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The Astros’ hitters right to left


In 2016, the Astros were a very right-centric hitting team. Except for Luis Valbuena, who missed a large chunk of the season injured, the Astros best hitters – Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Evan Gattis and in a smaller sample Alex Bregman were all right handed batters.

The Astros big off-season sea change on the offense was purposely aimed towards giving Manager AJ Hinch a more even-handed lineup and more options as they added three lefty bats in Brian McCann, Josh Reddick and Nori Aoki, plus switch hitter Carlos Beltran. The best guess is that these four will take up about 1500 ABs that were filled by poor to abominably poor hitters in 2016 – Jason Castro, Carlos Gomez, Colby Rasmus who are gone and probable reduced or deleted roles for Jake Marisnick, AJ Reed, Preston Tucker and Tony Kemp.

One interesting fact is that while the Astros had much stronger right handed hitters in 2016 — they hit pretty poorly against left handed pitching as a team — .240 BA (14th in the AL) / .731 OPS (11th in the AL). Most of their best righty hitters hit worse against lefties than righties – Altuve (.348 BA/.942 OPS against RHP vs. .306/.885 against LHP), Correa (.287/.839 vs. .236/.730), Yulieski Gurriel (.281/.739 vs. .220/.537), and Bregman (.269/.813 vs. .250/.735). This is totally counterintuitive, but the facts are the facts.

So, the following should make this a much better hitting team this season:

  • Not giving 1300 ABs to Castro, Rasmus, Gomez and JFSF and filling those ABs with professional hitters.
  • Having their good right handed hitters trend back towards frenzy feeding on LHPs.
  • Having their batters benefit from the depth and quality of the lineup. A pitcher who in 2016 fed Correa poor pitches with Rasmus behind him in the lineup will have to think twice with Beltran waiting in the on-deck circle.
  • Having the benefit of hitting with others on base – this team looks to be one of the best OBP teams out there and the ability to flip the lineup is going to result in many more runs.

What do you think of this team and where its offense is headed?

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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.

71 comments on “The Astros’ hitters right to left

  1. Mr. Bill
    February 2, 2017

    We now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mr. Hinch and Mr. Hudgins have a thorough set of offensively-gifted players to work with. How well – or badly – these proven hitters perform when slotted into the ‘Hudgens-approach offense’ will reveal if it was just really weak personnel [Gomez, T.White, Rasmus, Valbuena, Gattis-as-a-DH, Castro, Marisnick, etc.] that stunk it up for us, or if there is a deep, unfixable flaw in the Hudgens approach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan P
      February 2, 2017

      I don’t know about Aoki, but I can see the other three guys (Beltran, Reddick and McCann) telling Hudgens to shove one of their bats where the sun does not shine (sideways) if they don’t like his “advice”.

      Like

  2. Kevin
    February 2, 2017
    • Dan P
      February 2, 2017

      Thanks for the link Kevin. Some thoughts:
      – Ironic that we took Brady Aiken and missed out on #15 Carlos Rodon which resulted in our getting #14 Alex Bregman
      – I liked their statement that it is weird to look at Carlos Correa as a “disappointment” in a year when he almost hit a WAR of 6.
      – Is it just me or does it feel like Machado and Harper should be 30 yrs old?

      Like

      • Kevin
        February 2, 2017

        LOL I thought the same thing especially Harper!

        Like

      • Kevin
        February 2, 2017

        Oh and ODOR coming out of Dallas . like 35.

        Like

  3. 1oldpro
    February 2, 2017

    I think the Astros lineup changes are not just going to make them better. I think the changes are going to influence the thinking of the rock-solid players we kept.
    McCann’s huge block of experience is going to help Gattis. Reddick and Aoki’s steadiness could really help Springer, who has been a red-hot/ice-cold batter since he came up. Beltran’s steadiness will rub off on Correa and Bregman and he could help Altuve with the acceptance of being on a really, really good hitting ball club. Maybe Altuve and Springer settle down on the basepaths and realize they don’t have to press so hard because there are hitters behind them.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that the players we have added, Gurriel included, are going to be like coaches and will help all the young players relax and find a groove. Once this group of players find their groove offensively they could slam the league like an avalanche, because a big offense makes it easier for a pitching staff to loosen up and make their pitches. When a pitching staff can make their pitches with a lead, they last longer in the game, giving the late inning guys more rest and keeping everyone loose in the dugout.
    The attitude is going to have to change on this team, because they need to make a turnaround on the Rangers and stop being the little brother who always gets bruised by big brother.

