Astros’ top 10 teams of all time: Part 2


Here is a continuation of the top Astro teams of all time as we look at #5 on up to #1.

Again, in putting this list together, there were considerations to both the regular season and post-season performance of these teams. There was also some consideration of precedent too. The 1980 team won less than some of the teams below it on the list, but it went where no Astros team before it had gone, to the playoffs.

And of course this allows for lots of debate. So, without further ado – the Astros top 5 teams of all time.

#5 – 1986 – The team was the second best team in the NL at 96-66 behind the squad that eventually vanquished them – the 108 win NY Mets. The Astros clinched their division in a glorious 3 game period in late September, when Jim Deshaies 2 hit the Dodgers, Nolan Ryan and Charlie Kerfeld combined on a 2 hitter against the Giants followed by Mike Scott‘s pennant-clinching no-no against those same Giants. The playoff series against the Mets was classic, yet heartbreaking for the Astros. Mike Scott got them off to a 1-0 whitewash, but then the Astros lost the next two including a heartbreaker in Game 3, where they blew a 4 run lead in the 6th, regained a one-run lead headed to the bottom of the 9th and then saw Dave Smith give up a walk-off game-winning dinger to Lenny Dykstra. Scott evened the series in Game 4 and then the Astros lost Game 5 in 12 innings 2-1 in a game that was tied from the 5th inning onward. Game 6 with Mike Scott waiting in the wings for a Game 7 that never came was the definition of a Bridge Too Far. The Astros took a 3-0 lead into the 9th and lost that, traded runs in the 14th as Billy Hatcher hit the most dramatic HR in history up to that point. But the Mets broke through for 3 in the 16th and the Astros could only put up 2 in the bottom and left the bases loaded and one of the best teams the Astros ever had went home.

Top Everyday – Glenn Davis – .265 BA/.344 OBP/ .837 OPS/ 91 Rs/ 31 HRs/ 101 RBIs

Top Pitcher – Mike Scott – 18-10 and a 2.22 ERA and the Cy Young

#4 – 1980 – The Astros (93-70) had the best record in the NL and squeaked into the playoffs after beating the Dodgers in a one-game playoff (necessitated by losing 3 straight to the Dodgers to end the season). The Astros – Phillies match-up was a classic five-game series where the last four were decided in extra innings. After the Phillies won the first game, the Astros won the second game on a 4 run rally in the 10th (7-4) and the third game in a 1-0 Joe Niekro/ Dave Smith shutout decided in the 11th by a Joe Morgan triple and a Denny Walling Sac Fly. They needed one more win at home out of the last two games to go to the World Series. It never happened. The Astros took a 2 run lead into the 8th and the Phils scored three in Game 4. The Astros tied it, but the Phils scored 2 more in the 10th to win game four. In the 5th game they took a 3 run lead into the 8th with Nolan Ryan pitching. In a rally reminiscent of the Royals in 2015, the Phillies scored five. The Astros tied it in the bottom of the 8th, but the Phillies won the game and the series in the 10th. It was crying time in Houston….at least for me.

Top Everyday – Jose Cruz (.302 BA/ .360 OBP/ .787 OPS/ 79 Rs / 11 HRs/ 91 RBIs/ 36 SBs) nudges out Cesar Cedeno (.309/.384/.854/ 71 Rs/ 10 HRs/ 73 RBIs/ 48 SBs) in a much different offensive time.

Top Pitcher – Vern Ruhle in a Brad Peacock role was 12-4 with a 2.37 ERA. We were left to wonder about how this season and the playoffs would have gone if not for the stroke that struck down J.R. Richard (10-4, 1.90 ERA) at the end of July.

