This week the Astros locked up GM Jeff Luhnow through the year 2023 and gave him a promotion and title of President of Baseball Operations.
In the mystery world of GM and manager salaries, we don’t know if he is a volunteer candy striper or pulling down Justin Verlander green, but it would be a good guess that he’s making somewhere between $5 and 10 million a year. While much of the world thinks he simply had his team tank for a few years and then won based on obtaining better draft picks, those who have watched closely know there were a lot of steps that led to last year’s championship and this year’s highly competitive team.
Here is one wag’s rankings of the top 30 moves of the Luhnow era and note – there is a better ranking for help in the WS year…..
- Justin Verlander trade – Really one of the most significant trades to occur after the “normal” July 31 trade deadline ever, this trade energized the team, the fan base and helped drive the team to their first WS championship….and did not cause them to lose their very top prospects.
- Carlos Correa draft and signing – Mark Appel, Byron Buxton, Mike Zunino and Kevin Gausman were all thrown around as being more worthy than Correa for the overall 1-1 pick in 2012. But the Astros grabbed the player who has been the most accomplished to date from that class and signed him under slot (see #5 below).
- Charlie Morton signing – After 9 years in the NL, Morton had a 46-71 career record and a 4.54 ERA. Oh, and he had pitched only 17.1 IP in 2016 due to a non-arm injury. The Phillies bought out his contract for $1 million and the pointy heads in the Astros front office looked at the increased velocity he had shown and super spin rate in those 17.1 innings and said give this guy $14 million for the next two seasons. The result – a 22-8 record and a 3.38 ERA, plus he was the winning pitcher in two 7th game playoff matchups.
- Bo Porter firing – A.J. Hinch signing – Luhnow sat through one season of incumbent manager Brad Mills before firing him and hiring “his” guy, Bo Porter. By the end of the 2nd season under Porter, Luhnow had to admit that this was not working. Porter was likely not going to be the guy to nurture the rebuild or to be 100% behind the statistics-driven front office. So he fired Porter and before the start of the 2015 season hired Hinch, who had won only 42% of his games with the D’Backs. But that was then and the more mature, Hinch took the better players he was given and has won 57% of his regular season games and the whole enchilada.
- Signing Lance McCullers Jr. and Rio Ruiz with the excess of Correa cash – Both McCullers and Ruiz were first-round talents that seemed college-bound headed into the draft. Luhnow and friends grabbed McCullers with a compensatory pick and Ruiz as a 4th rounder and then signed them with the extra cash saved in the Correa signing. The 24 y.o. LMJ has been a bit up and down and injury prone, but he has an overall MLB record of 27-19 with a 3.63 ERA and is a critical part of the Astros present and future. Ruiz was used to bring in Evan Gattis.
- Rule 5 “trade” for Marwin Gonzalez – The Red Sox took Marwin from the Cubs in the Rule 5 draft and immediately traded him to the Astros. He has been the most flexible Astro since 2012 playing all over the IF and in left field and culminating in his 2017 career year leading the team in RBIs on the way to the championship.
- Collin McHugh waiver pick-up – To get any kind of asset and not give up another player or a draft pick is a bargain. To pick up a pitcher who has a 50-28 record and a 3.57 ERA for nothing is unbelievable. And now Collin has slid into the bullpen without a complaint and has been a great weapon this season with a 2-0 record and a 1.13 ERA.
- Combine / Integrate traditional and sabermetric methods – The Astros have moved from a lost team to the cutting edge of applying technology to the traditional methods available to evaluate and develop players.
- Trade for Brian McCann – He’s showing his age a bit and his batting average is often lagging, but straight out without the trade for McCann the Astros would not be world champs. The consummate tough guy catcher and team leader.
- Back Away from Brady Aiken – It was embarrassing at the time and made the fandom question whether the front office knew what they were doing and whether they were going to be a team that would have trouble signing players going forward. But bottom line would you trade Aiken for #11?
