Weekend thoughts: Astros in September


As the Astros appear to be roaring towards another spot in the playoffs, it is a weekend for thoughts and musings.

The Carlos Correa / George Springer – Perception

Most Astro fans value George Springer over Carlos Correa. From a pure baseball “value” standpoint, Carlos has some advantages over George. In a couple weeks they both have birthdays as Springer turns 30 and Correa only 25. Correa plays what is considered the more skilled, tougher to fill position as a SS vs. an OF. Their career slash numbers are very similar – Springer .270 BA/ .361 OBP/ .845 OPS vs. Correa .277 BA/ .356 OBP/ .843 OPS. In an average 162 games Springer puts up 115 runs/ 34 HRs/ 91 RBIs, while Correa puts up 92 Runs/ 30 HRs/ 110 RBIs.

The difference in perception by local fans comes from two areas.

  1. In general, the fans have always believed that Correa would flee for a bigger media market as soon as he was able, while Springer has already been open to a couple of buyout extensions by the team. Correa’s recent changing of agents to Phillip Morris, which specializes in Hollywood celebs and not athletes and his apparent attachment to A-Rod seem to signal someone who has his sites on the big lights of L.A or N.Y.C.
  2. While George Springer has had his share of injuries and missed time, Correa’s injuries have been viewed with a lot more suspicion. Part of it is that Springer’s injuries have been mostly in full view of everyone, whether it is pulling up gimpy with a hamstring pull or having a collision with the outfield wall (which has twice made him miss time). Correa did have his thumb injury when sliding back in 2017, but the injuries the last couple years (Back strains – twice, massage injures a rib?) were not as visible or believable. He seems like a Porsche that is going to break down at the drop of a dime.

Maybe the Astro fans embrace Springer because he just seems more “real” whatever that means. How the team values them both will be on display over the next two seasons.

Yordan Alvarez / Kyle Tucker – Perception

It sure seems strange to look at Alvarez and Tucker and realize that they are both so young (22 years old) and that Tucker is actually 5 months older. Alvarez is built like an Adonis – looking like he fills up that whole batter’s box. Tucker looks like a string bean from Archie’s comics. It may seem like a slam dunk that Alvarez will be the better player after the historic start of his career, hitting marks that have him compared to Ted Williams and Albert Pujols. But with Tucker getting some playing time with Springer on the sideline, the young man has shown that he may bring a more versatile bag of talent to the game. He flashed his speed in both a fine fielding play and a stolen base on Friday night. He was very important in the team’s huge comeback on Thursday night with his first major league homer and his clutch 2 out, 2 strike hit in the 12th to keep the team alive.

It will be fun to watch these two develop over time. Tucker may never be the pure hitter or pure power bat that Alvarez is and Alvarez may never be the multi-tool player that Tucker is, but the key thing is the Astros have both and we will get to see them a lot in the 2020s.

Justin Verlander / Gerrit Cole – Perception

You don’t have to look far to see what esteem this post holds Justin Verlander.

It is probably a good bet that if you took a poll, you would find that 80% or more of the fans would rather see Verlander win the Cy Young than Cole. This is obviously due to his age, his heart, what he did for the 2017 WS run and the fact that he signed for two more seasons with the team. However, Cole has given nothing but his best and stands shoulder to shoulder with JV in the race to the CY Award. A big chunk of the prejudice towards Verlander comes from the belief that Cole will be pitching somewhere else next season.

Unlike Carlos Correa, Gerrit Cole has only missed a start here or there.  He has been one of the two best pitchers in the world this season and if the Astros win it all, he and JV will be a big part of that story.

Fans may not be as excited about a Cole Cy Young award as a Verlander one, but they should be.

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40 comments on “Weekend thoughts: Astros in September

  1. I sense a bit of something brewing between Correa and the front office. Just a woman’s intuition, but I don’t think he and Luhnow are the best of friends these days. I won’t cry when he leaves for those “bright lights of broadway”, which is probably the reason he switched agents, and the reason he’s been hanging with A Rod. The heart and soul of this team is George Springer. And if it’s not apparent, this is Verlander’s team! The rest of these guys know, as he goes so do they. Verlander is sooo respected by these guys, they know when he takes the ball what is expected from them, that’s why he asks Chirinos to catch him and Marisnick is in center. I wish the Cy Young award could be shared between Cole and Verlander because BOTH of them deserve it! The no hitter has tilted the scale for Justin…..that’s pretty special. Somewhere in the next few years Cole will get one, I have no doubt about that.
    Isn’t it AWESOME that we have the best two pitchers in MLB! After going through the worst of times losing year after year……we get to see history made with these guys! When Crane asked Verlander to sign an extension Justin said knowing that this team is staying in tact made the decision for him.

