2-fer-Tuesday: Front office and rotation


Life and work are getting a bit crazy right now so this will be a quick hitter of a post today. Let’s look at a couple topics…..

1) Does the Front office owe the fans anything?

The Astros Front Office brought the fans the first Championship in the long, futile 56-year history of the club. They did things their way, going against many baseball standards along the way. They have been a secretive bunch when it comes to injuries. The fans get dribs and drabs of information when players are out and get the occasional surprise like Carlos Correa being out a long time with his back injury when it sounded like he might only miss the minimum 10 games.

The Front Office which applied its zero-tolerance policy for domestic abuse to prospect Danry Vasquez back in 2015, sidestepped it in trading for accused abuser Roberto Osuna at the trade deadline. Was this because there was a video of Vasquez’s abuse or because Osuna is a young controllable (contract-wise) big-time talent? Osuna appeared for the first time in Monday night’s game and earned the win with his scoreless 8th inning and is still not clear of legal hurdles on the Canadian domestic abuse charges.

Does the Front Office owe the fans anything when it comes to information on the players? Does it owe the fans not to pick up players with a past, or in Osuna’s case an on-going present?

2) Who joins the Astros 5 man rotation (as needed) down the stretch?

The Astros don’t have to make a quick decision on the fifth starter to replace Lance McCullers Jr. who has been diagnosed with a forearm muscle strain. With off days in the schedule, they can wait until August 21 for that decision.

What do their options look like:

  • Collin McHugh. The 31-year-old who has a 48-28 record as an Astros starter heading into this season is an obvious choice. But…. he would likely only be able to go 4 innings or so as he built himself up (unless the Astros can start building him up with some longer relief stints) and he has been lights out as a reliever this year – 5-1 with a sparkling 1.01 ERA and 0.731 WHIP.
  • Brad Peacock. He made this move in 2017, going from a reliever to a starter due to rotation injuries and was terrific with a 10-2 record and a 3.22 ERA in 21 starts. There are similar concerns with him moving to the rotation for short duration starts and upsetting a good bullpen.
  • Cionel Perez. The lefty has been okay in a relief role for the Astros, though his control is a concern. He has been a starter at AA Corpus but has nor started a game at AAA or in the majors this year.
  • Josh James. The 25-year-old has stood out at AAA Fresno in 18 starts with a 3.38 ERA and an eye-popping 13.5 Ks/9 IPs.
  • Other minor league starters – Cy Sneed (3.59 ERA), Brock Dykxxhoorn (3.66 ERA), Rogelio Armenteros (3.66 ERA) and Trent Thornton (3.82 ERA) all have pitched very well for the Grizzlies this season and could earn a shot at a call-up.

Who would you pick or would you try to pull off a last minute waiver trade?

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70 comments on “2-fer-Tuesday: Front office and rotation

  1. This is a reply to old pro from the previous post. We like Hallmark Movies too. Personal recommendation – if “Christmas Wish” comes on with Kristy Swanson and the late great Edward Hermann – watch that one. It steals a lot from “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”, but it is our favorite in that genre.
    Now back to baseball commentary….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m trying my best as an advocate of all issues that pertain to women’s rights and protections, to hold of on any more judgement on Osuna’s background on abuse till I learn more.

    I would give both Peacock and McHugh spot starts, the deserve that. I would bring James up in Sept and Sneed, give them a taste of the bigs in the BP.

    I would love to hear everyone thoughts on who would be that WOW pickup off the waiver wire.

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  3. I don’t think the FO owes us anything. They have given us the most talented and deep team in baseball and a deep minor league system. It is up to the players to deliver and Hinch to put them in the best position to win. If our core players don’t come back healthy and productive there is no trade possibility that will overcome.

    I think Perez gets the first spot start. He is already on the roster and already stretched out from starting in the minors. He can be kept on a short leash knowing that McHugh and Peacock can both eat up some innings. I don’t think it is wise to disrupt either McHugh’s or Peacock’s rhythm while they are performing so well in their current roles. If McCullers DL time extends and Perez falters I would expect to see another call- up for a spot start or two. I would expect Armenteros or James to be 1st up.

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    • You probably could’t expect more than 4 innings out of Peacock or McHugh in a spot start so why not get those 4 innings out of relief without altering their normal prep.

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  4. I’ve said enough about the Osuna situation specifically. The Front Office will ultimately let their decisions be made with the number one priority being to win a championship. That is apparent. Maybe that’s what they think they owe the fans. And they might be right. I don’t see or feel a real ground swell of opposition to the direction taken.

