Astros 2019: 2 tales of opportunity


One of the complaints about the Astros’ usage of Tyler White, especially in 2016 and 2017 was that the team did not really seem to be willing to give him a big shot. In 2016, he started off as an AL Player of the Week, then horribly slumped and was used sporadically in the second half. In 2017 he hit very well .279 BA/ .328 OBP/ .853 OPS, but was only given 61 ABs.

Tyler White started 2018 in the minors, got a call up and then worked his way into a steady gig as the DH / 1B. Coming into 2019, the team basically handed him the DH job and the backup to 1B job. He came into spring training looking out of shape, never got into shape and never hit adequately up to the point he was DFA’d on Friday. Take a quick look at his 2018 and 2019 numbers in basically the same amount of ABs.

Season ABs BA OBP OPS Runs HRs RBIs Ks BBs
2018 210 .276 .354 .888 27 12 42 49 24
2019 218 .225 .320 .650 16 3 21 74 32

There was no way to look at 2019 as anything but a disaster and an opportunity lost for White as his power disappeared and his fruitless hacking raised his strikeout percentage from a decent 20.7% to an indecent 29.3%. Instead of earning a longer term spot in the majors, White earned his DFA though for some he should have not lasted this long.

Now speaking of opportunity, another player grasped opportunity by the throat in 2019 and so far has not let go. His name is Yordan Alvarez. Alvarez started the season totally on fire carrying a .400 average well into May at AAA Round Rock and putting up a minor league leading 23 HRs and 71 RBIs in only 56 games. By the time he was finally called up in the midst of the Astros injury problems, he had “cooled” off to a .343 BA/ .443 OBP/ 1.184 OPS slash.

Brought up and handed the DH spot that White never secured, Alvarez has been a revelation. Consider the following in his 27 game major league career:

  • He’s already scored 17 runs, hit 9 doubles, 10 HRs and knocked in 32 RBIs.
  • He’s put up a brilliant slash of .327 BA/ .400 OBP/ 1.092 OPS
  • He’s had an extra base hit in 17 of his 27 games
  • He’s had an RBI in 18 of his 27 games
  • The team is 14-4 when he gets an RBI

The only kink in the armor has been a pretty high 27.3% strikeout rate, but who cares. Alvarez’s at bats have become must see TV.

So, 2019 has been a tale of two opportunities. White’s opportunity lost. Alvarez’s opportunity grasped and owned. This is the true story of sports.

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100 comments on “Astros 2019: 2 tales of opportunity

  1. a tale of two bodies. YA is long and lean. he reminds me of someone, maybe dave parker. and the YA moniker reminds me of YA Tittle for us old timers out there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Man I’m getting old – YA Tittle has not played in 55 years.
      I remember the famous picture of him at the end of his career with him kneeling in the end zone with blood rolling down his bald pate.

      I like our YA!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Tittle was that bald old guy. Even if Nephew is done with MLB, he did have a positive impact as a 33rd round pick, especially last year when he played a real role in picking up an injury ridden line up. I like happy endings though. I want to see him get his issues resolved and show us again one day that he belongs in MLB, regardless of where it may be.

      Alvarez is the one guy I don’t want to miss when he comes to the plate. He’ll stop striking out so much. But in the meantime, he’s an equal opportunity hitter. Lefties, righties, home, road, clutch it does not matter. So far anyway, he’s adjusting to the league better than the league is adjusting to him. I wish we had a rookie pitcher giving us the same impact Yordan has.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. I worried a lot about popups behind 1B. With White’s weight he could not turn around and get to them.
    He seemed hard to advance when he was on base.
    I looked at his heat charts on his MLB.com page and they were miserable. He very rarely hit a ball hard.
    He hit two home runs off fastballs and I think they were the only fastballs he hit hard all season.
    I think he got better at scooping throws in the dirt this year. I think he was average going to his glove side and below average getting to grounders on his backhand side.
    I know Alvarez can’t keep up this pace forever. But, goodness gracious, that swing!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Off topic!
    You explain to me how a very young pitching prospect goes to MLB spring training and pitches for the big league club and in 16 IP he has a 1.69 ERA, a BAA 0f .161 and a WHIP of 1.13, giving up 9 hits.. Then he gets sent to AA Corpus Christi and his numbers for the season are: 76 IP, 77 hits, a 5.57 ERA, a .266 BAA, and a 1.64 WHIP against AA batters.
    That is why I think JB Bukauskas got sent to the minors to make big adjustments and pitch with his weaker pitches in order to prepare him to be a better pitcher when he gets to the majors. And that is why I think that he will be a different pitcher in crunch time in August and September.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. WHO??? In the heck is this kid pitching this game?!!! OMG….1 run,9 STRIKEOUTS *no* walks 7 innings!! Is he for real, or just lucky? Never heard of Jose’ Urquidy! Have you guys been watching him? WOW! WOW! WOW!!