    Liked by 1 person

    • roadthriller
      February 2, 2017

      It’s nice to consider the effects of old pros helping out younger guys. And certainly this team as built has that possibility. But there are so many other intangibles involved, most of which have already been mentioned: the better lefty/righty hitting matchups, the increase in BA/OBP and fewer Ks, hopefully the reversion of basaerunning decisions from “horrible” to normal”, the lack of holes in the batting order. All of these tend to feed on themselves. Hitting begets hitting. I think we are in for a real fun summer.

      Like

  4. Devin
    February 2, 2017

    Last year I was gleefully watching the A’s beat the Rangers. I think it was 3-1 heading to the eighth inning. Well, the Rangers got a run back and got another guy in scoring position. He scored and another guy got in scoring position to bring up Beltran. The A’s reliever decided to try something different and start him with a breaking ball. It was a slow, looping curve that stayed up in the zone and over the heart of the plate. What do you think Beltran did?

    A. Big swing that makes his shoelaces come undone?
    B. Even bigger swing that makes him take a knee on the follow through?
    C. Normal, compact swing to lace a single to CF and score the go-ahead run?

    The answer, of course, is C. If the Astros want to be serious about winning their approaches will be smarter than in 2016 at the plate. Correa took a major step back in that regard. I’m hopeful that Beltran maintains that level of discipline and positively influences Correa and Springer in this regard.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 1oldpro
    February 2, 2017

    OK, off topic, but ever since somebody mentioned TCU Catcher Evan Skoug to the Astros in the draft, I have wondered about him.
    After reading a lot about him as a player and a person, I am officially IN!
    But, he’ll probably be gone before #15 in the draft comes around.

    Like

    • Gov
      February 2, 2017

      Op, I don’t think Scoug (1st Team All-America, great work ethic) will be gone by #15 personally (Schwartz will go top 10 maybe). I attached a mock that agrees with you, but this is about as high as I’ve seen the TCU backstop. The thing is, with Stubbs in-house, I’m not sure we could pass on a Houk, Beck, Adell, Hall or even Lange, especially if we thought MJ Melendez could fall to #53. The draft is going to be fun to watch – lots of talent out there!
      View story at Medium.com

      …but on today’s subject of adding LHH, after watching more video on Aoki he’s probably a lock on at least 81 starts – maybe the “5th OF” is btwn Jake & Teoscar (Laureano if he has a Hunter Pence-like Spring). Aoki has a very accurate arm, take good routes and uses a precise bat. It’s his age that has me wondering if he’ll be overrun. One interesting stat is that Aoki hit .363 in ’14 v LHP; .333 in ’15; .227 in ’16. That drop off will likely mean Hinch stays closer to traditional matchups and platoons.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        February 2, 2017

        The reason they might take Skoug is that they have a lot of pitchers and a lot of SSs already looking good in their system, but not many catchers. If they have a choice between several evenly desired players, and one of those players was a catcher, I like the idea of taking the catcher. Especially if he is considered as adept at the plate as he is behind it.

        Like

  6. Dan P
    February 2, 2017

    op and devin
    It will be a great bonus if we could have these professional hitters talking to and showing the kids situational hitting. Last year situational hitting seemed to be:
    – No one on base – swing hard
    – Guy on second – swing harder
    – Scoring position, late in the game – ludicrous swing (for all you Spaceball fans out there).

    Like

  7. astrocolt45
    February 2, 2017

    If we played the game on paper, we are in good shape. There appears to be no way that the team is not better than previous years. Some will do better, some worse but over all, it appears to be a good hitting lineup and not much has been lost on defense. I do like the lefty, righty batting order. So if we finally get our righty’s to hit lefty’s…………….

