Ranking those off-season Astros’ additions


Astro fans entered the 2019 season with the thought that the best additions to the club would be the return of a healthy Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve. While Correa seems back to his 2017 self (.297 BA/ .355 OBP/ .941 OPS with 9 HRs and 21 RBIs), Altuve is in the depths of a slump that except for one short 6 HR in 5 RBI binge has been bad.

So, let’s look at and rank those “other” off-season additions:

  1. Michael Brantley – This is a small nod over #2 on this list, but Brantley has been tremendous in many ways, not the least his .346/.380/.988 slash with 9 HRs and 27 RBIs. He has solidified the cleanup spot, given the Astros a much needed left-handed bat in the first five and been the ultimate professional hitter, going the other way or cranking it into the right field seats depending on the pitch. Opposing pitchers know that the BRRR brothers (Alex Bregman and Brantley) will give them a battle on every at bat.
  2. Wade Miley – Miley’s numbers have not been as spectacular as Brantley’s, but his performance with a 2-2 record, 3.20 ERA, 1.169 WHIP where his “worst” start is a 4 IP / 3 ER effort has been a solid win for the front office. This is a team that had to replace three of their 5 starters in the rotation. Of the three newbies (Miley, Collin McHugh and Brad Peacock), Miley has been the best and most consistent. Considering he is only costing the team $4.5 million this year, he has been a clear bargain to date.
  3. Robinson Chirinos – He may have been downgraded in our minds coming from the much hated Rangers, but he has been everything the team and fans could want in their new catcher. He is hitting a very good .272 BA/ .384 OBP/ .902 OPS. He is on an equivalent 162 game pace of 90 runs scored, 24 HRs, 90 RBIs. Sure he is only throwing out 20% of runners, but he seems to be doing a good job with his new pitching staff. And a big reason that George Springer has a bunch of RBIs from the leadoff spot is the fact that the lineup gets flipped with Chirinos getting on base along with his buddies at the bottom of the order.
  4. Aledmys Diaz – Folks may be disappointed in Diaz and say that he is not as good as Marwin Gonzalez offensively or defensively, who he is replacing. Just remember that in truth that Brantley is mostly replacing MarGo, who played more than half his games last season in left field. Diaz has been under-producing at the plate vs. his career numbers, but has come up with some key hits and home runs and has willingly jumped in at some positions (e.g. 1B and OF) where he has little or no experience. Diaz is 4th among these new arrivals, but he has been decent and at times clutch for the team.

So, how do you rank these four newcomers and how do you feel about the job the front office did in picking them up?

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82 comments on “Ranking those off-season Astros’ additions

  1. Based on my own early expectations, Brantley gets 6 stars, beyond excellent. Miley gets an excellent. He’s performed as he left off last year. I did not have such high expectations.. Ditto for Chirinos. He gets an excellent too. Diaz to date, he gets an average, but I think he’ll provide more offense.

    Luhnow also gets an excellent. Our left fielder is a steal at 16 million. Our catcher and Keuchel replacement both bargains to date.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Going back to previous post, in looking at Yahoo Sports, it shows the Team batting for Astros is .275 If you ask for the split on Runners in Scoring Position it drops to .235. Then if you ask for RISP with 2 outs, it drops again to .214.

    In contrast the Rangers are .252/.290/.279.

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    • The plus side to this ac is that the Astros are on a steady climb after putting up (putting down?) a .095 BA with Runners in Scoring Position at one point a few weeks ago

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  3. I pushed for Brantley, but he has played better than I dreamed. He has shown more power and has played terrific when the ball is in front of him in LF. He has been a 5-star edition.
    I made a comment early on that I thought Miley was a candidate for an extension. I still do. 3 and a half stars because he is exactly who I thought he was.
    Chirinos has been better than I thought he would be because he has really fit in that dugout. His hitting is a bonus. 4-stars.
    Diaz has been a disappointment for me with the bat and his arm. 2-stars for now, with the hope that he will settle down and get his act together.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My ranks are 5, 4, 4, 1. Brantley has been great. Miley better than advertised & Chirinos surprised me. Hope Diaz gets it together.
    Was Altuve swinging for the fence in 3rd inning? Wish he would get back to driving the ball instead of the LA thingy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reddick was only in right because of Brantley pinch hitting for Marisnick. He almost made a brilliant catch earlier in the inning.
    Another good outing by Miley, great defense and just enough hitting.

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  6. Brantley 5 🌟
    Miley 5 🌟
    Diaz 4 🌟
    Chirinos 5🌟
    I would LOVE to have Reddick back for 2020!
    I said it not too long ago, that this team is BETTER than the 2017 team.
    The only guy I’m not happy with is daveb’s, nephew. Can you imagine how many more games we would win if he could *hit*!
    This team is one starting pitcher away from *IT*.
    They are 4 games in front of the M’s.

