Free Blog Weekend: Injuries and the Keuchel redux


Time again for a Chipalatta special — the Free Blog Weekend. Our loyal readers can go in any direction you want as long as it has to do with the Astros or baseball and as long as it is fit for our blog family.

And also following tradition we will throw out a couple of items to chew on if you so choose.

Injuries in retrospect.

Good friend of the blog, old pro, was writing about how he had just learned that Chris Devenski had played through an injury last season. Looking back to 2018 it is pretty easy to see where a number of players were playing through an injury or on the DL (IL this year) or coming back from the DL with injuries and performance tied to tumbling stats:

  • Devo – first 35 games – 1.32 ERA / 15 holds / 2 wins / 2 saves
  • In his next 15 games his ERA was 11.48 and included two appearances right before his DL stint where he gave up 8 runs without recording an out. He also had only 3 holds, no saves and no wins the rest of the season.
  • On June 30, Jose Altuve had a robust .342 BA / .407 OBP / .890 OPS with 55 runs scored and 41 RBIs.
  • Through the rest of the season, he and his injured knee put up a decent (for players not named Altuve) .273 / .351 / .749 line and only scored 29 runs and knocked in 20 runs.
  • On June 10 George Springer had played 65 games and was hitting  .294 BA/.368 OBP/.881 OPS slash with 14 HRs and 39 RBIs
  • The rest of the way (75 games) he put down (can’t say put up) a .236/.326/.679 slash with 8 HRs and 32 RBIs while struggling with thumb problems and a prolonged slump
  • Its not clear exactly when Carlos Correa‘s back went out, but when he finally went on the DL at the end of June he was hitting an OK .268 BA/.352 OBP/ .832 OPS in 73 games with 46 runs scored, 13 HRs and 49 RBIs.
  • After missing about 6 weeks of the season, Correa in his last 37 games had a pathetic .180 BA/.261 OBP/ .509 OPS with only 16 runs, 2 HRs and 16 RBIs.

The point being that injuries can derail performances and often can be seen in numbers leading up to and after DL stints. And sometimes it is only in retrospect that we spot these drop-offs.

Keuchel: the saga continues.

It is no hyperbole to say that when Patrick Corbin signed for 6 yrs / $140 million on December 7th of last year, Dallas Keuchel became the best unsigned pitcher on the planet. And now some 3 months and a week or so later, the statement is still true.

Keuchel ticks off lots of boxes on both sides of a yes or no list for teams:

  • Former Cy Young winner
  • Over 30
  • Lefty who knows how to pitch, not just throw
  • Needs a tailwind to reach 90 mph on the gun
  • Has won big games for the team in pennant races and in the playoffs
  • Would cost a draft pick if signed before the next draft
  • Threw more than 200 innings last season
  • Gave up the most hits around (more than 1 per inning)

We don’t know what numbers he went into the offseason chasing, though with his agent Scott Boras comparing him to Tommy Glavine and Jesus Christ (wait a minute that was me – because of his beard) we are sure they asked for too much for too long. What we don’t know is if they have even been fielding offers and from whom.

At this point are they just going to wait until a team with big expectations springs a leak due to injuries and has to at least give him big bucks even if it is not for as many years as he would like? The Yankees have been getting some bad news on Luis Severino and CC Sabathia so far this spring. Could the Yankee killer join forces with the pinstripers? Stay tuned.

96 comments on “Free Blog Weekend: Injuries and the Keuchel redux

  1. * The problem with Hinch and Hernandez did indeed start in a game last week.
    * Hinch didn’t like the way Hernandez started off tonight calling a lot of Whitley’s pitches balls.
    * Methinks Hinch will get into trouble for tonight.
    * Whitley pitched Four innings of hitless ball against the Cards in a 5-0 Astros win.
    * Abraham Toro hit a grand slam off of a major league reliever to break open the other game against the Cards. Astros won that one 11-2.
    * Aledmys Diaz hit another homer tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Free blog weekend, huh?
    The Astros have four pitchers in the middle part of their Top 30 Prospects on their website that have all of their grades at 50 or higher. And all of these pitchers end up with an overall grade of 45. How do you grade out at average or better in every category and then get graded below average.
    The four pitchers are Bielak, Ivey, Schroeder and Solis.
    Check out their weird grades for yourself: http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2019?list=hou

