Questions from my toughest interviewer

Today, Dan P takes a few questions from Dan P.

Should Ryan Pressly ever be used for more than a one inning save?  OK, ever and never are maybe too encompassing terms, but consider this. In 2021, six times he has pitched more than one inning. In those six appearances, he has given up 7 runs (5 earned) in 8.2 IP and only went scoreless once. On the other hand, in his other 32 appearances (30 one inning spots, one 0.1 inning and one 0.0 inning), he has given up ZERO runs.

So hopefully, Dusty got the message and relies on Pressly for one great inning at a time.

Do the Astros have an ace and do they need one? The idea of an Astros ace has been kind of a liquid situation this year. At times, the highest paid (actually playing) player on the team, Zack Greinke, has stepped up like the ace and took the team deep into games and gave the bullpen a rest. But of the seven guys who have started most of the games this year, his ERA is the second-worst. Lance McCullers had run off a bunch of very good starts in a row and then had another semi-meltdown on Wednesday night. Framber Valdez came off the IL and demonstrated the ace stuff he had shown in 2020, especially in the playoffs. But he seemed to lose a little grip on his control after the league started policing the stick ‘em stuff. Luis Garcia has been really good, and Jose Urquidy has been mostly good and now injured, but you don’t want to put that kind of pressure on such youngsters. Jake Odorizzi has been better than how he started off but is still capable of a stinker here and there. So, the first answer is they don’t really have an ace.

Do they need one? A lot of teams would love to have seven starters (including Cristian Javier) where six have very good ERA’s between 2.86 and 3.58, with the seventh having a very acceptable 4.05 ERA. They got within one late rally of the World Series with basically the same starters, less Jake, in 2020. Yes, it is nice to have a Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole or even Max Scherzer to match up against the other team’s top guy. But,of course I have as many World Series wins as JV does and GC is still waiting for that 7th game bullpen call out.

Can it be ten years? It was mid-summer 2011. The Astros were well on their way to the first of three 105+ loss seasons. The major league team was awful. The farm teams were not much better and the Astros reached past AAA to AA to bring up three minor leaguers who might give them more than they were getting from some really bad veterans. J.D. Martinez had been tearing up AA and was below average with the Astros until they gave up on him….and he went nuts for the Red Sox. Jimmy Paredes was doing OK and went on to a career as a light-hitting utility man in the majors, in Japan, in Korea, in the Dominican, in Mexico and with the Independent league. But the man who was tearing things up even more than Martinez was a tiny mite named Jose Altuve, who in 87 games between A+ and AA ball was slashing .389 BA/ .426 OBP/ 1.017 OPS with 10 homers, 59 RBIs and 24 SBs. It took him a few years to really establish himself, but he has been outstanding for this team. Comparing him today vs. Hall of Famer Craig Biggio through a similar amount of games between 1988 and 1997…..

  Games Hits Runs HRs RBIs SBs BA OBP OPS
Biggio 1379 1470 874 116 545 268 .288 .377 .803
Altuve 1375 1705 836 156 615 260 .309 .361 .822

A couple things to remember. One, this includes a number of years with Biggio behind the plate, which had to knock down his production a bit. Two, all of this section of Bidge’s career was spent in the Astrodome, which definitely knocked down his power production a bit. But, Jose is producing as good or better than a Hall of Famer through this much of his career. And, yes, it has been 10 seasons.

Do you have any questions for Dan P?

73 comments on “Questions from my toughest interviewer

  1. The question is if we don’t have a true ace….will Click try to aquire one, and at what price? Do we think we need an ace more than bullpen help? Can Click pull off both of those before July 31st? My answer…NOPE!
    The Rays aquire Nelson Cruz this afternoon…..who else are the M’S willing to move Barrios, is untouchable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He’s played 10 years and averaged 170 hits per year. 8 more years at 170 hits per year is 1365 more hits.
      In his later years he may aim for more hits and less homers. That is when his fabulous eye-hand coordination might pay off even more for him. He’ll swing a lighter bat and get to 3000 hits.

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      • Op, you mentioned bias toward bad umpiring on last thread. This is the actual data, (no opinions) when you want to see each game’s report card: @UmpScorecards. As you know, not all bad calls are equal, depending on how it effects the score.

