increase. Get rid of one of the soft throwing righties and keep Keuchel.
    Jeeze, the guy is one of the most highly thought of players on our team. On his best night of the year his team only gave him one run to work with against Detroit, I think, and he beat the Yankees on the road on opening day.

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    • I don’t buy that Keuchel has been anywhere near their most consistent starter in 2016. In fact, he is arguably in a 3- way battle for least consistent. However, just as I would not negotiate a big contract following a career best year, I would not trade or abandon following a career worst year (not implying this is his worst year). I think that Keuchel will settle in as a mid-to- high 3 era innings eater with the potential to be unhittable when his stuff is on and get knocked around when its not. Those guys are the backbone of every staff in MLB and command a pretty high salary. I would like to see them lock him in at 3 years with 1 club option. I would offer $10M per with $15M option, but I think it would probably take at least 3 @ $15 w/ $20 option to get a deal. I think he will probably get $9-10 in arbitration this offseason.

      I believe the rapid increase in innings over a relatively short period of time caught up with him in 2016 (85 in ’12, 153 in ’13, 200 in ’14, 232 in ’15) and he will be better in ’17 with a return to ’15 velocity.

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  23. By the book we lose tonight’s game as well – with our old cast-off J.A. Happ absolutely dominating our ‘happ-less’ lineup and Fiers stinking it up as he is wont to do every other start. Moreover, by the book Toronto, Boston, and Detroit all have substantially better teams, up and down the order and throughout the starting pitching rotations, than we are putting on the field – especially with our best pitcher, LMJ, on the DL and unavailable for who knows how long. But except in fantasy league land, the last time I looked baseball wasn’t played by the book – it is played on the field.

    Should anyone who has been watching baseball this year expect us to come back and tie this series with Toronto tonight? Not on your life. Do we even belong on the same field as the new, improved Texas Rangers? Not on paper – by a long shot. Should even kool-aid drinker among us really have any hope of this deeply flawed team overachieving and somehow passing at least two of the much better trio of teams ahead of us in the WC standings – i.e. the BlueJays, the Red Sox and the Tigers? Not a chance. So whew! The pressure is off. Let’s just go out and play baseball, have fun, and see what happens.

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  24. We might as well laugh at our troubles. Do you realize that our young superstar-in-training, Alex Bregman’s slash line [.031/.088/.119] is now actually worse than the embarrassing slash line put up by Eric Kratz in his stint with the club [.069/.100/.203]?

    Of our rookie position players, here is what we’ve gotten so far, from best to worst:
    – Kemp – .238/.340/.697
    – White – .204/.288/.652
    – Worth -.179/.200/.431
    – Tucker – .161/.214/.562
    – Reed – .135/.220/.470
    – Moran – .105/.150/.255
    – Bregman – .031/.088/.119

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    • I should probably also point out that Kemp’s slash line is better than either Marisnicks, Rasmus’, or Gomez’, and two parts of it are better than either Gattis’ or Castro’s.

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    • I find it hard to believe that all of baseballl could be wrong on these guys. I would think that the law of averages would dictate that at least one could find some level of success. I find it hard to figure out Tucker’s regression from last year.

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      • Good thing is, in most cases the talent is there. Most of them are still young and have plenty of time to develop.

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      • Tucker regressed last year once the pitchers caught up to him. He’s continuing more of the same. He is what he is.

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      • Tuckers problem is he doesn’t know if he is a starter, bench guy, DH, AAA player, starter at AAA. I know when I played if I didn’t know my role, and it changed over and over and over throughout the season, I played with little confidence.

        I once played on an independent league team in Alexandria, LA that I drove an hour one way to play on 4 times a week, and walking in I didn’t know if I was starting in LF or CF today, batting 1st, 3rd, 4th, or 7th, or if I was even in the lineup. I had an awful year, hitting around .240 with no power, and even played horrible defense, and was released before the season ended. I also remember playing 3 years in Korea in a league there, and winning two batting titles, because I KNEW when I showed up at the park 4 times a week I was batting 3rd and playing LF.

        In baseball a winning formula comes from consistency. It always has. I don’t pretend to know what life is like playing in the major leagues, but I do know baseball, played it my entire life, well until I turned 36 and started watching 70 MPH fastballs fly by me like they were 95, and I know, even in my little beer leagues I played in, that you have to be a consistent team with a plan that isn’t changing every time some rookie hits .140 in his first 50 at bats. Now you can’t stick with it to the point they have stuck with Gomez, but Tucker, Reed, White, they have been messed up because they are superior talents like Correa, and they need opportunity to get over humps. Bouncing around isn’t opportunity, its a confidence killer, and this game is at least 60% confidence at that level because they all have the physical tools. And that’s just the ones they have done this too this year. Take a look at Robbie Grossman and tell me you wouldn’t plop his stats in the second spot in the batting order and left field for this team right now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Technically correct. They have, however, been consistently treated as lower-class rookies by our FO. They sit, waiting their turn, and never really getting a chance [unlike Bregman, who was a first round draft pick like Springer, Correa, and McCullers].

