A few Saturday observations from a team that shoulda, coulda, woulda


Just a few Saturday thoughts while touring Colorado and heading into Wyoming later today and Yellowstone tomorrow.

This looks like a college team.

  • When you look at Bregman, Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and even George Springer, Kemp and Preston Tucker, they look young, slim and very collegial. Not that they play that way necessarily, not saying that. But pants legs up, white shoes in some instances and baby faces, much of the lineup looks like a crew that should be playing in Omaha. Of course, these guys will bulk up as they age and that slender, young 20s physique will become more “veteran”, but for now, they’d compare favorably — at least in a photo — to the Rice or UH team photos.

Who’s in the core?

  • I often pose this question or scenario, but which players will be around in 2017? Given the state of affairs in the organization, is a real blockbuster in the cards this winter? Would a Dallas Keuchel or Jose Altuve hit the trade block to bring back a hard throwing, top-of-the-rotation pitcher, strong center fielder and/or solid, top line catcher? Probably not, but there are definite holes and the organization isn’t ripe with a large number of prospects to use as trade bait. At least not like years gone by. If the Astros improve through trade, someone is going who at least some fans will be unhappy about.

Which player — now gone — would have helped the Astros most this season?

  • Dexter Fowler might be a nice piece in CF this season. Of course, who wouldn’t want Vincent Velasquez in the rotation (though he gave up nine runs in his most recent start)? Mike Foltynewicz has been hit or miss and a few other guys have just plain bombed. Other than Velasquez, anyone that played in Houston the last two years that you believe could have put this team over the top?

And some real thought-provoking Saturday questions.

  • Where do you hit Yulieski Gurriel in the Astros’ lineup?
  • Where does he play? And, if that’s third base, what happens to Alex Bregman?
  • Which Astros’ player has earned the Most Disappointing Award for 2016?
  • We’ve discussed the tipping point for this season. Some have suggested that was the signing of Colby Rasmus. Others have pointed to the off-season trades. What say you? When did the season tip from promising to ah-oh?
  • And, the $64,000 question: Can Jeff Luhnow take the organization to the next level? Or is just the guy who positions the team for the next guy?

 

 

 

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153 comments on “A few Saturday observations from a team that shoulda, coulda, woulda

  1. Oh man – enjoy yourself Chip – sounds wonderful compared to our Houston flat terrain, 98 degrees with 90% humidity.

    – The slimmer younger folks take me back to Astros lineups in he 80’s with guys like Puhl, Cabell, Ashby, Doran, etc

    – The core question…. perhaps the Astros recent youth movement signals they won’t be looking outside that much trade-wise. Perhaps they might try to trade a few veterans from McHugh, Gregerson, Fiers, Neshek or Gattis

    – Robbie Grossman and his .385 OBP and .812 OPS might be nice

    – Gurriel in the 5th spot at DH mostly – now that Bregman has warmed up – ride him at 3rd

    – Most disappointing? Has to be Keuchel and his 4.56 ERA

    – Tipping point? The terrible April and most of May dug this team a tremendous hole to attempt to dig out.

    – I think Luhnow can still lead them to the promised land but he is on a lot shorter leash than before.

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    • I hope Gurriel is not mostly a DH. If that becomes the case, then I’d hope they’d trade White away. He’ll hit somewhere if given a real shot.

      I’ve said this earlier. If Reed does not work out, I could see Gurriel going to first.

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  2. -Teoscar definitely adds to the lean college look.
    -Springer, Correa, Altuve, Bregman, Musgrove and Giles are in the core.
    -I guess Fowler is the guy we could have used most this year. Gomez hurt us real bad.
    -I don’t know where you hit Gurriel. 6th or seventh to start out and play him at 3B. I’m concerned about the lack of LH hitters now and next year.
    -If you play Gurriel at 3B you play Bregman in LF.
    -Most disappointing to me has been Jake Marisnick. I wanted Gomez to work out, but his demise isn’t surprising because he has a big heart and a small brain. But Marisnick being so bad at the plate made the Gomez situation that much worse.
    -I think the key move that doomed this season was the Gomez-Fiers trade last year. Getting almost nothing out of that trade was so bad, but also hamstrung us losing Hader and then paying huge money for Sipp, with no help from lefties in Fresno. Having Teoscar, Springer and Phillips for next year would have been so awesome.
    -The tipping point of the season was losing three straight at home against the Rangers in late May.
    -Is Luhnow the guy to take the Astros to the next level? The answer to that question lies in the hearts of all the Astros’ young players. If they aren’t willing to give it all for him and the organization, then he’s not the right guy. If they have the dates of their free agency circled on their calenders, then I don’t think Luhnow can pull it off. You need 100% commitment from everybody. If Luhnow has that commitment from them, I think he can do it.

