The 5 biggest concerns for the 2019 Astros


There are certainly major reasons to not worry about the 2019 Astros.

  • They are the 2017 World Champs and came within a play here or there of going to the 2018 World Series despite having Jose Altuve (knee), Carlos Correa (back) and George Springer (thumb) playing through debilitating injuries.
  • Six weeks into the 2019 season, the Astros are tied with the Minnesota Twins for the best record in baseball and are on a pace for 108 wins.
  • They are playing this well despite having three of their best hitters (Altuve, Correa and Springer), their top super-sub (Aledmys Diaz) and their top swingman (Collin McHugh) all on the IL for extended periods.
  • They have arguably 9 of the top 25 players in the AL in Springer, Correa, Altuve, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Roberto Osuna and Ryan Pressly when they are all back and well.
  • They play in a fairly weak division that cannot challenge them even with all their early season injury problems.

So, as the hero of the irreverent, Alfred E. Neuman would say, “What, me worry?”

Well, we at Chipalatta and all our Nervous Nelly commenters do worry. It is in our nature. We may worry less than we did prior to the team winning their first title, but we nevertheless have that concern that this too will pass – and not in a good way. So, what are the top 5 concerns for the 2019 Astros?

1) Starting pitching – Let’s see….

Justin Verlander? No worries unless his home planet comes looking for him.

Gerrit Cole? In 2018, he was 15-5 with a 2.82 ERA and gave the Astros the most lethal 1-2 punch in baseball with JV. In 2019…..not so much. His 5-5 3.72 ERA is good, but not transcendent. He has upped his K rate and lowered his walk rate. Good, you would think. He has almost doubled his HR rate. Not so good. He is pitching more like Pirate Cole before his trade and that just does not match his talent.

Wade Miley? Well he’s been great – 6-3, 3.14 ERA are far beyond expectations. But… he’s pitched as many innings (80) as he did all last season. Now, he pitched great last season and  the beginning of this season in relatively small samples, but in the four seasons previous to that he had a 4.88 ERA over 718 innings. Is Wade Miley another late bloomer like Charlie Morton? We hope so, but we are worried.

Brad Peacock? He also has been very good 6-3, 3.42 ERA, which is in alignment with his performances since 2016. The concern may be on quantity here. His 71 innings are 6 more than all of last year when he was in the bullpen. His career high was 132 innings in 2017, when he spent time in both the rotation and the bullpen. More than that will be needed from Brad.

#5? Collin McHugh looked like the answer here with a 3-1, 1.96 start. But then he stumbled badly, losing his spot in the rotation and then headed to the IL. Corbin Martin looked like the answer here – through one good start before he stumbled badly and headed back to the minors. Framber Valdez looks like the answer here after one great start – well you get the idea.

The true answer may reside on someone else’s roster right now.

2) Injuries

The plus side may be if the Astros are getting these pesky injuries out of their systems prior to the playoff push and the playoffs, like they did in 2017. The minus side is that the same guys are getting injured and some of the injuries are the kind that are worrisome as far as relapse. Hamstrings for instance. And let’s face it, Correa and Springer have spent quite a bit of time injured most seasons since their call-up and Altuve is in the middle of his second consecutive worrisome season relative to injuries.

3) Bullpen depth and stamina

Bullpens are worrisome by their nature. It seems like blowing leads or being shutdown relievers are both contagious. Lately, even the tough as nails back end of the bullpen of Pressly and Osuna has been a little more hittable. Will Harris and Hector Rondon roll from being good to being suspect. Chris Devenski is a question mark as he searches for the magic he’s  had in previous years. Josh James had finally settled in after a bad start to the season and then came out of Wednesday night’s game with lat tightness. Framber Valdez has been at least temporarily moved from the bullpen to the rotation. His lefty replacement Reymin Guduan came up from the minors, failed and headed back down. Guduan’s replacement, Cionel Perez had one excellent outing followed by one where he failed in his second inning. There is concern that Osuna and Pressly will be over-used due to their excellent performances to date. If McHugh comes back healthy and if the ball club picks up a starter for the stretch run, the bullpen might get some reinforcements. But until we see these guys perform well in the playoffs as well as the regular season, we will worry.

4) Run scoring

Sure, they are without Correa, Altuve, Springer and Diaz. But the offense was not a well oiled run scoring machine before their injuries. The team was hitting well, but it was not scoring commensurate with their other base stats. Even now with the team in the top two in the AL in BA / OBP / OPS they are 5th in runs scored.