- Drafting Alex Bregman – It feels like a slam dunk now, but the Astros drafted a top college middle infielder as the second player in the 2015 draft when they already had one of the best young 2B and SS combo in the majors in Correa and Jose Altuve. And if you were thinking of moving him to 3B….the team had just committed $47.5 million through 2020 for Cuban 3B Yuli Gurriel. Three years down the line and the Astros look brilliant for drafting Bregman and handing him the third base spot.
- Signing Yuli Gurriel – At the time, this was the biggest cash and years commitment the team put on their books for a guy, who looked good in international venues but had not come close to playing 162 games a year. But….again this was picking up an asset without giving up a player or a draft pick. They grabbed him, moved him to 1B and have watched as he has been a line drive machine for the team.
- Trade for Evan Gattis – Luhnow took a big chance here, trading off a young pitcher, Mike Foltynewicz who was just sniffing around the majors, a 2013 second round pick in Andrew Thurman and a 2012 4th round pick in Rio Ruiz for a powerful backup catcher with knee and back problems in Gattis and a 28 y.o. reliever, James Hoyt. Gattis can be very cold or very hot, but he has done significant damage for the Astros including the 7th game homer that helped send them to the championship.
- Jed Lowrie/Fernando Rodriguez trade for Brad Peacock, Max Stassi and Chris Carter – This trade demonstrates the importance of allowing trades to simmer before total judgment. Back after the 2015 season, this looked like a meh trade. On the plus side, Lowrie had not stayed with the A’s very long and even re-signed with the Astros before being traded again. But it looked like the Astros had really only gotten Carter out of the trade, who was a two-trick pony of infrequent home runs mixed in with overly frequent strikeouts. Flash ahead to 2018 and Peacock has become a great pitcher for the Astros and Stassi has become a very solid catcher sharing time with McCann.
- Trade for Ken Giles – Just like one can’t deny that Giles pitched poorly in the playoffs last season, one also has to admit he was very good during the regular season where he converted 34 of 38 save opportunities. He has had some meltdowns along the way and currently is sharing the closer’s role with #26 below. The Astros gave up a lot of bodies for Giles, but with Appel retiring, Brett Oberholtzer doing little before leaving, Harold Arauz and Tom Eshelman never getting above the minors – this is basically Giles for Vince Velasquez. VV has had his moments, but overall he has reflected his below average 15-20 record and 4.55 ERA for the Phils.
- Will Harris waiver pick-up – This move could be tied entirely to tanking as the Astros had the first shot at Harris when he was released by Arizona and pounced on him. Even with some struggles here in 2018, he has been a great bullpen pick up with a 2.53 ERA over 211 appearances over the last 4 years with the Astros.
- Signing of Josh Reddick – Colby Rasmus unexpectedly accepted his qualifying offer for the 2016 season (the first player to do that) and so instead of looking for an OF in 2016, the Astros were looking for one in 2017. Reddick was signed to a four-year contract and turned in a career year in 2017. He has started 2018 slower with the bat, but his fielding has been sterling including 6 OF assists in53 games.
- Jarred Cosart / Enrique Hernandez / Austin Wates traded for Jake Marisnick / Francis Martes / Colin Moran / and the pick that became Daz Cameron – While Jake has not been good this year, he was a major contributor in the 2017 regular season until he was injured. Martes gave the Astros a few good spot starts along with poor relief work last year. Moran was a major piece in obtaining Gerrit Cole and Cameron was one of the pieces that brought Verlander to the Astros.
- Defensive Shifts – Once in awhile these backfire on the Astros, but anyone who watches a lot of games knows that the Astros use of this strategy has been a positive and has led to more shifting throughout the game.
- Front office additions Mike Elias and Sig Mejdal – Luhnow brought both of these guys from the Cardinals as special assistants to him. Elias a Yalie has been an important cog in the successful string of drafts. Mejdal has two engineering degrees (he must be a great guy says I) and was inspired by Moneyball to pursue this career and he helps out in all aspects of the game.
