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Extreme makeover: Is this the Astros’ Plan B?


There is a makeover afoot at Minute Maid Park.

Some of this is due to injuries/illness (Luis Valbuena, Luke Gregerson, Colby Rasmus, Lance McCullers Jr and now Preston Tucker). Some is due to parting of the ways (Carlos Gomez). Some is due to paternity leaves (Doug Fister, Ken Giles). A trade (Scott Feldman) is another component.

Any way you look at it, the last month or so has led to a huge infusion of younger folks (except for Hoyt) to the team. Alex Bregman, Joe Musgrove, James Hoyt, Jandel Gustave and now Teoscar Hernandez have made their major league debuts. A.J. Reed, Tyler White, Preston Tucker and Tony Kemp have all been re-called to the majors.

Cuban Yulieski Gurriel is likely to join the team soon as a 32-year-old rookie who makes the 29-year-old Hoyt look quite youthful in comparison.

For a team that moved up George Springer at a snail’s pace and delayed the promotion of Carlos Correa for purely financial reasons, the organization has suddenly been moving prospects up to the big club in a relative tidal wave of internal movement.

While it is likely that not all these youngsters will be stars or even regular contributors down the way there can be no doubt that the front office wants to know what it has from these internal sources. It is pretty easy to close your eyes and picture a whole lineup of players plus pitchers who have never played for another major league organization.

Is it possible that after trying to fill in the young core with veterans from the outside, that the front office has turned to Plan B this season? Is it possible that this Plan B could also work to the Astros’ advantage if….these youngsters bring them something they are not getting from the veterans (like good batting averages and OBPs)?

  • Are you excited about this shift in the philosophy?
  • Do you think this will help the Astros in 2016? 2017?
  • Who do you think will actually be with the team long-term as a contributor?
  • How much of this changes back when the injuries and paternity leaves are complete?
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About Dan P

Dan Peschong is a full time engineer and a long time Astros lover from the days of Joe Morgan to the days of Jose Altuve.

39 comments on “Extreme makeover: Is this the Astros’ Plan B?

  1. Baskerville Weaver
    August 12, 2016

    Where are all the fans?

    Like

    • Dan P
      August 12, 2016

      Yeah this was just posted tonight – sometimes they don’t switch over right away – don’t know it is here.

      Like

  2. Becky⚾
    August 12, 2016

    COME AND GET HIM HINCH!!! I SWEAR!!!

    Like

    • vewill1
      August 12, 2016

      You should’t swear!! I was doing it for you. Alls well that ends well.

      Like

    • Dan P
      August 12, 2016

      Relax – we win Becky! But yeah I was getting worried for a minute.

      Like

  3. Zanuda
    August 12, 2016

    Harris managed to hang on. The pitches to EE had zilch on them. The others looked better.

    Like

  4. Becky⚾
    August 12, 2016

    Sorry Dan…..I was just about to lose it, because I didn’t want Harris to spoil Musgrove’s…great start.
    Yes, I think the kids will make a name for themselves this year! They’ve waited their entire lives for this chance, and I don’t think they will dissapoint. Bregman is just awesome, and Kemp and White are going to just get better! Where does Reed fit in?
    I truly think he just needs a bit more time in Fresno, but you gotta be careful with a guy like him…..you can destroy a guy if it’s not done correctly. There’s no way in he!!..you can send Musgrove back down. He’s a big league pitcher. PERIOD.
    I can’t wait to see Brady Rogers at the end of the year! I’m not worried about the kids.
    Everybody let’s give Teoscar Hernandez a round of applause getting his first big league hit, and it just happened to be a HOMERUN!! Way to go kiddo!! Great game tonight fellas!! 4th win in a row….getting it done!

    Like

  5. Dan P
    August 12, 2016

    So…..In 18.1 innings of mlb pitching – Musgrove has 21 Ks and given up only 2 walks.
    His control is insanely good.

    Like

    • vewill1
      August 12, 2016

      Just WOW! And he does it all without blowing you away. Just a good fastball, good breaking ball(s) and incredible command. He looks like the real deal and does not appear to be intimidated by the big stage.

      Like

      • Dan P
        August 12, 2016

        Yes – so comfortable out there. You can teach new pitches. You can teach different approaches to hitters. But great control is a tough thing to develop and rarely there with a young pitcher. He is pitching like this is just another minor league level. Impressive.

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      August 12, 2016

      Bill Brown may be confused about Musgrove, but everyone here knows Musgrove has four pitches and not just three. Maybe he needs to review the Astros’ Pipeline before a game.

