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Is there one reason for the Astros’ 2016 pitching fall-off?


Our blogging friend Mr. Bill was pondering the reasons behind the fall-off of the Astros’ pitching in 2016. Let’s recount the failures and discuss:

  • Dallas Keuchel, the reigning Cy Young Award winner coming off a 20 win season and a 2.48 ERA in 2015 (Career 3.58 ERA prior to 2016) had a 9 win season and a 4.55 ERA
  • Collin McHugh coming off a 19 win season with a 3.84 ERA in 2015 (Career  4.03 ERA prior to 2016) dipped to a 13 win season and a 4.34 ERA.
  • Doug Fister who had an injury shortened 2015 with 5 wins and a 4.19 ERA (A sparkling career ERA of 3.41 prior to 2016) had 12 wins, but ended up with a 4.64 ERA.
  • Mike Fiers had 7 wins and a 3.69 ERA between Milwaukee and Houston in 2015 (Career 3.61 ERA) won 11 games but ended with a 4.48 ERA.
  • Lance McCullers eerily had exactly 6 wins and exactly a 3.22 ERA in 2015 and 2016. But of course only pitched 81 innings as his bum shoulder went out multiple times.
  • Ken Giles who had 6 wins and 15 saves and a 1.80 ERA in 2015 (with a 1.56 ERA in 2014 and 2015) had 2 wins, 15 saves and a 4.11 ERA in 2016.
  • Tony Sipp coming off of a 1.99 ERA (3.49 career ERA) ballooned up to a 4.95 ERA and gave up home runs 3 times more often than in 2015.

Now was this bad luck? Bad coaching by Brent Strom? Too many innings pitched in 2015? Too few innings pitched in 2016 spring training? Pitchers hiding injuries? Smaller strike zones? Pitching up in  the zone? Too many pitchers (not named McCullers or Giles) throwing 89 mph fastballs?

To be fair, Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek and Will Harris were mostly their normal effective selves. Chris Devenski was a revelation. Scott Feldman prior to his trade did a great job shifting from the rotation to long relief. Michael Feliz and Joseph Musgrove both had ups and downs, but enough ups to record 12 wins between them in only 125 innings combined.

The most likely story is that there was a combination of things going on here. McCullers increased his innings by a large amount in 2015 (which at his young age made him a prime candidate for an injury according to the Verducci effect).

Keuchel had an increase in innings and had some really big pitch counts late in the season leading to the crushing he took in his relief effort against the Royals. And of course he admitted he hid an injury for most of the season.

McHugh was lucky to win 19 in 2015 and was a bit less lucky in 2016. Fister was coming off an injury filled season where he did not throw that many innings and seemed to run out of gas in August in 2016.

Fiers looked like someone who would be less effective with more exposure to the AL. Sipp had a down year like he has done previously. Giles seemed to struggle with not being the closer and did better (with some meltdowns) after becoming the closer.

The philosophy of pitching fastballs up if true from Strom, seemed to be not near as effective at 89 mph as it was at 92 or 93 mph.

So what do you think?

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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.

109 comments on “Is there one reason for the Astros’ 2016 pitching fall-off?

  1. sargeh
    November 2, 2016

    Dan, I thank you for some fresh food here!

    I believe the pitching staff was improperly used last season. But then, we are not professional baseball managers, are we? So, that being said, in my humble opinion, Hinch was very late to pull the trigger on some of the starters are they were walloped early in some of their starts. Allowing 5 – 9 runs in one to two innings?? Come on! Then, on the other hand, he used to relievers too often in situations where he allowed one pitcher to pitch to one hitter then brought in another to pitch to one or two hitters. Then the next inning brought in yet another reliever. If a reliever is nails in his outing, let him pitch a couple of innings and save the bullpen!

    Your comment stating, “The philosophy of pitching fastballs up if true from Strom, seemed to be not near as effective at 89 mph as it was at 92 or 93 mph.” Recall that “100 miles” Giles got lit up many times with his 95+ fastball. I feel it was more the pitchers inability to pitch properly than Stroms’ teaching.

