Heading into the Astros second weekend of Spring Training, it is time to make a bit of a mind dump.
So why is it called Spring Training? OK, this will sound like Dan P is one of “those” people. The kind that you can’t stand because he nit picks. But really, Spring does not officially start until March 20th. The Astros last game in Florida is on the 22nd. By the time spring starts about 80+% of ST is over. Yeah, I know it is tradition, plus spring time weather is already happening in Florida in February…..and I guess Winter Training just sounds wrong.
About getting hit with a baseball….There has been a lot of discussion about this lately.
- Have any of the idiots who think plunking the Astros’ players is a great idea and a reasonable punishment ever been hit with a baseball?
- OK, some of the HBPs so far in winter training (….Spring training ….. I just can’t change) against the Astros have been on curve balls, so that is not supposed to count. Big whoop. So they got hit at 82 mph instead of 96 mph. When I used to take the kids to the batting cages, we would go past the amped up machines that the high school kids were using and believe me I want nothing to do with an 82 mph curve ball hitting me.
One of the more intriguing young pitchers – For what it is worth – mlb.com has an article where they choose Bryan Abreu’s curveball as the filthiest secondary pitch among Astros’ prospects.
Abreu’s has 4 Ks in 2 innings pitched this spring and the 22 year old was quite impressive in in an 8.2 IP cameo last season striking out 13 hitters and only allowing 4 hits and 1 run in 7 appearances for the big club.
Are they thinking of him as a future starter here or as a replacement for Roberto Osuna?
One of the more intriguing young hitters – Myles Straw is off to an insane (read this unsustainable) start to the spring as he has 3 home runs, one inside the park, and 5 total hits in 7 ABs. For the short term Straw is heir apparent to Jake Marisnick’s 4th spot in the outfield, but considering Josh Reddick, Michael Brantley and George Springer are all in the last year of their contracts or team control, he is likely trying out for a future spot in the starting lineup.
With his natural speed and ability to play the infield and the outfield and his ability to get on base (.380 OBP in his career to date) he could be a mainstay at the top of the lineup for years to come.
Radio Silliness – I was listening to sports talk radio driving home the other day and one of the announcers (who will go nameless because I normally enjoy and respect what he says) was lamenting how the Astros losing more than they were winning in the early stages of spring training was a bad omen for the upcoming season. This was on a day when the Astros were splitting (1 win/ 1 loss) two split squad games.
Playing split squad games waters down what already is watered down hitting and pitching lineups in the early stages of ST. On top of that, no one knows what the pitchers and hitters are working on by order of their coaches. The pitchers might be throwing 50% changeups because that is a pitch the team would like them to develop as a 10% weapon during the season. The hitters may be trying different stances or trying to work counts or just hoping to get their eye back.
The key to spring training is to get as many folks through with the minimum number of aches, pains, pulls and strains.
Still it is nice to have box scores to look at every day. We can’t tell which outs are screaming line drives and which hits are blooping Texas Leaguers. We can’t tell who is lucky or unlucky. But it is nice to have some artificially real baseball happening.