    Like

  8. daveb7
    February 2, 2017

    Outside of my cynical nature resulting in still significant concern about the rotation, I’m really pleased with the batch of guys on the roster that will hit and run around and play defensive. If the sign of a good team is depth, then we’ll have a pretty good club.

    If Correa or Altuve were to go down for a significant period of time, then we’ve got a Bregman. Most clubs would like to have a Bregman starting as their shortstop. And of course Gurriel can very comfortably slide over to third. Marwin too.

    If Springer missed time, we’d probably replace him with just about the best defensive center fielder in MLB and still have a line up full of bats to pick up the slack. Aoki, who I think will play an active role on this club, will be one of the best on base 9th hitters in the game. And Beltran can still go to a corner outfield slot in a pinch. Not often I hope, but he can. And Hernandez can hit left handed pitching when Reddick does not.

    When McCann goes out for a spell, then Gattis might hit 25 homers. He’ll see some pitches alright. Everyone will!

    As for first, well heck, if Gurriel goes on the DL we’ve got more guys that I can count to play first, and if placed in the right spot in the order and left alone for a bit, guys like Reed and my nephew White will hit. Hopefully they’ll still be with us, waiting impatiently in Fresno. For those two guys in particular, there would be so much less pressure to produce when tucked down in an order full of the bats we’ll have out there most nights.

    This group is going to put up some numbers and they will play defense too. It’s going to be fun to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • roadthriller
      February 2, 2017

      Dave- you think Teoscar and Jake both make the team?

      Like

      • daveb7
        February 3, 2017

        Thriller I don’t, but if we lose an outfielder to the DL at any point, then it becomes more likely.

        Like

  9. 1oldpro
    February 3, 2017

    I think that one of the big advantages that the Astros will have with a lineup of hitters, is that Hinch won’t have to move guys around in the lineup as much as he has in the past.
    I hope he is smart enough to put Altuve at lead off and Springer down to the middle of the order. That would allow Reddick to follow Altuve against righties and Bregman to follow Altuve against lefties. If he bats Correa third and Beltran fourth and Springer fifth, they can be followed by the catchers alternating against their respective opposite handed pitchers and Gurriel to bat eighth and Aoki ninth.
    Having a bunch of good hitters that know where they are going to hit and who will be behind them and in front of them will deliver the kind of continuity that the Red Sox had in their lineup last season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • roadthriller
      February 3, 2017

      Right on, OP. I’ve always thought Hinch was overthinking with all the lineup moves, but maybe he was just trying to make lemonade. A stable lineup: another valuable intangible.

      Like

    • daveb7
      February 3, 2017

      Altuve is the best lead off hitter in MLB.

      Like

      • Tim
        February 3, 2017

        You can probably remove ‘lead off’ from your comment above and it might still be true.

        Liked by 1 person

      • daveb7
        February 3, 2017

        Fair point Tim, welcome back.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Mr. Bill
    February 3, 2017

    Remembering 1998 [the 102 win season], and looking for a Derek Bell/Jeff Bagwell/Moises Alou/Richard Hidalgo/Sean Berry quality combo in the middle of the order.

    Like

    • Dan P
      February 3, 2017

      That was there best team ever. Their best offensive team was 2000
      – Bags 47 HR/132 RBI
      – Hidalgo – 44/122
      – Alou – 30/114
      – Meluskey/Eusebio combined – 21/102
      – Berkman 21/67 (in 114 games)
      – Cammy – 15/45
      – Ward – 20/47
      – Truby – 11/59
      – Lugo/Bogar combined – 17/73

      Ten Run Field and PEDs??

      Like

      • Devin
        February 3, 2017

        Careful, Dan, you don’t want to tick off Frank Thomas…who had his worst year as a pro (to that point) in 1998:
        29HR 109RBI .265BA .381OBP .480SLG
        His 1999 was also a bit of a decline and injury shortened…but don’t worry, he bounced back with 43 HR in 2000.

        I joke, but I’m also not joking.