#3 – 2018 – The defending World Series champs switched horses and rode All-World pitching and above average hitting after doing the opposite in 2017 to a club record 103- 59 record. After easily sweeping the Indians, the Astros seemed set to go to their second consecutive World Series, but they got tripped up by the Red Sox. After solidly beating the Sox in Game 1, Game 2 turned on a bases loaded double by Jackie Bradley, who also put away Game 3 with a bases loaded home run. Game 4 was the series really as Jose Altuve‘s tying home run was disallowed due to fan interference and the Astros spent the rest of the game a) not stopping the Red Sox from scoring and b) leaving too many guys on base. The Astros went home after Game 5 when JV gave up a solo home run to JD Martinez (one pitch after a strikeout was not called) and a pop-up Crawford Box 3 run HR to Rafael Devers. The Astros made David Price look like Verlander in this game and they slunk away after a great season and a disappointing playoff run.

Top Everyday – Alex Bregman – .286 BA/ .394 OBP/ .926 OPS/ 105 Rs/ 51 Dbls/ 31 HRs / 103 RBIs led the Astro hitters in most categories.

Top Pitcher – Gerrit Cole (15-5, 2.88 ERA, 200.1 IP, 12.4 K/9 IP) was great. Justin Verlander (16-9, 2.52 ERA, 214 IP, 0.902 WHIP) was greater.

#2 – 2005 Astros – Despite a so-so looking 89-73 record in the regular season, the story of the Astros’ season was how they were 22-35 on June 8th and 15th out of 16 in the National League. They then rode a huge wave of a 67-38 record the rest of the way to grab the fourth playoff spot in the NL and knocked off the Braves in the NLCS in the epic 7-6, 18 inning game in the NLDS and then the Cardinals in the NLCS. Would the World Series sweep by the White Sox have turned out differently if Roy Oswalt did not have to close out the NLCS after Albert Pujols‘ legendary game 5 blast off Brad Lidge? Maybe.

Top Everyday – Morgan Ensberg (86 Runs/ 36 HR/ 101 RBIs). If Lance Berkman had not missed 30 games he probably would have the honor.

Top Pitcher – I mis-remembered if this should be Roger Clemens (13-8. 1.87 ERA) or Andy Pettitte (17-9, 2.39 ERA).

#1 – 2017 Astros – They did not quite win the most regular season games in Astros history, but who the heck cares? They won 101 regular season games despite having to work through injuries to the pitching staff and to Charlie Morton, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Collin McHugh and Carlos Correa. They fought tooth and nail to get past the Red Sox, Yankees and Dodgers in succession to bring home the Astros first championship. This team was never out of a game or a series, battling back to win game four against the Red Sox, battling out of a 3-2 hole to the Yankees with two clutch wins at home and then winning two of the greatest battles in World Series history in Games 2 and 5 against the Dodgers. Compared to those two games from a baseball sense, the Game 7 win was anticlimactic, but not really to the fans who witnessed what fans of the previous 55 seasons had never witnessed.

Top Everyday – Jose Altuve – AL MVP – .346 BA / .410 OBP / .957 OPS / 112 runs scored

Top Pitcher – Justin Verlander – 5-0 in the month of September with a 1.06 ERA after the trade and a 4-1 record in the postseason

Your turn. How do you think this top 10 should be laid out?

https://chipalatta.com/2018/12/12/astros-top-10-teams-of-all-time-part-1/

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87 comments on “Astros’ top 10 teams of all time: Part 2

  1. I posted on the first one that I was in “Arlington purgatory” for many of these years and felt unqualified to compare. That was eaten by the Internet. But your #1 is #1 if for no other reason for 50 years going back to high school I wanted them (both Colt 45s and Astros) in a World Series. But 2005 just whetted the appetite. 2017 was a 12 course meal, followed with Light Beer. Dilly Dilly.

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  2. When I pull up the rosters for all these Astros teams, my all time favorite roster was the 1980 team. They were so appealing to me as characters and guys I could picture and cherish that it isn’t close for me. When I compare that roster to the one from 2005, which had a lot of guys on it that I didn’t much care for, 1980 will always be my second favorite Astros team.

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  3. I did not know that Terry Puhl has been the head baseball coach at the University of Houston-Victoria for the last 12 years.
    I did not know there was a University of Houston-Victoria until this morning.

