As our good buddy astrocolt45 so aptly nailed it, this is the deadest of dead seasons right now. He called it the Cold Stove season.
So, to warm everyone up, here are some scattershot thoughts and interspersed questions as the fire burns low before heating up in 42 days when as Becky points out, the pitchers and catchers report. But who is counting? Folks trying to drum up subjects to write about, that’s who…..
- Are there any major moves left for this front office before spring training? Folks are hoping no prospects head out the door, while hoping the rotation is good enough.
- Is this the best lineup this team has in place since the insanity of opening Ten Run Field in 2000, when the Astros scored 938 runs (5.79 runs per game!!) with three players over 110 RBIs, two over 40 HRs? Having Moises Alou, Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio, Richard Hidalgo, Ken Caminiti, and a catcher combo of Mitch Meluskey and Tony Eusebio (combined 21 HR and 102 RBIs) was about as good as it got. Of course the pitching staff managed to give up more runs than the team scored that year.
- What difference if any will the large change to the field (bye-bye Tal’s Hill – hello shorter HRs to center field) make to the pitching and hitting? In general, not a ton of balls made it on to the Hill every year. However, it has been obvious for a long time that the way the pitchers worked around the short porch of the Crawford’s Boxes in left field was to try to force more balls into the large expanses of center field. Will that change?
- Adding the new bats to the lineup (Josh Reddick, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Nori Aoki, plus full seasons of Alex Bregman and Yulieski Gurriel) would seem to be a no-brainer for improvement if for no other reason than replacing ABs from Jason Castro, Colby Rasmus, Carlos Gomez, Jake Marisnick and others. The unknown benefit is what it will do for George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa to have a real lineup after them and leading up to them. Pitchers will not be pitching around Correa to get to Beltran; Springer or Altuve will be coming up with more men on base from a much better bottom of the lineup.
- Will Dave Hudgens look like a better hitting coach with professional hitters throughout the lineup? I would suggest that if there are signs he has poisoned any of these hitting wells that he be jettisoned like a Trojan rabbit in a Monty Python sketch.
- Is there any bigger question going into spring training than what the rotation will look like starting the season? Will the injured (Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers) be made whole by an off-season of rest? Will any of the youngsters (Chris Devenski, Joseph Musgrove, Micheal Feliz) earn a rotation spot coming out of spring training? Between Collin McHugh, Mike Fiers and Charlie Morton – who starts, who is in the swing spot, who is traded or cut?
So some quick morsels to munch on today. What do you think?