- International Emphasis – Look at the Astros top 30 prospects – player after player has arrived here out of a big emphasis of signing youngsters out of Latin America. This also reflects the additional investment Jim Crane put into the Astros’ prospects when he took over ownership of the team. This is a huge supplement to the annual drafts.
- Moving Joe Musgrove from the rotation to the bullpen rather than to the minors – Musgrove was stinking it up as a starter in 2017. Instead of sending him to the minors, they moved him to the bullpen where he became a late-inning weapon including winning the incredible Game 5 of the World Series. Musgrove was a big chip in the Cole trade.
- Jose Altuve extension – There were a lot of concerns about the Mighty Might leaving for the highest bidder after the 2019 season. Instead, the team reached out and locked him up through his prime thru 2024, while sending his teammates a positive message.
- Protecting the cream of the minors – There was a lot of pressure for the team to go get additional starting pitching help during the 2017 season. But they never let #29 and or #30 be part of the deal for Verlander or Chris Archer or Jose Qunitana.
- Trade for Gerrit Cole – The Astros had just won the World Series after picking up Verlander. They had a strong rotation even if they used McHugh or Peacock in the Mike Fiers spot. But they showed a killer instinct in going for Cole and he has been worth every asset they sent.
- Hector Rondon signing – The Astros saw their bullpen meltdown in the heat of the 2017 playoffs. They decided to go sign a veteran in Rondon who had been a closer and had been through the playoff crunch with the Cubs. He has been a valuable bullpen piece in 2018.
- Carlos Beltran – He had one of his worst seasons as a player in trying to fill the Astros DH black hole in 2017. But as intimated by many of the other hitters, he was a great mentor and unofficial coach and the team was still the top hitting team in the majors even with his lighter stats.
- Tony Sipp – Sipp came to the Astros as a waiver pickup like McHugh and Harris. He gave them two strong seasons and after faltering the last two seasons he has again become a relevant pitcher in the bullpen in 2018.
- The Kyle Tucker Pick – He was the last of the first round picks resulting from the Astros’ bad play – chosen as the 5th pick overall in the 2015 draft. Despite being 2 to 5 years younger than his competition at every level above rookie ball, he has been a shining star at a position of need at the major league level and his numbers at AAA this season make him a prime call-up later in the season.
- The Forrest Whitley Pick – He was the 8th pitcher chosen in the 2016 draft (17th overall) but is considered the top pitching prospect despite his non-PED drug suspension. He is more likely to get a call in 2019, but if he keeps up his minor league dominance he might be of assistance late in 2018.
A few questions:
- Does this list convince you that Luhnow’s success is more than a product of tanking?
- Do you agree with the 30 chosen?
- Would you move the 30 around – up or down?
Baseball is one of the only areas where failing 7 out of 10 times is considered success. Off the top of my head it is hard to think of Luhnow moves that should be inserted into this list. I like some of his moves that didn’t pan out – like signing the Mexican slugger. I think we should revisit this list in November, though. Houston’s postseason may hinge on #25…a move I disagreed with at the time.
Also, not giving an extension to Dallas Keuchel may be a non-move that belongs on the list. I question the importance of #11 though. What if Houston had drafted Andew Benintendi instead, for example? I suppose having whiffed on the previous two drafts (passing over Bryant for Appel and the #10 fiasco with Aiken) it was important to get a solid, future major leaguer and Bregman fits that bill. Perhaps I would frame it in that light.
Great list Dan, Jeff deserved his promotion , new deal. The only trade that still irks me a bit is what we gave Milwaukee for Fiers and nut job Gomez. I know that we have restocked to pond , won a WS, that one even back at that time , was a head scratcher to me. He has made some great moves and drafts the last 3 years.
Brad Hand had two outs and two strikes on Steve Piscotty in the bottom of the ninth and then gave up the tying home run. Oakland scores again in the tenth and the blown save works it’s magic.
Every reliever blows saves.
When you look back on losses, things like getting thrown out at home in the first inning when you shouldn’t be trying it and keeping your best player out of the lineup instead of playing him, really points out how dumbness and stubbornness could come back to haunt you when home field advantage in the playoffs means so much.