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  3. Two days ago, Andrew Albers gave everything he had to help the Twins get through their pitching woes, by throwing over 100 pitches in relief against the Astros.
    Friday, the Twins rewarded him with a DFA.

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  4. I would be very interested to know the velocity of the grounder Correa hit up the middle to drive in the first two Houston runs. Toronto had a guy playing up the middle and he still couldn’t get to the ball with a dive.
    Correa is a monster. He saved a run with a diving stop to his right and threw out the runner at first for the third out by four steps.

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  5. 1op, Albers was brought up to be the 26th man in the 2nd game of the DH. He’s 30 yrs old and probably out of options, so they’re just DFA’ing him to send him back down. He’s making good money because he’s a LH pitcher – hard to feel sorry for him.

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  6. 1 oldpro, you mentioned Gurriel taking third and moving Bregman to left field. It will be interesting to see how Hinch and Luhnow handles that. What is the level of Gurriels fielding ability at 3rd base? I know that Bregman will do well after a few games in left field, but with him just now getting his feet under him at this level, I sure hate to tamper with the projected Astro 3rd baseman for the next decade. Can Gurriel play left field?

    I’m really excited about Musgrove. He just might be our best pitcher. And also Teoscar.

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    • Larry, everything I am hearing and seeing from the Astros side indicates to me that it is their intention to play him at 3B and DH. He is an infielder and has played quite a bit of 3B in Cuba.
      Next year might be a different story. They may let him play a lot in the outfield, depending how this experiment with him at 3B and Bregman in LF works out. Let’s face it, if he can hit major league pitching, the best time to switch him to the OF would be in the spring, where he can get a ton of work. Gurriel has played OF.
      They paid Gurriel a lot of money because of his bat. Everything else is secondary because they are in the AL and also need a productive DH, which they have never had.

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  7. Early game for the Astros…
    Springer RF
    Bregman 3B
    Altuve DH
    Correa SS
    MarGo 2B
    Gattis C
    Reed 1B
    Teoscar!!!! CF
    Kemp LF

    McHugh on the mound

    Maybe Hernandez and Kemp give us a chance to flip the line up with folks on base.

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  8. Man – Bregman, Altuve and Correa -three straight opposite field line drive hits and a 2-0 lead midway thru the first. I’m liking that!!

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  9. That’s a good start today with 2 first inning runs.

    The boys and I head out on Wednesday for our annual summer baseball trip. We fly into Baltimore and will drive to Philadelphia for the Phillies/Dodgers game that night. We’ll drive back to Baltimore on Thursday and have tickets for the Astros/Orioles games on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. We’re leaving Saturday open and may go to that game also. I love these baseball trips with my boys and I’m sure they’ll look back later on these trips with fond memories.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. The only thing that McHugh is lacking is a real good out pitch. He tends to go 5-6 innings with a pretty high pitch count. Seems like everyone of his pitches are 6-7 to each batter……and some go 9-10. I thought the guys were go on a get to Sanchez, but that kid wasn’t an all star for nothing! He’s pretty good! Hinch had Gregersen available, but I don’t blame him for being hesitant to put him in such a high leverage game. Feliz warmed up 2-3 times last night, Neshek wasn’t available, neither ws Devenski. So Hoyt threw one bad pitch to Russell Martin, and that’s all they needed.
    We played them tough last week in Houston, tight games. I still love what I’m seeing with these guys!