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    • Terry Puhl was always one of my favorite players – you could identify with him (like Altuve and Bregman) because he looked like a regular guy – not a behemoth “athlete”.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Not realizing there was a new post, I posted the following this morning and will now carry it forward.

    I agree with 1OP on Harper.

    What I don’t agree with is poster’s using Pujols’ contract with the Angels as a comparison. Pujols was almost 7 years older than Harper when he signed his contract. He was also a big- bodied player, far less athletic than Harper and had spent the past 2 seasons dealing with chronic foot issues. If you want to use Pujols as a comparison, then isolate his age 26 – 35 seasons, where he would have vastly outplayed his contract.

    The real question is “what is Harper worth”? Prime years are generally thought to be between ages 26 and 32. If this is correct, Harper is just now entering his prime years and should produce at, or above current levels. He has averaged about 4 WAR/ season. Fangraphs (and other sites) generally value 1 WAR at $8M, meaning Harper is worth about $32M per season (based on performance). Based on his ceiling (9.1 WAR in 2015) his potential value is an absurd $72M/ season.

    I really take the WAR based value with a grain of salt, since I don’t think a 1 WAR player will ever even sniff $8M/ season, nor will a 9 WAR player ever sniff $72M/ season.

    I think Harper would add at least 500 fans per night to MMP. That’s 41,000 fans over 82 home games. If each fan spends $100 then he adds $4.1M in revenue. Is it out of the question that he could add 1,000 per night? He will undoubtedly be in the top 10 jersey sales, adding a couple more million to the coffers. Harper being on the team gives the Astros added leverage in negotiating media rights (local and national), which could greatly increase revenue. He will put the Astros in a greater national spotlight (consider ZERO Sunday Night Baseball games for them in 2019) and put them in more national prime time games.

    So what is he worth? I have no clue! But I do believe that if you paid him $35M/ season he would probably deliver $10M per season in added revenue and exposure. I also don’t believe that he is going to get the $400M he wants. I think something between $300-$350 over 10-12 years is a more reasonable expectation.

    I firmly believe that adding Harper immediately makes the Astros the favorite to win the WS in ’19 and I think they would have won it in ’18 if his bat was in the lineup. I really con’t say that about any other player that is currently available or will be available before Trout reaches FA. What is that worth?

    I say 2 things: 1) sign him and 2) I sure am glad its not my money being spent! It sure is easier to make these decisions when its someone else’s money.

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  5. I too love the 1980 squad. My top 3 are 2017, 1980, 1986. If not for facing 2 of the greatest teams in history in ’80 and ’86 (’80 Phillies and ’86 Mets) there would be 3 WS banners gracing MMP.

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  6. Now if we made this a list of favorites that would be a different list. 1980 was one of my very favs along with 2017.
    When I’ve seen some old video of that 1980s team and it is astonishing to see what skinny greyhounds they were. It was a batting average, sac bunt, stolen base, small ball world.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I don’t recollect the 18 foot wall. But I was drinking quite a bit of Budweiser in those days. At one point in time, to hit a homer, you had to hit it into the original outfield seats, which were pretty high above the field. But then the secondary wall was built, lower and moved in somewhat if my hazy memory serves me correctly.

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  7. When you look at the names on the roster in 1980, it is a list of guys who have made a huge difference in the lives of Astros fans from the late 60’s right up until today.
    The names that are still important in baseball today. Names that were important 20 years ago.
    Ryan
    Morgan
    Howe
    Bochy
    Ashby
    Sambito
    Richards
    Cedeno
    Cruz
    Niekro
    Walling
    Puhl
    Cabell
    Forsch
    Pujols
    Puhl
    Those are names we still hear all the time in baseball. That was a team full of guys who are famous, not just in Houston, but all over baseball. The names are guys that have influenced literally thousand of players and millions of fans in baseball, both as player in 1980, but also by what they have done in baseball since then.
    At least three of them went on to be major league managers.
    Two of them in the HOF.
    What a group of baseball minds were on that team.