    Earlier today I noted that Peacock and McHugh should not be utilized in a starting situation. I just think they are both pitching so well in their present roles that I don’t want to screw around with them.

    Armenteros has not been as good as he was last year. But I like his composure. I like his variety of pitches. He actually reminds me a bit of last nights Rodriquez kid with a hair cut. Josh James has thrown 77 innings of AAA ball and given up just 47 hits and struck out 116. Wow. I’d like to see him. But Dan, most all of the guys mentioned on your short list will be at or over their career highs in innings pitched by the end of the month. Except for maybe not for Perez. So will 3 or 4 guys each get a spot start along the way?

    Kevin, the only big wow I can think of right now would be for a right handed rental bat in the outfield. With Jake catching most anything inside the stadium and hitting too, and Marwin with a .978 OPS since the break, do we need to give up more stuff to get that right handed bat for couple of weeks? I’d say no. And I’d be shocked if Realmuto happened. Other than that, what do we really need?

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    • Good point daveb on the innings pitched. James is already well past last year when he missed some time to injury and will surpass career highs in the next few starts.
      Maybe they can do 3 innings McHugh and 3 innings Peacock and then throw the kitchen sink at it. Maybe they can just add some of these youngsters to the bullpen and have them toss an inning here or there.

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    • I guess Realmuto would be mine also. I guess I’m in the minority, But Stassi excites me like watching paint dry, Good kid , but man he has no game plan at the plate, every once in a while he will run into one. I’m guessing he will be a .230 hitter in the majors if he sticks somewhere else.

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  5. Under the title “and we thought we were old”….
    34 y.o. Jacoby Ellsbury undergoes hip surgery and 24 y.o.!!! Corey Seager is going to undergo hip surgery while recovering from Tommy John surgery….

    Are hips not made like they used to be???

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  6. The front office is a business……I haven’t reached out to my friend to get any more info on Osuna. If there had been a video of this situation, I doubt we would be having this conversation. Man….this tough, but I’d go with McHugh over a guy from Fresno, but I agree he has been UNBELIEVABLE out of the bullpen this year. If I had to choose right now, it would be Josh James….this kid is almost unhittable! Like I said last week….we have some delicious
    *Golden Arms* in Corpus, and Josh James is one of them!! I really hope they bring up Miles Straw…..he is a base stealing machine!!

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  7. Not sure about anyone else but when JD and Tyler come up like Ground Hog day.
    Great kids, would be a good piece on a team rebuilding, on a World Champion team AAAA guys.

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    • Unfortunately you’re probably right. Just thinking of the guys the Pirates had to give up for Chris Archer…..we could have tripled the prospects they gave the Rays for Archer. No secret I absolutely love Archer!! His back story is awesome.

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  8. I left out Stassi when he bats my excitement level is 2 out a possible 10. He had a run where he ran into some pitches, I fear he is about a .220 major leaguer.

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    • In 9 minor league season and almost 2400 AB he slashed .247/ .319/ .419. I think .220 with some pop is a reasonable expectation. I looked at a few different projections for him and the were all around .220/ .290/ .390.

      I can live with those numbers if he handles the staff well, plays excellent defense and guns out runners at a 40+% clip.

      I like Stassi a lot but I think he is probably more of a solid #2 than a starter.

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  9. 1. It would be nice to get a better explanation on Osuna but rest assured lawyers are involved. I am a champion for second chances but no first chances to beat up women or children. 2. I say let McHugh or Peacock go as far as they can. Now in September, we can look at some others from CC or Fresno. 3. The trade I hope to see is Correa, Altuve, LMJ, and Springer for 4 AAAA players.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have observed the past two seasons callups from the farm whose bats have made very little impact until Kemp this season and he doesn’t play everyday. Would be nice to see an impact bat with mad fielding skills come up and make noise as Kemp has (and he has limitations). Davis, White, Fisher have not impressed though White (290’s BA since AS break have had moments, like the HR he just hit) and some of those guys need to get in shape. Not complaining but can’t wait to see the next wave coming up behind them

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  11. Don’t give up on my favorite AAAA guy. His job is tough. He gets a call to hop on a plane, gets a chance to play but never knows when his last at bat is coming. He’s a chubby hitter. A ML hitter.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Well – another well pitched, poorly run game decided on one big swing of the bat. Nice way to put away the Giants and head home for a big series against the M’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. We are getting tremendous pitching and just enough timely hitting to keep this train rolling. Even got enough today to overcome two of the stupidest base running errors you will ever see. And that is saying a lot considering this team’s propensity for base running blunders.