    Liked by 1 person

    • Could be wrong, but overall takes into account other factors such as likelihood of making the majors, injury risk, pitch selection, deceptiveness of delivery, whether someone’s a head case, “grit,” and so on.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We’re just going to have to wait until Angel screws up something big in NY or Boston. MLB must just be scared stiff of pissing off the umpires union. A crappy player gets sent down. A crappy ump goes to the post season. It’s pretty easy to see how many pitches he blows a game, and that’s the easy part. Seems to me he was giving Whitney his initiation. The rules according to Angel Hernandez.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 1) Hernandez sued mlb in 2017 saying he was not named a crew chief due to racial discrimination – so mlb backed off on him
      2) Accotding to Hinch he talked to Hernandez a week ago and Hernandez said he makes 4 bad calls a game
      3) He also said that Hernandez took offense when Hinch said he could use some of the electronics available to improve his calls.
      4) Hinch thought Hernandez was squeezing Whitley in he first and completely lost it when he called a first strike for the Cards pitcher in the first.
      5) Hinch said Hernandez was arrogant and condescending when he came out to argue and he had to be dragged away from Hernandez and left the field by walking out thru the left field fence

      This is not over I fear

      Like

  4. Nice article in Chron this morn about Tony Kemp, how it’s down to him or Marisnick. I know it’s no use getting attached to people, but I’ll be hating to lose Kemp, just because of the whole bundle he is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If it’s down to those two, Jake will be optioned.
      But it won’t be.
      I imagine it will be Valdez, who makes room for them both.

      SP – JV Cole Miley McQ Peacock
      BP – Osuna Press Harris Rondon Devo Guduan
      IF – Bregs CC Tuve Yuli White
      OF – Springer Brantley Reddick Jake
      C – Chirinos
      Bench – Stassi Diaz Kemp

      James and Valdez are front runners for this spot remaining, but the two names conspicuously missing are Dean Deetz, and Cionel Perez. As of today, with slight quad strain to James, it’s a little up-in-the-air.

      Like

      • Let’s face it, although Framber did a great job for us late, he’s only got 8.2 innings of AAA work under his belt and a season of unremarkable stats at Corpus. He still needs to fine tune his game. The best thing he did in the minors last year was that 4.14 SO/W rate. He’s got to get much closer to that at the ML level before he can enjoy long term success.

        Like

      • Valdez would have led the Majors in groundball-percentage (70.3%) in 2018 if he had enough innings to qualify. Framber also had a GB/FB ratio of 3.40. Granted, that was only in 37 innings, but it provides an indication of the type of pitcher the Astros can expect him to be because it’s also who Framber was in the Minors, where he consistently generated grounders and swing-and-misses. His average launch angle in the Bigs last year was -4.6, which is ridiculous! He doesn’t have as much success with his changeup and rarely used it in his introduction to the big leagues, so that is the pitch he needs to hone in Round Rock.

        Better location however is the same criticism for half a dozen would-be starters this year; Whitley, Bukauskas, James, etc.

        According to Chandler Rhome just now, Cionel Perez will be ready, so that is probably the answer. James and Perez, if healthy.

        Like

    • I may have mentioned this before but I have a long time golfing friend who was at the same school as our Joe W. Said he was an ahole then and as I I would think, nothing has clanged in 45 years. Jerkwad stole a home run from us in the playoffs and got in the way of a rally hit.

      Like

  5. The Astros though the asking price was too much on that kid catcher.
    Well….he’s already picked Springer off trying to steal, and hit a 2 run home run, and its only the 4th inning. Just say’n.

    Like

    • I suspect the Marlins wanted Whitley and wouldn’t settle for less. It would’ve been great to have Realmuto behind the plate but losing a pitcher of that quality, no.
      But on the brighter side our boys are whopping up on Philly. How sweet is that.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Tomorrow is going to be pivotal for Framber. Peacock pitched pretty well today, and only gave up that two run homerun. Personally I would prefer him to keep pitching in AAA until he can get more control of his pitches, and it was good to see Josh James pitch a good, clean inning!