    Like

  2. 1oldpro
    November 2, 2016

    When two of your top 5 pitchers are hurt, you’re going to suffer.
    When those two injuries leave you with one MOR starter and four BOR(2 rookies) starters, you’re gonna suffer.
    When you pay $6million to a 90mph lefty reliever and he can’t get anybody out you will suffer.
    When you pay $6.5 million to a 36 year old RH reliever with a 90mph sidearm fastball and a curve that he only will throw outside to batters, you will get punished.
    When you have 8 guys in your bullpen and one of them is 22 years old and has never pitched in AAA, and you show him that you don’t trust him in clutch situations(or if he shows you he can’t be trusted in close situations), you will suffer.
    When your 100mph closer is only throwing a perfectly straight 98 mph fastball and can’t consistently put his slider where he wants it, you will suffer.
    When you work four of your eight relievers twice as hard as the other four you will suffer.
    When you see playoff teams run pitcher after pitcher out there throwing 95+ and your team has the slowest average fastball in all the majors, you will suffer.
    When you train all your pitchers to throw five innings in the minors, you will pay for it when they get to the majors.
    In this day and age it’s not where you locate your fastball, it’s how good your fastball is, because, when batters are willing to strike out, they are going to sit on a 90mph fastball for two or three at bats until they get one and then they are going to crush it.
    If all your pitchers sit in the dugout or in the bullpen and watch your team leave tons of runners on base and fail to produce runs game after game, you will suffer.
    A pitching staff’s best friend is runs, and we didn’t score enough of them to be a contender.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Steven
    November 2, 2016

    Hitters win games, pitching wins championships. Teams have made the playoffs with holes all over their offense. No team makes the playoffs without a high number of quality starts and a good bullpen. That’s where the planning has to start. Yes, I want CF and LF fixed, a catcher that does better than swing a wiffleball bat, and the team not to cross 1000 K’s, but that doesn’t stop us from making the playoffs. What does, a pitcher walking out there, throwing 4 innings and giving up 7 runs, costing us not only that game but taxing the bullpen and putting stress on the next 2-3 games.

    The lack of depth was exposed. Injuries happen in every staff, they should be part of the plan. If you are giving critical, playoff determining starts to Brad Peacock in late August your plan, or lack thereof, is exposed.

    I’ve always been a big down in the zone guy, I always felt pitchers got killed on mistakes lower in the zone less, but no doubt Strom knows 10 times more about pitching then I ever will. I’m sure that a bazillion data points from the nerds in the back also back up their philosophy. I’ll let them do their thing I just hope Luhnow addresses the depth.

    Like

  4. Larry Leach
    November 2, 2016

    Dan,
    What was the nature of Keuchel’s injury that he was hiding? Did he have it the whole season?

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      November 2, 2016

      The official description of his condition in the news releases is the vague and unhelpful saw: ‘left shoulder inflammation’. In late August he was given an evaluation and a cortisone shot. It apparently did not help. He started skipping starts – and never came back. In late September, after being out for several weeks, Dallas apparently said there is/was ‘nothing structurally wrong’ with his shoulder.

      Look, Dallas’ strength is not in finesse or raw pitching talent. He is, by natural gifting, a pretty average pitcher. He excels when – and only when – he works his rear end off, stretching himself in relation to velocity, honing his location through repetition, and fine-tuning his command through hard work. A pretty big payday in lieu of arbitration and a lot of time off over the winter, without intense preparation for the rigors of the 2016 season, appear to have been a formula for disaster for this guy. I think, however, that he is enough of a competitor and a bulldog that he does not under any circumstances want to ever again look as bad as he did in 2016. He knows his woes – as our ‘ace’ and reigning Cy Young winner – absolutely set the tone for the Astros’ season.

      Like

      • Larry Leach
        November 2, 2016

        Thanks Mr. Bill. I had felt that Dallas may have ignored the old Bill Parcells refrain, “Don’t eat the cheese). So many before him have fallen victim to reading how great they are. Maybe he can make a comeback and we’ll have a #1 starter again.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        November 2, 2016

        Agreed, Larry. But I think we have found a #1 starter, and his name is Lance McCullers, Jr. Though I am sure the FO will give DK every chance to come back, and throw around the usual PR statements about our 2015 Cy Young winner ‘being our #1 until further notice’, the guy who actually gets sent out to face every other team’s ace on game day needs to be LMJ.

