First week: Who’d have thunk it?

There are always odd-wad happenings after the first week of a normal season. And this is anything but a normal season. So here is a list of “Who’d Have Thunk It” through Saturday’s games.

  • Leading the Astros in wins with 2 is ……Brandon Bielak. Considering he was not on the opening day roster, this is doubly unexpected.
  • Tied with Roberto Osuna for the club lead with 1 save is …..Andre Scrubb. Again a non-opening day roster player.
  • Tied for most appearances with 4 are ….. Enoli Paredes, Blake Taylor, Cy Sneed and the only expected one…Roberto Osuna.
  • Tied for the best ERAs with 0.00 are …..Blake Taylor, Brian Abreu, Nivaldo Rodriguez, Andre Scrubb and Brandon Bailey.
  • That Martin Maldonado would have as many or more RBIs (6) as Jose Atuve (6), Alex Bregman (6), and George Springer (5) have hits.
  • That Ryan Pressly and Joe Biagini would be tied with 0.2 innings pitched and 13.50 ERA.
  • That the lowest OPS of the regulars is Jose Altuve at .646.
  • That after the Astros beat the Mariners in three of the first four games of the season, that the M’s would be 1/2 a game back after eight games.
  • That you could place a guy on 2nd base with no outs five times in the Astros two extra-inning games and they would only bring a run home once. And (sarcasm font here) it would be when Carlos Correa went the other way with a hit through the right side of the infield.
  • That the Astros could use 18 pitchers in the first 8 games of the season.

So, did any of this surprise you or not surprise you at this point?

58 comments on “First week: Who’d have thunk it?

  1. Geez, we stink. I know we have injuries and other issues but we’re playing like a last place team, not a first place contender. How difficult could it possibly be to throw a strike?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Along the lines of “Who’s have thunk it” -at one point this game was 4-2 Angels with only 2 total hits between the two teams and only one hit (a Pujols – Lidge-ish Grand Slam) had only tied into the scoring. The Astros walking the bases loaded against Ohtani, having two Ks, then having Garneau walk on strike 3 (the ump probably was expecting another ball) and then a Springer walk.
    Ohtani has good stuff, but he nibbles like me at an all you can eat salad bar.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Previously there were several comments about the umpiring in our games (none good) and on the MLB game Blummer and TJ have mentioned that the Astros have had the same umpire crew for all of their games thus far. I smell something very fishy and it ain’t the “catch of the day”.
    One other thing is if I were pitching to Altuve I’d never throw him nothing but curve balls and sliders off the plate since he likes to go fishing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Can’t ever recollect so many terrible at bats by some historically excellent ML hitters. Pitches literally a foot off the plate swung at by All-Stars and MVP’s. On the flip side, the gutsy performances by guys throwing their first big league games, some of them players that nobody wanted, has been pretty remarkable. This is tough baseball to watch, not very rewarding, but nevertheless enriching in an odd way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gotta hand it to Framber this afternoon. If he could only pitch like that as a part of the starting rotation! I actually turned it off thinking we were screwed again, but hope springs eternal…and they pulled it out. They needed that win today to go into Arizona with a little spring in their step. Hope you folks are doing good.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Doing OK Becky – hope you are OK too or will be in a couple weeks

    Hope this posts – this is the third time I’ve tried to post this.

    Some post game thoughts….
    – If there will be a trend back to the norm, the league is going to get lashed by Jose Altuve, who left 9! on base today in his first 0 for 6 since 2017 and only the third in his career.
    – Blake Taylor is now officially on my favorites list. How many relievers get out of two bases loaded and two out situations in the same game where a run ends the game?
    – Mr. Bregman had two really good bats early (a liner in left right to the LF and a swat to right center caught up against the wall) and I thought – well he is coming around. He then whacks a long HR and then the game winning RBI single to center later in the game.
    – Brantley has been a machine out there – three hits in 4 official ABs gets him to .438 BA
    – Correa continues to have great ABs – he was supposed to rest, but he comes out and gets a pinch single and then he moves Tucker over on a ball that almost gets over the RFs head in the 10th – allowing Stubbs, to hit an opposite deep fly ball to put us ahead.
    – Game ball has to go to Framber Valdez, who comes in after Josh James’ short start and throws 6.1 innings and 86 pitches. The only run he gives up is unearned as it is the runner starting at 2nd base who scores in the 10th.
    – Dusty Baker continues to hold it together despite a veteran depleted bullpen. It was gutsy (and something I don’t think Hinch would have done) to allow Framber to go that long.
    Tough win. The games are not very well played (Astros 2 for 17 with RISP, Angels 2 for 16) but closely played. Astros get a needed day off (after all these extra inning affairs) and play the D’Backs on Tuesday.