    Liked by 2 people

      • I think you’re right, and he is a very good #4/5 with the ability to eat 200+ innings a season. A rotation of LMJ, Musgrove, Keuchel, McHugh and Devenski/ Feliz/ Rodgers. Wouldn’t be all that bad.

        However, I think McHugh may be an offseason trade candidate (no, I am not advocating he be traded). As an innings eater with solid numbers and team control through 2020 he has pretty high (no, VERY high) value. I could see him being dealt if they believe LMJ will be healthy AND any 2 of the following step up strong: Devenski, Feliz, Yuhl, Rodgers, Ferrell, Hauschild, Martes.

        Within 18 months to 2 years we will have to find places for some of these guys or trade some of them, as they will all be ready at about the same time.

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  11. I am looking forward to the Gurriell call up next week. I just don’t want to see him take Bregman’s spot at 3B. Bregman has been very impressive with his range, glove and arm. I really think he can be one of the top 3B in the game and I would love to see a Bregman/ Correa/ Altuve/ Reed infield play together for the next few years. At Gurriell’s age I would expect his reaction time to increase and range to decrease over the life of his contract.

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  12. What about Fister? I see him getting a contract similar to JA Happ’s (3/$36). Should we be players? I can see both sides of the coin. If we keep McHugh I would say no. If we dealt McHugh (or intend to) I would seriously consider it just to have more veteran presence/ leadership. We could always trade him for prospects mid- 2017.

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    • What’s the saying “you can never have too much pitching”?!! Man….do we have a good problem or what! There’s so much to like with McCullers, Musgrove, Rogers, and Hauschild…..then throw in a Feliz or Devenski (who really wants to start) I don’t think there’s room for Fister, OR McHugh. Back to reality….depends on how much Fister is looking or. A 3yr $36 million is probably doable….but how much are you gonna offer Keuchel??? The one thing I do know, is I absolutely HATE low balling guys! Just wait and see what they offer Springer, or Altuve (2018) that sends a real message…..”we don’t think you’re all that good”. It’s past time for this multi million dollar owner to open up his wallet and think about the investment you have, and start paying these guys.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are right, if our young pitchers continue to progress there will not be room for a lot of guys and we could even see a logjam with the AA and below guys get near the show. I love problems like that!

        If Altuve would do a 10/$200 contract in the offseason (buying out the last 3 years of his current deal @ $3.5 per) he would be the biggest bargain in baseball until age 36. I doubt Boras would buy in, as I heard him say in an interview on Fox Sports that Altuve would command $35M per season on the current free agent market (I’m not sure that is realistic but its well north of $20 per and shows their expectations). Cano got 10/$240 and his numbers are not as good, he was older and his defense is nowhere near as good. Springer will probably be a $150M guy if he stays healthy, but he is not a FA until 2021 so there is plenty of time. Keuchel is an enigma. 2015 Keuchel gets a BIG long term deal, 2016 Keuchel not so much. Let’s see what he does in 2017 and what our young guns do and go from there. He’s not a FA until 2019 so we have time to wait and watch.

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  13. Sanchez adjusted immediately to the Astros game plan yesterday. After the three straight hits to right on fastballs, he immediately went to the curve and shut the Astros down the rest of the way. The Astros just sort of stared at that curve and waited for the fastballs that never came again until their eyes started looking for the curve. Sanchez is tough and the Astros hitters don’t handle tough pitchers well because of their swing tendencies and their youth. Hopefully, they get better as a group.

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  14. Luhnow said that Paulino has rehabbed and is going back to CC. He wants Paulino to show him a couple of good starts and then said that if Paulino does that, the Astros will move him to AAA to finish out the year.

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    • Oh and after I wrote that he gives up a two out RISP two run homer to Tulo. Then he decided to give up a solo job to Martin on top of that. I’m betting we don’t come back today.