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    • This is the way he pitched in the minors this season. He was nervous as hell the first two MLB games he pitched in, disappointed himself when he got sent down and made a bad start in RR early this week.
      But this is the guy Luhnow talked about earlier this summer.

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    • Wouldn’t that be AWESOME!! I’m sure he will get a couple of more starts…..I just hope he doesn’t implode. Really good game tonight!

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  5. My son was kind enough to take us to the game tonight – Father’s Day present…
    – Urquidy did fantastic – you could not ask for a better outing than 7 innings and 1 run
    – He did give up some hard hit balls early but his defense helped him
    – The Astros really squared up a lot of balls tonight – Yuli put it away with his homer
    – Lively crowd on a moon landing 50th anniversary

    Liked by 3 people

    • What a wonderful gift! We are thrilled that you got to see him in person! As hard as you work on this blog, you NEED to see the guys you write about! By the way I’m only stating my opinion, but I REALLY like everything Miles Straw brings to the big club!
      I read the article that the one of the Chronicle guys did on how Hinch had to tell Tyler White he had lost his job. Pretty sad thing to have to tell a guy. I REALLY hope he finds a home and turns it around. Reddick was extremely upset about it.
      They ( t.v. guys) really played upthe fact that the Astros won the “Silver Boot”…..I wish they knew how unimportant that is to the Astros and their fans. NOW….if there was something we could win every year from the A’s…..I’d probably get more excited! I view them as our big rivals….not the arlington little league.

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      • Enjoyed Miles on the bases. Something simple was how Straw advanced to 3rd on a grounder to the left side. Waited until the throw headed to 1st and then put it in overdrive. Gosh he’s fast – came within a hair of beating out a routine grounder and then beat one out in the hole where the SS just ate it.
        I wish White had hit like he did last year – we’d have 2 or 3 more wins

        Liked by 1 person

      • Myles is an absolute joy to watch. High OBP guys with speed that don’t strike out much aren’t too common these days, especially those who can steal bases and not get caught too much

        Liked by 1 person

      • And to top it off, straw is not terrible on defense. He plays an adequate ss for an outfielder just turned infielder.

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      • And to top it off, he’s not terrible on defense. He plays an adequate ss for an outfielder just turned infielder.

        Like

  6. The Astros team ERA of 3.86 is the 4th best of all of the 30 MLB teams.
    That ERA of 3.86 would have been in 13th place at the conclusion of the 2018 season.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, unless we go back to 12 pitchers, both Miles and Tony go. And if we go back to 12, then Tony likely stays unless he becomes part of a trade. I know they don’t want to DFA him. Miles will have to hang in AAA until needed again or September 1 rolls around. The good news is that when you start having a hard time finding room for a Straw or a Kemp, you’ve got a pretty solid roster. Too bad these guys can’t catch!

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  8. I mistakenly posted to bottom of wrong blog yesterday.

    Concerning Tyler White, this is a Twitter post from Mrs. Josh Reddick.

    “To all of you a**holes celebrating someone losing their job, I hope you never have to feel what it’s like to move your whole life in the matter of days. Best of luck to my best friend and @twhite409 on their next journey in this crazy baseball life. We love .”