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  7. Ohtani went in for an MRI after today’s outing. Feel bad for the young man.

    Jandel Gustave was just outrighted from the Giants – at one time one of our prospects. Pitched OK last season in a small sample for San Francisco.

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  8. – The Astros are not a great team right now, but they are an above average team. I think that the fact that they are one of the oldest teams in the league is a good reason why the short summer camp has affected them more, physically.
    -The two most impressive starting pitching performances, Javier and Greinke’s were both lost by the Astros in extra innings. That hurts more than a lot of other things.
    -Stat-wise, the Astros don’t look bad at the plate, but we know better. This team’s best hitters have been very bad when it really mattered.
    – I think Baker has done a good job, but I see a tendency to leave starting pitchers in for 2-3 batters too long. Just my opinion.
    – Garrett Stubbs is getting the job done. Mayfield and Toro have not, so far.
    – The Angels just dared Astros hitters to go the opposite way and today it backfired on them.
    -Pujols hit a grand slam against the Astros and it didn’t matter.
    -Astros and A’s tied for first place in AL West.

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  9. Got to admit that the guys came through. No, I don’t expect them to win every game but as Dan said the inability to score runs with RISP just infuriates me. Framber was a Superman today, JJ just doesn’t seem to have it together. I’m hoping that when we reduce the roster that we keep the producers. They need to be rewarded.

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  10. No one really talks about this, but do you think the “garbage can scandal” will affect Bregman, Correa or Altuve’s shot at the Hall of Fame? Perhaps they will be blackballed like Shoeless Joe, Barry Bonds etc.

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    • Welcome Gary I think, like Astro Nut says below, that if they are HOF worthy stat wise they will get in, but that they will face a delay getting in a punishment. If they are marginal HOF I think it could really keep them from getting in, because some folks will say they should never get in. Of course if it is a Red Sox or Yankee player, who might have benefitted from Apple watches or video assistance from the video room – that will be ignored, because it happened before the “warning” or because they believe a video operator in the Red Sox case was the only one involved. Yeah sure. The biggest difference is there was no Mike Fiers ratting them out.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I think the answer to this question depends on 1) whether any of them have HOF worthy stats when they retire 2) how many accolades they win the rest of their careers (MVP voting, silver sluggers, WS championships, AS selections) and 3) how much information gets leaked about the shenanigans going on with other teams. Some were blatant and the league didn’t have a problem with it (binoculars in the bullpen), some tried to be sneaky (cameras / phones from the dugout) but still were violating the no electronics rule, and others seem to have been caught but not punished due to scenarios similar to when Albert Belle got caught with a corked bat. If voting happened today I would assume any Astros player would fail to garner much support – there are too many media members who have enjoyed handing out some punishment these last 10 months to expect the BBWAA will think differently. That may soften over time though. Also, I don’t think Crane is helping with his statements. If he were smarter he’d just stick to the line that he’s angry as anything that it happened and is going to ensure he holds his organization to the highest standard moving forward.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. No one talks about Bregman, Correa or Altuve’s chances for the HOF because they are not even close to having “HOF worthy” numbers yet. I think if those guys end up with “HOF worthy” careers, they will get in, but the scandal could keep them from being first-ballot HOFers.

    I think “it” affects the HOF chances of Carlos Beltran the most because he was the leader of the scandal and likely cheating with New York too.

    Speaking of Altuve, I think he will break out of his slow start eventually; he has been a bit unlucky with a .185 BABIP. It was great to see him hustle to avoid two GIDP the past two games.

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  12. Next issue up is who are the two dropped from the roster after week 2? We have a few on the IL but still have to drop 2 so what’s your best guess at this point?

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    • Well based on the current 30 man….
      https://www.mlb.com/astros/roster/

      I would say Castellanos (who I did not even know was on the roster) and Sanabria…..however, it might be Mayfield instead of one of the pitchers if they continue to have a thin bullpen.
      The other question is, what happens if folks start to come back off the IL. Probably the next to return is Yordan Alvarez. If he comes back Mayfield will be gone, but if Mayfield is sent down to get to 28, then you have to send down a pitcher – again Castellanos or Sanabria. After those guys then you might be talking Paredes or Scrubb, who have been putting a lot of guys on.

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      • Mayfield won’t be sent down because Diaz is not with club, and Toro cannot play SS. Toro would be sent down first, unless he were hitting much more than Jack, and if Straw isn’t taking SS reps anymore (which there’d be no real need, since CC is well).