        Like

  5. Mr. Bill
    November 2, 2016

    The only pitcher on the entire staff who was consistently good in 2016 was the rookie, Chris Devenski.

    That should raise some eyebrows – and spark some serious re-evaluations of everything we do as an organization relative to training pitchers.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Zanuda
    November 2, 2016

    As the comment goes in the movie Riddick, “There are inmates and there are convicts.” In baseball it goes like this, “There are throwers and there are pitchers”.

    A thrower just rares back and throws the ball relying on his speed and location. A pitcher changes speeds, locations, pitch selections to keep the batter forever guessing as to what is coming and where it will be. This is why “pitchers can throw one right down the middle and the batter takes it for a call third strike because he was not looking for that pitch. We need more pitchers.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 2, 2016

      And then there are the pitchers who can do both. they are called “elite”

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        November 2, 2016

        They’re also called “insanely expensive”!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mr. Bill
        November 2, 2016

        And then there are those like me, who could not do either well enough to make the show. They/we are called ‘bloggers’.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        November 2, 2016

        Great point, Mr. Bill. I think it’s safe to say none of us could do either of them well or we wouldn’t be here pontificating on what the Astros need to do to get better.

        Like

      • Billy Castillo
        November 2, 2016

        LOL.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        November 2, 2016

        Well, I tried to pontificate once, but then they found out I wasn’t Catholic, that I didn’t like the Cardinals, and that the only archbishop I believed in was a guy named Jim DeShaies.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Dan P
        November 2, 2016

        I never realized that the reason I tend to pontificate so much is that I am Catholic.

        Like

  7. Kevin
    November 2, 2016

    That is some serious pontification right there MR Bill.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      November 2, 2016

      You can go blind from that, or so I heard…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        November 3, 2016

        That explains my vision problem.

        Like

  8. Mr. Bill
    November 2, 2016

    So the 2016 season comes down to one game. Who will win the game, and who will win the following match-ups?
    1. Kluber v. Hendricks
    2. Perez v. Contreras
    3. Napoli v. Rizzo
    4. Kipnis v. Baez
    5. Ramirez v. Bryant
    6. Lindor v. Russell
    7. Crisp v. Zobrist
    8. Fowler v. Davis
    9. Chisenhall v. Hayward
    10. Santana v. Schwarber
    11. O. Miller v. A. Chapman
    12. M. Montgomery v. Bryan Shaw
    13. Travis Wood v. Cody Allen
    14. Tony Francona v. Joe Madden

    Will Lester pitch? Will Lindor get a steal? Who will hit HRs? Who is most likely to make a game-critical error? Who is most likely to wear a golden sombrero home?

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      November 2, 2016

      #14 is a trick question, of course. But what if I said Terry Francona instead?

      Like

      • Dan P
        November 2, 2016

        And 11. is Oliver Miller instead of Andrew Miller?

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        November 2, 2016

        Good catch, Dan! Do you remember Oliver Miller?

        Like

      • Dan P
        November 2, 2016

        Mr. Bill – I lived in exile in Arkansas for 7 years during the 80’s while the oil and gas industry was going through one of its “adjustments” here in Houston, so yes I remember that very large Razorback from the late 80’s. I never could understand how anyone who was a full time basketball player could be so overweight. I mean you run all the time and he was about in shape looking then as I am now. Oh well

        Like

    • Dan P
      November 2, 2016

      Everyone who watched it has to wonder if Joe Madden lost the series by bringing in Chapman in the 7th with a 5 run lead two days after he threw almost 50 pitches in a game 5 save. Did he see how the Astros let a 4 run lead float away from them against the Royals last season in the late innings?
      I don’t really have a dog in this hunt – I feel bad for both long suffering fan bases. I kind of wanted the Indians to win last night for Eddie Robinson the 95 year old first baseman from the 1948 WS winners, who attended the game. He turns 96 in six weeks and God bless him he looked good.
      I think Kluber is going to bring this one home for the home crowd, but I would be equally happy to see the Cubbies bring one home for their folks.

