ChipalattAwards for May

Time to give the Chippy’s for the second month of the season.  It is no surprise that the starting pitcher winner is truly outstanding as compared to the everyday player and bullpen winners.

Starting Pitcher of the Month. Justin Verlander. If you go by the antiquated measurement of won-loss – JV’s 3-2 for May is not remarkable, but he was great in every other way. He led the staff with a 0.86 ERA / 0.696 WHIP / 41.2 IP / .153 BA against/ .201 OBP against / .453 OPS against. Verlander made his opponents look pretty much like a bunch of Jake Marisnick‘s flailing unsuccessfully for the month.

Runner-up. Gerrit Cole. Just like in April, Cole would have won this award on most teams and most months. Cole was a luckier 3-0 when compared to Verlander and compiled a 2.45 ERA/.879 WHIP and a 13.1 K/ 9 IP. The slash against him was .164 BA/.246 OBP/.555 OPS.

In April – It was also Verlander followed by Cole and Morton as co-runners-up.

Everyday Player of the Month. Evan Gattis.  Gattis turned things around after a horrific April with 6 HRs and 16 RBIs paired up with a .281 BA/.342 OBP/.952 OPS. If you gave this to George Springer (18 R/ 5 HRs/ 15 RBIs) it would be a reasonable argument, but ….my runner-up is a part-time everyday…..

Runner-up. Max Stassi. He has been tremendous against LHP, but solid overall. In May he had 9 Rs/ 3 HRs/10 RBIs with a great slash of .340/.377/1.017.

In April – It was Carlos Correa with Springer as the runner-up.

Relief Pitcher of the Month. Collin McHugh. He had a great 1.20 ERA as he went 1-0 and appeared in 10 G and put up 15.1 IPs. The slash line against him was .208 BA/.276 OBP/.597 OPS and he was nails for the month.

Runner-up. Joe Smith. Even though he had superior numbers to McHugh, he just did not pitch in as many high leverage situations. In 8 IP and 9 appearances, he gave up only 2 hits and 1 walk for the month. He had a microscopic 1.13 ERA and .375 WHIP and insanely small slash against .087 BA/ .125 OBP/ .342 OPS.

In April – This award belonged to Chris Devenski with McHugh in the runner-up spot.

Biggest Surprise (Positive). Tony Kemp. He was a much better version this time around – as he put up many tough ABs after his call-up in May with a .293/.388/.802 slash. Note he is floating back to earth a bit in June.

Runner-up. Joe Smith. He has a track record as a solid reliever, but an awful April had fed into us conveniently forgetting that.

In April – It was Stassi backed up by McHugh.

Biggest Surprise (Negative). Carlos Correa. Some of his numbers are good, like his 17 RBIs. But the guy has way too much talent to have a .192 BA/ .292 OBP /.686 OPS slash for a month, especially when he has been touted as a possible league MVP.

Runner-up. Ken Giles. OK, for some folks this is not a surprise, but his numbers in May were just plain bad, except……for the 7 saves. In 10 gms he had a 7.80 ERA, a 1.875 WHIP with a .378 BA / .395 OBP / .908 OPS against. So, the plus side is he was 7 for 7 in save opportunities and the other three times it was God help you for using him without a save on the line.

In April – Jake Marisnick and Derek Fisher shared the “honor” backed up by Joe Smith.

Head scratcher stats. Tony Kemp. Quick as a hiccup Tony, who normally hits in the 9th spot, got on base 18 times in May after his call-up and only scored 3 runs, but knocked in 9. The 3 runs is a real head scratcher when you consider he knocked himself in with a HR, had a couple doubles and a couple stolen bases. He was a duck left on the pond most of the time.

Most Likely to Lose his Spot in High Leverage situations. Will Harris. Had a 0-1 record and a 6.00 ERA for the month. He really did not put that many people on – his WHIP was a solid 1.111. But 6 of his 10 runners for the month scored. That is a problem.

Most Likely to Gain Harris’ Spot in More High Leverage situations. Hector Rondon. He appeared in a club high 12 games and had a very good 1.80 ERA / 0.900 WHIP / 11.7 K per 9 IP. His slash against was excellent too – .211 BA/.231 OBP/ .573 OPS.

Do you agree with these awards?

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91 comments on “ChipalattAwards for May

    • Agree with Zanuda. If they can’t pay you, they should at least give you access. If you remember, I asked you about this several months ago — whether you could occasionally talk to players, coaches, etc. Someone who intelligently analyzes and promotes the Astros as you do should be given “fresh meat” from time to time. And by “fresh,” I mean entirely original, derived from exclusive access, that is, interviews on at least the same level as pro sports reporters.