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  7. -I remember Springer robbing a grand slam almost exactly the same way against the Rangers in their park a couple of years ago. Right?
    -Miley is really a good addition.
    -Pressley’s slider is filthy!
    -Altuve with a walk and a single seems like an explosion. Baby steps.
    – The Astros four game lead is the largest divisional lead currently.
    – Hunter Pence sure looks good. Great story.

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  8. I remember that Springer theft. Might be a good idea not to pitch Pence up and away tonight. I remember him lunging at things in front of the plate like Enos Cabell and er guys like Altuve from time to time. Might be safer while he’s on this hot streak.

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  9. Concerning Pence, I wish him well EXCEPT vs the Astros.

    I would hope that the FO has video of Pence pulling off outside pitches back years ago. And current video of him going to right. Take that video and loop is and run it for a couple hours every night. Then MAKE Altuve watch it.

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  10. Framber has been removed from the Astros top 30 prospect list because of MLB service time and has been replaced by Christian Javier.
    Josh James’s name is next to be removed and that will happen pretty soon.

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    • When you look up the word unsustainable in the dictionary, they have a picture of the Mariner’s start.

      Glad that Reddick snagged that Pence HR try or we would be only up 2.5 games on them rather than 4.5 games. Keep on trucking Astros.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Dan, saw a post on website showing the rain. I saw that too but they said it was raining so hard the roof was leaking. I’m glad we had no severe leaks in our game last night.

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    • Yes Z – and apparently it was pouring down in the area that Reddick made his big catch. He said that the people had moved out of the area which made his catch easier (there was nothing easy about that gem) without hands and gloves getting in his way. Nice game for Josh as he made that catch and he had a big two out RBI also.

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  12. I’m very happy with the judgment the front office used in bringing in some pieces that hit the ground running in Miley, Brantley and Chirinos and a lesser piece who has helped us in a number of games – Diaz.

    I’m sure they have plans for every eventuality in their database and will chase somebody good and needed at the trade deadline or sooner if need be.

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  13. A couple local baseball notes
    – Houston area player James Loney retired. He went to Elkins HS in Missouri City and was in the majors for about 11 years. He had tried one last shot with the SL Skeeters this season before hanging them up
    – Kyle’s big brother Preston Tucker is heading off to the Korean Baseball League – he was one of those AAAA kind of players – wonder if this will give his career a boost or a swan song

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  14. Lynn is eating George alive on outer part of plate. George better recognize or i’ll Be a long night. Also notice Lynn pitching our guys inner upper half of plate on the hands and we keep swinging. Is the ump giving Lynn close calls there or are we just swinging?

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  15. Great win tonight – pitching, fielding and just enough hitting.
    Reddick made a big catch in he 9th a lot easier than last night

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  16. What a fun game to watch! Both pitchers throwing strikes making the other guys look foolish! Right field is OWNED by Josh Reddick! I loved watching this game!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I am ready to either let a computer call balls and strikes OR let the 2nd base ump do it. Obviously some umpires have “night blindness” when Verlander pitches. It did not cost him, but we were 1 swing of the bat from losing this game also.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Question that I think we know the answer to it…
    Verlander came out after 7 innings, 101 pitches and one hit. If he had not given up the one hit in the 5th would he have come out after 7?
    Not on your life………..

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  19. Round Rock is in first place in their division, despite having played only 12 of their 34 games at home. But that’s nothing!
    Quad Cities is in first place in their division despite having played only 3 of their 31 games at their home park. Their home has been under water for a month.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. So far this season eight different pitchers have made starts for Round Rock.
    But here are the names of pitchers who have strictly pitched in relief for the Express and their corresponding ERAs:
    Nick Tanielu- 0.00
    Framber Valdez- 2.25
    Brendan McCurry- 3.79
    Tanner Duncan- 3.97
    Reymin Guduan- 4.00
    Ralph Garza- 5.75
    Kent Emanual- 6.27
    Dean Deetz- 9.00
    Jose Bravo- 9.00
    Although RR’s pitching has been real bad this season, almost every other team in the PCL has been worse.
    Corbin Martin has been their best starter and their best reliever, if you don’t count Tanielu as a relief pitcher.

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    • And it looks like McHugh heads to the bullpen and Corbin Martin will likely start in his place tomorrow. So with Altuve likely headed to the IL it looks like they will have one extra pitcher and one less position player.

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      • Yeah Altuve made the move practical, allowing White and Kemp to both stay around for now. I don’t think they would have pulled McHugh so quickly without this scenario. Maybe he’s got a weary arm.

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  21. Sort of a personal note to 1OP. The #1 pick of the Orioles was Grayson Rodriguez from Nacogdoches. He is 19 and Low A at Delmarva Shorebirds (Salisbury, Md). He is on an 8 day schedule apparently and a strict 80-85 pitch count. He has pitched 26 innings. 41 K’s. That team is doing well. Their High A team is so-so. So not sure if they don’t keep him there for entire year.