        Like

  11. 1oldpro
    February 3, 2017

    Dan, this is a very well-timed piece, what with the Right and the Left.

    Like

  12. Dan P
    February 3, 2017

    Not being political oldpro though politically it is more a left to right swing….

    Like

  13. Dan P
    February 3, 2017

    One area where we may see some improvements from the “new” guys is batting against LHPs (except by Josh Reddick who has been a disaster). Here are some numbers against lefties only from 2016:
    – Castro – .149 BA / .478 OPS
    – Rasmus – .136/.454
    – Kemp – .143/.440
    – Reed – .067/.243
    – Tucker – .105 / .421
    – Valbuena – .267 / .741 (actual good numbers)

    And the new guys:
    – Reddick – .155 / .366
    – Aoki – .227 / .537
    – McCann – .218 / .662
    – Beltran – .338 / .970

    Like

    • roadthriller
      February 3, 2017

      And hopefully “old guys” revert to the mean. Here’s splits vs LHP for the key guys in 2015 and 2016:
      MarGo .295/.253
      Correa .274/.236
      Springer .296/.274
      Altuve .372/.306
      Altuve hit 30 points under his overall average vs lefties last year, whereas for his career he hits lefties 30 points better than his overall average. I can almost guarantee he will hit lefties better in 2017 that he did last year.

      Like

  14. Gov
    February 3, 2017
  15. Tim
    February 3, 2017

    I want to ask a question, but don’t read into it that I would want this trade to happen. I am just curious of other’s thoughts. If the Astros were to trade Martes, KTuck and Reed in a package for Quintana which player do you think would be the toughest loss to the Astros?

    Like

    • The Amazin' Billy C
      February 3, 2017

      Martes , with Tucker not far behind.

      I think Reed is an AAAA player.

      Like

      • Dan P
        February 3, 2017

        I’m agreeing with Billy C though I would be very happy if Reed turns into a Harmon Killebrew or Boog Powell.

        Like

      • daveb7
        February 3, 2017

        122 at bats? That’s a pretty quick call.

        Like

      • The Amazin' Billy C
        February 3, 2017

        Just going on my gut, which in addition to being fairly large, is rarely wrong.

        Liked by 2 people

    • 1oldpro
      February 3, 2017

      Tucker, Martes and Reed. I pick Tucker because we are trading for a pitcher with four years of control at a real affordable salary, so Quintana sort of takes Martes’ place. We don’t have anyone to take Tucker’s place and we gave Tucker a ton of bonus money. We picked up Martes in a lopsided trade for no bonus money.

      Like

      • Gov
        February 3, 2017

        Tell ya what if this deal gets done, I mentioned it way before talks ever happened back in May. Q is pretty dominant on his own with poor play behind him – there’s no denying he’s an instant #2 in our already stacked rotation.

        The answer is No on Musgrove with Martes & Tucker.
        I would have a hard time trading Joe straight up.

        However,…

        Pavin Smith doesn’t have the “Ted Williams” moniker yet, nor Cole Turney et al – although pretty sweet swings available in this draft. Kyle Tucker we chose instead on Benintendi whereas scouts still say Tucker has same upside (and especially bigger build to fill out). But where is it? Where are the numbers for Tucker (still so young – give it time?) They aren’t as terrible as Cameron’s. The whole “he has potential” argument is met with an older adage: anytime you trade proven for unproven – do it. What, like Anderson for Bagwell?

        I’ve seen some pretty sophisticated math on the Martes Tucker Musgrove proposal reading that Q is still more valuable. I don’t believe it.

        My thing on this trade is the word workhorse. I will trade the fat bodies who just never improve like Singleton (not tradeable, I get it), but never the guys like Laureano or Musgrove who you know are (at this moment) dialed into training.