That may not seem like a big thing, but the Twins with similar hitting numbers are scoring 0.8 runs more per game than the Astros. Looking closer, the Twins in 3 less games have 39 more extra base hits than the Astros. Also, they have only hit into 38 double plays while the Astros have hit into a whopping 67 DPs, almost one per game (it feels like one per rally).

Will they improve on these numbers? Their eventual success may rely on just that and we will worry until it does reverse trend.

5) Returning hangover

We’ve seen it over and over. Guys get hurt. Guys come back. Guys struggle mightily. Sometimes that is rust and sometimes that is guys trying to play through something that will not totally heal until surgery or an off-season of rest. Last season, Altuve and Correa both never really healed and never really played like themselves after their mid-season injuries. We know they should have plenty of time to straighten themselves out after their returns, but we are like Mom. We worry.

So, are you worried about any of these five things above and how much? Are there other things that worry you more?

111 comments on “The 5 biggest concerns for the 2019 Astros

    • On a more serious note, if you go the MLB Astros Official site, there is an article today talking about “needs” of each team that might contend this year. Jesse Sanchez lists Starting Pitching. I think that is accurate, and with Peacock to the pen and McHugh to the pen, that picks up a lot of slack. But Valdez has to be the real deal for that to work until we get to the playoffs.

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  1. I’ll take my chances with a returning Correa hittng better than Mayfield and Straw. I’ll take my chances that a healthy Altuve is going to come back and hit better than whoever has been replacing him in the lineup. I’ll take my chances that Springer will return and play better than whoever has been his replacement in the outfield.
    And who ever replaces White at DH has a lot better chance of producing some kind of WAR at DH than we have gotten and will be better running the bases.
    That is my comment on #5.
    Thank you, Dan for the fresh meat to chew on.

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  2. Pitcher is good for a short time only Martin McQ Cionel — “Well, you get the idea”? What I get is a case of recency bias, and very small sample sizes swaying opinions. Like the Meter going from extremes after every win, or loss. This team is OWNING the division, and the opposition is having to make the unenviable decision (like Oakland last season) — do we have the firepower to win a championship series, or should we deal our assets soon and be ready for 2020? Had they traded Treinen last season, they may have filled their holes elsewhere. Had they not drafted Kyler Murray, maybe they’d have a future player.

    The Astros starting pitching MLB Team Ranks:
    3rd ERA,
    3rd WHIP,
    6th BB/9,
    2nd K/9,
    2nd H/9

    10 of our top 20 prospects (ranked 1st in MiLB in every major category) are pitchers: Whitley Martin Bukauskas Perez Abreu Ivey Javier Armenteros Bielak (Solis, Solomon out). Luhnow has tweeted that Jose Urquidy is on verge of a call-up. He and Javier pitch tonight. And we have graduated James and Valdez.

    Starting Pitching is not a top concern, I’m sorry. Depth will come into focus if we decide to trade, or if we find adequate innings eaten by in-house, prior to the trade deadline. We are also dangerously close to the Proj Competitive Balance Threshold after est $14M Player Benefits (Sportrac), so a blockbuster trade must include Astros salary relief.

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  3. My worries are small when our regulars return. We can diddle around with who gets sent down, traded, or DFAd, but that is solid with them healthy Right now with 69 games, Osuna and Pressly sit at 30 games each. Harris and Rondon at 28. James only 25 games but 36 innings. More than any other reliever. At playoff time, to win you have to have shut down relievers. We have them but they may be worn out by the end of the year. So to Take it Back, it may require both a starter and a reliever. That will be a steep price to pay. So I think I need to go sit and worry for the next month and a half.

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  4. “No worries unless his home planet comes looking for him.” Great line, Dan!

    I’m with the mob on this: another decent, reliable starting pitcher would go a long way toward easing the overall worries.

    Double plays! Sheesh! How many years now has this been our Achilles heel? And how does a professional hitter like Brantley, who sees a whole lot of open grass on the left side of the field, hit into so many? Nevertheless, I think the run scoring “deficiency” will right itself.

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    • Since two of the regulars in front of him and one hitting behind him have been injured, pitchers have been pitching Brantley differently. They are pitching him way outside and hard inside trying to get him to pull the ball because he hasn’t had anyone hitting behind him who can hit consistently and a lot fewer runners on base in front of him. They are throwing him fastballs hard in and he has been less selective with nobody behind him to drive in runs.
      When the Astros had their stars Brantley hit well and drove pitchers crazy with his patience. When the other stars return, the other Brantley will show up.