    Like

  7. *Free Blog Weekends were made for old men with no money.
    *Almost every Astros regular has had a good spring with the bat. Altuve is the exception, and he has a papal exemption.
    *Astros minor leaguers have been getting a lot of time on the field and have shown good bats and weak gloves. Lots of errors.
    *Couldn’t watch Bukauskas pitch yesterday but noticed that he worked his way out of a jam allowing only one unearned run and had his strikeout pitch going.
    *Astros pitchers have allowed a lot of walks this spring, according to the stats sheet. They are near the top in ERA but the walks have pushed their WHIP to the middle of the pack.
    *Maybe it’s my blue and orange vision seeing things, but has anyone noticed that Whitley, Martin, Bukauskas and Bielak have been sort of a middle inning rotation these last couple of weeks. 1oldpro likey!
    *MLBTR has been very good at reporting injuries this spring and there has been a bunch of them.
    *One of the things I have been really looking forward to this spring is seeing how the Astros handle the rosters of Corpus Christi and Round Rock. It seems so different having both top farm clubs close to home. Also, the Astros will christen a brand new ball park in Fayetteville this year and I’m wondering if the Astros will stack that team, hoping to establish a brand.

    Like

  8. I’d set ceilings (slight re-categorization) like this for the system’s P
    SP1: Whitley
    SP2: Ivey, Martin, Bukauskas
    SP3: James, Valdez, Solomon
    SP4: Bielak, Schroeder (needs better K & oppo-handed batter results than in debut)
    SP5/Swingman: Armenteros, Hartman, Donato, E. Sandoval, R.J. Freure
    Closer: ?
    Set-up man/high-leverage roamer: Paredes, Abreu
    Middle RP: Deetz, C. Perez, Bailey, Pinales, Adcock, Bostick, Nick Hernandez, Mushinski, Solis, Manny Ramirez, Brett Conine, Mark Moclair, J.P. France, Austin Hansen
    Forward- or reverse-matchup-biased RP: Guduan, Emanuel (on last legs?), McCurry, Jose Luis Hernandez, Cristian Javier, Luis Garcia, Tim Hardy, Willy Collado
    Need more domestic performance data & scouting info but …: Ernesto Jaquez (Middle RP?), Alfredi Jimenez (SP2?), Heitor Tokar (SP4?)

    Chad Donato should start the season as a Woodpecker, Op.
    I predicted a few years ago that injuries would spike as it relates to effects of non-“clean” food. Nats were the first team to go all organic, for example, but the rash of joints and ligament injury is all sports is rampant (nobody is yet talking about it!) Look at those 1968 pitchers almost routinely throwing 300+ innings. This is a young man’s game now, and Luhnow saw it coming. Our farm system is still underrated, and I think we’ll graduate at least 8 more guys this year. The Astros lead all teams since 2015 draft with 11. We are just going to keep coming at you…

    Like

  9. Don’t you think we had many fish to fry first, before we went signing Eovaldi? We had a QO out for Dallas, which would have threatened our flexibility for the season had he accepted, then there was Charlie ($15M/year) and Marwin ($10.5M/year) yet to be decided. It wasn’t a decision about Nathan, it was an issue of sorting out what our plans were. Many believe it was an overpay for Pierce, as well, for their WS contributions. It’s a bad contract if Eovaldi gets hurt again after two TJ surgeries.

    I would argue that it was a loyalty issue. We don’t go sign the enemy, when we are in process with guys under everyone’s radar. When teams started including Bielak and others in their trade requests, we realized, it’s no longer a secret how far superior our development staff is.

    This depth is another reason Luhnow made moves to nullify Realmuto and pitching possibilities, with Chirinos and Miley. We made our splash with Brantley, now we are set for what I think will be a cakewalk to the Trophy.

    We have lots of blocked, ML-ready talent to trade; cap space; several MVP candidates; pitching coming out of our ears. Our division is terrible — it’s going to be hard to stay interested in blow out games. Think of how many teams will be out of the race by July, and ready to unload contracts for the future considerations? Lastly, the Red Sox and Yankees have real question marks about the durability of their rotation, and both are doing an average at best job of developing their prospects. With Correa’s return, this year is setting up to be as special as 2017.