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  8. On paper, the 2108 team was our best ever. Alas, things don’t always go according to plan. That’s one reason why I do not think Luhnow will sink so many eggs into the Harper basket.

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    • daveb will be hosting the next blog: ten best teams of the future.
      I can’t wait! Damn I wish I could put my feet up and look out at the ocean and see the future.
      You are The Man!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Now I’m going to wake up tomorrow and see that you convinced Luhnow to sign the guy for 350 over 10 with 80 of it up front. That’s only 30 a year the rest of the way. Still a bad dream for me.

        As for the ten best teams of the future, I can’t even convince everyone that my nephew is our DH of the future. But I do have my feet up and I am looking at the ocean.

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  9. I don’t think there is a chance in Hades of the Astros signing Harper. I just wanted to give my opinion on who would best fit the Astros right now.
    One thing you will not hear coming from Luhnow’s and Crane’s lips is:
    It’s not my money, so I am all for it.
    However, starting in 2020, Jose Altuve will be getting paid $29 million per season from the Astros. Did I really envision that happening, or was it wishful thinking? And yet, it’s a done deal.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Luhnow seems to prefer to front-load contracts. Altuve seems to be the exception. My hope is Luhnow and Crane have already balanced it, mentally, by remembering how he was underpaid for so many years.

      I hope the Astros make Harper a gigantic offer that he turns down.

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  10. Knee jerk reaction is that 2018 was our best team. It’s awfully hard to put them above 2017 based on the results. Also, we had some holes last year due to age/injury.

    However, I’m biased, but think the 1986 squad was the best TEAM. Yes, they had some great players (Scott, Ryan, Davis), but it was the performances of the supporting cast that really put them over the top. Doran and Bass were, in my opinion, criminally underrated and would have been stars had they played a decade later when weights and pharmaceuticals enhanced performance so much. I think the cast overachieved their ability levels. That’s something we normally see happen in college sports more so than at the pro level, I believe.

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    • I was a zombie after that season. I didn’t want to see any baseball at all. That one was just too much to handle and I didn’t recover for years!
      It still hurts thinking about it.
      2017 is the only thing that soothes the pain of 1986 for me. I still hate that day, that game. Hate it.
      I started to come out of my funk of 1986 when the Rockets beat the Knicks for the NBA title. It was like the healing of a wound.

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  11. Zanuda, Altuve’s contract is actually worth $163.5M spread out over 7 years, with the last 5 being an extension valued at $151M. There is also a $21M signing bonus that is spread equally over the 2018 thru 2024 seasons. His salary, post- extension, is as follows 😦https://www.forbes.com/sites/waynemcdonnell/2018/03/20/jose-altuves-151-million-contract-extension-should-be-the-new-blueprint/#114f91b36aab):

    Year/ Base Salary/ Signing Bonus/ Total Salary

    2018 $6,000,000 $3,000,000 $9,000,000
    2019 $6,500,000 $3,000,000 $9,500,000
    2020 $26,000,000 $3,000,000 $29,000,000
    2021 $26,000,000 $3,000,000 $29,000,000
    2022 $26,000,000 $3,000,000 $29,000,000
    2023 $26,000,000 $3,000,000 $29,000,000
    2024 $26,000,000 $3,000,000 $29,000,000

    It seems an odd way to structure a contract. Signing bonuses are not insurable, while actual contract salary is. Also, signing bonuses must be paid even if a player is suspended or retires, while contract salaries are not require to be paid in those cases.

    Interesting perks and bonuses built into the contract:

    1) for 2021-24, salaries for remaining seasons increase by:
    * $3M with MVP award,
    *$2M with second-place finish in MVP vote,
    *$1M with third-place finish in MVP vote
    2) full no-trade protection
    3) suite on road, premium stadium seats

    Liked by 2 people

  12. On June 14,1974 Nolan Ryan threw 235 pitches over 13 innings, giving up 3 ER and striking out 19. He left the game with a no decision (Luis Tiant threw 14 1/3 innings for Boston and took the loss). Ryan ended the season with 332.2 IP over 41 starts, with 26 complete games. This was a year after he pitched 326 innings over 39 starts, with 26 complete games.