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      • Worth has had opportunities in the majors, and never performed. He got a shot here and…didn’t perform.

        Tucker is still being ran out there despite not being able to hit major league pitching now that the book is out on him, and having no defensive skills. He’s Marisnick with no defense

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  25. Jose Bautista had seven stints in the majors with four different teams before he ever averaged a BA of over .250. He was in the majors for 8 years for five teams before he ever hit more than 20 home runs in a full season.
    Very few guys are Trouts or Bryants. The huge majority develop slowly.
    Josh Donaldson was as bad as Reed was his first trip to the majors. He spent the following year in AAA only. The year after that he was merely bad in the majors. The next year he was real good and the next year he was terrific and the next year he was the best!
    These things don’t happen overnight. It takes time and experience before it becomes instinctual.
    JD Martinez.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Look up the early careers of Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Derek Jeter and JD Martinez.
    This stuff doesn’t happen overnight! Almost everyone struggles the first and second times up
    Back off of our young hitters. This isn’t checkers. Hitting a baseball thrown by a major league pitcher is the hardest thing to do in sports.
    Donaldson’s first trip up to the majors looked just like AJ Reed’s and then he spent an entire season in AAA and then struggled in his next trip to the majors. Look at him now.
    Bautista struggled for years!

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    • Wow! that first post just disappeared and showed up ten minutes later.
      Wow! that first post just disappeared and showed up ten minutes later.
      Wow……………………………………………………………………

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      • All great info my friend OP , However they didn’t ever play for us except JD who flourished once he left. Said it a 100 times, something isn’t right with this FO, It’s philosophies, coaching, preparation of talent etc. We have had a lot of good kids come up and in the wings, and with the exception of a few, they drastically underachived when they show up at MM.

        WHY IS THAT?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kevin,

        I think your making OP’s point. Were the front office’s of all those players to blame for their slow start? Probably not. It’s all part of the adjustment for young players. For every Albert Pujols there are 100 Alex Bregman’s.

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      • And we do have ours, Carlos Correa. He is our Trout/Bryant. Hit from day 1. The special ones do. The rest, have a learning curve.

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    • Excellent point. This is also not 3-4 years ago when the team had no talent and no wins. These guys are now being asked to come up and perform at a high level right away, and in a playoff chase pressure cooker. I’m sure that the new level of stress is as big an issue as the new level of pitching. As I said earlier, the talent is there with most of these guys. With talent, success has a good chance to follow. They say it takes 1500 MLB at bats to really know what a hitter will be at that level. We are way away from knowing what we have.

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      • I hope you all are right I want to win , I just don’t have the faith in the FO to make it so with these young Kids

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  27. Too many failures here that move on to become successful with other teams. That can’t be a coincidence or be blamed on X amount of plate appearances.
    There is no other explanation other than management.

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    • Sandy, it sure looks like there is something to your statements. The evidence seems to be there: Correa down from ’15, Castro down from ’15 and career (remember under Mallee he hit .270’ish and was an all- star), Rasmus down fro ’15 and career, Gattis down from ’15 and career, Marisnick down from ’15 and career, and the list goes on. All of the guys are 30 or under and should be in the prime of their careers. The only player that has appreciably improved is Altuve.

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      • Good point Tim. Valbuena is actually performing well above last year and career. HR are down a little but SLG is up and OPS up almost 100 points.

        Also, Martinez is the only real success story I can think of. Villar actually hit pretty good (I think .280 ish) last year while he was up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Grossman has looked like the hitter you and I both predicted back in the Marisnick/Grossman days, a guy capable of hitting 260-270 with moderate power and a .400+ OBP. They aren’t all gonna be JDM, but there are some guys being moderately more productive outside of MMP then they were in it. There is enough evidence for me to think there is something about the way Hinch and his staff handles young guys when you put those three together with the group of young players we have failing right now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I wouldn’t call Grossman a success story. No doubt, he’s having a decent year, but I’m not ready to say he is a success story. I like Grossman and I always thought, with his plate discipline and decent pop he would be a slightly above average offensive player. I hope he continues doing well in Minnesota, just not next week when the Astros are playing them.

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    • Sandy,

      On the other side of the coin should we not mention the success stories of the players that were castoffs by other organizations, but have flourished here (McHugh, Harris and Sipp)? There is no other explanation other than management.