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  15. Mr. Bill…..you are missed! Please don’t leave us here at Chip’s, blog. You’ve been with us for a long time…..and I need my daily dose of humor from you! Becky⚾

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Marwin is day to day…..they already have a short bench with Jake hurting. Time to get on the phone Luhnow. Fires is sort of an enigma….he’s either really ON or he’s really off. He pitched pretty well until that homerun to Tulo, but then again….that guy huts homeruns like no tomorrow. The homerun by Martin, was just dumb…you gotta base open, you should have walked him. Oh well….they will come home with a winning road series thanks to the Twins!

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    • Fiers is pitching like what he is, a #5 starter. 8-6 record with mid- 4 ERA, just under 6 innings per start. Those numbers are around average for a BOTR guy. He gave up 5 today and got no help from the offense or the bullpen. Some days sunshine, some days rain. 22 HR in 22 starts – I would say he may be susceptible to the long ball!

      We just finished a run of 18 straight games and were over .500 on the road trip that just ended. Let’s hope that a day’s rest and a few days of hame cooking put us in a good position. The team needs the time off. They are tired and pretty banged up right now.

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  17. How cool is this!! The team in north texas….got shut out AGAIN 7-0 today!
    Thank you Ausmus and J.D. Martinez for shutting down that ugly bunch for us today! AND….it was by a rookie pitcher! Mike Fulmer reminds me of Musgrove, the way he pitches.

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  18. Grienke was absolutely rocked today, giving up 10 in 1- 2/3. He and Price are showing why high dollar free agent pitchers aren’t always the answer. On the flip side, Cueto is showing how the risk can pay off.

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    • “The St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports department has a long history of going out of their way to critique/criticize Luhnow. Maybe the issue isn’t really with Luhnow, it’s with Gordon.”

      This is the final paragraph in the article and the sole reason I gave it little merit. If this was from another city that didn’t have a Luhnow vendetta I would at least try to see if the story was credible. However, considering the prior history with the SPD and Luhnow I found no credibility to it, but I wanted to give our anti-Luhnow faction some fun reading. 🙂

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      • And fun reading it was!

        I’m indifferent on Lunhow. He has proven he can spot and secure young talent. At this one thing he may be the best in the league. In all other facets he has something to prove.

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      • It is primarily this Jeff Gordon guy, no relation to the retired NASCAR driver. Back in 2012 Derrick Goold of the SPD wrote “from 2005 until 2011, the years Jeff Luhnow oversaw the draft, the Cardinals have had more drafted players reach the majors than any other team in the majors”. For some reason, Mr. Gordon has written several articles basically implying Luhnow is copying the Cardinals means of trying to reach success, of course, failing to point out Luhnow was a big part of the reason the Cardinals were successful.

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      • Sandy, when Luhnow took the Houston job he tried to bring along some folks from the STL organization. I recall this being a sore spot. As for the local media, I imagine Luhnow charmed them the same way he did the Chronicle guys (like Drellich). Why the STL fans would have an issue with Luhnow is something I couldn’t say. I don’t begrudge David Stearns for taking the Milwaukee job or trying to acquire players with whom he is familiar.

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    • I watched the Hooks game last night and Gurriell did not look good at the plate. I would still like to see him up here facing MLB pitching. He is 32 years old and has all of the offseason to work on his stroke if he fails.

      Has anyone heard anything on Lourdes? He can sign now without hitting the international signing limits. I would have suspected the Astros to be making news with him by now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Whoops!! Can’t sign without hitting pool until Oct 19. I expect him to be in the Astros organization by Halloween.

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  19. It appears Luhnow was some what surprised that Gurriel was so rusty as far as getting the bat on the ball. Actually….I think this whole signing was all about the little brother anyway. I expect to see him come up to join the Astros the end of this month. I was sceptical about him coming up this soon anyway. We need his bat, and until he starts hitting the ball, we have no need for him. What’s that old saying “don’t let your eyes overload your stomach”. We will see the guy sooner rather than later.
    What do you guys and girls think about putting Hoyt back in today to pitch??
    Some moves don’t make much sense to me.

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  20. I loved seeing Hoyt thrown right back into the mix after giving up the HR last night. This is the big leagues and you are 29 years old. Show me what you’re made of. He responded well.

    Feliz on the other hand………..