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  1. Most self-disciplined award goes to . . . Ken Giles. Proved on May 1, 2018, that corporal punishment of baseball players is okay . . . if self-inflicted, of course.

    Lost and found awards . . .
    – Lost fastball – Dallas Keuchel
    – Lost curve – Lance McCullers, Jr.
    – Lost slider – tie: Brad Peacock and Justin Verlander
    – Lost power stroke – Yuli Gurriel
    – Lost in space – Will Harris [close relative of Will Robinson?]
    – Just lost – Derek Fisher
    – Found magic bat – Max Stassi
    – Found power stroke – Evan Gattis
    – Found command and control – Hector Rondon
    – Found a little taste of redemption – Joe Smith

    Liked by 2 people

    • – So, if JV had not lost his slider, his ERA would be 0.00?
      – Wondering if Harris is trying to pitch through something – he has been a pretty steady pitcher (outside the playoffs) – so it is bothersome for him to be poor over a whole month and then start June off with a couple meatballs for HRs. Something’s happening and it doesn’t look good

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      • I don’t know that JV’s ERA would have been 0.00 with his good slider, but I strongly suspect that his SO numbers would have probably been up significantly. As his slider has eluded him, he resorted to his fastball more, and since it is as good as any starter’s in the game, the only thing he has really ‘lost’ is the super high SO totals he was logging at the start of the year.

        I personally think that Harris’ ‘slump’ should be the cause of at least a little bit more concern even to the non-ledgers among us – because he has been the most consistent member of the bullpen for a long time. It’s hard to see the only real consistently excellent member of the bullpen struggling – and by struggling I mean a 4.87 ERA [compare vs. lifetime 3.12], and a 1.33 WHIP [compare lifetime 1.12], and a .263 BAA [compare lifetime 2.29].

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      • I do think something is up with Harris. It could be a dead arm or something a little worse. It seems to me like he always answers the bell, though, and likely gets thrown into some situations with low success chances a bit too often. In other words, he’s been great for us over the years, but don’t always use him in high stress innings if you want him in high leverage situations later in the year.

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      • In watching the replays of the two home runs, Harris missed the catcher’s mitt by over a foot on each. The second was very high in the zone, but not close to where it was supposed to go.

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  2. The Politically Incorrect ‘Indian Warrior’ Award for May goes to Jose Altuve – who set all-time Astro record with 10 straight hits -against the Cleveland Indians, no less.

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  3. The ‘David Slew the Giants’ Award for May goes to the diminuitive Tony Kemp – who went two-for-two with a sac fly and drove in five runs on May 23 to back Gerritt Cole in the Astros’ 11-2 shellacking of the San Franscisco nine.

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  4. When I look at these stats month by month it emphasizes the fact that baseball and its stats in smaller samples is just weird and unpredictable.
    Why does Bregman (.265 BA/ .380 OBP/ .856 OPS) have the same 11 RBIs as Marwin (.202/.253/.545)?
    How does Kemp in about 1/2 the bats have 9 RBIs – the same as Yuli – who hit .310 for the month?
    How can Harris with a 1.111 WHIP have an ERA of 6.00, while Sipp with a WHIP of 1.606 have an ERA of 1.80?
    How can JV be so totally dominating and yet have 1/2 his starts end in a loss or a no decision?
    How can slow footed J.D. Davis in a cup of coffee have as many runs scored as speedsters Kemp and Fisher combined? (OK – mostly because Fisher was putrid).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Weird how the baseball draft carries so little meaning – just names that I’ve never heard of in my life but…. there could be a Springer or a Keuchel or a Biggio out there.

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    • Yes. All kinds of hidden stories – and potential. Some will be developed; others will not. But it is what the game is all about – a chance to make it to the Bigs.

      Meanwhile, I really like the developing story of Arizona teammates/battery mates Deason and Salazar both coming to the Astros organization.

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  6. Tanners surgery has been rescheduled. The operation is now on Friday at 11:30.
    It will take 4-5 hrs, and our son will text us when Tanner goes through the doors of the operating room, and will let us know when the surgery is over.
    Got a lot on my plate right now…..I’m sending our guys good thoughts, but they are on my back burner right now. Love every single one of you! Becky❤

    Liked by 4 people

  7. FWIW, I really like Seth Beer out of Clemson. As a freshman he looked like a future star. He was solid as a soph, but returned to being one of the best bats in the ACC as a junior.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Man 6-0 with no outs in the 2nd – bad fielding, bad pitching and bad hitting. The triple crown of bad starts to he game.