      Like

  6. Becky⚾
    August 12, 2016

    First two names the teams Luhnow was talking to over the break was:
    Musgrove
    Bregman
    Luhnow just laughed and laughed, and laughed.
    Now you see why he wasn’t able to make a trade for one of the Rays starters, or Lucroy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Billy Castillo
      August 12, 2016

      Yeah…that would have been crazy

      Like

  7. Tim
    August 12, 2016

    Even if they miss the playoffs this year you have to be excited about the youth infusion both on the field and on the bump. You look around and all of a sudden the lack of outfield depth being discussed earlier is no longer a problem. You have Springer, Marisnick, Kemp and Hernandez with MarGo and possibly Bregman in LF. On the mound you have Keuchel, McHugh, LMJ, Musgrove and Fiers with Brady Rodgers and Martes very close. The bullpen has Giles, Harris, Hoyt and Gregerson along with Feliz and Devo who can both also be starters. I just love the way the great Jeff Luhnow has drafted and signed international players. OK, that was just said in fun. Let’s not go down that road again. 🙂

    Like

    • vewill1
      August 12, 2016

      Our young pitching looks excellent. We are pretty well stocked. I will give Lunhow his due in picking up young, obscure (???) prospects that move quickly through the system. The young guys are all coming around; and this is just the first wave of talent. There is a different look and feel with young guns replacing Gomez, Rasmus, etc.

      Like

    • daveb7
      August 13, 2016

      We’ve got plenty of outfielders, but that does not mean we’ve got depth in the outfield. Let’s see if Kemp hits enough. Let’s see if Hernandez hits enough. And let’s see if Jake finally hits enough. It will be interesting to see what happens with Bregman. I think he can become a solid left fielder. He’s a great athlete. But I sure like his play at third. If Reed flunks the test, I envision Gurriel at first and Bregman at third. Assuming Gurriel and Bregman hit, that’s gives us a heck of an infield.

      Like

  8. Tim
    August 12, 2016

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/jeff-gordon/tipsheet-luhnow-s-blunders-stunt-astros-growth/article_db1e2603-687e-5283-b69b-aa0dab75bdca.html

    A good read for Sandy, Kevin, Dave and the rest of you who don’t care for our G.M. You don’t have to ask what I think of this hack job of journalism. I think all Cardinals Nation has a vendetta against Luhnow.

    Like

    • vewill1
      August 12, 2016

      I read that earlier and I don’t disagree with the premise. Lunhow is a genius at identifying obscure young talent, but you would have to agree that he has a knack for overpaying. If I pay $2k per ounce of gold when the spot price is $1.3k, then the price goes to $3K per ounce, does this make me a genius, an idiot or something in between?

      Like

      • Tim
        August 12, 2016

        Everyone hits and misses in the draft. Clearly, Bryant has performed much better than Appel, but how many teams, including the Astros passed on Mike Trout? It happens, but I can accept that as a blunder, but I’m so tired of the allegation he bundled the Brady Aiken negotiations. What was he supposed to do once it was discovered he had almost no ulnar lateral ligament in his left elbow? As it turned out he actually made the right call as Aiken had TJ surgery before even getting drafted the next year and the Astros got Bregman and Daz Cameron in the next draft.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        August 12, 2016

        The Aiken saga remains Luhnow’s best moment. In the face of a silent injured player, a deceitful agent, greedy mouthy parents, a hateful media, and fans like me who did not know the truth, he stood out like the Quiet Man played by John Wayne and is justified in everything he did.
        Luhnow didn’t get Maureen O’Hara, but he got Bregman and that’s the next best thing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • daveb7
        August 13, 2016

        Am very pleased with the latest plan. Most of us have been screaming for this latest plan for quite some time now. Gomez had to go, but it should have been sooner. I’d have to say that yes, bringing up the young guys will help today and into the future. But let’s see what happens. We’re not out of the woods yet.

        Of the new guys, I’d have to guess that Musgrove will be a long term contributor. But are we going to give guys like White and Reed and Kemp a long enough look? And maybe I’m going off topic a bit, but we’ll be finding out pretty soon about whether or not guys like Springer and Altuve will be long term contributors. Do these guys like playing in Houston enough to take less money than they would get elsewhere?

        We’ll be sending a pitcher or two down and someone else will have to go when Gurriel gets here. The club is also going to be very cautious with McCullers. I would not be surprised if he gets shut down for the season. And if Luhnow determines that we’re not going to the post season in the next couple of weeks, it only makes sense to shop Fister before the waiver deadline.