    This early workload took a huge toll on his career, as he could not throw nearly as much as he aged. For example, In 1989, at age 42, Nolan Ryan averaged 127 pitches a game with a high of 164, which came five days after he threw 150.

    Further proof of the damage done by such high workload is found in the fact that he was only ably to manage 201 IP per year between ages 40 and 45.

    His overuse ultimately forced a premature retirement due to torn UCL in 1993 at only 46 years old. (Luis Tiant was similarly affected as he was forced to retire at only 41).

    Just think of what could have been if he “handled properly” earlier in his career! (wink)

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    • In 1974 a primitive radar was set up to record Ryan’s fastball. It was centered directly over home plate. On the 154th pitch of the 9th inning a pitch of 100.8 was recorded. What is not generally known, is that in his next start he had a pitch measured at 100.9 (also in the 9th inning). What is interesting is that, according to the documentary Fastball, there were only a handful of pitches actually recorded on those days.

      Also, according to the documentary, if the pitched were measured 20′ in front of the mound, like they are today, and not directly over the plate the speed would have been 108.5 MPH.

      Here’s a pretty good article (and I would highly recommend watching Fastball – its available on Amazon Video, Vimeo and iTunes):

      https://thegamehaus.com/nolan-ryans-record-108-mph-fastball/2018/08/20/

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  13. Ken Rosenthal says the Astros are talking to Cruz and Brantley and are open to trading Reddick, but are not finding anyone interested in him.

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    • And you are wondering why? 26MM a lot to pay for for what might be described as declining production. I hope they’re all wrong and Reddick bounces back with a couple of really good years with the bat. Nothing wrong with his stellar defense.

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    • I start to see the Astros pitching light at the end of the tunnel.
      Whitley
      Martin
      Ivey
      Abreu
      Solomon
      James
      Valdez
      Bielak
      Bukauskas
      Perez
      Armenteros
      Hartman
      Not all of them, but, a lot of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I could see 6 of those guys (maybe even 7) contributing at some level for the Astros in 2019. There are a lot of MLB ready arms and more 1-2 years out. There is no way that they don’t take a long look at Whitley at the MLB level before going into an offseason where Cole and Verlander hit FA.

    At only 24 McCullers is still a bright star and is controllable through the end of 2021. Its a shame you not only have to pay him arb #’s for the year he is shut down but you also lose a year of control.

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      • With 6 different reporters involved, it will be better to wait and see what the numbers are. What is pretty certain is that Realmuto isn’t going to be a Met.

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      • “It is indeed $19MM guaranteed, tweets the New York Times’ James Wagner, who adds that Ramos will earn $8.25MM next season and $9.25MM in 2020. The contract also includes either a $10MM club option or a $1.5MM buyout for 2021. The max value is $27.5MM.”

        That’s not too bad for a catcher that can hit > .300 with some pop.

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  15. If anyone thinks I am mad at Dave B, I am but that is not important. I poured an entire cup of coffee on my laptop. Got a new one. Now I have to figure what my passwords are. Found this one. So more to follow.

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  16. I’m not bored. I think:
    -The Yankees are fixing to enter the fray. My thinking is that they are going to make big moves to create a monster lineup.
    -The Red Sox’s success forces New York into spending.
    -The Astros are going to wait on making a move for a pitcher, in order to let the market play itself down.
    -The Astros are going to have a rough time getting rid of Reddick’s contract. It would take some sacrifice.
    -The Segura deal complicates things for the Phillies and Machado.
    -The Texans won’t be able to overcome their horrible offensive line and defensive backfield in the playoffs. I think the Eagles are going to present big problems on Sunday. I want to be wrong, but how do you suddenly learn to block and cover in week 15?
    -The Braves, Phillies, Mets and Nationals make big moves to get better and the Marlins tear it down. This is not going to be pretty.
    -Mike Elias needs to be Jeff Luhnow II.