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      • I forgot my main point: Brantley has hit into 8 DPs in the last 20 games and that is the time period that the Astros have been missing Altuve, Correa, Springer and Diaz. In those 20 games his fellow Astros like White, Gurriel, Marisnick and Reddick have not hit very well either. And the rookies all started with a bang and then kind of disappeared.

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    • “A decent , reliable SP”?
      Given the budget constraints, do you have a name, rather than an idea?

      I can suggest a few:
      *Kirby Yates is said to be possibly available — what would it take to get the best reliever? It would take foresight from Padres/Preller.

      *Another is Sean Doolittle. He’s owed 14.5M over the next two seasons pro-rated, only a decent season though (question about Nats pitching coach throwing off BP arms).

      *Caleb Smith

      *Marcus Stroman

      But, what we really need to be looking at are pitchers who have solid numbers vs the Dodgers! Specific guys who have Bellinger Muncy and Turner’s number…

      Other names
      Seth Lugo
      Amir Garrett
      Liam Hendricks
      Ian Kennedy

      Want advanced stats on pitchers? “baseball savant expected statistics”

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      • G-Man, I would like to make suggestions but my limited knowledge only causes me pause when JL does a deal. I thought it a mistake to sign Chirenos. And last year, when the rumor was the Astros were looking at a Twins reliever, Trevor Hildenberger had far better stats than Pressly. Apparently the FO has advanced stats that allow them to make a deal with a player that they see just needs tweaking. My first choice is Marcus Stroman but he is probably not even on the Astros radar.

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      • Grayson – just throwing out a wish list as for what I think would help us the most. I’m not talking about a TOR guy necessarily, but solid #4 type starter that can eat some innings would be a help. Granted, innings-eaters are almost ancient history these days, and a solid #4 starter may be an oxymoron. So, in Luhnow we must trust.

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  5. It seems the Astros have managed to lure 13th round pick Kevin Holcombe away from his UCLA commitment with a $175,000 signing bonus. Info coming from Jonathan Mayo through Chandler Rome’s twitter account.
    That is considered to be a signing that the Astros can count as a coup. A desirable HS pitcher that clubs were hesitant to draft because of his solid college commitment.

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    • I find that amount interesting (and a coup), since Cole told McHugh on his podcast that he turned down Yankees offer of $2.5M to attend UCLA because he ran the numbers and found the education and entire package was worth more as a Bruin.

      He probably knew he would eventually regain that payday, whereas Holcombe is not that kind of prospect. However, it speaks to Astros pitching development being much more advanced than UCLA.

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      • Holcombe wanted a chance to be a starting pitcher right away and he can do that with Houston’s farm system. He would have to wait to be a starter at UCLA.
        The Astros will send him to Palm Beach and work with him until late in the year and he will probably get some small amount of innings in the GCL late in the summer.

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  6. I’ve been saying this from the beginning of this season:
    1. Another starting pitcher
    2. A reliable lefty out of the pen
    I’d love to have Marcus Stroman, but the Yankees have him on their radar…so we probably don’t have chance on him.
    There was an article about Chris Archer yesterday….if he is broken. His numbers are HORRIFIC since he was traded to the Pirates, and it makes me sad. With the way the Yankees kick guys they traded for to the curb, I would NOT want to join that mess of an organization. Look what happened to Sonny Grey last year.
    We have the trade chips, and I’m pretty sure Luhnow is burning up the cell towers checking on a starter and a bullpen piece.
    My biggest worry right now is Altuve….his leg may never be the same.
    I watched the Red Sox Rangers game last night…..Boston looks lost, and the Arlington little league looks a little scary.
    Going into town tonight to take our youngest son to dinner, and watch the game.

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  7. I’m really only concerned about injuries. With the exception of those coming from overuse you can’t really prevent them. However, given the team has won 2/3 of the games played this season despite being hit by some significant players losing time (7-3 in last 10, 13-7 in last 20) I feel pretty good that they can weather the storms. It’s really a matter of who is healthy in September and into October.

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    • Some times it literally takes throttling back, but tell that to George Springer … in a MVP-type season. It’s just smart overall baseball to play within yourself and get plenty of rest. I give him credit for coming in 25 lbs lighter, but not for over swinging and going after a single out, to the detriment of a season.

      Correa, omg’osh that’s another story.

      Hopefully, we will have taken a negative (rehabbing injury), and parlay it into perfect timing. So that we aren’t worn out like in 2015, and 2018. I call it the Eovaldi Effect, or Collin McHugh in 2017. Save a guy until he’s red hot, then he’s peaking at playoffs.