    Go Framber!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s pretty safe to say that we would not have won it all in 2017 without the acquisition or Verlander. In 2018, we were favorites, but alas, the injury bug hit hard. Then, feeling pretty damn confident, we saw a couple of plays flip the ALCS after the Cleveland cakewalk. We’ll have more injuries in 2019. All kinds of odd things will happen. This cakewalk to the trophy talk makes me a bit queasy. And I don’t think I’d even want it that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First, daveb, you’re the guy that never watches ST.
      Things have changed. Crapshoot is a terrible way to describe the completely deliberate way the Astros have gone from the worst to first. I agree Verlander tipped the balance in ’17, especially since he could’ve gone to LAD. But wasn’t it a miracle of scrambling initiators, and not “chance” that we acquired him with one minute to spare? You’ve had the same ideas for years, ones we shared, “one more big bat and one more pitcher.” Well, now those guys are internal, hand-picked for reasons every team is trying to figure out why. Was it lucky that Benintendi made the great catch, or Betts being in a position to rob that HR? Cora said, “we work very hard to be in the right position.” Does that sound like a crapshoot? One of the reasons I don’t come by much is how you feel the need to police comments that apparently rile you. I’m looking for you to comment on one prospect, but you haven’t added to the conversation. Initially, I made the comment to Diane, saying Framber would probably relent, and you replied ‘let’s face…’

      I know you’re a good guy but sheez

      nevermind, Reddick makes a huge catch to backup Framber. Carry on.

      Like

    • Which doesn’t mean he won’t still turn it around this year. He has an option, and JJ Cooper says better trade value than Davis. He looked so good in Spring of ’17 that I wondered before anyone when he’d takeover for Aoki. But if you recall, you shouted me down? Guess you forgot. It was because I watched Derek that Spring and you wrote you didn’t have time or care about Spring stats. I had followed him at Univ of Virginia..

      Like

  11. So I see that MLB is suspending Hinch one (spring training!!) game for comments made about Angel Hernandez.
    I think MLB should be fined for not suspending Hernandez for his wonderful playoff performance- like having 3 calls reversed in one game.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Grayson and Dave b – love you both and your takes. Don’t take disagreement personally and don’t make it personal. We all are right and wrong quite often – like Dan P writing about trading Altuve back in I think it was 2014.
    Peace. Love. Baseball.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Grayson, if my benign comment above has offended you, well then I’m not sure I can help with anything softer than that toss. But anytime you want to disagree with me to any degree, I promise I won’t take it personally.

    Like

  14. LOL!!! Grayson and daveb….you guys are soo funny! Most of us on this blog know just enough about baseball to be dangerous! OP is the exception….he knows so my about baseball in his next life to be the Astros manager!!
    OK…Dudes and Dudettes, “WHO”? stays in the bullpen, and who joins Verlander and company in the rotation? Valdez was *AWESOME* today. My vote is
    Valdez in the rotation, because Peacock is a REAL WEAPON out of the pen, who can be a long man. Who YOU got?

    Like

    • Well, Becky, I don’t know who will get the 5th spot. I will say that I have confidence that if we need a sixth guy, these two can do the job.
      I am really worried about Devenski, so it would be nice to have Peacock in the bullpen. But if Hinch trusts Brad more than Framber as a starter, I’m fine with that, also.
      Valdez did not walk a guy today, so he is showing them that he is getting better control.
      I might lean toward Peacock myself, due to what he did in 2017, and because a good year from him as a starter this year, might bode well for him anchoring a staff with some young guys in 2020.