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    • That does bring it into perspective – people are people and frankly I don’t think anyone at this blog wanted Tyler White to fail or were joyous about it. I think we were all resigned to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan, our little group has a bit more of a humanitarian streak to it. Course we’ve all been frustrated by Tyler, but man, some of those other “fan” groups sure took his personal failures personal. As Mrs. R correctly notes, there are a whole lot of A**hole Astro fans out there.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I think that Mrs Reddick doesn’t understand how we look at the releasing of Tyler White. We and myself know we don’t take pleasure in anyone losing their job. I my self was laid off, fired or whatever you want to call it no less than 10 times in my career. It’s pretty much the norm in the construction business. Sometimes it hurt, other times I felt that the weight of the world was lifted off of me. For what ever reason was the cause I looked at it as an opportunity to move on and start a new adventure. I never wished bad on people who were fired or laid off even though I thought some of them deserved it. It the case of Tyler White, he was given the opportunity to be the DH on one of the best teams in baseball. He didn’t perform and he came into camp out of shape. For whatever reason he didn’t perform up to expectations and as a result he lost his job. He might be the nicest guy in the world but if you don’t perform in this business your tenure is limited at best. I think most of us might do what ever it takes to have the opportunity these guys get. Aside form the large salaries they command one has to keep themselves in tip top shape because someone is always looking to get your job. It appears that White “might” have taken some things for granted. I don’t know if he did or did not but the results speak for themselves. I believe that we also wish him well and success in his career. To do otherwise would be very disingenuous on our parts.
      Best of luck Tyler!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Zanuda, good for you. I too lost a job against my will in the past, so it’s not unfamiliar territory to me either. And I don’t wish it on anybody. I don’t know what his problem is, or is not. I do think Mrs. Reddick is upset for her friends, which is always understandable. As far as this blog, if my memory serves, most were generous and wishing Mr. White the best. Even as they do now.

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  9. many in here have wished tyler well and have expressed their desire that he somehow remain with the team, get serious about his weight and conditioning and come back and contribute in a big way. only one or two in here would fit mrs jr description. and i dont mean the a-hole comment but the celebration of his losing his job.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t give a damn what Josh Reddick’s wife thinks about fans or fans’ ideas about ball players. Fans get fired every day from their $15,000-$50,000 a year job and, most of the time, it’s not because they ate themselves or played themselves out of a job. And most of the fans who lose their jobs, through no fault of their own, don’t get to receive the rest of their $582,000 salary, which runs through September.
    I know this much: From mid-October through mid-February Tyler White ate and played himself into the worst shape of any ballplayer I have seen wear an Astros uniform in the last five years. He is so out of shape he can’t play major league baseball like he could even in 2018.
    Marrying a ballplayer who makes $13 million a year may make somebody think they are important enough to go on social media and criticize others. But that doesn’t carry water with me. It’s just another name to add to my list list of people that I couldn’t care less to listen to. Go get your puppy’s nails done and get the hell out of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There were people elsewhere who took it a step beyond that and said some things that would make Yankees fans say it was out of line. It went beyond criticism. I’m not going to quote or link it, I just hope those posts have been taken down .

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  11. Great job by Rogelio after not looking sharp earlier! And clutch hitting by Jose’ and Yordan, sandwiched around yet another excellent at bat by Michael Brantley, gives us a 4-1 lead after 5. All our hits are from hitters 1-5 today. Everyone else has fallen under Lance Lynn’s evil spell.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Big sweep of the Arlington Nine!!
    Speaking of Opportunity – Urquidy and Armenteros grabbed a hold of their chances and pitched great

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  13. Interesting comment from Todd and Blummer today. They were comparing the start of Yordan with Jim Greengrass. In 18 games in 1952, Greengrass played 18 games wth 5 home runs and 24 RBIs. He played that year in the minor for Beaumont. He was my hero. He was on his way to the Hall of Fame. My first lesson in great minors and great starts don’t always pan out. In 5 years, he was out of the game at age 28.

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  14. A’s lost…WE WON!! Gotta put as many games between us as we can!
    Pretty cool that a week ago Hinch and Luhnow didn’t know WHO they were going to start yesterday’s game or today! BIG hand claps for you both!

    Like

  15. Brandon Bielak got to show off last night to Correa. 7 innings, 1 hit, no runs, 2 BBs and 7 Ks in Round Rock’s 13-0 shutout win. Dean Deetz finished the shutout with 2 perfect innings

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  16. 1OP, you scared me a bit by that mention of J.R. Looking back though, he blew us away with 44 PA’s in September of 2003. That was it though. Our new guy has given us almost a fifth of a season at the plate now, hitting dingers, stroking smooth base hits, taking four balls, simply looking far beyond his years in the box. I don’t think it’s an accident that our player of the year has turned it up another notch hitting in front of the kid. If Yordan turns into a Greengrass or a Towles, then I will start watching Dynamo Soccer rather than Astro baseball.

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    • OP, you are correct. An 18-1 win against the Cards. The Peacock thing, maybe it’s just part of the whole post season plan…..having a fully healthy fresh pen. So who else gets a vacation soon? The James situation does not sound good.