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  21. Seeing all the posts that are high on our pitching, that we will have a surfeit of top pitching, I’m at a loss. Obviously you guys know something I don’t. Dan P, would you care to share some details? Cause I just don’t see it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diane, I have to admit, I don’t see it either.
      I really don’t see anything about this team that screams ” elite team ”
      Not a player in the lineup can hit a breaking ball. They’re all waiting for the fast ball. Opposing teams know this. So we lead the whole world in strike outs.

      I’ve decided to just keep my mouth shut, hope for the best, and see what happens 🙂

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    • Are you talking about the major league team or the farm system? They have a surplus of high level pitching prospects, but the major league team, now that LMJ is injured, is definitely not rich with pitching.

      In the minor leagues we have guys like Rodgers, Martes, Abreu, Perez, Yuhl, Paulino, Guduan, Armenteros, Dykxhoorn, Dorris, Deetz,Grills, Deemes, Elieser and Jose Hernandez, Winkelman, Whitley, etal and this doesn’t include the international players that have been signed recently. Obviously, they all won’t pan out, but they are all considered high end pitching prospects (high end meaning they have the stuff to dominant).

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      • Okay, I’m not able to keep up with the farmers, which is why I’m asking. If there’s so much down there, I would think we need to bring it up. The big boys ain’t doing it, that’s all I’m saying. There’s probably an obvious explanation.

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      • Most of the pitchers I mentioned are in the lower levels of the minor leagues (A, A+). Rodgers, Martes, Yuhl and Paulino are probably the closest to the major leagues.

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    • I think we have the horses in our stable already to provide better pitching next year than we have gotten this year. I would like us to try and get another top pitcher in our barn this offseason, but if there isn’t one available, we may need to pay big money for one of the big names that will be available after 2017 is complete.

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  22. Ok I’m having a Brain lock up. We signed Gurriel at 32 for 45 million cause we want his younger brother and he is not ready at AA?

    Say What?

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    • Kevin,

      He hasn’t played competitive baseball since February. Essentially, he is in spring training while the competition is in the final stretch of the season. His timing is not there yet, but it wasn’t like we just signed him for 2016. The Astros have him under contract for 4 more seasons. It wasn’t just about competing this year.

      Also, we signed Yuli because we wanted Yuli,the best hitter in Cuban baseball, but we also want Lourdes, which is a side bonus of signing Yuli.

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      • Baby boy Brody Robert Giles was born Aug 12th.!! Gustave got a taste of MLB and I think when it’s his time to come up for good, we can expect to see a very polished reliever! I was impressed with his arm, how about you?!! Altuve is 3 hits away from 1000!! We can probably see this happen over the next two games at home when the guys take on the Cards! This guy is setting records all over the place, and aren’t we lucky he’s on OUR team! I watched the last 4 innings of the Tigers game yestrday, and I gotta tell you Mike Fulmer was AMAZING! He pitched a complete game shut out and next year the Astros are gonna have their hands full with this guy!

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      • Kevin….Yuli’S brother Lourdes wants to play on a team with his brother, that’s why Luhnow gave him a 4yr deal. I’m sure the Dodgers, or Yankees will offer crazy money, and I’m not sure Crane will want to go to a bidding war for the guy, but we’ll see. I’m not ready to say this guy will be the “Savior” this club thinks he’s gonna be.
        He’s 32yrs old…..I wanna see him hit some big homeruns….SOON.

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    • No, we didn’t sign Gurriel for his brother. We signed him because he is projected to be a .280 hitter with the ability to hit 15-20 home runs and can play any infield position and can play in the outfield. He’s making 45 million dollars because Luhnow thinks he’s worth it. I never thought that Gurriel was going to come in this year after not playing for six months and never having seen major league pitching and tear up the league. I want him to see that pitching this fall and be able to hit it next spring.
      If we sign Lourdes it will be because he gets money and gets to play with his brother. That’s the deal.

      Liked by 1 person

      • To piggyback, Luhnow is smart enough to know an under the table deal for both guys would end up being discovered and costly. See how that worked for the Red Sox.