      The Pads made a similar move by optioning phenom Chris Paddack to AAA, to rest him (limit innings) for a possible playoff run.

      Astros may have ace up sleeve in moving Whitley to Florida facilities. And nobody knows where Tyler Ivey is? Do we have a Buehler, or Eovaldi yet to emerge? Food for thought.

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  8. If we can our ‘big 3’ and Almedys Diaz back healthy, and keep the rotation and bullpen rested by call-ups, the division should never be in question. Heck, it might not be anyway, the way our subs have pitched in. But if we are going to win it all again [i.e. ‘Take it Back’], we will have to upgrade both our starting pitching and relief via trade.

    Meanwhile Congrats to Abraham Toro, Bryan Abreu, Colin McKee, and Carlos Senabria on being named Texas League All-Stars.

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  9. Has anybody heard any news about Josh James’ arm? There was suspicion that he was pulled after one [great] inning Wednesday due to shoulder discomfort/lat tightness.

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    • Mr. Bill
      The only word was that he came out with lat tightness. I’m not sure where my lat is but I’m betting like most of my muscles that mine is not tight. They never come out with lat flabbiness.

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  10. Some Venezuelan hotshot named Jose’ has apparently cracked the line-up for the Round Rock Express. Word is he is way too short to be a real baseball player, though.

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  11. Dan, good considerations to consider. I’m pretty sure this club can win 100 without going out of the organization for any upgrades, and maybe even keep a hold of home field advantage post September. That might be a bigger factor this year, because we’ve rediscovered how to win at home. But Luhnow is going keep tweaking and building this club for those short series in October. This team will get stronger with help from outside.

    1. The rotation has been excellent overall. I think Cole gets better. But yeah, whomever is starting has to be fresh and healthy in October. I’m sure we’ll get quite a few visits from within the system to help keep innings counts down, especially important for Miley and Peacock regardless of what role they might play in the post season. Maybe McHugh too, but I think Collin becomes more of a bullpen factor going forward. I firmly believe that Luhnow will make a major splash with the acquisition of a starter to be one of the top three in the post season rotation.

    2. Odds are we’ll be healthier in the position player department than we are now. But we’re going to have more injuries to deal with. So that’s why I’d like to see some of the arms coming in make a real impression. While they probably won’t have a role in October, the system can certainly help the playoff 25 man get healthy and rested.

    3. Pen, my biggest concern. But, if guys like Smith get healthy and perform, and Collin stays healthy, and James settles in like he keeps hinting at, then our biggest issues are overuse and an injury to anyone in the back end. 45, you’re right, 30 appearances in 69 games is not ideal.

    4. Am not worried about the offense. We’ll get back to banging. Bregman and Brantley will start seeing stuff to hit again. Reddick can go back to 7, 8 or 9. Alvarez will figure it out. He won’t have any pressure on him once surrounded by the regulars. And between Diaz and Yuli, we’ll get much more out of first. One concern is that Chirinos, even without the recent extra innings, is getting too many starts.

    5. Dan, you’re right, it will take awhile. Correa, based on his own resume, is the only guy I really have a concern with. But jeez, I sure miss him at short. He’s like the infield version of a free safety.

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  12. So far – Alvarez is the opposite of a concern – three hit night including his 3rd homer and I think gets one more shot at it

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  13. I for one would like to see SP along with a very good lefty RP. I keep hearing about an innings eater, but what about picking up a very good #3 SP with the pedigree to make a diff on the playoff roster, possibly a FA going into next season to limit the cost of prospects. This is not just a perennial playoff contender, but WS contender as well. Bring in some pitching that gives us a chance to go all the way, not just get by. I can’t name names because I’m not good at sorting through stats and things. There’s enough brainpower here to sort through this line of thinking.
    While I’m concerned about inj and the affects it’s had on our PP, I’m still excited about their return. ‘If’ this kid Alvarez can continue to figure it out, adjust to MLB pitching and rake, he makes this lineup that much more dangerous. My god look what he did in the #4 spot tonight. Hinch should be licking his chops if this young man holds up and the regulars return healthy and get back to form.

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  14. OH.
    MY.
    GOODNESS.!!!
    1. Cole was locked in tonight (but I was happy for Biggio to get those runs)!!
    2. These guys haven’t skipped a beat….they keep on winning.
    3. We have an *awesome* catcher who hits homeruns! Have you ever seen someone so happy when he hits a homerun?!! I haven’t.
    4. When our guys who are out with inguys come back KATIE BAR THE DOOR!
    5. Miles Straw and Alvarez have found a home.
    6. This is a BETTER team than 2017….and that makes them scary good!