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  9. Jeeze, I ran to town before the game started, came back and we’re down 4 runs, what the heck happened? Did see the 1 run rally with men left on bases again. Was hoping Stassi would jack one out or knock those runs in because Jake was the auto out, swinging at a high, fastball out the zone. Surely he was not sent down to work on striking out, so pls send him back down.

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  10. Three poorly hit balls mixed in with an opposite field first row dinger got the Ms their first 4. A hit and a long HR got them the other 2 runs. Gattis barely miissed a pop fly HR and Bregman was totally unlucky on a blast to the CF fence

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  11. Well, I’m pleased to hear that Keuchel has retired 16 of his last 17. Really, it’s garbage time. These guys need to own Minute Maid. Too many distractions for this team when in town? At some point pretty soon, it will be time for the club to wake up. And it’s about time for Hinch and Luhnow to start earning their checks too. I know we had some guys with career years in 2017, but we’re also supposed to be more talented this year. I know you’ll appreciate this post Bill.

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  12. Paxton is pounding the outer middle half of the plate with fastballs and we are consistently fouling them off getting into the pitchers count, then striking out on his garbage. I’m losing my mind watching this. All these innings & they haven’t figured that out yet?

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    • I’m wondering if in order to pay Altuve the Astros had to let go of the advanced scouts and video crew. It’s like they are seeing these pitchers for the first time each game.

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  13. Past time for a “come to Jesus” meeting. I don’t care what Jeff Luhnow does, but something had better wake these guys up, or they will be sitting on the couch eating cheese puff and playing view games in October. They are just NOT hitting when it counts! It’s either a homerun or NOTHING….. it’s even worn off Kemp and Davis. Look…..stop with all the experiments. Quit trying to have a guy who has NEVER played left field go out there and try not to screw up! I don’t understand……why did they send Fisher down, and keep Davis up when you’re not going to play him. Marisnick is an albatross, because he can only play center. If I flet better, I’d go down to Minute Maid and beat ’em like a red haired step child. But I cant……but A.J.Hinch can😨

    I know why they sent Fisher down….to play everyday. I get it…..so bring up Ferguson….or T U C K E R!

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  14. Please Please stop worrying. With all the problems, we still have the best record in Baseball. I mean, the 2nd best record, I mean the 3rd best record, I mean 2nd best in the West. Quit it. Stop worrying. We have only lost 3 in a row. And only 7 of the last 10. Stop it now.

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  15. Good news from last night:

    1. The Bullpen was stellar – no runs, 1 ht, no walks, 4 Ks in 2.1 IP;
    2. Marwin Gonzales, who has been an offensive liability most of the year, was partying like it was 2017;
    3. Altuve had yet another multiple hit game;
    4. Reddick looked tuned in and ready to wrestle;
    5. At Fresno, Josh James struck out 13 in 6.1 IP;
    6. We managed to avoid another 1 run loss; and
    8. Dallas Keuchel proved he can still be a league leader [well, in losses].

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  16. Interesting on the Bullpen positives. Sipp and Smith have been very good as of lately. Maybe it’s time to shake up the batting order. Not sure if that will help but who knows. We have been saying all year that the hitting has to start coming around because it’s an unreal expectation that the pitching will continue to be lights out. OK, now the chickens have come home to roost and we’re seeing what we all feared. As a result we’re 3 and 7 in our last 10 games. Yes Marwin has maybe found his groove but not many others have. Correa continues to look bad at the plate as do others. Either it’s bad coaching or they can’t seem to adapt. Looks like lots of guessing at pitches and like most of my test guesses in school, they’re wrong.

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  17. Forrest Whitely is finally back with the Corpus Christi Hooks after serving his suspension. He is slated to start his first game of the year Friday night. Light ’em up, Forrest! [Oh wait, maybe I should rephrase that!]

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The Windmill Award

    – 1st place – Jake Marisnick – 54 Ks, 3 BBs in 115 PAs [46.9 %];
    – 2nd place – Marwin Gonzalez -56 Ks, 19 BBs in 208 PAs [26.9 %];
    – 3rd place – Carlos Corea – 63 Ks, 28 BBs in 245 PAs [25.7 %];

    Runners up [less PAs and/or lower percentages]

    Fisher has 37 Ks and 5 BBs in 79 PAs [46.8 %];
    Stassi has 36 Ks and 8 BBs in 110 PAs [32.7 %];
    Gattis has 42 Ks 13 BBs, in 173 PAs [24.28%]
    McCann has 29 Ks and 12 BBs in 126 PAs [23%];
    Reddick has 31 Ks and 21 BBs in 153 PAs [20.26]
    George Springer – 51 Ks, 23 BBs, in 263 PAs [19.39%]
    Altuve has 41 Ks and 17 BBs in 270 PAs [15.9%]

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The Jake Marisnick Anthem – as performed by the Splatters

    Oh, yes . . . he’s a great . . . defender.
    Defending is what he does well.
    But at bat, in the clutch, he takes strike three too much;
    at offense the poor boy just smells.