      Like

      • Devin
        November 2, 2016

        I preferred it to bring Keuchel in to pitch in relief in game 7 last year.

        Like

  9. Billy Castillo
    November 2, 2016

    Nice homer by Fowler!

    Go Cubs!

    Like

  10. Nicholas
    November 2, 2016

    You’re posting pitcher wins in your comparisons at the beginning, as if they’re terribly relevant to how well the pitcher pitched. Also, relying on ERA as a real measure of how a pitcher performed–look at their pitching lines, and it’s apparent that Keuchel was the best of the Astros’s four main starters, although their ERA’s were fairly similar. Not sure you understand what’s most important in a pitcher’s statistical line.

    Like

    • Dan P
      November 2, 2016

      In general I agree with you Nicholas on wins. I think ERA spread over a whole year is a decent comparison, but you could use WAR (where McCullers, McHugh and Musgrove are better than him) or RAR (where McCullers and McHugh) are better than him or WHIP where only McCullers is better than him.

      The point of the article was not to compare any of these starting pitchers against each other, but to compare them against their former years And I dare you to show me that they were as good as their 2015 seasons.

      I have a very busy life and job and have very little time to put these posts together and so my research is not going to be that deep. If you want something more wonkish or nerdish this is not the place to be.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        November 2, 2016

        I dunno about WAR or RAR, but I do know lions make a RAWR sound.

        Like

      • Becky⚾
        November 2, 2016

        And we appreciate you more than you know!! Where would we be without you and Chip???!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

    • daveb7
      November 2, 2016

      Nicholas, back to the point. Do you have an opinion on why the rotation had such a bad year when compared to their work in 2015?

      Like

    • Devin
      November 2, 2016

      This is true but misses the point. Wins and ERA tell you what happened and not what will happen. There are definitely flaws in using them solely for judging performance, but there are equally flawed methods that ignore them.

      Like

    • Tim
      November 3, 2016

      If I didn’t know better I’d think Nicholas was me posting under a pseudo name. Those type of replies are usually only reserved for me. 🙂

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 4, 2016

      In comparing a starting rotation’s wins in comparison to wins from the previous year, ERA is a pretty good comparison. If your starting rotation gave up a half a run more per game as a whole, you are going to be less successful.
      You are right about ERA not a true reflection of a pitcher’s effectiveness being the best way to judge his performance, but in this case ERA works very well.
      But the 2016 Astros success or failure is not statistically explainable.
      Their season was determined by one thing and one statistic that truly matters: 4-15 against the division winner.
      To change that culture you have to make sure you are eliminating the things that caused that scenario to happen. We have to get tougher. We need to acquire more winners and get rid of some losers. That may apply to more than just players.

      Like

  11. Becky⚾
    November 2, 2016

    Fowler sure has upped his free agent market this series! Still would like to have him back…….and Napoli too!!

    Like

  12. Billy Castillo
    November 2, 2016

    I think we should pas on Chapman…overused this series, and I have a feeling next year he’ll be like DK was this year for us.

    6-6 in 8th 😦

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      November 2, 2016

      *pass

      Like

  13. Becky⚾
    November 2, 2016

    Welp…….at least everybody is getting their money’s worth tonight!

    Like

    • Dan P
      November 2, 2016

      Crazy game – good night

      Like

  14. Billy Castillo
    November 2, 2016

    8-6!!! C’mon Cubbies, don’t let me down!!!

    Like

  15. Becky⚾
    November 2, 2016

    CUBS WIN!! CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NL CENTRAL!!

    Like

  16. Billy Castillo
    November 2, 2016

    CUBS WIN CUBS WIN CUBS WIN

    Like

  17. Becky⚾
    November 3, 2016

    Let the trades begin!!

    Like

  18. sandy
    November 3, 2016

    Congratulations Cubs. Now let’s get this off season started.