        So Tucker ehhh, maybe.
        Martes ehhh, maybe
        Reed for sure although yeah for sure
        Paulino is no slouch
        Fisher yes
        McHugh or Fiers yes
        Gattis yes (he’s a piece I luv and not easily replaced but he may be on our bench a lot?)
        One of the young SS’s

        The trade I do is
        Tucker
        Paulino
        Teoscar or Kemp
        Fiers

        Or

        Martes
        Tucker
        Reed
        (Cash or PTBNL)

        That won’t get it done. If it would, as of today, I pull trigger. With Trade B, we reload with drafts and be open to unloading another starter to make room for the 3-headed Monster – Feliz/Musgrove/Devo in case of issues with LMJ/Morton/DK.

        Ergo, the Rangers are terrified..

        Like

  16. Kevin
    February 3, 2017

    I think Harris at 2 years 5 Million great deal for us an club option for 2019 GJ UJ.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. 1oldpro
    February 3, 2017

    Glad to see Harris in the fold. A really good contract for the Astros and he gets financial security he was looking for. Two more arbitration deals left to get done.

    Like

  18. 1oldpro
    February 4, 2017

    I believe the Astros are going to eventually make that trade for a TOR pitcher. They need that next player to be able to compete with Boston and Cleveland for the pennant and with the Dodgers and the Cubs in the World Series.

    Like

    • daveb7
      February 4, 2017

      In full agreement. Luhnow will do it now or do it later, but he wants that guy for the post season.

      Like

    • Tim
      February 4, 2017

      Jim Crane said in a USA Today article the Astros, now that they have received compensation from the Cardinals, will look to make a trade for a SP. They have some extra picks to help reload so I think a deal gets done as long as the White Sox back of their request for Musgrove.

      To answer my question above I would agree with OP. I think Martes is going to be very good, but the Astros have a ton of pitching depth in the minors and will be getting a solid #2 back in a trade, but they don’t have anyone the likes of Tucker in the minors. Luhnow has done a good job finding gems as throw-ins in trades (Paulino, Martes, etc.) and it wouldn’t surprise me if the pitcher we got from the Blue Jays in the Feldman trade turns out to be another Martes. All 3 players will be tough losses, and I haven’t given up on Reed being a solid power hitting 1B in the majors, but Tucker, for me, will be the toughest loss.

      Like

      • Devin
        February 4, 2017

        Another thing to consider is what I’ll call the Singleton factor. Prospects are rated on future expectations. A down year from Tucker may significantly diminish his value. It would not surprise me to see a lot of performance from Tucker similar to that of Colin Moran in milb. That’s not to say he won’t one day be a Sean Green/John Olerud type hitter. I like him a lot and want to see him stay in system, but remember our FO views as commodity first.

        Like

      • Gov
        February 4, 2017

        Well, and see it’s an interesting nuance that’s going on here among guys with good opinions.

        Tim, you used the phrase “tons of pitching depth,” just like I would. But Op has famously written about us having rag arm crappy starters (it was true when he wrote it) and recently about many mediocre pitchers. I’ve had a few guys agree with me about using 8 starters over a whole season, but the tandem philosophy has flaws. Mgr’s thinking if I had it my way, I’d run every bit of tread off the tires of a kid they won’t need long-term, they’re commodities it’s a business – on the other, the Astros organization is different, older players come back, contribute consult coach and all say the same thing. We’re family and loyal.

        It’s damaging to see GM’s bandying about names as if they weren’t part of the long term plan. Common knowledge that we have already been willing to trade Martes/Tucker in the Archer deal, so that cat’s out (and many more).

        If you’re a player in a system, though, where you do your job among many moving parts – that’s the task. I really think we have to consider one major possibility.

        If Martes Musgrove and Tucker do well before we trade them, it may change our minds altogether bc the reverse and immediate value we lose in yrs. In other words, by the trade deadline OUR price may go up by team and individual standards, and even on guys like Paulino etc (who’ve been talked about). Having them on our team, we hold the cards.

        The only real threat is if Q goes to NY, or TEX which neither seem in a long-term position to gut prospects. The reverse implied odds then keeps us in the conversation. It’s a conundrum unless we change our view of how to use this “depth” we’re talking about.