    Oh, yes . . . he’s a great . . . defender.
    He can run, dive, and catch like Mike Trout!
    But when it’s his turn to hit? Man, he ain’t worth a ______ [spit?];
    Ring him up! Set him down! Yell ‘Yerrrr OUTTTTT!’

    Too real is this long string of called strike threes;
    Too real is the misery of watching Jake freeze!

    Oh, yes . . . he’s a great . . . defender.
    He’ll scoop up every liner around.
    But his BA’s so low, and he makes so much dough,
    we can’t trade him, and we can’t send him down.
    We unfriend him . . . but he still comes around.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. After blogging on this site back to the Chronicle days I pulled out at the end of 2016. Lately, I have been following the site and would like to step back in.

    Becky, I’m so happy to hear that you are doing well and can now watch the team regularly. I will keep young Tanner in my prayers.

    I have missed posting on the site and look forward to re- engaging .

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  21. This is unbelievable already. Two outs on the bases in one inning. AND they are making Wade Lablanc, look like a Cy Young award winner😠

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  22. Gurriel pounds the ball into the ground and double play….Three M’s pound it into the ground and three seeing eye singles

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    • Maybe we should do it like the M’s Dan, hit where they ain’t, lol. I saw some extreme shifts with 3 inf on the left side of plate against Springer, which of course he hits right into it earlier. If memory serves me correctly the Commish was discussing a few wks ago perhaps doing something about shifts. The thinking was he may try to limit the number used in a game. In reality these are professional hitters who should learn to hit against shifts when a tm stacks 50 men on one side, not have rules made to make it easier to hit against them. I personally don’t care for them but hitters have got to do better by perfecting the craft of hitting against shifts.

      Liked by 3 people

  23. They needed this win. Going into arlington, limping would not be good, since the arlington little league plays us tough. Crane had conference call with Luhnow and Hinch today……and chewed some behind. He said he wanted some answers at the end of this road trip. GOOD. Correa is being looked at in the clubhouse for discomfort on his right side, I’m hoping it’s NOT an oblique strain, because those things last a looong time. Kemp wants a job, or didn’t you notice! Thought I’d let you know, there is absolutely NO WAY I can get the Astros on my television now. Kingwood is called the livable forest for a reason…..it seems that I have too many trees on my property to get a signal for directTV,sooo unless Suddenlink decides to pick up Root sports I will only get to see the guys when they play the idiots up north. I pitched the biggest walleyed, fit you ever saw yesterday when the installer told me the news.So it’s me and my imagination and my HD Radio…..forever. Good win tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Got to go to the game last night and really enjoyed the offensive production but got to reflecting on our pitching. It dawned on me that the real stalwarts in our rotation – Verlander, Cole and Morton – were all acquired through trade or free agency while our homegrown hurlers are the weak link. On the offensive and defensive side our homegrown talent of Altuve, Springer, Correa, Bregman, and Marwin have led the way. I remember when we used to speculate on the effectiveness of the tandem system in the minors for developing pitchers. I think the only homegrown pitcher who is performing at a reasonably high level is Devenski. I’m hoping Whitley, Perez, Bukauskis, etc reverse that trend but what has happened to Martes and Paulino? Seems like imported pitchers do well under Strom but is poaching talent from other organizations the best way to go?

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    • I have been noticing for awhile now that our system seems to produce pitchers that are so deeply into finesse that they forget how to – or lose confidence in their basic pitches enough to – rare back and throw strikes or just pull the string when they need to. As hitters in the league become more and more prepared for the heavy-finesse approach – witness what has happened to Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, and Will Harris this year at Houston, and to Rogelio Armenteros and Francis Martes this year at Fresno – only guys who trust their fastball and changeup enough to get outs the old fashion way [e.g. Verlander, Cole, Morton, and Devenski] – with pitches in or very near the strike zone – tend to excel.

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      • That’s one reason I like Josh James. He seems like an old soul in a young body -a guy like Verlander who’ll look a batter in the eye, then whisper with a friendly smile: “You ain’t gonna be able to touch this . . . but I can’t wait to see you try!’

