Just some random thoughts/questions on a steaming hot July day.
- Would you really want to be a general manager? Sure the money would be great. You would be one of 30 people in the world doing what you are doing. And of course, you would be making a great living tied to a game you’ve loved your whole life. But every decision, every move you make or do not make gets sliced and diced in a very public forum. You are called every name you can imagine. And you have to be a psychic. Will Carlos Correa be healthy enough to play? What about Brian McCann? Do I go all out for a replacement for either? Do I fill in another spot and move Alex Bregman to SS? Do I go hard after recently injured Zach Britton? Do I put the season in the hands of those already here or unproven youngsters?
- Are the Astros more worried about the M’s and A’s, or the Red Sox, Yanks, Indians and Dodgers or whoever? The Astros have slowly pulled out to a 6 game lead in the division. If they make a trade or trades right now are they aimed a winning the division or beating the other beasts in the playoffs? The hunch here is that they will move with the confidence that this team is going to win the division, so moves may be more aimed towards a long playoff run.
- What is most important to the Astros at this point in the season? a) Getting Correa back whole and performing? b) Finding bullpen assistance by way of trade? c) Getting wily veteran and leader McCann back for the playoffs? It says here that Correa’s healthy return is important in the long run as he could carry this team for weeks at a time.
- Is there any team in the majors with close to the Astros’ starting pitching depth headed to the playoffs? By one standard (ERA) the Astros have three starters in the top 10 in the AL (#1 Justin Verlander, #6 Gerrit Cole and #9 Charlie Morton) and two more in the top 20 (#17 Dallas Keuchel and #20 Lance McCullers Jr.). Oh and the other starter they let go after 2017, Mike Fiers is #14 with the Detroit Tigers. They only will need 3 or 4 starters in the postseason and they have those five, plus waiting in the wings… Collin McHugh, who had a 3.55 ERA in a partial 2017 season and is 0.96 out of the ‘pen this season or Brad Peacock, who had a 3.22 ERA in 21 starts in 2017. There will be decisions to be made in a couple of months…
- Is there another team, who could be 3rd in the AL in runs scored after what the Astros have been through? Star SS Correa has missed 28 games and counting and his performance was down when he was healthy. 1B Yuli Gurriel has missed 21 games mostly in the beginning of the season. George Springer great in 2017 (.283 BA / .383 OBP / .889 OPS with 34 HR and 85 RBIs) is not close in 2018 (.249 BA/ .335 OBP/ .756 OPS and on pace for 26 HR and 81 RBIs). Marwin Gonzalez a career year in 2018 (.303 BA/.909 OPS with the club leading 90 RBIs) is poor this season (.233 BA/ .668 OPS on pace for 59 RBIs). Josh Reddick was terrific in 2017 (.314 BA/.847 OPS with 82 RBIs) and is average in 2018 (.261 BA/.755 OPS on pace for 50 RBIs). Jose Altuve was the MVP in 2017 (.346 BA / .410 OBP / .957 OPS with 112 runs/ 24 HRs / 81 RBIs) and is just very good this season (.329/.394/.860 on pace for 101 runs / 14 HRs/ 72 RBIs). They also had a bunch of sub-Mendoza at bats from Derek Fisher and Jake Marisnick.
- Five years from now who will have been the best Astro from this time period (2017 to 2023)? Will it be the super clutch Alex Bregman? An at least one time MVP Altuve? A healthy Correa? A mercurial Springer? A sporadic Lance McCullers Jr.? A young and rising Kyle Tucker? Bregman would be the popular choice based on how he has become “the man” this season. But what will it look like after 5 more seasons in the books?
- If the Astros fall short of a second title this season, is that a disappointment? It has been a long time since a team repeated. There are so many top-notch teams this year including the Red Sox, who may win more than 110 games at the pace they are setting. Playoff series are so short that one play, one bad bounce, one bad call can derail a team.
- How much time do the Astros give Kyle Tucker? They saw how both Springer and Bregman struggled after their original call-ups. Of course, neither one was 21 years old. They are playing very well now, but if they lose a few do they think about giving their top prospect more time at AAA.
- Will they see the Forrest for the trees? There has been speculation about possibly bringing Forrest Whitley up towards the end of the season and maybe supplementing the bullpen with him. But after his suspension and some injury problems – what is his more likely arrival time to the majors? End of 2019?
- Will Jeff Luhnow skip the regular trade deadline and try for the waiver deadline….again? This worked in 2017 with the trade for Justin Verlander. Would he try this again if he is not getting agreement on prospects that he has set in his head?
Your turn. What do you think?