        Or, we have to get leaner to make room for the cream to rise, and not carry the deadweight. It’s a tightrope, Man! You have scouts telling you about Cionel Perez and Franklin Perez, you have Mike Fiers in their assuring AJ he’s ready, you got Altuve going to bat for Teoscar.

        It may be that Hinch Luhnow and Crane sit down and say alright what can we do with this pick, money and prospects? Like it’s burning a hole in their pocket, a juggernaut of momentum on this deal!

        Like

  19. Mr. Bill
    February 4, 2017

    Personally, I would not trade either Musgrove or Martes – or Laureano – for Quintana. The most I would give up would be Paulino, Reed, Bostick, and Dawson.

    Like

    • Becky⚾
      February 4, 2017

      Mr. Bill………*E X A C T L Y*!! “Q” has a history of elbow and for arm problems. It would be our luck ( or Luhnow’s luck) for us to trade 3-4 top prospects for him, and get burned on the other end like they did for Gomez, Kazmir, Conger ect…

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Russell Johnson
    February 4, 2017

    dan, i think your third bullet point is dead on to what has been happening the last couple of years and the reason some of our guys seem to perk up when they were traded. our lineup had bright spots, but it was a weak one in spots. when guys were traded and landed in a consistently good order up and down the lineup, i think they relaxed and settled in. now we have the deep order up and down the lineup, i think our guys may relax and just play to their strengths rather than try to hit the ball out every at bat. this will be good for them and for the pitchers, as it seems we are likely to score more runs, so the pitchers can relax alittle. i think also we will have more of a killer instinct this year, when we have teams down, we’ll play add on more consistently and take them out. so wooooohooooo. this may be a very fun year.

    Like

  21. Mr. Bill
    February 4, 2017

    The weak levels in our organization in 2017 look to be: 1. catching talent below AAA; 2. starting pitching below AAA; 3. anybody who can hit for a combination of average plus some power below AA. Last year our low A and rookie league teams were awful [Quad Cities] to mediocre [Tri-City, Greenville]. The Blue DSL team won games, but had no power-generators whatever. The Orange GCL team was truly an organizational embarrassment.The glaring weaknesses at the lower levels of our organization – which one draft with an extra pick at 57 and 75 from the Cardinals will not come close to fixing – tells me we should think long and hard before trading either Martes, Tucker, Laureano, or Musgrove for anyone less than Kershaw or Scherzer.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Becky⚾
    February 4, 2017

    We clearly need to trade for another #1 pitcher…..and I certainly hope Luhnow uses common sense when it come to trading for one…..and that seems to be Quintana.
    Giving up Martes AND Musgrove is not an option. You can NEVER have too much pitching, and I’m not so sure this organization is THAT flush with minor league talent.
    Just my 2 cents, but Luhnow’s track record trading for players ain’t exactly sterling.
    Becky ⚾

    Sorry Tim…..I know you really like the guy…I do too, but his track record is less than stellar when he makes trades.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sandy
      February 4, 2017

      I’m cautiously optimistic that Luhnow has learned some hard lessons in the trading game.
      Last year I think he would have thrown the Sox what ever they asked for. This year he took a step back and thought about what he may be giving up.
      I do agree that Musgrove and Martes should be untouchable. At least in the Quintana deal.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tim
      February 5, 2017

      I echo what Sandy says above. Most intelligent people learn from their mistakes and there is no disputing Luhnow is an intelligent person. Many of his trades have not worked out for the Astros, but I still look back on what we lost and, so far, it appears the biggest loss is Josh Hader. So, although the players we received did not work out for the Astros the trades themselves have done very little to set back this organization as a whole. I don’t think there is an Astros fan around that wouldn’t love to undo the Gomez/Fiers trade, but it wasn’t a devastating loss of talent to the organization.

      I think if the Quintana situation would have presented itself last year Luhnow probably would have already given in to Hahn’s demands. This is why I am, somewhat, encouraged by what I have seen so far. He did not cave into the demands of Musgrove, Martes and KTuck, at least not yet. 🙂

      Personally, I could live with a Martes, KTuck, Reed + lower level talent in a trade for Quintana, but I fully understand others trepidation in making this trade. If we add Quintana with Keuchel, McCullers, Morton and McHugh with Musgrove as a depth option our rotation is on par with just about any team in baseball. Combine that with our much improved offense and top bullpen and there is no reason we shouldn’t be legitimate contenders, along with Boston and Cleveland, to win the A.L. I think we are contenders now, but the Quintana trade proposal, if it comes to fruition, would make us that much stronger.

