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How does that Astros’ 2017 World Series prediction look now?


Any questions you may have had previously about Jim Crane putting up the money and any questions about whether Jeff Luhnow could spend it wisely should be out the door for the time being.

Those soothsayers and prognosticators about the Astros’ World Series chances in 2017 look a lot smarter this morning too.

When you see those winners and losers lists later this month or just after the turn of the new year, you’ll see Houston at top, perhaps even in a class by itself. Now, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Josh Reddick may all bomb next year, but they are smart buys and reasonable risks for the foreseeable future.

And the winter is apparently not over.

The Astros — according to Crane — want to add a top pitcher. And, if their recent run on talent isn’t proof they’ll get one, consider that it now appears that Evan Gattis and Collin McHugh are dangling carrots for Luhnow. Gattis, of the high strikeout, low contact genre and McHugh of the innings eater, steady group.

Yes, who wouldn’t want to keep McHugh, but with a #1 start, Dallas Keuchel is pushed to #2 and Lance McCullers Jr. becomes the #3 guy. Charlie Morton, Mike Fiers, Joe Musgrove and even Brad Peacock can battle over the remaining two spots.

We’ll talk more about a potential lineup in the coming days and weeks, but this new version of the Astros could ultimately challenge the Killer B’s lineup or other potent lineups of the past. Adding a true, consistent TOR pitcher would also put the Astros in the driver’s seat for 2017, at least on paper and out of the gate.

Quick questions for this Sunday after the recent moves.

  1. How do you feel about Crane’s commitment now?
  2. Luhnow will obviously have to give up something to get a top pitcher in trade. Which two players — and you can’t offer also-rans — would you be okay giving up to get that #1?
  3. Does Houston still need a Mark Melancon type closer or is the pen good to go as is?
  4. Other than Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and George Springer, which player would you most hate to trade for said #1 pitcher?
  5. If Luhnow makes no other moves at all — save a minor free agent or Rule 5 pick — would you be satisfied starting the season with this roster?
  6. Still, a big question in the back of my mind is what I alluded to in the above piece: Do any of these big signees come to Houston (as others have) and bomb?
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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in Colorado Springs, CO, and is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 40 years. A native of Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. He came up with Chipalatta, and it’s stuck.

35 comments on “How does that Astros’ 2017 World Series prediction look now?

  1. Bo Weaver
    December 4, 2016

    Ok, I humbly come to this BLOG with hat in hand, and the dull aftertaste of crow on my lips. Crane opened up his wallet WHEN IT MATTERED THE MOST: for the 2017 season.

    After 2017, things will get super expensive, so now is the time.

    What impressed me the most was not the Reddick, McCann and Beltran signings, but offering arbitration to ALL the arb-eligible players. And ditching Jon Singlepuff, at a cost of $2mil, just to free up flexibility on the 40-man roster.

    Wow. Boy was I wrong. Crane actually opened up his wallet. Paint me green and call me Gumby!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Dan P
      December 4, 2016

      Bopert – thanks for coming by – lots of folks would avoid this and never eat the humble pie. So welcome back, eat that pie quick so you can wash it down with some championship champagne! (OK – I’m allowed to dream as much as the other guy)

      Like

      • astrocolt45
        December 4, 2016

        Bopert, your prose is always interesting. Keep posting.

        Like

    • The Amazin' Billy C
      December 4, 2016

      I did not expect you to step up but you did, so I have to give you credit for this.

      Like

    • sandy
      December 4, 2016

      Classy reply Bo.

      Like

    • rj
      December 5, 2016

      bopert. it takes a strong person to admit to mistakes, especially in an arena where they may not be the most liked of the group. youre a standup guy today. please feel free to continue to comment as i always thought you had a pretty good grasp when you spoke of the game and left the personalities out of it. join the bandwagon and have some fun in here.

