It’s Friday and if you’ve been around these parts for long, you’ve come to expect a Free Blog Weekend from time to time. It’s a tradition that emanates from my radio background when the old DJ used to offer Open Mic Friday and anyone could chime in on any subject they wanted.
In other words, it’s your turn. Our only rules here are keep it clean and civil. I’ll get it started.
Arbitron, sabermetrics and backwards thinking.
My primary background is radio and media, thus I have an understanding of Arbitron, the radio metrics used to judge the success of that media. Arbitron is used to show where a station has been, not necessarily where it is going. But I’ll stop preaching for a moment.
Arbitron was created such that every radio station, regardless of morning show swagger or actual audience size, can find a place to hang its hat. Even the smallest station can suggest that it’s #1 in this area or “the third best station in that category”. Everyone wins. That’s sometimes the way it is with stats. Every player, every manager, every agent, every owner and GM can find a stat that supports their reason to like a player, put him into a certain position or sign him to a lucrative — or not so lucrative — contract.
Devin said it: “We’re not doing research on the players for academic purposes but rather to support our argumentative posts, comments…” And isn’t that exactly what the new media has done to support its own conclusions and agendas? Backwards thinking. But that’s yet another story for another day.
At any rate, my thoughts are that stats should reflect the game, not change it.
Lineups, pencils and drooling.
Speaking of odds, stats, predictions, etc. Hinch is more likely to get it right than wrong with his lineup next season. Jeff Luhnow is probably already having to wipe the drool from his manager’s chin. Whether you bat George Springer in the leadoff or Jose Altuve or even Evan Gattis or Brian McCann (okay, just making a point here) how can he go wrong with hitters like Carlos Beltran, Josh Reddick, Carlos Correa, Yulieski Gurriel and Alex Bregman to pencil in as well?
The losers here are going to be players who are major league ready or near major league ready. Players like Colin Moran, Max Stassi, Tyler White, A.J. Reed not to mention Nori Aoki, Jake Marisnick, Preston Tucker and even Marwin Gonzalez, who can now settle into his real role as a highly paid Super Sub. The only position battles in spring training will be for those last few roster spots.
How would you pencil in the lineup, top to bottom? Remember, someone has to sit in those National League parks.
Expectations, dreams, hopes. The future is now.
The predictions and hopes for the Astros have been on the front burner for some time now, especially with fans. Most diehards have been playing the game, often pinning hopes on also-rans, start-ups and wannabes. Most of us thought — at least we were hoping — the future was then. But clearly, the future is now and Dallas Keuchel and his compadres will need to ante up to hang with the gang.
Now, the game has changed and the boys are playing hard ball. Finally. Everyone is watching now. Come late January and February, the media won’t just have the Astros in the Top 10 in expectations, power rankings and prognostications.
It’s 2017 baby. World Series year! Expect front page stories, even cover stories. Yes, Sports Illustrated is sure to repackage it’s 2017 prediction. It’s just a matter of which player(s) will be on that cover this time around.
And a few questions for your weekend consideration.
- The Astros have acquired several players this winter. Which is the best acquisition? The worst, or weakest?
- Your best guess on the opening day starter on the mound.
- The Astros will have a deep bench and deep upper system next season. Some of those players (some mentioned above) won’t be around though. Who do you believe will NOT be here. Not so much who you would like to see go, but who will be used to get a pitcher or traded to make some room.
- It’s unlikely for obvious reasons, but is there still a place for Edwin Encarnacion in Houston in 2017?