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  17. I think the situation with Peacock is more than he needed a vacation. He’s the fall back guy if Luhnow can’t get another starter. Clearly Hinch came to get James pretty quick, because he knows they are quite capable of coming back to win that game. I’m glad he did too! Only problem now is who closes if it’s a close game tomorrow night. I still have my fingers and toes Luhnow will get the guy he wants….3 starting pitchers, and a beat up bull pen won’t win a war.
    *Best* money Jim Crane has forked over in the last 12 months:
    1.Extending Verlander…No brainer!
    2. Tying up Bregman for 5yrs at $100 million!
    3. Signing Michael Brantley!

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  18. I know it has been a small sample but Yordan is the real deal. I’m sure he will have slumps and ups and downs but he has a solid setup, a good eye and a classic swing. He also is not relying on being fed a certain pitch in a certain place.
    I will be blown over if he turns into a flash in the pan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In one of the ABs on Saturday night Springer reacted to an overswing awkwardly.
      Now he did hit the snot out of the ball in his next AB but I would not be surprised if he tweaked his back

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  19. Round Rock pitchers listed on the IL, as of this morning:
    Ronell Blanco
    Justin Ferrell
    Riley Ferrell
    Corbin Martin
    Felipe Paulino
    Cionel Perez
    Brady Rodgers
    Gabriel Valdez
    Forrest Whitley
    Restricted list has Frances Martes.

    Like

  20. On a brighter note, wasn’t it fun to watch the weekend series. Timely hitting, plenty of home runs, and stellar performances from our starters and bull pen. Kudos to our most recent # 4 and 5 additions to the rotation.

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    • I believe the pitching of Urquidy and Armenteros will prove to be even more valuable than just in the standings in the next nine days.

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      • feeling a trade coming op? they have to be kicking it onto high gear if they arent there already. i hope it doesnt take both of those guys to get one done, depending. hope they can get some catching with a new starter.

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      • Yes, rrj, I do feel strongly that there is something big coming. I think there is an AL seller that has what we need and we have what they want.
        But, I am just an old man. What do I know?

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      • ah but op, there is wisdom in age. or at least thats what i keep telling myself.
        my favorite ever birthday card – on the front there is someone looking at an encyclopedia of a scholarly looking older man. “it says here that in ancient times, old men were deeply respected”. you open it up and it says “so… were they?

        Liked by 1 person

  21. While most weren’t paying attention, Jose Altuve’s BA has been slowly rising from its pre-IL doldrums. He recently caught and by-passed Alex Bregman. Meanwhile, his OPS has also been rising – and he recently passed Yuli Gurriel. Also, he has recently passed both Correa [understandably, since he’s injured] and Chirinos in HRs. Furthermore, he has tied Correa and Reddick in RBIs. It will be fun to watch this play out! Little man GOOD!

    Like

    • I’m sure there are others that have noticed this but didn’t mention it but I guess it was time. Hopefully, Correa will pick up where he left off and we can sing his praises too. But yes, Jose has been pretty toasty these days and Gurriel must be eating his Wheaties or whatever. I’m just glad these guys are beginning to hit again.

      Like

  22. No one has mentioned anything about Springer’s back….yet. I did see him turn his ankle on one of those Carlos Gomez swings Sat night. Might be nothing, that’s what I’m hoping anyway!
    Forgot to tell you folks, but here it is! Reddick and his wife are having twins, they are due in October!! Somehow I can’t see Josh holding a newborn baby! LOL!

    Like

  23. I8 year old Jairo Lopez threw 5 innings today for the GCL Astros. His line was: 0 hits, 0 runs, no BBs, 7 Ks. He faced 15 batters in his 5 innings and the only baserunner reached on an error by the first baseman and Lopez induced a double play grounder to the next batter. Lopez is from Venezuela.

    Like

  24. As 1OP highlighted in an earlier post, Rojas is the #1 performing psospect in MiLB, referencing the following article:

    https://www.rosterresource.com/milb-power-rankings/

    How about this versatility:

    Pos. /Gms./ Fld% (Fld% @ AAA)

    1B/ 32/ .992
    2B/ 87/ .983 (1.000)
    3B/ 59/ .929 (.957)
    SS/ 25/ .989 (1.000)
    LF/ 53/ .988 (1.000)
    RF/ 11/ 1.000 (1.000)

    Looks like a quality utility player in the making. His defense had dramatically improved over his 3 year MilB career despite playing so many positions.

    Strong organizational value as a future contributor or as a trade piece. MLB ready with service clock @ 0.

    Very undervalued as evidenced by his continued absence from the top 30 list.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Thank you GS for taking the violence out that base hit, unlike the pitch before. He scares me with those Gomez swings, esp knowing he may have tweeted his back the other day

    Liked by 1 person

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