        Like

    • Zanuda
      August 12, 2016

      Whether it was a hack job or not based upon the intent, the iformation is pretty much spot on. At least in my opinion. On a positive note there have been some successes and tonight was an example of what we were wanting for the past three months.

      Like

    • Devin_
      August 12, 2016

      I didn’t see anything to take issue with in the article. It was the equivalent of a layup in basketball though. You can probably expect the Chronicle is offering a job to Gordon as we speak.

      However, I mentioned the Lexington Four a week or two ago. We all get excited over prospects who rarely pan out. With the exception of trading away Velasquez, I don’t think Luhnow has given away anyone that was certain to be a difference maker for Houston. Again, I understand why he did it – Velasquez’ splits are a little extreme on the fly ball side. He didn’t get enough outs on the ground for Luhnow’s taste.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        August 12, 2016

        But if you have the Cy young winner, a 19 game winner in McHugh, LMJ, Feldman, Fiers, Musgrove, Feliz, Martes and Paulino, you give up VV and Appel to get Giles. We need Giles. We’re gonna need Giles. VV has been a good pitcher, but not lights out and Appel has done nothing and is hurt. Eschelman has not made a major move, Ober is gone and Arauz is firmly entrenched in our top 20 prospects as a SS.
        The longer the year goes by the better that trade looks.
        After that trade we signed Fister and we missed Velasquez even less with Fister pitching well.
        That trade looked bad at first, but we have Giles for the long haul and even though he isn’t on Dan’s list in his post, Giles is going to be around here for a long time I hope. He’s a baby closer. He’s gonna get better.

        Liked by 1 person

    • sandy
      August 12, 2016

      Thanks Tim.
      Pretty much dead on. The article didn’t say anything that wasn’t true.
      It will be interesting to see what happens with Gomez. If he gets back in form with another team………well. We’ll leave that discussion for another day. Meanwhile, I’m really enjoying watching these kids play.

      Like

    • daveb7
      August 13, 2016

      He could have written a piece that fully evaluated Luhnow, including the good things he’s gotten done, but the story line is about the blunders that Luhnow has made. I most certainly think our GM has indeed stunted the growth of the major league club. But I will add that the owner has not helped by treating this club as a small market operation in the 4th largest city in the US.

      Everything written is accurate. It is not a hack job. And Gordon could have piled on with other examples.

      Like

  9. Dan P
    August 12, 2016

    Maybe this has been mentioned already,but MLB.com says they are aiming towards Tuesday for Gurriel’s debut.

    Like

  10. 1oldpro
    August 12, 2016

    I have to comment on this. The closer for the Arkansas Travelers was their fourth pitcher of the night for his team against the Corpus Christi Hooks. He got the first two batters out and had to retire pinch hitter Ramon Laureano to close out a four-pitcher Perfect Game. He walked him, gave up two singles, had an error behind him, and then wild pitched in the winning run.
    Corpus Christi, one batter away from having a perfect game thrown against them, wins on a wild pitch to Yulieski Gurriel with the bases loaded and wins in walkoff fashion, 2-1.
    Baseball.

    Like

    • Devin_
      August 12, 2016

      Lost in that is that Trent Thornton had another really good start. For those that don’t follow, he’s another guy that was pegged as a reliever that has excelled as a starter in our milb system.

      Like

  11. 1oldpro
    August 12, 2016

    Dan,
    1. Am I excited? I’m ecstatic.
    2. Do I think this will help the Astros in 2016. Oh, yeah.
    2a. In 2017? Oh yeah!
    3. Who will be with the Astros long term from that list? Practically everyone except Castro.
    4. How much changes when players return? Giles returns and Gustave goes down. Rasmus and Valbuena will probably not be back from injuries before September callups. so it won’t matter. Musgrove stays in the rotation, even when LMJ comes back, if he comes back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • vewill1
      August 12, 2016

      OP. I couldn’t have typed my own response as well as you did.

      What do we do with Rasmus and Valbuena when they come back? We will have either played ourselves back into contention without them, or will be out of contention. Either way they will be gone next season and we will be relying on the young guns and possibly a FA or 2. I don’t want to see them come back and rob some of the kids of ABs this year that could be the difference in success or failure next year.

      While I really like both Rasmus and Valbuena I think its best if they have played their last game with the Astros. However, I am pretty sure that will not be the case. We are not any better this year with them and will be better next year if they are not taking playing time from our kids,

      Like

    • vewill1
      August 12, 2016

      By the way, has anyone heard any update on LMJ’s elbow? 3 shutdowns in 2 seasons (2 shoulder and 1 elbow) has me pretty worried about his long- term health/ durability. Just hoping we don’t hear UCL in the coming weeks.

