Today let’s play a little game of “What’s more likely” looking at your crystal balls for the Astros’ 2017 season. The merry blogster will provide a baker’s dozen of questions and you will provide the answers.
What’s more likely…..
- The Astros make the playoff or they don’t make the playoffs?
- Dallas Keuchel or Lance McCullers Jr leads the team in wins?
- Evan Gattis or George Springer leads the team in home runs?
- Mike Fiers or Chris Devenski is in the starting rotation to begin the season?
- Astros home attendance is over or under 2.5 million? (It was 2.3 million last year)
- A.J. Reed, Preston Tucker or Tyler White gets the most MLB at-bats?
- Ken Giles, Luke Gregerson or someone else (Aroldis Chapman??) leads the team in saves?
- A.J. Hinch gets fired or gets his contract extended?
- Jason Castro, Max Stassi, Tyler Heineman or someone else is the backup catcher?
- The Astros win more or less than 6 of 19 games against the Texas Rangers?
- Carlos Correa or Jose Altuve has more RBIs? (They both had 96 this season)
- Alex Bregman or Yulieski Gurriel has more hits?
- The Astros sign a big name free agent or trade for a big name player in the off-season?
OK – your turn – enjoy!
Whatever novel winter program Strom had Keuchel and McCullers on last offseason, I hope he has trashed that and gone back to something that has been proven to actually work. Please do not put Joe Musgrove or Chris Devenski on the Keuchel/McCullers Destruction program of 2015-2016, Mr. Strom.
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While this is good humor for a Tuesday morning, I have to point out that they purged quite a few instructors over the year. Is the turnover significantly higher or lower than that of other clubs. To be honest I don’t know and am only really interested in those guys given pink slips rather than the ones choosing to move up the ladder elsewhere.
I noted this same concern in an early post back when the just ended. It is like the Luhnow group stated, “If you do not do it our way, then there is the highway!” Since that massacre of the MILB Astros’ coaching staffs, at the end of the 2015 season, the minors were not as good as they had been in the recent past. Yes, some here will say it was because of the callus but, in my opinion, the new draft choices did not have the same level of instruction as the others in the past.
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Giving some thought to Mike Fiers. Last year he started 30 games for us, and pitched 168.2 innings. That’s an average of less than 6 innings per start.
Last year Mike’s ERA was 4.48 – well above his lifetime MLB ERA of 3.87.
Last year Mike’s WHIP was 1.36 – well above his lifetime MLB WHIP of 1.25.
Last year Mike’s K/9 was 7/15 – well below his lifetime K/9 of 8.52
Last year Mike’s K% was 18.5% – well below his lifetime K% of 22.5%.
Last year Mike’s HR/9 was 1.39 – well above his lifetime HR/9 of 1.21.
So what happened to Mike Fiers? Why did he [like Keuchel] regress so far off of his lifetime numbers? Did it have anything to do with Strom’s ill-fated ‘let’s pitch up in the zone this year and see what happens ‘ program – or is there another explanation?
I think you have a legitimate point.
I don’t think we can simplify all our pitching woes in the same box.
Keuchel as much as admitted he hid his pain until it got so bad he couldn’t pitch.
McHugh regressed, but we knew he would.
McCullers was probably not as prepared for his workload of 2015 as he should have been, but that’s on Luhnow.
Fiers problems are probably more on Fiers than on Strom.
Fister is probably just not as good a pitcher as we hoped.
Strom did a good job with Devenski and Musgrove, because they also did not get enough work in the minors because of the stupid tandem system.
Sipp’s problem are the same as every reliever’s problems that have marginal, fluffy stuff: good one year and not good the next. Same with Neshek. How far can you go with 1.5 pitches from a submarine-type pitcher? Only so far.
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Fister had arguably the best first half of any of the starters. But he did nothing later. Maybe a stamina issue.
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Dave I think AL hitters caught up with Fister. They learned to ignore his curve and sit on his fluffball….err, his fastball. Especially in the last part of the year when he lost command of his curve and had to rely more on his fastball.