      Like

      • Devin
        February 5, 2017

        Hey Tim, my complaint on those trades is not what we have up, but what we didn’t get. I wonder how much was Luhnow’s fault in the sense he targeted Kazmir/Gomez and how much it was a matter of this was all other teams were willing to give him in response to past actions, SI articles, and leaks.

        Also, I saw a lot from Musgrove last year. I agree Quintana would help us reach Oct, but I’m not sure I’d hand him the ball over healthy Keuchel (2015, please), LMJ, or Musgrove … but obviously we have to see how a larger workload/exposure impacts him and whether he can approach Quintana’s consistency.

        Like

  23. Dan P
    February 5, 2017

    For a little insight into how the Astros look at pitchers – see this interview with Mike Elias by fangraphs
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/mike-elias-on-drafting-and-developing-astros-pitchers/

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      February 5, 2017

      When Whitley was still on the board when it came time for the Astros to choose him, they must have been jumping for joy. I loved the pick and that is why you have never seen his name come up when I talk trades.

      Like

      • Devin
        February 5, 2017

        A bit of a tangent, but with HS players eligible for the draft, MLB is the only sport that what region you are within affects the players you take to such a large degree. I’m looking forward to seeing Whitley. I’d love to know how other teams rated him having fewer boots on the ground to see him as often.
        Elias says what I want to hear except for the part about picking pitchers they think will do well in their system. You wouldn’t turn down a Roy Halladay because he has to pitch down in the zone – you find coaches that can maximize the talent you can find. Breaking down a delivery or swing begins day 1 of any competent DI program. If Houston can’t do that, well, I can give them some names to hire.

        Like

  24. 1oldpro
    February 5, 2017

    This link I am providing shows the Astros projected WAR for individual players, plus adding them up and comparing them to the players on all the other teams’ 40-man rosters: http://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=ALL&teamid=21.
    As you can see, the Astros are right in the middle of the second tier, with the Dodgers and the Cubs being the upper tier.
    Now, if you add Quintana’s WAR of 4.2(Steamer) and subtract Peacock’s 0.3, you rocket the Astros above the second tier and place them in the upper tier at 49.1.
    Then, if Jose altuve delivers his normal WAR above 5.0 instead of the ridiculously low 3.9 that Fangraphs projects him to have, the Astros are up there among the elite teams and project to be facing either the Dodgers or the Cubs for the whole shmear in November.
    Right now, the Astros project to be fighting it out with the Red Sox and the Indians fpr the AL pennant with the Astros having much lesser pitching staff WAR than they do.
    The addition of Quintana jumps our pitching staff over them in projected WAR.
    I know these are only projections, but I can tell you that the Astros are looking at their team in this exact same way. It is a game of making projections and then finding the players to meet those projections and that is what Luhnow is telling to Crane and why Crane said we are still looking for starting pitching to get the Astros where they want to be.
    The last five years as we have been jumping up and down screaming for the Astros to compete, we were doing it because we wanted them to get good and win us a championship. We are right there on the edge and I don’t want our unwillingness to deal minor league prospects for that one or two pieces to keep us from achieving the ultimate goal we have been waiting 55 years for. We already have AJ Hinch against Francona, Farrell and Maddon. I see that as a disadvantage, so I would like to provide Hinch with all the weapons we can, Quintana now and probably another dominant reliever at the deadline and sacrifice some prospects and go for it now and try to get that championship in 2017 and 2018 before our payroll holds us back in 2019. We are so close!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. 1oldpro
    February 5, 2017

    Since I am not an ESPN Insider I couldn’t read Keith Law’s prospect list. So I really appreciate TCB helping me out a little. I still don’t know the Astros’ Top 20, according to Law, but this gets me halfway there: http://www.crawfishboxes.com/2017/2/5/14513158/law-overhauls-his-top-10-astros-prospects-in-2017.
    How about Laureano, Teoscar and Stubbs!!
    I wonder if Abraham Toro Hernandez will be on this list in a year or two.