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  22. I think we’ve seen the best we’ll see from Devinski. On the night you want to rest your two back of the rotation guys, he came in a made it a game again in quick order. He’s gone before to season is over.

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  23. -Diaz’s grand slam and Altuve’s trip to the IL gives Aledmys another star in his rankings tonight. Moves to 3-stars.
    -Even singing Corbin Martin’s praises this afternoon, I didn’t see his promotion coming tonight.
    -Today was the Astros 40th game and Michael Brantley has 10 home runs.
    -Colin McHugh is rested and ready to go if needed in the bullpen.
    -Cole tried to ring Pence up on a high fastball and Pence was ready and knew what to do with it.
    -Astros pitchers struck out 18 batters in nine innings tonight.
    – Every batter in Houston’s starting lineup had at least one hit tonight.

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  24. A few Interesting Astros statistics:
    -The Astros are again near the top of baseball in hitting into double plays, but, I think there is a real good explanation for it: a)The Astros strike out less than almost any team in baseball. b) the Astros have one of the highest average exit velocities in baseball and that means they hit harder ground balls. c) Because they have the highest BA in MLB, they don’t depend on steals or hit-and-run as much as other teams do to avoid DPs.
    d) The Astros are second in MLB in home runs, first in Sac Flies and second in flyball to groundball rate, so they just try to hit the ball in the air and let the double play situation run it’s course.
    e) They are tied for first in OBP, so they just have more baserunners, period.

    Liked by 1 person

    • kevin, I haven’t had a chance to watch him actually pitch. I know that he seems to be a guy who takes a few games to adjust to a new minor league level and then seems to really adjust to what he faces.
      Nobody seems to want to take him seriously, and that is the kind of guy who carries a true chip on his shoulder, instead of the made-up chip you see so often in pro sports.
      I can tell you one thing: that PCL baseball is a pitcher’s nightmare and he’s doing a pretty good job handling it.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Situational hitting Becky, they are starting to hear you finally. Their BA with RISP has crept up lately. Bottom of lineup makin some noise. DeeeFence looking great. Power numbers ranging upward. Even when poking the bats out for hits looks good. That’s the kind of special that wins it all

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Our guys are starting to make hay in May and without much help from Jose. And now we’ve gotten our first Express delivery with pretty good results. Heck, Corbin has great MILB stats. 112 hits in 179 innings. A WHIP under 1.000, does not give up many homers. Just watching his stuff, there is excellent movement. And his demeanor on the mound suggests he’s been there before. If he can pitch like a four or five, he’s also helped improve our pen.

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    • One of the more encouraging things about Martin’s performance in Round Rock is that the minor leagues are now using the same juiced ball as the major leagues. Martin was pitching against a much easier ball and still putting up amazing numbers.

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  27. ARE YOU BELIEVING THIS KID!! A STANDING OVATION FOR AN AWESOME PITCHER!!! *9* STRIKEOUTS!!!! I’M IN TEARS….I’M SOO HAPPY FOR HIM❤

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Great game today. Corbin was super in his debut, George was Superman, Bregman was awesome, Correa, Gurriel, Diaz, and Kemp. What more can you say? McHugh manages to hang in there too after a rough start. On the down side, Oh well, who cares for now. Just a great series and homestand. Now on the Motor City to bulldoze the Tigers.

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  29. Of the original 5 starters in the Tiger’s rotation, the fourth went on the IL today. They are down to one of the starters they were counting on. Ross, Zimmerman, Fullmer and Matt Moore are injured.

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  30. Josh James is officially not a prospect anymore. Everyone on the prospect list moves up a notch and Jose Hernandez-Urquidy of the CC Hooks slides into the #30 spot on the list.

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  31. Astros info:
    * Although the Astros total team ERA is sixth in MLB at 3.64, their bullpen ERA is #1 at 3.05.
    * The Astros do have the best numbers at all four of the slash line stats in MLB at .281BA/.352OBP/.503 SLG/.853OPS. The surprising thing is that the Twins are in second place in BA. SLG and OPS. Minnesota is a team that is really hitting well. The team with second place in OBP is the Cubs.
    * The Astros have five players in the top 50 of batting average in MLB, and Jose Altuve isn’t one of them.
    * How serious is the Astros front office about winning? They took one of their longest tenured pitchers out of the rotation and inserted a top prospect who wasn’t even on the 40-man roster into the rotation. Keep that in mind for the rest of the year if certain guys continue to not perform well.
    * Yordan Alvarez provided all the offense the Round Rock Express would need in a 4-2 win yesterday. He hit a 3-run home run in the first inning.
    * It appears Tyler Ivey had been suspended by the club for 14 games and he came back this weekend and threw five no-hit innings as the back end of a tandem to get the win for Corpus Christi.

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