Astros 2019: Ten Christmas wishes


First of all – Merry Christmas or season’s greetings or whatever floats your boat to all those who hang out here.

So, here are 10 Christmas wishes for the coming season…

  1. For the Astros to be spraying champagne and proposing to girlfriends after another World Series win next fall.
  2. For Carlos Correa to play like he did in 2015-2017 for about 155 games in the 2019  season.
  3. For Josh Reddick to re-find his WWE mojo once again.
  4. For Michael Brantley to be the “glue” kind of bat that gets on base, knocks in runs, moves runners over and makes the hitters around him better.
  5. For the front office (or what’s left of it) to have success in adding a few more players to this outstanding team (a starting pitcher and/or catcher would be most welcome).
  6. For Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole to continue the onslaught on AL hitters they brought in 2018.
  7. For two or three of the young buck pitchers (Framber Valdez, Josh James, Cionel Perez, Forrest Whitley, Rogelio Armenteros) to prove themselves true major leaguers.
  8. For Kyle Tucker – if he’s still here – to shake off his bad start (as Alex Bregman and George Springer did before him) and show why he is considered one of the top position prospects in all of baseball. Even if the young man isn’t here – we wish him well.
  9. For big seasons for under the radar pitchers Collin McHugh and Brad Peacock who have been important rotation and bullpen components the last few seasons.
  10. For the Astros bullpen to perform as well in the playoffs as they do in the regular season.
  11. Here’s a bonus wish – for good health all around for this great group of players.

Your turn – what are you wishing for at Christmas time for the Astros and for yourselves.

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60 comments on “Astros 2019: Ten Christmas wishes

  1. I wish to win the World Series again, extend Verlander, Cole and McHugh, for Whitley and Tucker to be the co rookies of the year, Correa to get his Mojo back and Gurriel and Reddick to have better years. I wish for Dan to keep up his terrific writings and for all these Chipalotta baseball gurus to have a healthy and happy New year.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I wish that 2019 will see the 25 following gigantic milestones for the Astros. No pressure here, right?

    1. Astros win the AL West championship;
    2. Astros win the ALCS Championship;
    3. Astros win their 2nd WS Championship;
    4. Astros record their most wins in any season in team history;
    5. Astros record the highest team BA and OBP in team history;
    6. Astros pitchers log the lowest team staff WHIP and ERA in team history;
    7. Highest BARISP in team history;
    8. Lowest number of days people on our 25-man spend on the DL in team history;
    9. Our offense records the fewest offensive Ks and GIDPs in team history;
    10. Two of our players are in the top 10 in the MLB in BA;
    11. One of our players wins the League MVP;
    12. One of our pitchers wins the Cy Young;
    13. One of our players hits for the cycle;
    14. One or our pitchers throws a perfect game, and another throws a no-hitter;
    15. Joe West and Angel Hernandez get really drunk together and fail to show up for any Astro games that they are scheduled to umpire;
    16. The Texas Rangers bat under .200 against our pitching staff on the year;
    17. We win the 2018 series against all our division foes, and sweep at least one of them;
    18. Alex Bregman hits over .400 against Trevor Bauer on the year;
    19. Our defense pulls off a triple play, gets a hidden-ball trick out, and leads the league in outfield assists;
    20. Our catchers have the fewest passed balls AND the highest percentage of nabbed base stealers in the league;
    21. Our pitchers have the fewest wild pitches in the league;
    22. Jose Altuve does not get picked off base the entire year;
    23. Carlos Correa doesn’t take a called third strike all year;
    24. Tyler White – hopefully in an Astros uni -leads all the DH’s in the league in BA, OBP, and BARISP;
    25. Chipalatta keeps on rollin’, stronger than ever, all the way.

    As ZZ Top says: I ain’t askin’ for much . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe the Astros were interested in the inexpensive version of Nelson Cruz. Minnesota was ok offering him his money because if they are not in their divisional race by July, they can flip him for a prospect.
      Cruz held out for the money because he knows that if the Twins are out of it, he will get flipped to a contender and get his money, too.
      I like to believe that the Astros thought they were not desperate enough to pay Cruz that kind of money after signing Brantley. They have Tyler White.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thats right op. i like it shaking out this way because i would like to see tyler get a few hundred at bats first, if he works out GREAT. if he doesnt maybe we are the ones cruz gets flipped to and we are on the hook for less than 1/2 of his salary. (assuming a deadline trade)

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Nelson Cruz ain’t worth that kind of money….I wanna know if Luhnow has had any talks with the Indians about Klubler. Any money Crane is willing to extend, I want it to go after anot her pitcher. I know I’m dreaming, but think how scary our rotation would be with Verlander, Cole, and Klubler!! WOW!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nelson Cruz at 1/$14 with a $12/$.3 option is pretty good value for a 3 WAR hitter with 40’ish HR track record and little sign of decline. However, he is a luxury the Astros really don’t need at that price.