        I came to this conclusion in Next Man Up a few 6 months ago.

        On the pitchers when Urquidy returns, depends yet.
        Keep in mind that all the current R5’s must be vetted to find out whether they can stick, before we use Whitley’s clock for example (even if he were healthy). That includes guys who might be taken in Dec., like Sanabria or Castellanos. Not so much Garza and Blanco.

        Guys who I’d take right this second from us in December
        Nick Talielu, Bryan De la Cruz and Collin McKee (along some pitchers mentioned above).
        So look for those guys to possibly sneak in this season if Astros see a risk.

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  13. Ask, rec’v.
    Jo Adell promoted today.
    Angels feel confident then he will sneak over Super 2 date.

    Within the next few weeks, if Whitley’s arm comes around from discomfort, perhaps we will see his Houston Astros debut. By holding him out from the first 22% of top picks, we will have an extra year of control, which makes his value greater even in trade.

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      • I just don’t see an urgency to call him up for the other pitchers mentioned. The sore arm is probably true given how so many are experiencing it, but wow untimely considering how fired up he came into Spring, and on twitter just two weeks ago sounding so happy at this stage to get out there.

        Even though he’s our #1 prospect, I’d imagine Urquidy #2 is most anticipated. Then, you have guys like Cionel Peacock Pruitt Armenteros. Whitley is on the back-burner, and it doesn’t really hurt us to keep the mileage off the arm.

        Like no fans in the stands to boo us, or getting to spend more time with my kids this year, there are silver linings & hidden blessings if we can see them.

        Stay strong, everybody.

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      • I don’t want to sound down on him because I’m not, but he struggled last season at both AA and AAA. Looking purely at the numbers, I suspect he wasn’t trusting all his pitches and was only throwing with full confidence on his strikeout pitches. He’s really young, though. Not getting MiLB innings this year is a huge detriment to his development. Ideally he Astros are using this as an opportunity to get his routine nailed down solid so he can work smartly this winter and come into camp next year vying for a spot in the rotation.

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  14. IMO, the club seems to be off kilter, with the notable exception of Brantley. Most of the rookie pitchers have stepped up. The veterans are a step behind and playing the field sloppily. Don’t get me started about the umpires calling balls and strikes. Baker should be screaming at the umps. I also am questioning Baker’s in-game management.

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    • Sargeh, wondering what specifically about Baker’s in-game management you are questioning?

      To me, we have won as many if not more games than should be expected based on injuries. I think once everyone is healthy we should be the best team MLB.

      Yes, some of our hitters have started slowly, but I am confident they will get it going soon. BTW, we are 2nd in MLB with 5.78 runs per game:

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      • AN, I question Baker’s refusal to bunt the runner over in the extra inning games thus far this year. Placing the runner on third with less than two outs is asking for a fly ball of depth to the outfield, to produce the go ahead, or winning run.

        Some the relief pitchers have been left in too long. Same with James. The injuries, I do not place any blame on him.

        We watched Reddick misplay a fly ball into a triple, which led to a run and then make a poor throw, in the same game, that produced another run. I am in awe of his defense and truly appreciate it but he is not ready it seems.

        Garneau has boxed balls around and has looked to be not ready.

        Last night, Springer took a circular route to a fly ball that he played into a double. A straight route to the spot would have created an out. Don’t get me started on his offense. He is not ready.

        What is up with Altuve? The team is reverting to its old ways of not walking, swinging at bad pitches, striking out, and not working the count. Dusty can stop this by having a meeting. And leaving the pitchers in too long and letting them walk half a dozen hitters??

        Dusty should sit with the players, after a tough at bat, and give them some pointers. He was a fabulous hitter in his own right.

        Maybe I am knit picking but they are my knits.

        Liked by 1 person

      • One comment about runs per game. There are 2 teams with winning records but negative run differential and there are 4 teams that are at .500 with either +1 or negative differential. I’m glad we’re scoring runs but our RISP is dismal. If we can correct that and stop the big opposing innings it should be “Katy bar the door”.