    Like

  19. Dan P
    November 3, 2016

    Joe Madden is a lucky son of a gun – he would be scorched if they lost due to decisions he made. Replacing his starters early two games in a row when only one guy was on. Burning Chapman in game 6 with a 5 run and then a 7 run lead. Used Chapman for 92 pitches over 3 games in 4 days. Had a guy try a safety squeeze with 2 strikes who looked like he hadn’t bunted in a long time.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      November 3, 2016

      This was one of the few situations when vastly superior talent was actually somehow able to overcome the mistakes of really bad coaching/managing.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      November 3, 2016

      I don’t agree with the assessment of the job Maddon did.
      Maddon was the manager of the World Series winner.
      I told my son tonight that I thought that Francona’s assumption that Kluber and Miller would be a lock to a Cleveland win, would prove to be a mistake.
      This is the Cubs, and you shouldn’t assume your pitchers could shut them down time after time.
      Maddon is the guy whose team won the last three games and he burned Chapman because he could. He got Chapman at the deadline for this very reason.
      Maddon managed his team to the best record in baseball and to their first WS victory in 108 years under tremendous pressure. In my opinion, he was terrific.

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        November 3, 2016

        Perhaps, OP1. Or perhaps the Cubs were far and away the best team – with by far the most and brightest talent – in either league this year – having no equal whatever – and their vastly superior reservoir of talent won out in the end despite anything Maddon did or did not do.

        Like

      • Dan P
        November 3, 2016

        I overall like Joe Madden as a manager, did a great job this year – I am just saying he was extremely lucky in game 7. He burned out Chapman in game 6 when he did not need him and then he gave away the lead and almost the game late in game 7 because he was tired and hittable. Just like Andrew Miller, when these guys get over-used against the same team in the same series – they don’t pitch as well and the other team gets too many looks at them. If the Cubs had lost and they could easily have lost – the focus would have been on how their manager made poor moves, especially with Chapman.

        Like

      • daveb7
        November 3, 2016

        The only complaint I had was with Maddon pulling Hendricks after he gave up a walk with two outs in the fifth. He threw four strikes in that at bat, but the home plate ump missed two of them. Regardless, Hendricks was still pitching extremely well, hitting his spots and had only thrown 66 pitches if I recollect correctly. Pulling him set in place the overuse of Chapman last night and the somewhat predictable result. Had Hendricks not been pulled, he might have gone seven, with the pen taking over and Chapman likely pitching only the ninth, or maybe even Lester would have come in to start the eighth for a six out save, thereby taking away the remarkable finish of the seventh game of the World Series that kept us all up late.

        But one thing stood out: This Cub team will remain a legitimate contender for years to come. You’ve got to give the organization some credit for a text book rebuild accomplished on schedule. Sure, they had the money, but they made it happen when so many other clubs have failed.

        Like

      • Dan P
        November 3, 2016

        Daveb – yes and he also pulled Arietta too early in Game 6. Brought it on without help from others

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Mr. Bill
    November 3, 2016

    2017, Baby!

    Like

    • Kevin
      November 3, 2016

      Good read TY

      Like

    • Dan P
      November 3, 2016

      Thanks op – I am floored that the Chronicle (spit!!!) had that good a piece – nicely done.

      Like

  21. Diane
    November 3, 2016

    Dan, referencing up above, I know you’re busy and sometimes holding it together with spit!!! and chewing gum. Do appreciate your columns even though I mostly don’t know what you’re talking about. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Becky⚾
      November 3, 2016

      ME TOO Diane!! I agree when they start talking in alphabetS and numbers I get lost as wel! Doesn’t stop me from getting my 2 cents in!! Cheers to all my girlfriends on this wonderful blog!! And a BIG thank you to Dan and Chip for all you do for us!
      Now let’s play arm chair GM and start putting our picks on here for 2017!!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Diane
        November 3, 2016

        Hi Becky and hope all is well with you. I’m not big on numbers, except like last night, when I got caught up in the cosmic meaning of the 17-minute rain delay.

        Like

  22. Mr. Bill
    November 3, 2016

    Nori Aoki – new Astro waiver claim. Will be 35 by ST next year. Hits left-handed. Lifetime slash line: .286/.353/.739. He does not hit for power and does not strike out a lot. He’s lost a step, so that last year he got thrown out trying to steal more times than he stole a base [i.e. he will fit right in our baserunning game plan!].