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  23. Did someone suggest that Springer would/should be signed for $150 MM ??
    For a .260 hitting OFer ?? Really ? Wow.
    The strength of this team is in the infield now. As good as any in the league with the arrival of Bregman and Reed. If Reeds bat comes around like I believe it will..I’d put that group against anybody. Can’t recall (since the 45’s) a stronger IF at all spots.
    I think Crane will spring for a TOR guy. He is going to have to do so if this team has any hopes of postseason play in the next couple of years. The concern is LMJ. His durability is at question. With Musgrove, Kuechele, Fister and another TOR guy (which I would have liked LMJ) one of the many named but unproven guys could develop. Then w’ed have a pretty good group.
    OF ?? Alas…I have no answers.
    Gurriel ?? I have no clue what the FO was thinking on that. The guy is 32. Nuff said !
    If we get the pitcher…this team rules next year !
    Oh….and a DH that can hit would help the cause.

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    • Your post was looking great until the very end. I don’t know what we’re going to get from Yuli, but considering his success in Cuban baseball and many think he’s better than Cespedes I am very comfortable with an average salary around $10M/year. Cespedes got $27.5M this year and will probably get a long-term deal this offseason with an AAV of $25M+. I think I’ll rather take my chances with Yuli.

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    • Springer’s WAR from last year and this year suggests he is already playing baseball like a $20 million player. We get him for cheap for a few years and then will have to pay him accordingly or someone else will. If he were playing CF he would be worth more.

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    • TNT, I think you made mention of Springer last week after someone else claimed he might be getting 150 million at some point soon.

      He’s got the 15th best WAR in the game right now, offense and defense combined. Even pitchers are considered. So I can see where Springer might make that kind of money. It’s not all about batting average. As an example, of all right fielders, he’s second in range factor, second in assists and has made just two errors on the season. I know the eye test gets no respect, but I think he’s a hell of an outfielder, one of the best.

      Someone will pay him and that’s why I don’t think we’ll be seeing him in Houston for all too long.

      I agree that the strength of this club could very well be in the infield, but we’re still hoping half the bats in that infield start hitting everyday like major leaguers. It’s still a bit premature.

      But I do appreciate your optimism, because if a batch of these guys don’t settle in and play like we’re all hoping, we’ve still got quite a few holes to deal with this winter and next spring.

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    • Let me add, TNT, that his offensive numbers alone probably don’t warrant that type contract, but he is one of the best defensive OFers in the game and this gets overlooked, I think, because he still has a high K rate, but it’s getting better. He put a 3.7 WAR last year and, so far, has a 3.6 WAR this year. He is a $20M+/year player.

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  24. Chip all of are worried about you and your family. We hope you’re ok, and not flooded. If you can let us know if you’re ok! Thanks, Becky⚾

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  25. Mrs. 1OP had her two week checkup and the doctors are pleased as punch. They want me to back off on her pain meds to an “as needed” basis and that will bring more clarity to her thinking. I’m happy about what they saw. The x-rays they took today are incredible. I’ve built tree blinds with less hardware than that

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Here’s my two cents on previous posts.

    1) The Astros current MLB pitching is slightly above league average with LMJ and about league average without him. LMJ was pitching like a 2, Musgrove is pitching like a 2 (small sample size), Fister is pitching like a 3, Keuchel and McHugh are pitching like a 4/5 and Fiers is pitching like a 5. We have no legitimate ace this year.

    2) DIiane, The Astros are literally stocked with pitching prospects. In no particular order, the following arms project to be mid-to-top of rotation guys, and should be contributors in 2017 to early 2018:

    Ferrell
    Martes
    Paulino
    Rodgers
    Hauschild
    Yuhl
    Musgrove
    Peres

    I believe that Martes has legitimate #1 stuff. If you like Musgrove you are gonna love Martes. He has a much better fastball with devastating 97 MPH 2-8 movement, a power curve that hits 88. A wicked change up in the mid 80’s. And he is developing a 12-6 curve that drops down to 70 MPH. He just needs to continue to improve command. Ferrell, Martes and Paulino can all flirt with triple digits. Peres is moving up quickly and could also turn out to be really good. Hauschild is a very mature pitcher with several plus pitches and great command. Yuhl may surprise a lot of people if he keeps maturing. I think that most of these guys will see time in MLB, as either starters or relievers. It would be insane to think that all, or even most of them will be elite.