      Like

  2. 1oldpro
    December 4, 2016

    1. I think Crane has kept his word in regards to his willingness to spend when the time was right.
    2. None. I’m not willing to give up players in trade for that TOR pitcher. I am willing to give up Gattis and McHugh for the right prospects in order to bolster the prospect list in advance of a trade for a TOR pitcher involving prospects. Trading players has to involve receiving top value for them and I think you get top value in trading players to teams who really need those players. I don’t think you get top value in trading players in a major league blockbuster.
    3. I don’t think they need a Melancon.
    4. I think I would not like to lose Whitley in that trade for a TOR.
    5. I would like to see Luhnow trade Fiers and get another lefty in the pen and another MOR starter.
    6. I think McCann has the biggest chance to bomb, especially if they trade Gattis. I like the idea of having both of them to catch, because of the injury chances at catcher. Let’s keep them both and see what we have with Stubbs, unless they think Stubbs is ready to make a jump, which I don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      December 4, 2016

      On the other hand! If the Rays, who really need a catcher and would consider Gattis as a major part of a trade for a starting pitcher, I would definitely look into that. I have one of their starting pitchers in mind and I would be willing to match a high prospect and a mid level prospect with Gattis to make that particular trade.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kevin
    December 4, 2016

    The 2017 Astro’s on Paper are obviously a big improvement to the end 2016. My wish list a month ago was, Reddick, Beltran and Chapman. I’ll take 2 out of 3.

    * I’ll give Kuddos to where it is due and Crane and JL have done a decent job here, better than I thought, I think Cora was a big piece of it all, somehow that seemed to change the image of the organization and all of the sudden here comes a pro’s pro in McCann and soon followed a Reddick, and Beltran said HMM and turned down the big boy’s.

    * We need a solid lefty in the pen not sure there is one that is affordable or tradable

    * I worry about DK and LMJ’s health but who really knows there, if the FO can get another solid SP that would be impressive. However I would not hold it against them to sit tight and see what we can do and the trade deadline.

    GOING TO BE A FUN 2017

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tim
    December 4, 2016

    If this article doesn’t get you excited about the 2017 season nothing will. Fangraphs is absolutely my favorite website on baseball statistics and analysis so, personally, I put more credence into what they have to say than other opinions. They are not infallible, but they do a great job of providing sound reasoning for their predictions/projections.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/instagraphs/carlos-beltran-adds-to-league-best-lineup/

    Like

    • Kevin
      December 4, 2016

      Looks to much like a power point presentation . What’s the Cliff notes summation Tim? TY

      Like

      • Tim
        December 4, 2016

        Basically, the Astros have the best lineup in the A.L. and probably, right now, are the favorites in the A.L.

        Like

      • Kevin
        December 4, 2016

        Even with our SP with health ?

        Like

      • Tim
        December 4, 2016

        Yes.

        Like

      • Bo Weaver
        December 4, 2016

        Don’t forget about the Tribe. They’re getting everybody back. And they’ve proven they’re legit. Theirs is the best pitching staff in the AL. So 2017 will be fun to behold, indeed.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        December 4, 2016

        And Michael Brantley should be back on the field too, Bo.

        Like

    • Steven
      December 5, 2016

      They were favored last year as well – and you saw where starting pitching takes you.

      I’m guardedly optimistic, Beltran makes this team’s offense legit – I’m just curious about the exact positioning of the outfield at this point. If Aoki does play LF and Beltran goes into DH mode, does this put Gurriel as a full time 1B? I’m betting, given the age and/or injury history of some of these guys we will see a lot of variation. What would be optimal is too see Gattis and McCann catch 80 games each, I just wouldn’t bet my house on it so who the third catcher is may turn out to be important if they catch 30-40 games.