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Bill
      November 3, 2016

      It seems to me to pretty much be insurance, since our OF – even with Springer – was last in the league in offensive production last year. I also suspect that this confirms that the FO shares the negative opinion of Tim and Daveb about Tony Kemp’ value to the club going forward. It also may indicate that the ‘Stros are not convinced Alex Bregman is our left fielder of the future. Painful trade for starting pitching coming?

      Like

  23. daveb7
    November 3, 2016

    I’m not impressed. A soft hitting, mediocre 35 year old left fielder. 28 RBI’s in 467 PA’s. But, lot’s more still to happen so I’ll reserve judgement from now. I just can’t help but to think though that it’s the first move from an organization still not willing to spend. Please prove me wrong.

    Like

    • Mr. Bill
      November 3, 2016

      Dave, corresponding with this move is the move of our division rivals, the Angels, trading the Tigers for Corbin Maybin. He is expected to play LF for them.

      The Mariners fans seem to think Aoki is no longer good at all in the OF. Could the FO intend to DH him and lead him off, moving Springer down into a a more traditionally power/high K position in the batting order? That would allow Bregman to play LF and bat 2nd.

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        November 3, 2016

        Cameron Maybin, that is.

        Like

      • daveb7
        November 3, 2016

        I hope not. He would not be much of an upgrade at DH and certainly not as a lead off guy. And once again, do we want to use a roster slot on a 35 year old low OPS guy that can’t run, can’t throw, and plays mediocre defense? Like I said, it’s too early to draw conclusions, but the best teams pick up 35 year old guys like Ben Zobrist.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tim
      November 3, 2016

      Aoki has put up a 1.2 and 1.4 WAR the last 2 seasons and will make around $5M next year. He will be a relative bargain for what he will provide, but he isn’t a big offensive upgrade (although he is a better option than Tony Kemp). For me, he is the ideal #2 hitter as he gets on base and rarely strikes out (think Wally Backman of the 1986 Mets). He has a noodle for an arm, but that can be somewhat offset with the short LF dimensions at MMP. He will be a liability in LF on the road (except for Boston). I’m not down on this move as it didn’t cost us any players, but he is not a difference maker either. I’m hoping he is more of a 4th OFer, but with a few more starts. I do like the fact he gets on base and makes contact.

      Like

      • daveb7
        November 3, 2016

        I just want us to pick up difference makers. Tim, we’ve gotten a bit spoiled with the quality defense our outfielders provide. I want that same good defense with better hitting. Maybe my expectations remain too high.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 3, 2016

        Well, Dave, it’s the first day after the WS has ended and they’ve already made a move that slightly improves the team. Considering they can’t even sign a free agent for another 4 days I’m not going to assume this move was made with the thought it instantly makes us vastly improved. Even super subs and 4th OFers are needed on every championship team.

        Like

      • Devin
        November 3, 2016

        Many of us complained 2 years ago that Luhnow signed Rasmussian for $10m when a Aoki was so much cheaper and probably better. I’m not sure how that really worked out. I do know guys like Aoki and Nick Markakis (hint, hint) are solid, smart ballplayers who can make the guys around them better.

        Like

  24. daveb7
    November 3, 2016

    I’ll tell you what. Give me Bregman-Springer-Puig……Aoki and Marisnick.

    Then I’ll shut up for awhile!

    Like

    • Tim
      November 3, 2016

      4/5s of your pentagon is already in place.

      Like

      • daveb7
        November 4, 2016

        See, I’m not asking for too much.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        November 4, 2016

        ZZ Top made that line famous, Daveb – but as I recall what they were lookin’ for was not a Puig.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Daveb
        November 4, 2016

        You know I used to play show pitch against a team that Frank Beard ( the guy without a beard) sponsored. He sucked at second base, but he always brought the beers and they had matching uniforms. I’m willing not to be selfish. I’ll settle on a Puig at this point in time.

        Like

      • Daveb
        November 4, 2016

        You know I used to play show pitch against a team that Frank Beard ( the guy without a beard) sponsored. He sucked at second base, but he always brought the beers and they had matching uniforms. I’m willing not to be selfish. I’ll settle on a Puig at this point in time.