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      • Tim, it was MCHugh that almost made me a believer in Luhnow. He looked like a TOR pitcher last year. But when you look back and see all the run support he had
        last year and the regression this year, it appears it was all luck.
        Sipp always made me nervous but Harris is a gold mine of a find.

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      • Oh Sandy, I do love your passion, but attributing McHugh’s success to luck is humorous. I tried to argue he was more a 3 than 2 in the offseason and got shouted down.

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      • I’m pretty sure there were sarcastic comments from Mets and Rockies fans about Colin McHugh after his first two tries in the majors resulted in a 10.00 ERA. Peacock didn’t give up on the Grizzlies or the Astros after two surgeries last year.
        Now he’s made it back to the bigs. I’ll be honest with you, I hope he blows everybody away just like Musgrove did and creates all kind of havoc for the Astros’ front office, trying to find places for good pitchers with 94-95 mph fastballs instead of 89 mph meatballs like some of our current starters.

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      • I agree, OP. Stuff was never the issue with Peacock. It was more of a control issue, but hopefully he has harnessed that and will be an asset to our bullpen.

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      • Also, in Peacock’s last nine starts he has only given up more than 3 ERs once and that was in the high altitude of Salt Lake City. I’m not expecting any significant contribution, but if he can just help eat innings out of the bullpen and do a serviceable job of it I think he can help.

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      • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Peacock reminds me of Chris Holt. Dierker-ball used to say he had the best stuff on the staff, but he kept finding a way to lose. Peacock does great and then walks a few instead of challenging the hitters and the wheels just fall off. There is a chance he has matured and is ready to pitch in the bigs.

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      • To me the bottom line on Peacock is this – the average major league pitcher sits around 30.5% of his non strike pitches being offered at by hitters. Peacock is at 25.6% for his career. His contact rates inside the zone are slightly better than league average. The percent of strikes is slightly less than the average pitcher.

        It tells me that the feeling that the guy misses the zone too much is right. We can see he doesn’t throw enough near misses, or pitches right outside the zone, that could fool a hitter and get them to offer, that more than not, he just flat out misses. We can see that he has good swing and miss stuff, but that he doesn’t throw it for strikes often enough.

        I felt the same watching him. He would throw 2 good pitches, then throw 2 balls in a row so far out the zone that he let the hitter off the hook from being ahead because they were not offering.

        I think some of that could be mechanical, control on particular pitches, but I think some of it is just a skill you can’t buy.

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  28. No Marwin in the lineup….Bregman is hitting in the 2 hole, and Gomez is the DH.
    Jon Hyman gave the Astros a C on trades, or lack there of at the deadline. Guess what team he gave an A to.
    OldPro….I certainly would like Peacock to succeed as well, but I’m not gonna get my hopes up. Man, I sure hope Valbuena is ready to come back by this weekend, we need his bat like no tomorrow. Gotta win this game tonight folks.

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  29. I obviously don’t have the pedigree of that Callis guy, but I feel almost certain that Bregman will hit, and I’m mostly confident that Reed and White will too, if given the reps. Heck, I’ve already complained that I thought White was on the cusp when he was given the hook earlier in the season.

    Such a scenario would take a bunch of pressure off Springer and Correa in 2017. And they’d also see better pitches. I’m not worried about Altuve because he seems to manage any situation. If we end up with six solid bats in the line up most nights, the fringe guys will perform better too. And although we know nothing about Gurriel, I’m hopeful he’ll show up as advertised.

    Regardless of what transpires over the last two months of the season, I just don’t want to see these guys shipped back down. I want to see them play.

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  30. I will add a bit of controversy to a quiet night. If it can be determined that Puig is healthy, I offer Fister for him. We’ve only got about 9 starts left in Fister anyway. Dodgers need a starter with Kershaw on the shelf. Gurriel might just be the ideal mentor for the problem child. Billy, if there is a history of domestic abuse beyond the incident with his sister in the nightclub that MLB declined to pursue, then I agree, we don’t want him. But if that’s it in that regard, I try to make it work. He’s 25 with a very manageable contract and can be rehabilitated, he’s worth quite a bit more than his contract that expires in 2018.

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    • I would go for it. I would even throw in 1-2 middling prospects. The kid just needs some direction and needs to mature. I think the upside is huge. I think some of the more mature Astro latinos could sort him out.

      Like

    • The Dodgers will want more than Fister for Puig. *If* they were to trade him, it will probably be over the winter, so they can get max back for him….but I really don’t think they want to get rid of him. His off the field stuff doesn’t faze me, the impact in the clubhouse concerns me. I doubt he’s going anywhere.

      Like

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