When your super utility guy gets thrown out arguing strikes early in a tie game, he robs you of all the things you pay him for that he provides late in that game. When that game results in a one run loss and breaks a 12-game winning streak, it’s pretty obvious how rotten a move that was.
While Jose Altuve should never have been made to sit out last night, there is every reason Marwin Gonzalez should have to sit on the bench tonight.
The Rays score the winning run last night because your regular 3rd baseman is playing 2B, because your MVP 2nd baseman is on the bench and your first baseman is playing 3B and the game winning hit goes right through him. BOOM! It’s like getting bit on the butt by a snake when you went out in the woods because you think your Most Valuable Potty deserves a rest. You end up with a bitten butt and a rested toilet. Was it worth it and how smart do you look now?
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OP. I don’t think Bregman gets up any higher in order to reach the chopper off the top of Yuli’s glove. But I get your point. Tonight would have been a nice evening for Jose to site.
“#10. Back away from Brady Aiken” seems so poignant today as I see Jacob Nix is the starting pitcher for the SA Missions tonight against the CC Hooks.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we see that after two lousy seasons in the minors for the Indians, Aiken hasn’t thrown a pitch in 2018.
I think #1A on the list should be the decision to trade away anything that was marketable at the time, for something possible in the future. Also, a lot of the credit needs to go to the owner because he funded all these moves.
And as to the Aiken debacle, my only objection at the time was and still is, after lowering the offer due to arm concerns, the Astros came back at the final hour and raised it. So actually the hard headedness of Aiken and his agent??? was what ruined the signing, at the reduced offer. (Again, if you can believe anything you read in the “Spit”.)
Finally # 4 should be #1 B on the list.
The only people who were allowed to see the pictures of Aiken’s elbow was Aiken, the Astros and anybody else Aiken and his parents allowed to see it.
But, the only people allowed to talk about it was the Aiken side and they talked a lot. Their talking created a storm against Luhnow and the Astros.
In the end, Luhnow didn’t have to say a word. Aiken’s picture with Mommy standing next to his hospital bed after he threw 12 pitches for IMG Academy told the entire baseball world everything they needed to know about Aiken, his elbow, and his people.
The Astros announced the signings of a bunch more draftees this morning. It’s on their transactions page.
Some shout outs…..
Devin – The 2015 draft has some interesting numbers tied to it.
– After Bregman, the next 4 players have not yet appeared in the majors though two of them (including Kyle Tucker) were high schoolers.
– The #7 pick was Benintendi
– Bregman has put up more WAR (8.2) than any other first rounder from that draft including Benintendi (5.3). In fact while Bregman put up 8.2 all the other first rounders combined have put up 9.4
Kevin – If I was going to make a list of bad moves by Luhnow, the first one would probably be that Gomez/Fiers trade with the Brewers
OP – I was thinking hard about Marwin getting tossed when his replacement – lefty Tony Kemp – was up against difficult lefty Snell with two outs and the bases loaded. I like Kemp, but would rather have MarGo, who has been hot lately in that situation
ac45 – Did the Astros raise their offer to Aiken in order to get him to sign or to lose less face, since they did not think he would sign even that? Hey, along with good you need to be lucky. Like not clicking on a Sonny Gray trade and ending up with JV instead
Whoops got ahead of you sorry. Ill go back to “Looking Glass” (-;
DanP, not sure why they raised the offer. I thought it not needed. However, if they REALLY wanted Nix and Aiken, they would have raised it all the way up. That was not done, so it appears, just a good/bad PR move. We now have Bregman on our team. The other two are still in the minors or some place. So all in all, Luhnow was a genius. The Astros played by the rules at that time and protected themselves. It would have been a really stupid move, after the doctor looked at his arm, to pay full price. Only the agent (which he didn’t have due to the rules) Aiken, and his parents are the only ones that should complain. Nix was the “throw in” in the deal anyway.