    Combine these guys with LMJ, Devenski and Feliz and you should see several good starter options in the near future.

    3) Relief arms in the minors are just as loaded. Gustave has hit triple digits this year and Guduan is a lefty that has hit 103. Bostick sits comfortably at 96 and . True power arms.

    4) Springer will definitely get a big contract when he becomes a FA. He is under team control through 2021 so no need to worry for a while. I don’t think a $150 – $175M contract would be out of the question if he were a free agent today. Cespedes got 3/$75 at age 30. He has a little higher average and about equal power. He is nowhere near the fielder that Springer is. Who knows what he will get in 2021. Lot of baseball to be played between now and then.

    5) OP stated that the Astros can’t hit breaking balls. It reminds me of one of my favorite Reggie Jackson quotes; “There are a lot of good curveball hitters but the are none that hit a good curveball.” I just don’t think the Astros overall approach to hitting lends itself to staying back on breaking stuff. I think it’s less the hitters and more the plate approach.

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      • If just 1/3 of them make it on the big league club we will be looking pretty. I know we still need an ace for 2017, but I would be gun shy on the big names. Just look at the contracts Price and Grienke got and look at their production. I think Keuchel or LMJ (provided we don’t get a surprise TJ report) have about the same odds of being an ace in ’17 as we have getting one in FA or trade.

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      • I don’t like signing #1’s in free agency as they rarely pan out in the long term. The Red Sox and DBacks probably already have buyers remorse on Price and Greinke, though they won’t admit it. I think that’s why the Astros have more depth in pitching on the farm than they do hitting. It is much safer, and usually more reasonable, to sign a hitter via free agency than it is a TORP. I would prefer to develop our own pitching and not pursue any top level free agents, but especially pitching. You can add decent hitters, bullpen arms or MORPS/BORPS via free agency and probably won’t get burned, but looking at the contracts to Pujols, Price, Josh Hamilton, Robinson Cano and Greinke give me pause on pursuing those type players via free agency.

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      • you are preaching to the choir here tim. ive railed more than anybody against these gargantuan LONG-term contracts. especially given the age of the player when some of these were signed. performance can be enticing in the beginning, but as time goes on you could have an albatross. and heaven forbid, one of these great big contract guys gets injured seriously, your budget is under stress big time afterwards.

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  27. anybody seen anything about progress in a trade for gomez? i’d like to see us get something, even a flyer, for him. no matter what though, this is addition by subtraction for sure.

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  28. Gurriel sent to Fresno, I would expect him to have more time there than Corpus.
    Tim,vewill1…..the one guy missing in our rotation is anot her good lefty. If you find one call Luhnow and tell him to go sign the guy! I don’t see one in our high minor leagues…..which is why I was not happy to lose Hader in the Gomez trade. He’s gonna be really good, very soon……like Chris Sale good, dang it.

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    • Becky you are right. We don’t have a legitimate lefty on the radar and we only drafted 4 LHPs in 40 rounds of 2016 draft. We really only have 1 legitimate LHP prospect at reliever. Keuchel has to step it up and be the staff lefty, at least through his controllable years (2019 FA). Our we could try and package some prospects for Quintana, but the price will be high for a cheap, controllable through 2019 pitcher the caliber of Quintana, if they would trade him at all.

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  29. I certainly disagree that a club can simply go out and add hitters. If that were the case I think the Stros would have already done that. The team simply could not get there from here with the hitters we have had. I think that is significantly improving now with the new additions.
    It certainly seems that JL has a better eye for pitching than he does for hitting.
    A good SP is what the team needs.