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  2. CC vs George: You can file this under “strain a gnat to catch an elephant” but the career highs for George is 85 RBIs (leading off mostly) and 116 runs with 34 homers. Carlos career high is 96 RBIs and 82 runs with 24 homers. His production shortage of 162 games is way less than George. I want to keep them both, but it is hard to dump a contract of a guy that is playing in order to keep a guy that is sitting. That is not withstanding when on the field and healthy, CC is a top of the line player.

    George has averaged 121 games a year (6 seasons) with a few more games to go this year. Carlos is at 108 a year (5 seasons).

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    • I saw that earlier today. YA know what…..this guy is sooo dang stupid it’s not funny. When he was with the yankees, he got suspended *TWICE* for putting pine tar on his neck, and on his wrist. The guy is a bonified loser. The Twins are pretty screwed now.

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  3. Porsches don’t break down. Perhaps you meant Ferrari. They break down all the time.

    How about a column comparing our players to cars …. with explanatory notes. That would make me chuckle. George is a Ferrari (glossy and beautiful) and Carlos is a Lamborghini (flashy and highly strung) and Alex is a Porsche (solid dependable and better than the other two).

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  4. Wow, just walked in the 5th innings & the boyz are pounding Seattle 15-1. Great to see the bats booming.
    Did anyone know last nite was the 2nd straight JV start which the tm scored 2 runs & have scored 0-2 runs in 7 of his starts, 5 in his last 8. The writer asked is the tm mesmerized by JV’s pitching, as to why he gets no run support. That’s a stat I know we would all like to see changed before the playoffs.

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  5. Where do you start with this game! Cole gets his 16th win, strikes out 15, NO walks…..Lord what a game! It was a ton of fun to listen to this game I can’t imagine how fun it was to actually SEE it!! Zack Greinke has BIG shoes to fill tomorrow night! I’m very impressed with the young kids they brought up aren’t you!

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    • You know vewill1, the double plays don’t bother me much. When a club strikes out less than any other club, the DP’s are going to be a by-product of getting the ball in play. I just hope our guys keep hitting this week.

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  6. After mentioning the bullpen had gotten 54 outs on Thursday and Friday, they were only needed for 3 in the second two games of the series.

    Speaking of Carlos Correa, the Stros are 15 and 4 during this most recent trip to the IL.

    Tucker seems very relaxed this trip up. He does not have a very strong arm though. How much of Reddick’s salary will the club need to pay if we move him this winter?

    Honest Abe has played a solid third. He looks like he belongs out there. He’ll hit to.

    Is this the off season that Jake goes and Straw takes his role over?

    I don’t think Smith will be back unless he is willing to take a significant pay cut.

    Yeah, I’m still trying to figure out how to keep Cole and make a deal with George too.

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  7. Just as an aside, Whitley started RR’s playoff game today. I wonder if the Astros learned anything about how to play the day after a 20 run win. I hope so. The last time, they blew it.

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  8. We get to face our old nemesis Mike Fiers tonight – and we start with zero runs, not twenty one. Fiers is always at his absolute best against us – the team who let him go. Okay, Zack Greinke – your turn for a shut-down performance. Keep those A’s hitters guessing. Change the signs every inning – because they are excellent at stealing them. Miss bats. Go a little ‘Justin Verlander’ on them!

    And offense: Please be patient! Make Fiers throw strikes.

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  9. I’m feeling pretty good about our guys getting to Fiers tonight. We keep playing good ball at home and we did get to him last time out with four dingers, although they were all solo shots. It’s time to bury the A’s, once and for all.

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  10. Next 4 games are gonna be a bonified DOG FIGHT! They are in a fight for their lives to make the playoffs. The A’S have 3-4 guys that are extremely dangerous,so I hope our pitchers don’t give them anything to hit! I think we will be lucky to get a split this week. Their bullpen is *lights out*. ….(((gulp)))
    Yordan we need some big homeruns! GO ‘STROS⚾

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    • You got your wish Becky, 5 HR’s in the 2nd innings thus far with 7 more to go. This is the kind of offense I’ve been waiting to see and the tm has been on fire

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