      Like

  15. I’m not gonna give up on Josh James getting a shot for the rotation. That kid has an ELECTRIC arm! I guess anyway we cut it, Valdez, James and Peacock are making the team….what’s not to like with these three guys! I’m getting excited

    Like

  16. *Gotta new pig. One of the boys at school had several show pigs and the county show is over and he gave one to our family. Alas, it will go to the meat market soon with the steer.
    * Got 16 new chickens, unfortunately there are also 4 roosters so this place sounds like a farm from sunup til sunset.
    * The worst thing about marriage may be weddings. People are not very smart about weddings. We were not smart either.
    * The farm that surrounds us ceased being a farm about 20 years ago when the matriarch of that family passed. They don’t want to sell it, but(miracle of miracles) they have leased it to us very reasonably. A place for us to put our cows, a hay meadow which we didn’t have and a new place to hunt with a lot of wildlife. You just never know how the blessings will come, but we do know who to thank.
    *After a year of almost 3 times the normal rainfall, ponds that we have never seen full have overflowed.
    *My son ordered an egg incubator and it arrived last week. It looks like the Jetson’s spaceship car, but, the size of a small coffee pot with an electric plug
    attached.
    *All winter the 20-something hens gave us five or six eggs a day total. The weather warmed up and it’s 20 a day. We got eggs!
    * We should have a couple of new kids soon. No, the two goats are bred, silly!
    *Since comments on a Free blog weekend have to be about the Astros:
    Go, Astros.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, all I’ve got are the sheep next door and they started whining at 5 in the morning when the rain came down. They hate the rain. And boy, when the breeze blows wrong, that wet sheep pen can make your eyes water. Other than that, the monkeys came by the kitchen door for bananas this morning and I didn’t have any in stock. Apples do not impress them. Those eggs sure sound good. Local eggs are 5 bucks a dozen here these days. But you can get a tire changed for 4 dollars. I think that’s our best island bargain besides the ocean.

      Like

      • Wow, dave. We drive 45 minutes to town to buy eggs for $1.95 a dozen or get a flat fixed for $16. But the eggs we get from our chickens are these amazing things that are brown, or light blue or spotted. We got a light red one yesterday. I kid you not.
        The biggest difference in the eggs is the flavor. If you’ve ever had a home grown egg or a home grown tomato, you know what I’m talking about.

        Like

      • Yep, our local eggs taste a whole lot different than the ones coming in on the ship from Miami. Never seen a red one though. And we get great home grown tomato’s all year round out of our rich volcanic soil. So I’m not complaining.

        Like

  17. I realize that spring training stats mean little. But team stats 25 games deep into ST do give us a glimpse at trends. Right now, the Astros lead MLB in ERA for the spring, followed by the Dodgers. That does look vaguely familiar.

    Like

  18. I like what I’ve seen in the past few games. Yes maybe I was a little premature in my observations. But like the players, we’re in our Spring Training blog mode, aren’t we?

    Like

  19. OP….I was reared on a farm, so I know how good those fresh eggs are, and the WONDERFUL tomoatoes!!! We don’t realize how our Lord works sometimes and just when we don’t expect it….He answers our prayers even the ones we haven’t asked Him for! I will say a prayer of thanks for the family who have allowed you to stay on that farm tonight! Love all your stories!
    Daveb….I laughed out loud reading your posts about the Monkeys! Good start to the afternoon! *10* days until opening day! LIFE IS GOOD!!!

    Like

    • We own 40 acres. The family who owns the 64 acres on the east of us and the 20 acres on the west of us has leased us that land for grazing, haying and hunting. It will be a big help to us.

      Like

      • Way back when my ex-father-in-law had 500 acres of cotton, soybean, and carrots under cultivation near Bakersfield, CA. She wanted to make a farmer out of me but that wasn’t in the cards. Cue the Green Acres theme song here.

        Like

      • Dan, I’m pretty sure the “She” is his ex. Thus the “ex father in law” reference. He had the land and they tried to get son in law interested, and son in law wasn’t interested. That’s what I gather from Z’s comment.

        Like

      • Correct 1OP. I like the outdoors; been around my uncle’s ranch in Dayton (60’s), my granddad’s second wife’s farm in Grapeland, but I went a different path. Doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s an interesting occupation and fun from a certain perspective (especially a 10 year old), but I went a different path. One thing I knew I didn’t want to do in NC was pick tobacco. I also knew I’d never be a baseball player. I love the game , just couldn’t play worth 2 cents. I live vicariously through our Astros.

        Liked by 1 person

    • $430 million over 12 years (10 yrs are the extension part of this – since Trout was already covered for 2 seasons)
      And they are already saying he’s being underpaid.
      I can’t wrap my mind around money that seems like the GDP of a small country.