    Like

    • Kevin
      February 5, 2017

      Awesome link Ty OP

      Like

  26. 1oldpro
    February 6, 2017

    Tonight Mrs. 1OP cooked our favorite, fried chicken. Two of my grandkids watched their first Super Bowl and got their first look at Lady Gaga.
    It was a wonderful time and the game was so good that everyone was screaming at the end of it, even though we really didn’t have an interest in either team. We got to see history made in our old home town.
    Now it’s all quiet here in the woods and I punch these keys to the music of Han Zimmer’s Avatar.
    It’s been a good day and I say goodnight to all of you. Let’s blog some more on Monday. Heck, I’m retired!

    Liked by 2 people

    • 1oldpro
      February 6, 2017

      Wow, I must be more tired than I thought. James Horner composed the music to Avatar. After Horner died in a plane crash flying his own plane, James Cameron was devastated. They were very close, had worked together for years and he wanted Horner to compose the music for the sequel. Later, as Horner’s family were going through his stuff they found the music for the sequel, finished, years ahead of schedule.
      Horner was one of the best.

      Like

      • Dan P
        February 6, 2017

        Titanic music by Horner and many other movies – up there just behind John Williams in my book.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. Dan P
    February 6, 2017

    When is the last time a league leader in HRs could not find a job? There is speculation that ex-Astro Chris Carter might end up in Japan if he can’t find somebody interested in his all or nothing approach to hitting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1oldpro
      February 6, 2017

      The only time a one-tool player can make it in the Majors is when that tool is power. When a player with that one tool starts to get older and more expensive, the power isn’t enough. Carter has had a decent run, making more money than I would in three lifetimes. I hope he has invested it well.

      Like

    • Devin
      February 6, 2017

      They broke it down on MLB network last September and Carter was amazingly inept for someone who hit 41 HR and drove in 94 runs. Basically, if the pitch was not over the middle of the plate and middle of the zone or lower he was ice cold.

      Of his HR, 23 came with no runners on. 5 were two run shots, 6 came with two on, and two with the bases loaded. To total that up for you, he garned 41 RBI for plating himself and 23 additional RBI for runners who were on base. That leaves 23 RBI coming from non-HR. Only 2 came from sacrifice flies.

      Add that in with his inability in 2015 (with HOU) to hit pitches faster than 92 mph in play and I’ll imagine a lot of teams are unwilling to give him a roster spot let alone commit a few million dollars for a DH or below average first baseman.

      Like

    • Dan P
      February 6, 2017

      op and Devin –
      But you are forgetting that he was still able to lead the league in K’s.
      Why you would ever throw him something other than a strike I don’t know.
      Here are his stats last year with different counts
      – 0-2 count – 34 K in 52 AB, .096 BA, .284 OPS
      – 1-2 count – 110 K in 184 AB, .113 BA, .347 OPS
      – 2-2 count – 71 K in 112 AB, .089 BA, .268 OPS

      You would almost have to try to be this bad.

      Like

  28. sargeh
    February 6, 2017

    Pitchers report just around the corner!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Russell Johnson
    February 6, 2017

    kc signs hammels, does this mean we are closer now to making a deal for one of their pitchers?

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      February 6, 2017

      I don’t think so. They just extended Duffy and lost Ventura to a terrible car crash. I think they had to sign Hammels to give them five starters. The loss of Ventura changed a lot for them.

      Like

      • rj
        February 6, 2017

        i think you are right on, op. i had forgotten about that horrible accident and thought they now had six.

        Like

  30. astrocolt45
    February 7, 2017

    Not sure if link will work, but on Twitter, Brian McTaggart shows the Astros packing for ST. He includes a short video of Orbit packing.

    Like

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This entry was posted on February 2, 2017 by in Astros.
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