Mr. BIll……I wonder how Brent Strom went from reinventing Collin Mchugh to being the sole person to blame for Keuchel and McCullers season ending injuries? I’m not saying he’s not getting a finger pointed at him, but I personally think Keuchel was sporting a tired arm from the beginning of spring training, and McCullers might have an underlying elbow prooblem, that might put him on the operating table soon.
Just my opinion for what it’s worth. Saw where the Astros have Neshack on the trading block. Look for the other team in north texas to scoop him up, since they seem eager to scoop up our cast offs!
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Just trying to bring forth some discussion, as the well had pretty much run dry over the last few days. I remember being a little concerned last off-season when it was announced that Strom had put Keuchel on a ‘reduced throwing’ regimen. And I remember worrying a little about the fact that he did not pitch at all until well into ST. In March it was announced that Strom was just ‘easing him into’ things because he had thrown a career high in innings in 2015. Dallas said: ‘I’m going to take it easy as much as possible but build slowly but surely to get myself ready for games here in mid March.’ He wound up only throwing a total of 17 innings in ST [which, by the way, were all scoreless]. Then I remember how when the season started his velocity was down – and his command off – and his pitches were consistently higher in the zone – from the get-go. Perhaps he was injured in the last game of the ALCS in 2015, when they brought him in in an unsuccessful relief role after starting two of the games in that series as well as the one game playoff vs. the Yankees.
McCullers started ST with the FO saying they were ‘easing him into things’ because of the high number of innings he pitched in 2015. Immediately after starting to throw, he developed a sore right shoulder. An MRI showed no significant injury, but he started the year on the DL. He finally made it back to the rotation in mid-May – a month after the season started. Then he went down with a ‘mild right elbow strain’ in early August, and never made it back on the field.
I don’t blame Strom for injuries; but I do hope and believe that he – and the FO – is smart enough to look at what DID NOT work in the offseason of 2015 and the ST of 2016, and take a more traditional approach with the pitching staff this off-season. When you add in the poor performance of the other starting pitchers who ‘wintered’ with us last year [Fiers, McHugh, and Feldman], as well as the velocity, command, control, and injury issues of Keuchel and McCullers, I think the approach taken last year at least warrants some serious evaluation and reconsideration.
Lots of teams will be interested in Neshek when the Astros pay him a half a million and thank him for his contributions.
He’s not tradeable, unless we add a minor leaguer to the mix in exchange for Carlos Ruiz. Then the Dodgers would have a minor leaguer, and would exercise the $500,000 option on Neshek, wish him luck, and we would have a backup catcher for $4.5 million for next season while we wait for Stubbs to arrive.
What do you think of floating Brady Rodgers on the trade market to try to ‘sell high’ after he was named PCL Pitcher of the Year? Does anybody see him as cracking the Astros rotation in 2017 – or ever?
Just a reminder – Brady is 26 years old and has a lifetime ERA in the minors of 4.06, and a lifetime WHIP of 1.27. He has historically had a low K/9 and a high BAA. Did he finally put it together last year after years of struggling? Or did he just have a once-in-a-career season from which he is likely to regress significantly in 2017?
Some interesting observations. I think the whole FO and management team needs to do the exact opposite of whatever brain Strom , I mean storm, they came up with for the off season and ST. They looked like a bad Little League team in April in all aspects of the game, hitting, pitching, coaching, fielding, running the bases, between the ears, they were down right horrid and they dug a deep hole.
I think Rodgers needs 1 real opportunity to pitch fro Astros and then we evaluate.
Can the PCL Pitcher of the year be that bad?
“Can the PCL Pitcher of the year be that bad?”
Matt Duffy was unable to duplicate his 2015 minor league success in the minors last year. And then there’s Danny Worth, who is probably a better comparison.
Well, if the rotation is healthy and effective, then he probably won’t get a shot. That’s a good thing.
I’m not sure. Last winter the market for relief pitchers was through the roof. The theme for this year’s postseason is dominant relief pitchers. If I know Luhnow, he’s thinking Devenski from the pen is more valuable than Devenski every fifth game.
Woo hoo…Cubs win!!! Game 7 tomorrow 🙂
Yes!! Woo Hoo for Altuve and his wife today!! They welcomed a beautiful little girl into their lives! Her name is Melanie…..and she is precious!!