    I think Brantley/ White will end up in a straight- up L/R platoon at DH. I like the BA/OBP/OPS that combo is capable of, even if you give up a few extra HR that Cruz would have added. Brantley will also give some insurance if Tucker stalls and will probably take quite a few ABs from Reddick if he doesn’t come out of the gate hot.

    I’m getting comfortable with the Chirinos signing. He will add some offense, at the expense of defense and baserunners. I like it most because I think it gives Stubbs a great chance to get to contribute in 2019. I like what Stubbs brings; BA, OBP and a little pop plus the ability to steal a base here and there.

    I think the Nationals got a great deal with Anibal Snachez. The way the salary is structured it puts little pressure on payroll annually. I kind of thought he could be our 2019 version of Morton.

    I’m not sure what to expect from Diaz, and I’m not sure the Astros do either. The uncertainty probably assures Kemp a spot on the 25 as a 4th OF and back-up infield utility.

    Springer, Reddick, Brantley, Tucker, Straw, Kemp, Marisnick all in the OF mix. We will probably be forced to carry 13 pitchers to make up for lost innings. 13 pitchers plus 2 catchers, 4 infielders, 1 utility, 1 DH only leaves 4 OF spots, so someone(s) will be left out in the cold. I could see the team carry only 12 pitchers and run a shuttle bus between AAA and Houston and round out the staff that way – still leaves someone(s) on the outside looking in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vewill1, I see things differently, at least for now. Brantley will spend more time in left than anywhere else. White will be primary DH. If Tucker has a good spring, I think he’s our fourth outfielder, unless Reddick somehow gets moved. And I don’t think Reddick needs to go yet. Is anyone really ready to hand Tucker the job in left? We also don’t have the luxury of using two guys in a straight up DH platoon, as you note in your last paragraph.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Dave,

        I hope you had a Merry Christmas. I like what you said, but I don’t see Tucker as the 4th OFer. In my opinion, he’ll either be getting plenty of starts in LF/RF or he will be starting the season in Round Rock. If he is on the 25-man roster to start the season he’ll be starting. Now, if the rumors are true with the Astros pursuing Encarnacion, which doesn’t make sense to me since they didn’t make a strong push for Nelson Cruz, then either Tucker starts in Round Rock or Reddick is traded.

        Like

    • its interesting that is the case even though we have not traded away many if any vets for prospects and have traded prospects for veteran help in the same period. strong system and management.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This is my baseball passion, developing prospects into stars.
        I believe that one of the reasons the Astros have completely overhauled their
        minor league managerial and developmental departments is because they were not happy with the results of their drafting, as far as providing major league quality players, especially pitchers.
        I firmly believe that the Astros are starting to get the kind of development they wanted, and the key to that is to get their analytics down to every level of the minors and impress upon players that these are the things they need to do to get to where every one of them has dreamed of being. Time after time this year I have heard Astros prospect rave about the information they have and the growth that the Astros have provided them. Five years ago we heard exactly the opposite from Astros prospects.
        One of the pitfalls of early development might be the wall that players hit, when the prospect hit the majors with talent that was good enough for the minors but not for the majors. But that pitfall can be avoided if the team’s projections in drafting help them get players who have the stuff to make it all the way and stay there and whose talents can be improved immensely in the process rather than stagnate, the way they did five years ago.
        This process includes getting true studs like Correa and Bregman to end up as studs, rather than ending up like Buxtons or Gallos or, unhappily, Appels.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. With all of these prospects, and those already on the 40 man roster but not cracking the 25 man roster it would seem we’re in a good position to make a big trade if we need to. Also hopefully set for the near future.

    Like

  6. Keuchel is having a tough time getting signed. He wants 5 yrs and that seems to be a big sticking point. If I was REALLY interested in him, I wouldn’t go past 3yrs. It will be interesting to see if he comes off the 5yrs before his window closes. He’s even been linked to the Astros……..but that ship has sailed. Do you folks think Marcus Stroman would be a reclamation project for Strom? I’d at least kick the tires on him, because I think the Indians were just dangling Klubler and Bauer for the heck of it. Unless Jeter comes down on his price, the Marlins catcher will open the 2019 season with the Marlins. Every single team who have been REALLY interested in that kid, has walked off saying Jeter wants WAAAY too much for him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Becky the key with Stroman is whether they feel confident in his health. He had various injuries including blisters and a more troubling shoulder discomfort. Only 19 starts at about 5.50 ERA and only 2 years of control… not sure where they go with that.

      Like

      • Forgot about his trouble with blisters. I remember that was the slam about Rich Hill. Still……he cleans our clocks nearly every time we play them!