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    • TNT….there a lot more hitters, than good starting pitchers…but at the break the teams willing to deal hitters OR pitchers wanted WAAAY too much back. Luhnow was smart not to pull the trigger in July. The first two names the other teams wanted were Bregman and Musgrove…..no thanks. Luhnow can wait over the winter when the other 29 teams can be more reasonable, with who they want to trade.
      Rich Hill who the Dodgers traded the A’s for, STILL hasn’t thrown a pitch in a month!
      Sonny Grey, is out for the rest of the year with a forearm strain…….. second time this year.
      Luhnow actually talked to the A’S about BOTH of these guys! So….I’m ok to wait until the prices come down a little for anymore trade talks, PLUS we’re still waiting for Gurriel to show up AND his bat!!

      Liked by 1 person

  30. I think that the Astros will have a better starting rotation with the pitchers they have right now, than they started 2016 with.
    McCullers, Musgrove Keuchel, Rodgers and McHugh
    Backed up by Feliz, Devenski and Fiers on the staff
    Backed up by Yuhl, Martes, Paulino, Hauschild, Sneed and Frias in AAA
    Backed up by Emanuel, Kyle Smith, Evan Grills, Abreu, Perez, Armenteros and Bostick in AA.
    I still think they might spend some big bucks on a starting pitcher at the end of 2017.

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  31. I’m glad you all have confidence that LMJ will be available next season. I wish I did.
    Therein lies the shortage. My perception is that the hitting will improve, so I am willing to go with it. But unless Devinski becomes the man, I just don’t see that 5th good starter in the current group. Feliz is where he should be, a long relief guy. He throws hard but his pitch flattens a lot of the time. Pro hitters feast on that. Fiers is inconsistent and I’m not sure he is the answer. The others are all “wait and see”.
    So…we COULD be left with Musgrove, Keuchel, Fister and McHugh (who, btw, I like a lot but he too has demonstrated some inconsistency this season).
    As was pointed out in a previous post, none of those guys are probably Numero Uno’s. So….would not the addition of another proven innings eater with a sub 4 ERA be the order of the day ?
    I completely understand that the reservoir of affordable available guys like that, across the league may be slim, but that would be on my wish list.
    All that said, if McCullers is healthy next season ??? Then all this drivel I have spewed is por nada.

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    • I didn’t list Fister on next season’s rotation because he is a free agent after the season, whereas LMJ isn’t. I’m worried about LMJ also, because of the silence, but I still include him until he is excluded by the team.
      I don’t count Feliz out because he is 23 years old, throws his FB at an average of 96, has a good slider, has Strom as his pitching coach and has no major league or AAA innings to speak of. Eventually, somebody has to wake up and see that he needs grip coaching and work as a starter to refine some pitches and give him a chance to improve his stuff.
      Now, If Feliz is resistant to change, that dims the hopes for him, because he needs more movement on his pitches, and he needs more pitches. He won’t be able to perfect anything throwing 3 innings a week in relief against major league hitters.
      I look at a guy like Brady Rodgers, who is older and has more experience, but realized that he had to add something to his rep-par-twar(Oklahoma dialect) and got Jankowski to help him with a slider. Why in the heck isn’t somebody helping Feliz advance himself more than they are now?

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    • The thing about Feliz is that in his milb career he would alternate between unhittable gas one start and cream puff offerings the next. I think we are seeing that on nights his good zip isn’t there he tries to reach back for something extra and it just fizzles out. Basically, he is still learning (and I wish a guy like Feldman were still here to help tutor him).

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      • Maybe it takes longer than half a season to figure out how to get big leaguers out consistently.

        But your point is taken – I think a lot of guys don’t listen/process well.

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  32. Hooks player Danry Vasquez was arrested (not sure when) for domestic violence.
    Not what I wanted to hear….
    Mike Hauschild put on DL and Gurriel was added to the roster. He will DH tinight.
    Marisnick is back in center tonight..*yay*!!!

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  33. Folks……we need to take a few minutes to say a prayer for Chip and everyone living in Baton Rouge. I have relatives living in Baton Rouge….and they are flooded out of their home. The worst is not yet done, the rivers and creeks have yet to crest. I feel helpless to do anything, but trust me these people need EVERYTHING. Thanks B⚾

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Already been doing so. And yes, was under impression Chip was on vacation but he may have had to interrupt. Still wondering about Dan.

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