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    • I’ve had a couple of thought’s about Bakers management too but it’s early. The umpiring fiasco is one and the 13 inning loss to the Dodgers. If you have runners on 1st and 3rd with one out and the infield is playing at DP depth, any kind of a decent bunt would have scored the guy from third (safety squeeze). I do give him a “A-” for the pitching staff. I wouldn’t have left JJ in the when he walked 3 in a row, couldn’t throw Pujouls a strike and then grooved the fastball right down the middle. I do like that he’s giving a lot of the rookies the opportunity to prove themselves. Overall I give him a “B”.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. ‘Stros sign second Skeeter:

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  16. Open to critiques, criticism. Hope it turns out legible.
    Astros 2020 Prospects

    Sale:
    45 = Cup of jo, upside as Avg ML serviceable, bounces around a few years
    50 = Better than Avg ML career projected, contributor w/inconsistencies
    55 = Potential All-Star
    60 = Potential perennial AS

    Current Value / Future Value

    #1 Whitley: 45 / 55 #2 Urquidy: 50 / 50+ #3 Toro: 45 / 50+

    #4 Javier: 45 / 50 #5 Paredes: 45 / 50 #6 Bielak: 45 / 50

    #7 Abreu: 45 / 50 #8 Ivey: 40+ / 50+ #9 Solis: 40+ / 55

    #10 Conine: 40+ / 50+ #11 Garcia: 40+ / 50 #12 Torres: 45 / 45+

    #13 Brown: 40 / 50 #14 Pena: 40 / 50 #15 Stubbs: 45 / 45+

    #16 Taylor: 45 / 50 #17 Lee: 40 / 45+ #18 Barber: 40 / 50

    #19 Rodriguez: 40+ / 50 #20 Dubin: 40+ / 45 #21 Nova: 40 / 45+

    #22 Brewer: 40 / 45 #23 Bailey: 40+ / 45 #24 Rivera: 40 / 45+

    #25 Henley: 40 / 50+ #26 Sanabria: 40 / 45+ #27 Jones: 40+ / 45+

    #28 Lorenzo: 40 / 50 #29 Scrubb: 40 / 45+ #30 McCormick: 45 / 45

    #31 Tanielu: 45 / 45 #32 Solomon: 40+ / 50 #33 J Lopez: 45 / 45+

    #34 Castellanos: 45 / 45 #35 Santos: 40 / 45+ #36 Hansen: 45 / 45+

    #37 Bellozo: 40 / 45+ #38 Dawson: 45 / 45 #39 Armenteros: 40+ / 45

    Dozens more with 45 upside; like Mayfield, McKee, Quintana.
    Some names notoriously missing are; Santana, Kessinger, CJ Stubbs, De la Cruz, Meyers. Their time will come.

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    • Unfortunately I agree with you on Whitley as far as current value goes. He’s no longer nearly as shiny a #1 as he once was. I’d like to think of him as a 50 or a 55 down the road, but I’m having a hard time at this point.

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      • Not as of this sitting.

        Whitley has the arsenal to become an All-Star.

        Urquidy may further develop into one because of his excellent command.

        Solis Ivey and Solomon I’m probably a little conservative with until we see more.

        Keep in mind, we traded good prospects for JV, Greinke, Diaz, Pruitt.
        We graduated Alvarez, Tucker, Cionel, Sneed, Straw.
        * Jake Rogers was a throw-in– he’s the Tigers’ top catching prospect.

        Therefore, we retain the value inside the team, and that is often overlooked when ranking a farm presently — what has the farm “gotten the team” is never a factor, and should be.

        Also, there is no praise in valuing prospects like McCormick, or Taylor for their gritty determination. But assuredly scouts distinguish themselves by getting smart players with growth mentality. For a sport where failure prevails, having personnel who responds well makes a difference.

        Recently, Brady Singer made his debut in KC.. They paid $4.25M for him.
        The Astros debuted Cristian Javier, who was lights out. We paid $10,000.
        That my friends, is scouting! We have 4 others throwing 99 that cost less than $20K.

        Even though we have lost top scouts Ocampo Rosenbaum; key administrators Stearns Elias Medjal; good coaches Rosenstein White Boddy, we are still generally regarded as the top development staff in baseball. A big reason why these coaches have been pilfered. The system so coveting the media calls our culture less-than-transparent.

        If only they knew what was in the secret sauce?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Wondering why #12 Torres is graded 45/45+ when #16 Taylor is 45/50? Maybe their positions on the list should be switched (or their grades)? BTW, I thought Torres pitched better than Bielak or Conine in Summer Camp.

      Guessing #13 is Hunter Brown and not Tyler Brown.