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  15. Last night was a good example of a wild pitcher. Then when he accidentally caught the corner, he couldn’t get the call. Our TV announcers thought Reddick was off the base, but I am not too sure that when his hand came off second, his toe was making contact. Whatever, the Blue Jays thought it worthless to challenge. And after this home stand, maybe we can put #4 Run Scoring to bed.

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  16. * Tyler White has been bad, but he has been screwed so many times by home plate umpires in the last 3 or 4 games. Anything within three inches of home plate has been called a strike against him.
    * It’s hard to explain how important a three inning relief job by Rogelio Armenteros can be to an entire bullpen. Bringing him to the majors at that moment was a stroke of genius that will be lost to the memory by the time October arrives.
    * Marisnick looked exhausted. Is it Tucker time?
    * Rangers won, Mariners won, A’s lost, Angels lost. Astros lead in the West is 9.5 games over Texas.
    * Cole was conveniently wild. After he hit Vlad Jr, the Jays did not want to be in the batter’s box. They looked so uncomfortable.

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    • 1OP, I did not want to take up for Tyler in regards to the expanded strike zones he’s been dealing with, for obvious reasons, but yes he sure has had some tough calls. The one that really sticks out was late in the second Brewers game. It was up and away by at least 4 inches wide and high. That’s a pitch that never gets called a strike.

      And yes, nine outs by Rogelio after a solid six innings from Cole was just what the doctor ordered!

      I thought about Tucker last night, but if he comes up, I’d hate to have to send him back down.

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  17. Quad Cities lost 3-2 last night. The top 4 batters in their lineup went 0 for 16 and the bottom 4 batters in their lineup went 8 for 15. Baseball is humbling.

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  18. The Astros signed 2nd round Kessinger for under slot and then signed 4th rounder Barber(one of their targets to sign away from college) for over slot.
    They seem to always have a plan

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  19. If you haven’t paid attention to Josh Rojas, who is now in Round Rock, you might want to start. I’m pretty sure a lot of other teams in MLB are paying attention.

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    • He is not rated on any national prospect lists Top 30.

      But Josh Rojas is ranked #26 on my latest list if you care to review, or comment on a prospect (fanpost TCB). Rojas’ problem in Spring was pretty bad hands at 3B/2B, errors. No doubt he has a similar bat and profile to Abe Toro (better arm), and the Astros like them both.

      My No.1 prospect is Yordan Alvarez (surpassing Tucker and Whitley), and should be no secret since I mentioned him in conjunction with easing through this division. In March, or was it February? He’s the most intimidating hitter I’ve seen in many years, and Dave Parker is yet the closest comp I can find.

      Tucker is still awaiting service time, Super Two considerations, and Tony Kemp is playing acceptable LHB 4th OF/2B. I doubt last year has anything to do with this year re Tucker. He is crushing the baseball now that’s all that matters, and with AAA ball the same as majors, more pitching injuries, things have changed in just one year. Astros are on a bleeding edge, other teams only dream of the organization Luhnow has built.

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  20. At Round Rock….
    Collin McHugh pitched 2/3 of an inning – gave up a homer and two runs
    Jose Altuve was 0 for 4 with 2 Ks
    But….just happy to see them out there again

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  21. I doubt if anybody will claim Cody Allen at his salary. But, after that happens, could the Astros analytics and Brett Strom diagnose his problems and fix them.
    I’m not saying to do it. I’m just wondering out loud.

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    • I was thinking the same exact thing op
      He was an extremely tough reliever and fell off the cliff last year and this year. He’s only 30 y.o.
      No team will take the Angels off the hook for his salary, but once he passes thru and is a FA – he could be picked up cheap.
      Like you said – do the Astros know something no one else knows?

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  22. I sure like Bregman leading off until we get a couple of bats back, even if it only happens once a game. If they want to pitch around him, then the lead off guy is on with some bats coming up. That was a quick 3 runs last night and set the tone for the ballgame.

    I’d like to see Bregman and Altuve at 1, 2 someday. Imagine two guys both capable of a .400 OBP, .900 OPS setting things up for the bats to follow?

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  23. Think about this lineup, Springer, Altuve, Bregman, Alvarez, Brantley, Correa, Gurriel, Reddick, Chiniros (that’s just a sick lineup), back to back of 1-4 hitters for pitchers to contend with. Can’t wait to see how Hinch mix and match these guys when the times come. I know YA will have growing pains but he’s surrounded by enough potent bats to keep him afloat as he adjusts (yes I’m salivating early). Now toss in that #3 SP I mentioned with that lefty RP, I’m talking primo acquisitions. You guys feelin me? And yes the MLB gods have to cooperate too.