        Like

      • daveb7
        November 4, 2016

        You know I used to play show pitch against a team that Frank Beard ( the guy without a beard) sponsored. He sucked at second base, but he always brought the beers and they had matching uniforms. I’m willing not to be selfish. I’ll settle on a Puig at this point in time.

        Like

      • Mr. Bill
        November 4, 2016

        Pat Neshek is reportedly now a Phillie, via trade. Maybe we got Vince Velasquez back? [Right!]

        Like

  25. 1oldpro
    November 3, 2016

    Aoki’s career splits are impeccable. It hasn’t mattered who was pitching or from which side. It hasn’t mattered if the pitcher was power, average power or finesse, flyball pitcher or groundball pitcher, at home or on the road, what month it is or where he is in the lineup. All his splits are so close, except if he bats sixth in the lineup(poor), or ninth(good) or in September(very good) or if he is pinch hitting(terrific).
    When you see his career line: .286/.353/.387/.739 all of his splits are right around those numbers. For his career his first half of the year are real close to his second half.
    He is the epitome of steady and he has a real low career K rate. He is the perfect guy to have hitting behind a good OBP guy because he makes stealing and the hit and run so much easier because he’s LH batter who makes contact.
    His career BABIP is .304 so he doesn’t look to be a regression waiting to happen.
    I wanted the Astros to get him a year ago and now we get him for a very reasonable price and he helps fill the gap we have while waiting for one or two of our outfield prospects to show up, ready to take over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • daveb7
      November 4, 2016

      His 2016 splits might be cause for concern. He was terrible against lefties for the first time. Has he lost bat speed?

      Like

      • Devin
        November 4, 2016

        Probably, but at only about 100 PA in both 2015 and 2016 it’s hard to really judge if he was off. The difference was 11 more hits in 2015 and 6 fewer strikeouts in about the same sample size. Here are Colby’s stats:
        2015: 119AB 30H 17R 7HR 16RBI 20BB 42K .252 / .364 / .471 (.835) 0 SB 1 CS
        2016: 81AB 11H 2R 2HR 6RBI 9BB 28K .136 / .220 / .235 (.454) 0 SB 0 CS

        For his career, Colby has a .656 OPS against LHP. Because of a superior OPS, Aoki’s is .745. What will we get in 2017? I have no idea, but at least it’s cheap enough we can keep him as a platoon outfielder and not sacrifice our spending at other positions. We can also cut him for less than we paid Carlos Gomez last year!

        Like

  26. Diane
    November 4, 2016

    Chron Sports section, p. 6 this morning. Story about Ben Zobrist by someone who met him when he was playing with Corpus Christi Hooks in 2006. Two WS wins in a row, with different teams. Marked man. Good guy.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. 1oldpro
    November 4, 2016

    Besides Aoki, some names surfaced this week that could have some effect on the Astros plans.
    Brandon Moss goes on the list.
    Clevenger is available.
    Neil Walker probably drops off, due his pending QO.
    By the way, Castro, Rasmus, Fister and Valbuena are now free agents. The Astros have five days to change that, if they wish to.

    Like

    • Tim
      November 4, 2016

      Valbuena is the only one I would even give the slightest consideration for a QO, but even then I would think he isn’t worth it. I would let them all be free agents and try and work out a deal with Castro and/or Valbuena. I have no interest in bringing back Fister or Rasmus.

      Like

  28. Tim
    November 4, 2016

    Neshek was traded to the Phillies for the proverbial PTBNL or cash considerations. Considering they were going to buy out his option and make him a free agent getting anything for him, even cash, is a plus.

    Like

    • The Amazin' Billy C
      November 4, 2016

      Agreed.

      Like

  29. The Amazin' Billy C
    November 4, 2016

    Option picked up on Gattis.

    Like

  30. 1oldpro
    November 4, 2016

    You and I have been saying all along that Neshek would not stay. It’s nice that they save that half a million as it pays the salary of a young player and we may actually receive something in return.
    I felt all along that since he wasn’t getting used in clutch situations until late in the year, when we were using so many bullpen arms so often, that Hoyt would probably take his place next season, and if that happens, Philadelphia just paid Hoyt’s salary.
    Neshek’s trade clears another spot on the 40-man roster. I believe we are back to 36 players on the 40-man with this move.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. The Amazin' Billy C
    November 4, 2016

    My posts aren’t showing up….