      I’ll still reserve my pom-pomming until I see the opening day rotation and Keuchel’s velocity. I think the 4 are there to be competitive – Keuchel, McCullers, McHugh and Morton – but they provide so many question marks that it makes me nervous. I think they all 4 project well – but projections usually assume you are on the field to project. Devenski and/or Musgrove should get a crack to break in at 5, but we need 1-4 to be solid before that commitment is made. I assume Fiers is still in the running for the 5 spot. Right now you are two injuries in your staff away from seeing Fiers and Peacock get crucial starts and we probably won’t win the division if that happens.

      I assume that Luhnow and Crane haven’t put this money up unless they have plans on still pursuing more pitching.

      Like

  5. Zanuda
    December 4, 2016

    Hate to part with Devinski or Musgrove at this point. Richard Justice has speculated parting with Bregman as part of a deal for Chris Sale. I agree a TOR is needed but sure hate to loose any of the aforementioned players as well as those as mentioned above. Cudos to Luhnow and Crane for coming through. Maybe they think the time to get out in the passing lane is now rather than later.

    Like

  6. Kevin
    December 4, 2016

    Everything I’m reading says Astros are not in on Sale, price is to high. Now they do say we are looking at Archer. We will see.

    Like

  7. Devin
    December 4, 2016

    1. SOLID
    2.The guys I would offer won’t bring a TOR
    3. No, we have Harris and Gregerson already.
    4. LMJ
    5. Probably. I don’t want a rule V pick unless they throw left handed though
    6. History says yes. I could see any or all blowing up on us, but the price and risk is worth it on all three imo.

    Like

  8. Dan P
    December 4, 2016

    1.How do you feel about Crane’s commitment now?
    This has been good news for fans who were wondering if Crane would do as he has said. I had cut him slack, but was wondering when they seemed to miss some chances to improve at the last deadline. This puts it to rest in my mind.
    2.Luhnow will obviously have to give up something to get a top pitcher in trade. Which two players — and you can’t offer also-rans — would you be okay giving up to get that #1?
    I would be OK with McHugh and Gurriel – I just don’t think another team would be unless Martes and Feliz are also attached.
    3.Does Houston still need a Mark Melancon type closer or is the pen good to go as is? Tough question. Melancon was so good for the Pirates that – yes I would take him – but would sure like Giles to step up and carpe diem.
    4.Other than Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and George Springer, which player would you most hate to trade for said #1 pitcher?
    I would most hate to lose Chris Devenski our best pitcher of 2016.
    5.If Luhnow makes no other moves at all — save a minor free agent or Rule 5 pick — would you be satisfied starting the season with this roster?
    Yes, I would. I would like them to add another lefty reliever but I won’t die without it.
    6.Still, a big question in the back of my mind is what I alluded to in the above piece: Do any of these big signees come to Houston (as others have) and bomb?
    Beltran is hitting the big 40 – that worries me a little, but it is hard to see him dropping that fast after an excellent 2016. More worried about McCann.

    Thanks for jumping back in Chip – I needed the help being out on the road this weekend. Great subject!

    Like

  9. daveb7
    December 4, 2016

    Safe to say that Beltran, with good health, will give us a far superior DH result than we’ve ever had. Our present outfield, assuming Aoki, Springer and Reddick/non Jake righty bat spelling him, will get on base more frequently than any group I can remember. We’ve got the best hitting double play combination in MLB. Our catchers should hit 30 plus homers combined. This part is more guess work, but our corner infielders might give us more production than we’ve had in several years, with Gurriel and Bregman in those roles, but it’s early, much more to happen, especially if a big pitcher is under the tree. We might have to wait until Christmas in July for that arm, and I’m willing, especially if it keeps our present offense together on Opening Day. Still though, we need a better pen and a healthy rotation of guys that provide us with something approaching their best individual years.

    I’m encouraged.

    Like

  10. astrocolt45
    December 4, 2016

    1. Glad to see it. Could complain about having to wait, but that is water under the bridge and out in the Gulf.
    2. I would include 3 or more but the “no also rans” puts a kink in the plan.
    3. Nope. Bullpen closer is OK for now.
    4. For me, White has to be given a longer look.
    5. Satisfied — a lot more than July on in 2016.
    6. Yes, or maybe an “untouchable”. Players catch fire and some flame out.