      Like

  12. vewill1
    August 12, 2016

    Tim, I have no problem with the Appel pick. If the same two were up this year you would probably take the “sure thing” college pitcher over the much easier to find solid 3 bagger. Some work, some don’t. Same with Trout. Same with Jeter years ago. Those aren’t blunders, they are baseball. Oswalt was a 23rd round pick in 1996. Kris Benson, Travis Lee, Braden Looper, Billy Koch and John Patterson went 1-5 in the 1st round. Who would you rather have and how many fans are second guessing their leaders? Baseball is a fickle sport. You win some, you lose some and hindsight is always 20/20.

    Aiken was the best draft pick the Astros ever had and not signing him (due to obvious risk) was the right call. Aiken turned into 2 awesome prospects, one of which is on the verge of stardom. Without the Aiken pick we don’t have the Bregman/ Cameron/ Tucker trio.

    And yet I still do not dispute the premise of the article you referenced.

    Like

    • Tim
      August 13, 2016

      Yes, he made some blunders, if you want to call them that, but as you stated, this has happened to every GM throughout the game of baseball. Appel was the consensus top pick that year. There is a good chance if the Astros didn’t have the top pick someone else would have taken him. Aiken was also the consensus top pick in 2014. I agree with OP that the Aiken saga turned out to be one of his best moments. Bregman is going to be very good and who knows what will happen to Aiken. With all that said I still think it was a hack job by a St. Louis beat reporter with a Vendetta against Luhnow. If it was a writer from any other city I might give it more credence.

      Like

  13. Becky⚾
    August 12, 2016

    OP….your answers are our answers! Let me ask you folks a question.
    How many teams in MLB would like to have our young team?
    The Angels who have no pitching…and a first baseman who has horrible feet…and they will be paying him MILLION for several more years.
    The Yankees who have hung on to old players who were done several years ago.
    The rangers..spit, spit, who have 2 pitchers, and a sprinkle of youth….but a team that’s getting older every year.
    The A’S that literally have used smoke and mirrors to pay a game.
    The Cards who have a couple of pitchers, one of them on the DL and an outfield that’s cripled, even more now rhat Holiday is out for 6-8 weeks.
    I could go on and on…..but where I’m going with this is NEXT year, we will be the ENVY of 29 other teams watching these guys play! The cool part of that is, the pipeline to the big club is looooong! We will continue to have excellent pitching ready to take Keuchel place, we will have you talented catchers ready to receive those excellent pitchers! I’m excited, and you should be too! If we fail to make a wild card or play off game, I’m cool with that. I need to see ( or in my case, listen) these kids play!! 2017 will be OURS!! Becky⚾⚾

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      August 12, 2016

      The Yankees are going to be good, starting next year. It is going to be a blast seeing the Astros going toe to toe with the Yankees and the Red Sox for years.

      Like

      • Tim
        August 13, 2016

        I was about to mention the Yankees. What Cashman did at the deadline this year was amazing. I think the Yankees were, without a doubt, the big deadline winners this year. In addition, there is a good chance they re-sign both Chapman and Beltran. What a coup for Brian Cashman if that happens.

        Like

  14. 1oldpro
    August 12, 2016

    How many pitches did Castro have to block in the dirt from Musgrove tonight?
    When you have four pitches, a 93mph fastball, good control and the command to move the ball around, your catchers don’t have to block 30 pitches that bounce.
    I think Rodgers is going to surprise some people,too, and he just needs to keep getting a little better and a little more confident and he will be ready next spring.
    I’m feeling pretty good that we might make a run at a playoff spot and that we are going to be the team that Luhnow envisioned next season.

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      August 13, 2016

      You might be right about the Yankees…..but they gotta get some new blood in their rotation, and yes I know Evoldi is young, but he’s on the DL for the second time this year. Isn’t this exciting!!! So much fun watching these guys having fun like they did last year! “Good things will come to those who wait”….was a favorite saying of my mother.
      Old Pro….I just wanted to tell you, we haven’t forgotten you and your sweet wife.
      Both of you are thought about daily and remembered in prayer. Sometimes it seems like we walk a dark path alone, but just know your friends on this blog are here to help light that path. We hope Mrs. Old Pro is getting better everyday. Becky⚾

      Liked by 3 people

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This entry was posted on August 12, 2016 by in Astros.
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