      Like

    • Near perfect starting pitching is over-rated daveb. Much more of a challenge putting together a rotation and bullpen from folks who’ve never done it before.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Some thunks:
    – I will be surprised if Roberto Osuna is pitching for the Astros in 2021.
    – Choosing to exercise Baker’s option tells me the Astros have moved on from the scandal team. I look for the Astros to move on from a lot of the past.
    – Getting looks at so many young pitchers this season is going to give James Click a good idea of what he wants to do with his pitching staff in the off-season.
    – The guy who drafted Forrest Whitley in the first round is not here anymore.
    -Tucker and Reddick are getting equal chances to bat and Reddick is doing a better job at not striking out and a better job of walking. It is hard to judge Tucker’s fielding because he is mostly DHing and is probably not getting many opportunities to work on his fielding. Reddick’s salary is 25 times that of Tucker’s, so there is that.
    – Verlander is going to make a huge salary in 2021. I will be surprised if the Astros rush him back this year.
    – Something tells me Jose Urquidy might be one Josh James start from rejoining the Astros. Especially if Click sees James as a bullpen asset.
    There’s more, but I’ll stop.

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    • Yeah, I think this club is going to look quite a bit different next year. Can’t use the rebuilding word with Correa, Bregman and Altuve presumably on the roster, but how many other guys can we assume will be on the club?

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I made the comment about Osuna before I saw the latest from Baker on Osuna’s injury not looking good. I was basing my comment on the Astros not being willing to pay Osuna $10-12 million next year. My thunk was that he would be non-tendered at that price.

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    • I assumed the worst, the second Osuna bit his glove. As tough a kid as he is, leaving the game right away. “Next man up,” I thought.

      Guess that answers my question a couple of week ago: would Pressley take Closer spot if he earned it? Ryan seems to have a blister on top of his thumb, so we’ll see how that goes.

      Not that I’m discounting this season, but it’s easy to see ’20 as a segue to building up these guys’ confidence toward seeing what we have next season.

      We have incentive and talent to win this year. 29 teams will be saying it’s an asterisk. Meh, I’m not so emotionally invested though with all that’s going on.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. I hate seeing so many guys go down with injuries, particularly the ones that might threaten a career, especially when it happens during an exhibition season. So how many guys from the the 2019 World Series roster will be on the 2021 Opening Day roster? My rough count is 14.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I read that about Osuna…..and as with the rest of you, he’s looking at Tommy John surgery. I highly doubt he will be brought back next year, which is probably a good thing since there was (and still is) quite a bit of I’ll will when Luhnow traded for him. Wipe the slate clean and move on. The super kid starts tonight…..he’s a treasure to watch! If I was Click I would try James as a closer, he’s pretty much a 3 inning pitcher, so I think it might work.
    Daveb……speaking of Garrit Cole, who knows maybe he will get that Cy Young award now that Verlander is not pitching! I hope he does, he might have thought he lost out to Verlander even though Cole pitched LIGHTS OUT last year! The guys are on Fox tomorrow…YAY I get to see them!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • ANOTHER feather in Astros cap, Dan,
      Notice a guy we couldn’t even keep in the fold, Yohan Ramirez in there? Do you remember me writing in July of last yr that I’d talked to a Dodger AA kid who asked, “whose that Yohan guy?”

      We could have saved him (I wrote that too!), and exposed Kent Emanuel instead.

      But we opted away from Ramirez’ 99 mph, because he was not only wild, he might hit a mascot wild! We’re opting away from the batters who swing at balls, and away from pitchers throwing balls as a philosophy (under Luhnow).

      Nice to see Javier and Taylor getting love; Bielak should and Paredes will!

      Writing this is similar to reporting minor league game threads the last few years. Our guys are really coming through like I thought they could. I could see they were competing well with other top Million Dollar prospects and knew it was just a matter of getting a clear opening.

      A season of firsts, why not?!

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    • All sorts of factions to divide us in an election year.
      You’re always missed here, AC!! You’re humor always breaks the ice..

      Game on,… and Cristian Javier at at that!
      One of the most exciting arms in baseball today.
      DBacks have no idea what’s in store

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  21. All the pitchers tonight are rookies. Abreu, with the most experience, had the most trouble.
    Team rosters will drop to 28 players active on Thursday, with a five man road taxi squad.
    However, the roster will remain that way for the rest of the season and the playoffs. They won’t drop to 26 as planned.
    By the way, Ohtani will not pitch for the remainder of the year and his at bats are still to be determined.
    Two more injuries in MLB tonight as Encarnation and Madrigal go down for the White Sox with Shoulder injuries. Seriousness is TBD.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I was texting with my sons about the Astros – how basically Brantley and Correa have just been putting up great at bat after great at bat. Correa is turning on balls he can turn on and hitting the other way with the pitch and hitting it hard either way. His fielding, especially his bases loaded leaping stab in the 8th were superb. Like you say OP – best player on the field.

    Liked by 1 person

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