    Every win gets us one day closer to the return of Altuve and Correa.

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  14. Reality that was 2 of the most impressive wins of the year.
    * playing a decent team in The NL on the road
    * 4 of our 2017 All Stars on The DL
    * the A’s hot on our Tails
    * Mash Unit out there
    * Our BP hasn’t given up a run in 20+ innings
    * Rondon is like a Porsche compared to the guy that punched himself out and his ticket out

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  15. Great road trip. Once again I have to defend nephew. The contact play was on. That’s why he broke for the plate. As for Reddick, yeah you might argue that it was a bad decision. If he scores, we call it aggressive. By the way, is the pitcher allowed to block the plate?

    Our guys are finding a way to win. How many of us expected. A 6-2 trip? I did not.

    The Astros are still the team to beat with half our starters on the shelf.

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    • Good question on the pitcher blocking the plate. I was thinking the same thing. For all the times these guys get me upset about timely hitting, they came through with flying colors today and yesterday.

      Liked by 2 people

      • On blocking the plate: if the player is waiting for the ball to arrive he must allow a clear path for the runner to reach the plate. If the ball has already arrived he is free to hold his ground and it is up to the runner to not initiate “violent contact”. It looked to me like the ball had already arrived and the play was therefore legal by the rules.

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      • Ironically, since we were playing the Giants, the rule negating the runner from initiating violent contact is referred to by many as “The Posey Rule” because the rule was instituted following his 2011 knee injury that resulted form a player running over him.

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  16. The A’s/ Dodgers matchup should give good insight as to where we both stand. If the A’s roll the Dodgers they are probably more legit than I am giving them credit for. If the Dodgers step up we should get a little separation in the standings.

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  17. Just watching the Rangers/ Mariners game. Felix Hernandez is done! ERA is near 6, fastball under 90 and everyone is sitting on his secondary. He is still under contract for 2019 at almost $28M.

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  18. DANG!!! King Felix got tagged for 11 runs against the arlington little league tonight! Will we see him this weekend?? Colon just got a pretty cool award tonight, he’s has more wins in in the MLB for south American pitchers.
    Colon is too cool for school!! I love to watch him pitch….nothing bothers him!!

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  19. -Boshers was always the guy to be cut after Sipp rebounded and Pressley got added.
    -If I had to pick a guy to make an emergency start for us it would be Rodgers, because of his 40-man status. He’s not my choice, as I would rather see Rogelio or James make that start.
    -Ernest Jaquez pitched 5 more innings of one-hit, no-run ball today and his stats for his early career are unparalleled. He has given up 3 earned runs in his first 52 innings of pro ball. . He turned 19 in June.
    – After years of disappointment following the Astros, the last two games have given me hope that this might be their year. Oh, wait!
    -The Astros owe me nothing. They earned it all for me in 2017. I just want them to really never settle.
    -Giants fans seem to think their pitching staff outpitched ours in this two game series. Isn’t a bullpen part of a pitching staff?
    – All I know about Tyler White is that he won a game for the Astros today. Not Bregman, or Gattis, or Reddick, but Tyler White
    -There were a lot of Astros fans in SF for this two game series. Tim and his boys were there. I could not believe the cheers last night when Marwin hit his bomb. Astros fans were LOUD!
    -I like the way our bullpen is looking.

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  20. One of those baseball “truths” that make me wonder…
    Hinch was talking about how the Astros with their Plan B lineup had to be more aggressive on the basepaths to make up for their more limited opportunities.
    I’m just a lowly engineer of almost 40 years – but wouldn’t you think you need to be more careful with those limited chances, not waste them like a drunken gambler?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree Dan. I also think you would put the best you have out there everyday. They can all rake a breath and rest when the team is whole again.

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  21. OP….I love your posts!! And…I agree with you….these guys will never settle!
    BUT….I’ve got a question, how is it that every time we send a guy back to AAA they hit homeruns, and when they come back up, they struggle??!! Is the pitching in Fresno that bad?? Very frustrating.
    We saw a glimpse with White’s, homerun today….think he is turning the corner?