    Like

  11. daveb7
    December 4, 2016

    Yes, but it should get better. Our closer needs to become elite. Our lefty needs to return to his 2014, 2015 self and we need someone else who can get both righty and lefty hitters out.

    Those 2016 stats are nice, but but from what I saw, we need a better pen in 2017. I think we had about 18 guys out there in September, but we still had a hard time getting outs when it really counted.

    Like

    • astrocolt45
      December 4, 2016

      DB, that was why I looked at the stats again. I saw so many relievers warming up in the 2nd or 3rd. Saw too many relievers start off with 3-0 counts etc. So when I watched the playoffs and so the control of so many pitchers, I assumed we would be in the bottom third in most categories. Especially with so many injuries and Devo having to pitch over 100 innings.

      Like

    • Tim
      December 4, 2016

      We have several pitchers in the bullpen that can get lefty and righty hitters out. Giles, Harris and Devo are adept at getting hitters out regardless of the side of the plate they swing. Our closer was elite from the middle of May until the end of the season. No closer is perfect, but he was as good as you can expect from him after that horrible start. The bullpen, for me, is the least of my concerns. In fact, I have very little concerns with this team right now, but I’m never opposed to getting better.

      Like

  12. sandy
    December 4, 2016

    1. I’m very pleased.
    2. Gurriel and Devo
    3. I don’t think so
    4. Musgrove
    5. I’d love to get Archer but not if we lose Bregman
    6. It’s always possible. But I would be surprised to see any of these top signees bomb.
    I would hate to lose McHugh. He had his bad days last year but I always felt like we had a chance when he took the mound.

    Like

  13. 1oldpro
    December 4, 2016

    One of the things that may have been overlooked by us is the Astros versus the Rangers.
    Yes, upgrades in many positions is going to really help us in this respect. But bringing in veteran leadership in the form of Aoki, Reddick, McCann, and Beltran is going to give the Astros a steady hand on the helm. Guys who can lead and guide, guys who have seen and experienced a lot.
    The difference between the Astros and the Rangers in the past has been in the heads of the players. Once the Astros realize they can beat Texas, I think they will keep doing it.
    Change is not always to get talent. Sometimes it’s to get an attitude. The Astros have to go get the AL West before they can win playoff games. If they can win that 162 game marathon, they will be well on their way to getting where they want to go.

    Like

  14. Becky⚾
    December 4, 2016

    Hey Chip! Good to “see” you again!
    1. I feel better about his commitment than I did in September!
    2. Gurriel / Fires LOL!!
    3. NO! Mr. Giles needs to *own* the 9th inning!
    4. Oh Lord…..Devenski or Musgrove.
    5. Yes….I’m good with the additions Luhnow has made for 2017
    6. Jeeze….I certainly hope not!
    Astros are out of the Chris Sale bid, but I can see the possibilities of prying one of the Rays pitchers lose. May not be Archer, but I can visualize Luhnow making a run at one of them. That despicable team in arlington, is trying to get another starter, and I’d have to hurt someone if Luhnow traded McHugh to them.

    Like

  15. Becky⚾
    December 4, 2016

    HA! HA! HA!!! The Dodgers are shopping Kazmir!! They still owe him a TON of money!! Buyer……beware!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. rj
    December 5, 2016

    1. it was the right time and he stepped up
    2. ive stated many times – none of the core. see my comment on the previous post about what it will take.
    3. pen is good, especially if a lefty is added.
    4. devenski, i think he’ll be real good whether he stays in the pen or eventually starts
    5. yes. i’d still like to see a move or two, but we could go to war with what we have.
    6. i dont think of the three bomb THIS year.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. rj
    December 5, 2016

    6, i dont think any of the three bomb this year.

    Like

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