        Like

    • Keuchel would be a good deal for 3/40. To me that is a fair deal for a #3. Stroman is a little bulldog, but I’m not sure he is what the Astros are looking for right now.
      The Indians were willing to deal Kluber or Bauer until The Mariner’s GM brain-farted and let the Indians off the Encarnacion train wreck gallows.
      If the Marlins don’t trade Realmuto, they will have cost themselves a lot of leverage. He is worth a lot, but they are asking for a lot more than two years of him are worth. Their price will come down, because they need to trade him, because their team is horrible and keeping him will cost them a lot of future players. Great post, Becky!

      Like

  7. It looks like Jim Crane might have saved the Houston Open and will rebuild Memorial Golf Course and have it ready for the 2020 Open.
    Houston City Council votes on it next week.
    Fond memories for me playing Memorial Park GC back in the 60’s and 70’s and it feels good that it will undergo it’s latest rebuild and tournament golf will once again return to Memorial Park. Hoping this plan does not disrupt too many lives with traffic or changes in roads. Hoping to maybe be around to see this event happen on TV in 2020.

    Like

    • I used to love to golf at Memorial Park back in the 70’s – nice layout and dirt cheap
      Mr Crane has proven to be a good owner who cares about this city – I think we can forgive him for the AL transfer

      Liked by 5 people

  8. I think The Houston Open was played there many years ago. But that sure will impact park use in many other areas during the rebuild and obvious expansion. How are they going to squeeze 7300 yards and all the facilities that go into a championship layout in that space? All in all though, it will be cool to have a first class public facility, right in town!

    Like

    • Dave, they redesigned and lengthened the course in ’96. It is now 7146 yds. I would think the new changes would add that extra 150 yds., somehow.
      I would think that parking and access and club facilities are going to be the biggest headache. I am just wondering about drainage, because it is pretty flat or at least it was 35 years ago, when I saw it last.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I guess there is plenty of downtown parking on the weekends, which will allow specs to be bused in. Is the polo grounds still the polo grounds? Maybe they can use that for something. Should be a lot of fun. Will be interesting to see exactly what they do to the course.

        Like

      • Yes the polo club is still there Dave.
        Ironic in a baseball blog we are talking about the polo grounds not the Polo Grounds.
        I’m worried about the Thursday and Friday parking – the park does not have much and downtown is fairly full
        Maybe they can park folks at the former Northwest Mall and bus them in

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dan, at the ripe old age age of 7, I went to the real Polo Grounds in 1962 with my best childhood buddy, Louie Brancato. His father got a brand new Cadillac every year. When we got to the park, Mr. B handed the ticket man a couple of bills and said give me the best seats you’ve got. We sat in the third or fourth row. My first ML game. I still remember the sandwiches Mrs. B packed up for us. And I’m pretty sure the Metropolitans beat the Milwaukee Braves 2 -1.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. According to mlbtraderumors.com the Astros have shown interest in the Mets’ Seth Lugo.
    He has been a so-so starter in the past and a very good reliever last year and he has 4 years control
    Oh – and he only trailed Pressly in curve ball spin rate last season…

    Like

  10. I’d take Robbie Ray in a New York minute! Highly doubtful the Diamondbacks will be willing to trade him, kinda like the Indians dangling Klubler and Bauer.

    Like

  11. Some Astros thoughts:
    -Since it was buried in the body of an article, I thought you might have missed this about Forrest Whitley in MLBTR yesterday. I will paste it:
    The Marlins’ asking price for J.T. Realmuto has put off many a suitor, but the Astros are “still interested,” reports Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Per Morosi, the Fish are still insisting on one of either Forrest Whitley or outfielder Kyle Tucker, each near-consensus top-1o prospects, to headline the deal, so there’s been “no traction” in discussions. To say Whitley, 21, is drawing rave reviews in scouting circles would be to critically undersell the case – the 6’7 Texan is described by some scouts, per Baseball America, as the “best [pitching prospect] they’ve ever seen,” and has done little to discredit that view (aside, perhaps, from a 50-game suspension in early 2018 for a supposed positive banned-stimulant test) in his ascent through
    the system.
    -I believe the Astros feel like they need another veteran MOR starter because of the attrition rate of starting pitchers and because of pending free agency at the completion of the 2019 season. I’m not sure they want two new MOR starters, though. I think they are looking at Lugo and Ray, hoping to make a deal for one of them.
    -It blows my mind to read someone actually write a blog saying the Astros
    “allowed Nelson Cruz to go the Twins”. How about the fella that says that the Astros “failed” to sign Nelson Cruz and now they “need” to resign Evan Gattis to be our DH?

    Like

    • There are plenty of knuckleheads out there, including the variety that know less than some of us Chipalatta knuckleheads. My nephew still gets so little respect in some misguided circles. He thrives on it though. Becky, he might even put on another ten pounds of donut blubber before giving us that .900 OPS in 2019.

      Liked by 1 person

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