Dan, the WAR stat is counterintuitive as Benintendi has slightly better numbers, but of course plays a different position. I think the big diff is that one is likely to win gold gloves and the other has his work cut out for him. Regarding the 2015 draft, there are a couple pitchers I expect will come up and make some noise, but position players should have more longevity.
After a 12 game streak, I was going to pass on last nights miscues, but yeah, we continue to screw up on the bases, generally speaking, a time or two per night. If Springer stays where he belongs, a single scores two and we might bust an inning. But what was Pettis doing? Anyone in charge down there?
I said on Monday night that we are just starting to play our really good ball. I hope we cut down on giving outs away going forward.
Marwin annoys me more than any one guy on the team with his on field actions, okay, excepting Lance. He has not been good enough long enough to get away with whining balls and strikes to umpires. And as I’ve previously noted, he’s too damn chummy with the enemy when out around the bases.
I’ve got to admit, I’m a bit disappointed to see Nephew looking as chunky as ever. One thing about this organization. We don’t see many athletes that don’t look like athletes hang around for too long. Maybe he’s up here to hit a couple of bombs and help with a trade to San Diego or the O’s.
Dan, one of your major efforts of the season to date. I could nitpick and move Cole up and add a couple of other things, but most importantly you’ve again illustrated the scope of what Luhnow and his nerds have accomplished. Great job.
If I could ask those nerbs just one question, I’d like to know what they think Jake will do over the rest of the season. What if he simply got his OBP up to .275 and his OPS to .700? I’d take it, because it’s pretty clear he’s here for the duration.
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If Cole had been here for the WS – I would have him higher on the list. If the Astros go far with him this year that move will move up on the list. I guess I’m saying it was a great move, but how great will depend on the results of 2018.
Yeah…..but he’s here for THIS World Series run!!!
Becky, what DanP is saying, “Wait til Monday morning, and I will tell you is you should go for it on 4th down and short.”
Man, my eyes are getting bad, but nerbs almost sound better than nerds.
Forgot two big rotten egg trades.
Think about how good Josh Hader would have been, in our rotation or bullpen!
Becky, I thought you might it interesting that Mrs. Rodgers’ husband, Brady, is making his first rehab start from TJ Surgery tonight for Tri-City.
I know!! I saw that! I hope he’s able to get from TJ. Good kid!
Lets go for one in a row……
It’s a shame that Chris Archer is not here to play with Orbit.
Tony saves two runs minimum.
Where is our power hitting gone the last two games. I guess we need to play all our games away. Or maybe just say they’re away.
What timely question.
Fine Carlos. For breaking up the rally.
Isn’t timing everything? I guess they heard me or something else. Who cares? It worked! Good game tonight. Get back on the winning streak.
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They win it but Giles has to make me nuts a little first.
4 big drives tonight including two be Altuve the second of which was a back to back to back with Springer – Bregman – Altuve
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By not be
First team to get 50 wins! Yankees beat the M’s…..so we are *3* games in front of Seattle! That was an awesome inning! No game tomorrow.
Can’t help but love these guys. Got to be beyond exciting to be in the stands.
GOTTA love ’em! My son said much the same thing in a text exchange last night:
Him: Did Springer/Bregman/Altuve just go back-to back-to back?
Him: HAHA! Those dudes!
Not sure how many saw the telecast of the game tonight. They have some really neat bobble heads coming out soon. Now, I am not going to pay $100 for one, even if it all goes to charity, but they still looked really cool.
Great game to watch tonight from an Astros fan perspective. Great to see the power. Tony Kemp could not have stopped to tie his shoe in the base path and look any dumber than he looked tonight. One might ask what he was thinking and another would answer that he wasn’t.
Hinch wasn’t really happy after the game when asked about sitting Altuve last night. It’s hard even for a WS winning manager to fix his own stupid. Tomorrow is a day off and it could have been Altuve’s day off. We might have had 14 in a row and a four game lead
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And maybe giving Altuve a day off led to two HRs and a double last night….
That was a thought too.
I was frustrated early. Even with a packed house on a Wednesday night in June, the guys seemed sluggish. I sure hope they can shake this home/road win/loss differential at some point soon. Maybe Reddick helps.