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      • Another possible theory is that Fresno – indeed the entire PCL – is so much a wind bucket and hitter’s paradise that pitchers who pitch there have to learn to rely on junk and finesse pitches out of the zone to survive. Guys who rely on fastballs and change-ups -even good ones – in or near the zone wind up having horrendous ERAs and WHIPs in the PCL, because with the heat, the dry air, and the wind, just about every fly ball has a chance of making it to or over the fence.

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      • That would be a quite a story if a 34th round pick (Josh James)…..He put up terrific numbers as AA to start the season and has continued them at AAA. 2.54 ERA / 0.988 WHIP / 13.3 K per 9 IP are all mlb worthy, but if he comes up will have to be as a bullpen piece unless something opens for him.

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      • I’ve been thinking ‘bullpen piece’ about Josh James for two years now. I am a little surprised the F.O. has not even started looking at him as, and grooming him as, at least a set-up man, if not a closer. I think the unavailability or ineffectiveness of other starters on that team may have played in their decision to keep Josh starting game. My hope is that Cionel Perez plays well in the ‘bad air’, and perhaps Paulino, and hopefully even Brady Rodgers, can come back strong, the Josh James bullpen experiment could begin as early as this summer.

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    • Martes has been injured.
      Paulino has been injured.
      Bukauskas has been missing
      Deetz has been suspended.
      Whitley has been suspended.
      The Astros have a problem developing their starting pitchers into the major league rotation. However, they are excelling in getting their pitching prospects into the rotations of other organizations.
      By the way, Keuchel has lost two matchups with Kluber, two matchups with Paxton and one matchup with Severino. Isn’t it time to match him up againsts other team’s #5 starter?
      The Astros have a ton of pitching prospects in their system, but still do not have a good closer at either AA or AAA. If they can’t find closers in the minors, how are they going to find one to pitch in the majors?
      The AL has figured out Chris Devenski.

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      • The Martes situation has me quite puzzled, OP. This appears to be an undefined, undiagnosed, and untreated injury. He pitched badly in three April starts – walking 17 batters in 18.2 innings, in which he posted a disappointing 6.75 ERA and an even more disappointing 2.31 WHIP. He was yanked from the rotation, and said to have ‘elbow discomfort’. By May 14 we were told that he was able to play catch at the Astros’ spring training facility with “no issues”, but was not going back to Fresno. We were also told that an MRI revealed no structural damage. Apparently, Francis has spent the last month at extended spring training working with someone on something or other.

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      • Paulino’s status is also a bit shrouded in mystery. He pitched well for us in ST, and seemed all set to start the year at Fresno. He didn’t. Instead, on April 5 he was placed on the minor-league disabled list with an ‘undisclosed injury’. It was later reported that something nonspecific was wrong with his shoulder. Then, on April 30, he was activated. In his first outing he looked a little rusty, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks over three innings – but he did strike out five. He pitched in 4 more games. Altogether he struck out 23 in 18 IP, and only had a 1.17 WHIP -but in the PCL air that somehow netted him a 5.50 ERA. On May 31, with no real new event reported, he was placed back on the DL, citing the same undefined shoulder malady. We were told medical intervention was unnecessary, and that David was simply being given some time off to rest.

        Hmmmmn. Are we saving bullpen arms for the stretch run?

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      • Bill, I have spent my whole life being told about mysteries I am not supposed to be able to comprehend. So, Astro pitching prospects fall under the heading of faith items for me. Things I am not capable of understanding.

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      • J.B. Bukauskas’ situation is even more mysterious. On May 3, after getting knocked around pretty good at Quad Cities, Bukauskas was placed on the 7-day disabled list with an ‘undisclosed injury’. 7 days came and went. Then 7 more -and 7 more. It has now been over 30 days since JB was heard from. Crickets. Are we looking at an alien abduction?

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    • We have yet to produce a starting pitcher using the tandem method. We appear to have produced one relief pitcher (Devenski). A number of guys will have a chance at success in other organizations though.

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  25. Interesting that we can grow hitters/position players but not pitchers. Good thing because otherwise we wouldn’t have anybody to trade to get the likes of Verlander/Cole.

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  26. Help me out with pitchers we have trained up that are presently starters for someone else. Here are the ones that come to mind:

    1. Joe Musgrove;
    2. Daniel Mengden:
    3. Nick Tropeano:
    3. Folty;
    3. Happ [not really our product -came to us from Phillies org];

    One day? Franklin Perez?

    Liked by 1 person

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