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  24. Oh no! We can’t let Yordan win Player of the Week. I don’t care who they give it to, but please, not Alvarez. It will end up being the highlight of his career and then he’ll get fat. Tyler “Tubby” White won Player of the Week when he first broke in with the Astros. It was April of 2016 when he ripped the ball all over Yankee Stadium. This would be a career altering jinx for our new cleanup hitter!

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  25. Let’s hope he’s a ‘Natural’ Dave. We know he can hit breaking balls, even low balls, mistakes over the middle of the plate like today for the HR. Don’t know about inside or high pitches. Looks like he’s patient to take his walks. Every offensive plateau he breaks will put him under intense scrutiny by the media and they will shower his with accolades until he hits that inevitable funk. We’ll find out better then what he’s made of then. I say let him have his fun, he’s earned it thus far.

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  26. Watching the Express play. Tucker is 2-3 with 3 run HR (23) and Josh Rojas (2-3 with HR) is just sick good both in the field and in the box. How is he not on the top 30 prospect list?

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      • One silly correction, it’s Chas McCormick with a ‘k”. From tiny Millerville, PA. I’ve been following him since we draft, and have been way out in front on his promotion to Round Rock.

        To illustrate how quickly he’s risen, these were the guys directly ahead of him when Spring Training was over; Wrenn, Dawson, Matijevic, Benedetti, De La Cruz, Goetzman. These are the guys he leapfrogged!

        Did you see his diving catch over the wall, his walk offs, or have you noticed his walk rate/OBP?

        Brad Kyle just did a piece on him that chronicles his well-documented mental toughness (Astros told him they’d draft him, then waited a year to do it).

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    • The answer to that is simple. The experts don’t want him on the list because he was a 26th round pick out of Hawaii. They missed him then and they have missed him since. So, now you just ignore him and hope he goes away.

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      • Rojas lack of pedigree is an actual concern. Our Top 30 is very hard to crack. As mentioned, Rojas’ defense was In Question as he had 4 errors in 17 innings in Corpus at 3B this year, even after a very poor defensive Spring Training.

        Since then, he’s done nothing but hit; 96 bases in 44 games at CC … and in effect, beat former Texas League Player of the Week, Abe Toro, to RR. Toro is a highly regarded bat within the org!

        Being a 34th round pick didn’t keep Josh James from a #4 rank. Evaluators are more likely to give credit as soon as a prospect turns corner, so their counter-parts don’t beat them with a scoop.

        Outside of Nova Pena Santana (2 seasons away ETA), we still aren’t a deep farm in that respect. Our ‘tweeners (guys who mainly play 3B, but can go to 2B/1B); Rojas Toro, Tanielu, De Goti — Mayfield is taking 1B reps in Houston — are all probably too old and blocked to get their chance in Houston. One really has to credit Mayfield for making contribution, and I suspect the others mentioned would all be serviceable, as well.

        That players who aren’t even “prospects” any more can do well now, speaks to a total team management (Kemp Stassi White Mayfield), and if you’re not actively following all minor league teams, it’s hard to understand what’s different than past farm systems.

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  27. Ok, Valdez has had two very impressive starts fo far. He might be our ace in the hole until the break. I still think Luhnow is going to actively go after another starting pitcher….I hope it’s Marcus Stroman. What pitcher wouldn’t want to come here and be a part of a championship team?! Maybe Trevor Bauer wouldn’t!!
    Alveraz is unbelievable….I can’t wait for the guys on DL to come back and join in the fun! Jordan is very quiet at the plate, the only thing moving are his eyes. So far it appears he is pretty quiet in the clubhouse as well. Yuli will provide the veteran presence he needs, I’m sure it’s comforting to have someone from your country to talk to. Impressive game today!

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  28. Is it a coincidence that after Yordan’s fabulous debut week, the Yankees surprise everyone and go after Encarnacion? I mean, they already are loaded when their guys return.

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  29. Almost everything the Yankees do is knee jerk reation. They nearly RUINED Sonny Grey. I’m glad that kid got outta that organization. The reason I was lobbying for Marcus Stroman was if the Yankees get him, he may get the same treatment Sonny Grey did. Encarnacion doesn’t hit homeruns every at bat, as soon as he drops off he’ll be trashed. Ask Lance Berkman what it was like playing for the Yankees. AND I’m sure they will go all in for Garrett Cole next year. Of all the teams in MLB I despise the Yankees the most. The arlington little league, are just jerks, but the Yankees are despicable.