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  17. Random items gleaned from tiptoeing through the tulips of Baseball Reference.com:

    At the end of 2005 season the Astros all time record was 3497-3503, the closest they had ever been to .500 at the end of a season. They started the 2006 season 19-9, which put them 4 games over .500, their all time best. They then lost 6 in a row and have never been above .500 again. They are currently 4494-4611

    Hunter Pence has made $125M playing baseball

    In 2007 the Astros went 72-90 and had attendance of 3,020,405. In 2017 they went 101-61, won the WS and had attendance of 2,403,671. Can we conclude, once and for all, that Carlos Lee put fannies in the seats?

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    • I’ll agree that C Lee probably put fans in the seats. But take into account the average baseball ticket has risen by about $10 per seat since then. The price one pays for a sporting event ticket has gotten shall we say ridiculous over the years. NFL – 110, NBA – 78, NHL – 125, Astros – 44. Yes it’s a bargain comparatively but when you add concessions, parking, souvenirs, you might as well tack on at least another $25. The average working fan can only go to a few games a year at that price. In 1984 when I was living in Houston I could see the Astros for a little over $5 for a decent seat. Don’t get me wrong, if I were going to be in Houston and the Astros were playing I’d find a way to go see a game or two. Ot’s just that I think all this has gotten just a little out of hand.

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  18. Biggio’s chase for 3,000 hits and subsequent retirement and swan song had a huge impact on 2007 attendance, perhaps more than Carlos Lee.
    I believe the 2,980,000 attendance in 2018 was very significant because the Astros had to overcome the huge loss of attendance they had in being forced into the AL West by MLB and the teardown that followed.
    The following link shows that the Astros followed the pattern of all of MLB in 2007, the biggest attendance year in baseball history. But the 2018 Astros defied the pattern of a huge drop in attendance league-wide in baseball in past seasons with the huge increase in theirs.
    http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teams/housattn.shtml
    So proud of the Astros and Houston in the way they have come back huge in supporting their team.

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  19. It is kind of ironic (but it makes sense) that the two years they went to the World Series (2005 and 2017) they had the 7th and 14th highest attendance in team history.
    2005 they had that terrible start, but the fans came around eventually and helped fuel the second half run of the team.
    2017 was not super high, but as op said they were coming from the Valley of Death – basically 50% higher than the low points back in 2012 and 2013.

    With so many other ways of accessing games – will 3 million attendance go the way of the 300 inning pitcher?

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    • I think 3,000,000 ought to be at least semi-normal for the quality of team the Astros are putting on the field these days. St Louis: starting in 1998 they have had only 1 season under 3M (at 2.9). The Cubs: since 2000 they have 11 seasons over 3M. Giants: since 2000 only 2 seasons under 3M. Phillies: 8 seasons over 3M since 2000. Not even talking about NY/LA/Boston teams here.

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      • Nobody with major league baseball ever told the Cubs, Phillies, Cards or Giants they had to switch leagues and join a division of teams 1500 miles away either. I wonder how fans in those cities would react. Hey Cubs fans, your team is now in a division with the Royals, Angels Mariners and Athletics. What’s big deal? KC is really close and now all of you get to stay up til 12:30 am to watch road games on tv. Take it or leave it.

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      • Fair point OP, not to mention the Astros shooting themselves in the foot with no TV coverage for what, 2 or 3 seasons? But their rivalry situation has always been tenuous: going from 10 team league with no natural rivalries, to NL West ( with 3 west coast teams) to NL Central, then to AL. The Astros have drawn 3M several times in the past and with the quality of the organization now, I think they should expect 3M going forward, not, to Dan’s point, as rarely as a 300 inning pitcher.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Just some thoughts, more or less related to the Astros – or this blog . . .