Tony Kemp did not pick up any baseball IQ at Vanderbilt.
I think our 3 game lead will grow significantly in the next couple of weeks. It would have been nice to sweep and still have a streak, but Altuve might have gone 0-4 on Monday. I think Hinch is getting too much grief.
Hinch stated his case couple weeks ago on rest. He’s looking to post-season and is determined not to have guys exhausted. If Kemp lacks any upstairs, he makes it up at the mid-level, heartwise. I say don’t use him as trade bait, keep him. Just my opinion. As to the streak, yes, it would have been nice to go 13, but then again, it just draws more national attention and revs up los otros. Maybe we get taken down, maybe we rate a bit better on the humble-meter. In this game, you can’t afford to get carried away with yourself — well, where CAN you afford to get carried away with yourself?
Diane with you, I don’t know how we keep Kemp AKA Sammy Davis Jr, this household just loves that guy. Who cares he mad a base running blunder he has a long ways to catch up with the other guys on those. He is the perfect , energizer, make things happen, 9th in the line up guy!!
83AB .313 .383 OBP
what’s JFSF again ???? or what was fisher??
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Kevin, Speaking of Kemp, he has been that energizer. And as long as he keeping doing what he’s doing, the other lefty, Fisher, will not be back.
Charlie Morton, 15.2 innings in his last three outings, just 7 hits and four earned runs. But 14 walks and 5 HBP. We won all three of those games! As a team, we were just 7 and 5 in Charlie’s first 12 starts. Is he going to battle through these control issues, or does he need a 10 day reset? Heck, he’s 9 and 1. But are all the innings taking a toll? He’s never pitched so much in a year and a half.
Thought you had an interesting take on the Bregman – Benintendi – that their hitting numbers are close so the WAR difference is fielding.
Let’s see – they have the same initials. They were born 3 months apart. They were both picked in the first 7 of the same draft.
Bregman .276 BA / .351 OBP / .825 OPS / 163 R / 38 HR / 147 RBI / 25 SB
Benintendi .279 BA / .360 OBP / .820 OPS/ 151 R / 34 HR / 151 RBI / 33 SB
They both walk a lot and strike out at a reasonable rate.
Biggest difference is that Bregman could play 3B, SS, 2B and even LF – while Benintendi can play the OF.
Both pretty darned good players at an early age.
Right – I don’t think either would have been a bad choice. I should have been clear, however, that the different positions influence it more than their defensive value, I think. There aren’t a ton of great, offensive third basemen right now. At the moment, Bregman is sporting a WAR higher than some of the (expected) best, like Nolan Arenado. Hopefully he keeps it up!
Devin, when I see a 24 year old guy with more walks than strikeouts, it makes me very excited about his future.
The biggest difference to me is that Benintendi, with a lifetime OPS of .614 against them, has not learned to hit lefties yet. That makes him a bit of a liability at the plate some nights. Bregman hits right handed pitching at an .802 clip. I’m happy to see him in the 2 slot seven days a week.
I have the scoop from Rizzo on his radio program this morning.
The Yankees are a juggernaut and will win their division by 10 games and play Cleveland in the ALDS and roll over them. Houston will win their division but won’t have home field advantage over NY and will beat Boston in 5 games.
NY will beat Houston in seven games because they will crush Giles and Devenski. Then NY will walk over whichever team wins the NL and win the WS easily.
You just got the entire baseball season laid out for you in two minutes by an unbiased sportscaster.
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He forgot about Whitley and the other guy Luhnow is going to pick up. And I’m not sure if the Yankees rotation will hold up and provide them with the best record either.
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There are the things he has forgotten about and there are more things he just doesn’t know about. As Joe Pickett says: Things are fixin’ to get western.
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I absolutely refuse to believe that those eastern sportscasters and pundits are biased towards the Yankees and Red Sox. (big time sarcasm font here). They always give our Astros tons of praise and complements. Ah but the proof of the pudding is in the eating (come playoff time).