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    • I don’t think the Indians are ready to go into sell off mode, but Bauer would be just the guy I’d like along with Verlander and Cole at the top of the rotation. We’ve got more tradable talent than most organizations. And the salary, at least for the balance of 2019 would be easily managed. At the end of the day, I’d be surprised if he had a problem coming to Houston and I think Bregman would the first guy at the clubhouse door giving him a welcome hug..

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Five biggest concerns regarding Yordan:
    1. When he singles to the outfield, baserunners don’t have time to advance from 1st to 3rd. They had better hustle to make it to second before an outfielder gets a forceout at 2nd base.
    2. He has shown little sign he can bunt.
    3. Outfield advertisement signs will need heavy maintenance.
    4. Has zero homers on the road so far.
    5. Astros will need to teach Pettis a new sign for the hit-and-trot instead of the hit-and-run.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. The Las Vegas Aviators of the Pacific Coast League are averaging 200 fans per game more in attendance than the Miami Marlins are: 9,400 pg vs 9,200 pg.

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  32. -After good starts against Baltimore and Toronto Framber’s next scheduled start, in the opener of a four game series at Yankee Stadium, will go a long way in determining where the Astros stand in their rotation.
    -A trip to the mound yesterday seemed to jolt Framber’s memory that he wasn’t supposed to walk batters. I guess it’s a process.
    -Would like to see Altuve rejoin the team in Cincy for that series, coinciding with a rehab assignment in the minors for George Springer.
    -Corbin Martin is scheduled to start today’s game for Round Rock. I think Altuve is supposed to DH in this game.
    -In the past two games Jack Mayfield has shown a good arm that hasn’t been talked about much. That play from deep in the hole at SS was beautiful.
    -How about Bregman’s blind throw from the outfield grass behind 2B to nail that guy out at 1B yesterday? Incredible play!
    – I did not see anything in yesterday’s game to indicate to me that Yordan can’t play LF. I have seen a lot of guys mess up that hole next to the Crawford boxes on fly balls and he looked really good making that catch. He also didn’t look shy about backing up to the scoreboard to make a catch either.
    – What does Josh James need to fix? He has issued 24 BBs in 37.1 innings pitched. The next step is to be able to put his elite stuff in the right places of the strike zone.

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    • I am not advocating we trade all of them but I have seen enough of Super Jack, Fisher, and you can throw in Kemp and Tyler White to believe each of them is better than the #28,29 or 30 at their position in MLB. They can help some teams. I see them as another Grossman, or Castro, or Laureano or Kiki Hernandez. Each could not crack the Astros line up but can contribute to another team.

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      • 45, from my standpoint, Kemp is the only guy of those you mention that has shown he can help a club long term. Fisher maybe, but still a question mark. Jack, I don’t think so. As far as Tubby goes who knows what he might do on a baseball field if he looked like a baseball player. If Luhnow goes and gets real talent, some of the shiny looking prospects are going to be what the sellers want. That’s okay too. I want to win it all again this year and I’m confident our GM will not give away too much.

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  33. WOAH…that escalated quick. They guys won’t win this game, but I’m secretly rooting for Trent Thorton. He was crushed when he found out he had been traded. I know, I know…it’s a business, but I’m glad he gets a chance to pitch in the majors…I’m a mom what can I say!
    Currently 11-0 Blue Jays.
    Luhnow has GOT to get a lefty in the bull pen that can be counted on. *NOW*.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Or maybe we should quit worrying about getting a lefty as our guys pretty much do well against both lefties and righties . Otherwise we keep having to rely on guys like Perez and Guduan.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 62, I was always pretty quick and took it for granted, but finally blew out my hammy on the way to first, trying to beat out a ball in the hole, in a relatively important situation. But I sure don’t recollect what was so important. It was slow pitch. I was 35. Our warm up was always a can or 3 of Budweiser. Obviously, I never over did the weights. We never used weights. We sat under a tree or found a local close by ice house waiting for the next game in a weekend tournament. Boy, there were a whole lot of really cool ice houses in Houston, Pasadena , Galena Park and other places we used to go. But the Heights had the best rooms. I don’t think they even had bottled water in those days.