    1. A threshold was crossed some time ago, and this blog is no longer ‘Chipalatta’; it should probably be renamed ‘Chip-a-little’ or, perhaps, in honor of Chip’s worthy successor, it should be called ‘Dan-arama’

    2. This year, the Luhnow F.O. has actually held firm on not trading its most highly-publicized prospects – most notably Forrest Whitely and Kyle Tucker. This could mean: a. the F.O. really believes these guys are going to be every bit as good as the press releases say they are, or b. the people the F.O. had targeted to trade Tucker and/or Whitely for really didn’t want to come to Houston, especially in light of the facts that i. our franchise player has come down with a really bad back problem, and ii. much of Houston’s renowned coaching staff has flown the coup the last two off-seasons.

    3. The success – or regression – of the 2019 Astros may hinge on:
    a. Carlos’ Correa’s back;
    b. JV’s ability to maintain the level of utter dominance in 2019 that he showed in the first half of 2018; and
    c. whether Whitely and Tucker are both either traded for monster talent or on the big club, contributing positive WAR, before July 1.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hey thanks for the kind words Mr. Bill, but this blog would not exist if Chip had not started it at chron.com, built it up and then stepped away from chron.com and established it over here.
    I hope he will get back to writing at some point – life has a way of changing plans. I miss Brian T also.
    Heck I miss Tim and Bopert and all the folks that have checked in over the years but have checked out lately.

    Glad you came back Bill.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I am trying so strongly to figure out what I want to say and how to say it.
    The Astros have a large group of pitchers in the minor leagues that is superior to any other major league franchise’s minor league pitchers. I believe the Astros want to have a staff of their own pitchers pitching in the major leagues by the time LMJ hits free agency.
    I’m not saying that this will influence who the Astros go get to pitch this year, but I am saying that by the spring of 2020 the Astros want their pitching prospects to be both on their major league staff, ready to jump to the major league staff, and stuffing the pitching staff at the AAA level.
    It is as simple as this:
    The Astros love Altuve and Springer and Correa and Bregman. They have used their analytics to groom a wave of young pitchers with multiple plus pitches and they want those pitchers to come to the majors and help the Astros stay at the top of the heap without having to match the payrolls of clubs who got to the top by trading their prospects for major league players. The Astros traded Folty, Hader, Velasquez, F. Perez, Guzman, Sandoval, and others while they were putting together a major league champion and an unparalleled stable of pitchers in the minors.
    I believe they will have a pitching staff of almost exclusively young pitchers by 2021 and will be able to afford to keep the position players who they want to keep to go along with that staff.
    They know they can’t just stick a whole group of rookies out there together and I think they will start weaving their young pitchers into the staff starting in the spring of 2019, while they still have Verlander and Cole and Peacock and McHugh and a group of veteran relievers.

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  23. CF Springer
    3B Bregman
    2B Altuve
    SS Correa
    LF Brantley
    1B Gurriel
    RF Reddick
    DH White
    C Chirinos McTaggart just asked how do you like that lineup? For me, get a better catcher.

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  24. It could mean Tuckers days are numbered, and it could mean nothing. We definitely needed a solid left handed bat in the outfield and Luhnow got us one. And only two years. I had figured that Brantley would be looking for a couple of more years at the advanced age of 32, I think we did well here.

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    • daveb, think about the logic of your comment “It could mean Tuckers days are numbered”. Now stop and think, Tucker is only 21, has worked his way through the minors, has conquered AAA, is one of the top 10 prospects in all of baseball and has had a cup of coffee in the majors. The Brantley signing does not mean anything at all for Tucker. It simply means that we add depth and skill to the OF and DH spots.

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      • Vewill, I think you missed half my quote. You’re writing fake news as they call it these days. But just for conversation, if our GM still has an interest in Realmuto, it will take Tucker and more to get the deal done. I’m on the fence about such a deal. A good signing last night though.

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  25. I know we are not talking about “average” players, but when you consider an average MLB career is 6 years – then 2 or 3 years are close to eternity after hitting free agency. If JL wants to err on the side of caution, then I would agree with him. (One just that one thing though)

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