Loved this article
Shows what our front office analysis meant to Verlander
Shows what Verlander meant to Cole
That is probably some stuff we hope other organizations are not doing.
Great article. A lot to take in.
Like I said before, the Astros had good success with ground ball pitchers while they were rebuilding and that worked fine, because they needed that because the couldn’t afford what they have now.
But things have changed. Players all over the league are swinging up trying to power the ball and the temptation to swing at a fastball up with a swing angled upward is paradise for a power pitcher.
You can bet money that the thinking behind this is moving all up and down the Astros minor leagues and guys with power fastballs like Whitley and James and Alcala and Martin and Ferrell and the Perezes are working on this stuff. Power pitchers are coming to a stadium near you and they are coming fast. It would not surprise me a bit if guys like Guduan, Bukauskas, Martes, Paulino and even Gustave are working on this kind of stuff, even when we aren’t seeing them pitch.
The thing to remember is that, unlike a lot of teams, the Astros have moved on from swinging upward on everything, they want to beat your pitchers to death with hits.
Seattle lost to the Yankees again today. Consequently, all the Astros are getting the day off.
Without looking, which team has the lowest team batting average in MLB right now? Be fair now!
My guess is the Yankees because of Sanchez and their weakness in left and center.
That is surprising but the NL lets the pitcher bat, so that should be for a couple points.
Jake would bat clean up on that team right now.
Entering today’s play, first place Arizona had the lowest team BA in baseball at .227. I would have never guessed that.
I read or hear something about it is possible to do terrible as a manager in Arizona, and go on to have a decent career as a manager someplace else. Again, that may just be an Internet rumor.
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Kyle Tucker is absolutely on fire. In his last 9 games before tonight he had five 3-hit games. Tonight he is 2 for 2 with a homer off Oberholzer.
Here is a 21 year old in a league where the average player is 5.7 years older than him and he is beginning to rake. His BA for the year is up to .306.
Tonight he was moved up to #10 on MLB’s updated prospect list.
Astros prospect Randy Cesar broke the all time Texas league record by getting a hit in his 38th straight game. He wasn’t satisfied, though, so he got three hits to raise his batting average to .355 for the season.
CC won their 8th straight and beat Frisco 4-2. Yordan Alvarez had 3 hits including a homer and raised his batting average to .331. Taylor Jones had 2 hits and his BA is now .328.
My son and his family were at the Hooks game last night. He was texting me about Cesar breaking the Texas League record.
You would think somebody hitting like that would be promoted, but ….. he plays 1B and 3B. At 1B he has A.J. Reed in front of him. At 3B he has J.D. Davis (and Tyler White before his promotion) in front of him.
This is where teams have to make trades to clear the decks some times – we will see.
My son commented on how huge Alvarez is. He was picked up in the Josh Fields trade a couple years ago. Here again – you have folks like Tucker, Ferguson, Fisher and Straw ahead of him in OF spots unless he is going to end up at 1B.
In a couple of years it will be Alvarez who will be blocking everyone.
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Some notes on the Astros:
– Jon singleton’s suspension saved the Astros over a million dollars and opened the door for Taylor Jones to play 1B for CC and become an All-Star in the Texas League.
– I’m going to keep calling it Weiland Island because Boocowscuss is hard to spell.
– MLB prospects lists have updated and Tucker and Whitley swapped places because of the suspension and Tucker’s terrific season. The guys who make this list are pretty careful about what they project for players and I was flabbergasted when I read that they said Whitley “should become an ace if he refines his command.” That is something I hardly ever heard Mayo and Callis say about any pitcher.
– Yordan Alvarez passed Bukauskas to move into the #3 spot for Astros prospects and has move up in the overall rankings to #54. He’s 20 competing in a league of 24 year-olds.
– MLB loves Freudis Nova and has made him the Astros #5 prospect. He’s an 18 yo SS competing against 21 year-olds in the GCL.
-I love Jose Altuve.
– I believe Dean Deetz will be a reliever when he returns from his rehab/suspension. He has two plus pitches.