    Like

  32. Billy Castillo
    November 4, 2016

    Been trying to post all day but my posts aren’t showing up

    Like

  33. Becky⚾
    November 4, 2016

    I really liked Pat Neshek he sat in front of his locker everytime he got to the park and sent his signed basbeall cards to everyone who wrote to him. That’s a good guy there folks. I’m glad he gets to go to a young club with a pretty bright future!!
    Tell VV we miss him!!

    Like

  34. Kevin
    November 5, 2016

    Hey all haven’t checked in for a while. Good to see al the usual suspects are still here, love that. So we have Gattis back, not unexpected, and we traded an old ineffective Neshek for some cash and signed a 35 year old OF inspiring, Yawn. I’m hoping Uncle Jeff is just playing possum right now for the big BAM

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Mr. Bill
    November 5, 2016

    What do you think we need from a #1 starter in 2017?
    What ERA?
    What WHIP?
    What K/9?
    What BB/9?
    What # of innings per start?
    What Win Total?
    What WAR?
    What FIP?

    Like

    • Bizzjohnson@hotmail.com
      November 6, 2016

      Bill, I like a few of those stats, and over a full season, as old as it is, ERA still provides a pretty good idea of a pitchers effectiveness. In simplistic terms, when the bad guys don’t score, your team has a pretty good chance of winning. But at the end of the day, winning 20 games is a most significant number. That means our ace is keeping his club in games and throwing a good amount of innings..

      Like

  36. rj
    November 5, 2016
  37. Kevin
    November 5, 2016

    Well some of those stats are above my paygrade si Ill stick to the ones I grasp

    ERA 2.97
    Whip 1.1
    7.1 inning per start
    7.5 per 9
    1.5 BB per 9
    innings pitched 197
    18-6

    Like

  38. 1oldpro
    November 6, 2016

    I like the Aoki pickup. It’s good to have a guy who can actually hit when he’s called upon to pinch hit, DH or play in the outfield.
    I like the move picking up Gattis’s $5.2 million salary. He earned his pay last season and he solves some of our catching woes.
    I like the Neshek trade. We don’t even have to buy out his option and it frees up a spot in our bullpen. He’s happy to get the chance to become a late inning go-to guy again. The Astros added lefty reliever Reymin Guduan to their 40-man today. They had to do that or he would be a free agent. 24-year old lefties who throw 100mph do not grow on trees. He has three option years left so they can be patient with him and hope he develops into a good reliever.
    So far, the Astros seemed to be making the right moves, except for Hudgens.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. 1oldpro
    November 6, 2016

    In ESPN’s early bird 2017 MLB power rankings the Astros are ranked sixth. They are ranked third in the AL behind Boston and Cleveland.

    Like

    • Devin
      November 6, 2016

      Wow! Really?!?

      Like

    • Tim
      November 6, 2016

      I know most on here don’t follow the betting odds, but I do and this is in line with how the betting odds are playing out. The Astros have the 3rd best odds to win the A.L. and tied for the 6th best odds to win the W.S. with the Mets.

      Like

      • daveb7
        November 6, 2016

        That’s somewhat encouraging. The guys in Vegas know their business. But, they will adjust those numbers depending on who ends up where.

        Like

      • Devin
        November 6, 2016

        They are going to adjust the odds based on how the money is being bet.

        Like

      • Tim
        November 6, 2016

        Of course, just like ESPN will adjust their rankings based upon off-season moves and acquisitions.

        Like

  40. Becky⚾
    November 6, 2016

    Read where Garrett Stubbs is going to start the season in Fresno! Boy he sure has worked his way through the minors pretty dang quick! Drafted in 2015!!

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      November 6, 2016

      Him and Bregman moved quickly….

      Like

    • Dan P
      November 6, 2016

      It is good news when they promote aggressively based on merit.

      Like

  41. daveb7
    November 6, 2016

    I like the Aoki deal if he becomes our fourth outfielder.

    Like

  42. daveb7
    November 6, 2016

    Weird stuff. How did my email address get posted?

    Like

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This entry was posted on November 2, 2016 by in Astros.
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