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    • Becky, the AAA pitching staffs are completely made up of guys who are learning to pitch or who aren’t good enough to pitch to major league hitters.
      AAA is every pitcher who isn’t quite good enough and the major leagues is every pitcher who is good.
      Our best minor league pitching prospects are at AA before they are called up to the majors. Cionel Perez is the latest example of that.

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  22. Dan, I can’t question the present Hinch aggressive approach. I’m not an engineer though. His guys are winning games with half the regulars not in the line up.

    I keep touting White not only because he’s a long shot 33rd round draft pick who looks more like so many guys I played beer league slow pitch with. He’s actually the protototypical hider of open Budweiser cans in the dugout during games.

    At the same time, he pretty much leads the minor league planet with his .444 OBP. In 2017, he was good, but did K 110 times. In 2018, he’s walked 46 times and stuck out just 39 times. Those numbers usually come from a Tony Kemp or Joe Sclafani type guy. But White’s OPS remains over 1.000. Very few guys, including successful major leaguers, show such a combination of eye and production while in the minors. That’s why White is different than guys like Fisher and Davis. They strike out too much in AAA ball.

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  23. I’m going to the game tomorrow night and hoping that our pattern of playing like crap on a day after an off day goes away. I would like nothing less than a complete spanking of the Mariners like the Red Sox did to the Yankees and pretty much eliminate them from playoff contention.

    I’m with those who would like to leave Peacock and McHugh in their current roles. OP1’s suggestion of Rogers for a spot start seems to be the prudent move. I’d love to see James but he’s not on the 40 man and putting a kid there just for a one or two game cameo seems excessive. We have 38 guys on the 40 man now so there is room for an addition if we make a trade that doesn’t include someone already on the roster.

    It looks like the addition of Pressley and Osuna and the exit of Giles along with the emergence of McHugh and Peacock have really solidified the bullpen and Rondon is looking better to me all the time except when he rolls in a high slider. He’s been lucky so far. The weak bullpen links are now Harris and Devenski. Even Sipp is making a contribution. Like someone said above the blockbuster trade I want to see is Correa and Altuve for Fisher and Davis.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t forget Joe Smith. He struck out both batters he faced yesterday on two different filthy pitches. If he is back, he is just deadly on righty batters.

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  24. Verlander goes for number 200 tomorrow night. I don’t think the moment is lost on him. The atmosphere should be electric. I’m pretty sure he’s planning on throwing a shutout for as many innings as he is allowed. And I think at least of a couple of our bats have seen enough of Paxton to get something off him.

    The Rangers have done us a favor again today, beating up on Seattle’s second best starter, Marco Gonzales for 12 hits and 7 runs over five innings. Gonzalez has now tossed 137.2 innings on the season. He threw 122 last year after missing all of 2016. Does he get shut down at some point? Another reason to believe that the M’s won’t be able to keep pace.

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  25. 1. What does the FO owe us? I’ll keep it short and say they owe us a team we can get behind.
    2. I’d go McHugh and Peacock tandem/combo/duo for a start or two and then see if it can work until rosters expand.

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  26. The M’s, are coming here with a bullpen gasping for air. They got the snot beat out of them last night, and this afternnon. King Felix might just find he’s lost his place in the rotation. Daveb….don’t think for a moment that the rest of this team don’t know how important tomorrow’s game is to Verlander. Their radars will be on point to try and score runs for him, anyway they can. Let’s hope they are successful in doing just that!

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  27. My memory may not be correct,but I think a couple years back Tyler White was the league MVP in Winter Ball after playing about 50 games. I know he was player of the month in MLB in April of two years ago. To me he appears to be a hitter with one flaw. He needs to play every day. And he is a poor to average fielder. So DH is his only place on a contending team. So if you see him as a right handed Babe Ruth, he should have a spot. If you see him as Marwin’s replacement next year, I think you will be dissatisfied. I sure hope he is not the J D Martinez of this year’s team.

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  28. -Really excited about this series. This is a chance for the Astros to shine at home against a rival.
    -I like the fact that our four starting pitchers have been pitching well and have a ton of experience.
    -Hoping Carlos Correa is in the lineup tomorrow.
    – Thinking it’s high time for the Astros to beat Paxton.
    -Astros look like they will have three of their top 4 minor league teams in the playoffs. They will still fill out their major league active roster with everything they want in September and let the minor league teams play in the playoffs with the rest.

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  29. Jacob Nix makes his debut with the Padres on Friday. He’s the other kid that we could not sign when the Brady Aiken signing went awry.

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