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  34. Injuries have continually dogged CC’s tenure thus far. Needless to say he has proven to be an injury prone quasi superstar. I’d offer him one of those make or break contracts to prove he can stay on the field. If not then trade him. Springer finally showed the hitting prowess I always thought he was capable of doing until the inj bug bit him, again (having an MVP season offensively until…). But he is a keeper as far as I’m concerned.
    Having spent 20 yrs in martial arts I never had hammy issues until my 40’s playing league & tourney softball (not working out, stretching). Professional athletes today spend more time building up with weights and little efforts stretching. You must compliment contraction with expansion which will greatly reduce these pro athletes chances of having hammy issues.
    Today the tm is getting hammered & our prodigy has revealed a chink in his armor, chasing out the zone finally, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said. Springer is the heart and soul of the Astros; the guy that everyone loves and feeds off of. I just don’t get that feeling with CC. I also think Bregman is a better SS, and that’s not to say CC is not very good. CC is definitely a generational talent but I personally get the sense that he is more about CC than the Astros. I wouldn’t trade him. I would let him play out his control years, see what happens, and go from there.

      Muscle injuries are ALWAYS directly related to stretching, conditioning and hydration.

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  35. I have season tickets for both RR (1st season) and CC (4 seasons). Combined they are a fraction of my Astros season tickets. I use all of them to entertain clients. I catch 20 or so Hooks games per season and have seen 9 RR games already this year (getting ready to go to # 10 in a few minutes). I also have an MiLB.com subscription, and thanks to using a VPN can watch all televised MiLB games.

    When I say that Rojas is a player to watch I am not speaking from ignorance. I have watched him at CC and now at RR. His arm does not play well at 3B and he is not especially rangy. However, he is a very solid 2B and an elite bat. I laugh when I hear the negatives about Rojas, since I heard all of the same comments about Altuve. I have followed McCormick since he was drafted and he has the chance to be a really solid MLB player.

    Our farm does not have as many future MVP level players as it did when CC and Bregman were in the system, but it is far deeper and more talented overall than it has ever been. We have at least 10 arms with mid- rotation potential. We have at least 3 with TOR potential. Whitley has ace potential. We have multiple position players with MLB potential and Tucker has MVP potential. If Seth Beer can learn to play 1B he will be with the big club in 2020. His swing is very special. I could go on and on. Toro may be special if he can improve his D. More than 20 other teams would love to be where we are at in our farm. The only position we are week at is C and we addressed that in the 2019 draft.

    There are 10+ players in our current system that would make a MLB roster right now, but are blocked due to the depth of this team. We do have some middlings but we also have some studs. Regardless of what you might think, or have been told, this is a very deep talent pool, especially at the lower levels. The beautiful thing about our system is that there is a lot of talent at every level, ensuring a pipeline for many years to come and providing trade chips for any moves that need to be made.

    Liked by 2 people

    • No future MVP’s. First, not sure Bregman, or Correa is?
      But Alvarez, Tucker, Whitley, Bukauskas, Nova, Abreu, Santana, Martin, Ivey is a solid list of potential over-achievers.

      Whitley, I do consider a disappointment this season, for sure though. I can imagine he has flashed more of the character issues that derailed him the first time. He is currently at the West Palm facility for “one-on-one attention”, and will likely be demoted to Corpus upon return. He is not slated to pitch in HOU this year, now.

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  36. Vewill1….You are 100% correct! We are sooo deep in high A and in Corpus, but the log jam continues at Round Rock. Have I missed something or where is Nick Tanielu? I can’t figure out if the guys were tired today….or if Thorton was just that good!

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  37. I hope all the fathers on the blog had a great day today. I miss my dad terribly for the last 18 years (does not seem possible). If your dad is still around I hope you were able to spend time with him this weekend.

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    • Yes!! Most of us have now lost our fathers, and we never stop missing them.
      My parents have been gone for a very long time, but I can remember how special Father’s day was when I was a kid! It was standard that my sister and I gave him “Old Spice” every year. My father was tough to love….he was not a warm and fuzzy kinda dad, and he could NEVER figure out why I loved baseball so much!
      Happy Father’s day all you dad’s on this blog! Don’t forget to kiss the cook!

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    • Dan, my father was born on May 6, 1920. He grew up in Brooklyn. And of course he was a Dodger fan in those days. Although he mellowed late in life, not too many baseball players ever impressed him. He appreciated the game and understood it as well as anyone, but sadly, I’m not sure if he ever truly enjoyed it. He was a tough dad to have as a coach, as much as me and my six brothers loved him. In his last few years, he shared the same dining room with Don Newcombe, at the senior facility they both lived at in West Houston. But he never sat down at the same table with the man, a true gentleman, that I know would have welcomed the interaction. But one kid kept his attention. And that was Jose Altuve. He loved Altuve. Jose was born on May 6 too.

      Liked by 1 person

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