      Like

    • Who knew? I am going to recommend Red River, NM, for less expensive Trout. He is the best player in baseball, so I don’t have a problem with him getting the money, especially from his own team.

      Like

      • OP sometime you should try the blue mesa resevoir just outside of gunnison colorado. and after you catch all the trout you want, take a drive up black pass along black canyon. extremely beautiful. but be careful if you drive over the side you’ll fall for a couple of days before you hit.

        Like

  20. Green Floyd [the group formerly known as ‘Pink’] says it this way:

    Money . . . in the bank.
    Hit the ball, touch ’em all, and you can live swank.
    Cause money . . . gives you clout.
    Who needs angels in the outfield when there’s Mike Trout?
    Big swing, big bling, all-star all-everything –
    He might just buy the whole baseball team!

    Money . . . it’s rollin’ in.
    Grab a hat, glove and bat, and flash that big wide grin!
    Cause money . . . it cures all ills.
    You can sail your yacht to Camelot if you just flash those big bills!
    Second place is no disgrace – if you’re MLB’s new pretty face,
    and you’ve got Mike Trout skills!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Want minor league compensation to increase?

    1. Have the MLB impose a ‘surcharge’ on every player who makes more than $5 million per year, amounting to 25% of the excess of his annual salary over that $5M threshold;
    2. Put the surcharge collected into a ‘minor leaguer’s compensation fund’, and distribute equally to all players in Low A ball through AAA.

    Like

    • Bill, that would be a rather healthy fund quickly. MLB might think it’s a nice idea, but I’m pretty sure the Players Association would not be thrilled with the concept.

      Like

  22. Ray Charles, Willy Nelson, and the follow up story to Groucho and Shifty:

    AJ glared into his brown eyes, and said ‘Blue, are you kidding me?’
    He got tossed from the ballgame, for how dare he disagree?
    He was just protecting Forrest; and he meant no disrespect,
    but Hernandez ain’t from Texas, he can’t stand the Lone Star State;
    his heart lies in Havana, and his vision’s second-rate.
    He ain’t no kind of angel, and he ain’t no shinin’ knight;
    unprofessional and hateful; arrogant and crass;
    He ain’t no kind of angel, and A.J. should kick his . . . . . . . .

    Like

    • Somehow a few lines got lost in the editing. Here is how it is supposed to read [to the tune of ‘Seven Spanish Angels’]:

      AJ glared into his brown eyes, and said ‘Blue, are you kidding me?’
      He got tossed from the ballgame, for how dare he disagree?
      He was just protecting Forrest; and he meant no disrespect;
      But with umpires like Hernandez, you’ve gotta learn to genuflect.

      Cause Hernandez ain’t from Texas, he can’t stand the Lone Star State;
      his heart lies in Havana, and his vision’s second-rate.
      He ain’t no kind of angel, and he ain’t no shinin’ knight;
      He’d condescend to God Himself, and he wouldn’t be polite.

      He’s unprofessional and hateful; he’s arrogant and crass;
      He ain’t no kind of angel, and A.J. should kick his . . . . . . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Two Astro notes
    – The Astros extend Ryan Pressly for 2020 and 2021 – $17.5 million for two seasons. and there is a vesting option that would automatically kick in for $10 million in 2022 if he meets certain standards (appearances)
    – Jacob Nix, who the Astros lost when they were unable to sign 1-1 Brady Aiken and was going places with the Padres has a UCL tear of his own….

    Like

  24. Thinking back to Keuchel for a minute, he reallly needs an unfortunate, big injury to an important starter somewhere. I’m just surprised he has not taken a year somewhere in a effort to establish in 2019 a reason for someone to pay him what he really wants going forward.

    Like

    • Greed will prove to be his undoing. Whenever he does sign he’s not going to be ready due to rust and that’s bad for him… not likely to get a big payday next year if he does poorly

      Liked by 1 person

  25. So with the Pressly deal done, Bergman and Altuve at 50 more, and George needing attention I think it would be very hard to imagine being able to pay both Verlander and Cole next year. But I think the club made a couple of great moves today.

    Liked by 1 person

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