        On “ace” it seems to change every week. Greinke probably gets ALDS Gm 1 start and he leads the league in games started to boot.

        On pursuing a pitcher, seems like lots in the works as we speak. I watched Locked-On Astros tonight and they discussed trade possibles for Scherzer, Marte. One proposal they had for Kyle Gibson, thinking Rangers might trade with us. Their centerpiece discussion was for Twins LHRP Rogers (who shut us down) for Solomon, Abreu & Toro. As Mike Stanton says, “a good trade is supposed to hurt both teams.” I think Astros say No to that one.

        I’m presently watching the end of the A’s vs M’s game. A’s advantage 4-1.

        Let’s see, a question for Dan P.?

        Where do you think Correa is headed, and how much would it take to keep him here? If we don’t sign him, what would be your A & B plan? One thing the podcast suggested was if we got Scherzer and he demanded an extension, would he tell Crane, “now wait a minute, I’m here for a ring and you need to sign Correa”? Similar to my thinking that Carlos could change his mind based on how this season turns out.

        The player with one of the highest trade values is Alvarez: is he untouchable, and are there any others? Op will disagree but my untouchables are Leon Lee and Hunter Brown.

        One more question for the crowd: this year we only get (2) Sept call ups, care to guess today who they will be?

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      • Let’s see GoStros –
        – I think that Correa will get 10 years – $300 MM give or take
        – I don’t think the Yankees are an automatic – they have been adverse lately to crossing the tax threshold. Now that could be so they could cross it in 2022 to sign someone like Correa. Would the Dodgers let Seager walk in his Free Agent year after being injured and grab Correa instead? That would make for an interesting clubhouse.
        – Really tough to think about September call-ups right now – that will really depend in my mind on how successful the Astros are at addressing their needs at the trade deadline. You could certainly see some arms up here to help out down the stretch.

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    • I think Jose has the ability to get to 3000 even as his talent fades with age – the key to me is will his body hold out. I think it will, but he may have to last until 40 to get to 3000 hits.

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  2. I’m going to put a little perspective on the Correa question before you answer.

    Every team drafts SS primarily bc they’re generally the best athletes. If you spend any time looking at how many are in teams’ top 15, you realize there will be a LOT of them next year. Sure, Correa is probably a top 5 guy, but the game is going to get drastically younger, quicker with an excess of inventory from the lost year.

    I think it’s a matter of affordability, same as it was for Springer, when the team has so many other costs most fans don’t know or discuss. Ok, tee off!

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    • You’re mostly speaking of HS shortstops I assume. The Correa question is interesting because as of right now we know that Story and Seager are also in play. It would be incredibly cheaper to promote a SS from your system than to sign any of the three, but when we’re talking about players actually adding wins to your season (as opposed to WAR or other conglomerate stats) when you find that replacing Miguel Tejada with Tommy Manzella actually subtracts more from your season total than just taking the difference of their WAR. Correa’s agent can make the best pitch of any of them this winter, but looking at the current landscape, I’m not sure where the big dollars will be.

      I think one he ends up in either the Windy City, with the Yankees, or in Arlington. I’ll be really surprised if he stays in Houston unless he isn’t getting a record breaking offer elsewhere and decides he wants to stay.

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    • Feast your eyes on this, boys! Sure, Hunter has had some control issues in his very first Spring Training appearances, and in a few outings in CC, but lately he is shoring it up & building confidence. I have him #3 in the system because he’s built for Starter, sits 95-97 mph and has this Hammer Curve. Just pray that arm stays intact!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh and for a minute reading GoStros comment above I thought that the Astros had a new prospect named Leon Lee (related to Leron Lee?). I think that Korey Lee has to be untouchable. This team has just never generated much traction at the catcher spot and like with Correa it is time they do. Pedro Leon is another that you would think is untouchable – they went out of their way to sign him to a big international signing and have been quick to move him up. I wouldn’t know Hunter Brown from Sawyer Brown or James Brown (well he has passed so yeah I could tell the difference), but I’ll take y’alls word on his ability.
    As far as filling in behind Correa, I think the Astros could move Bregman to short and fill in behind at third with Toro or with a cheaper 3B free agent. Or they could get a less expensive SS option in free agency – there will be some. I don’t think they would hand it to Pedro Leon – that would be a tough position for the young man to debut in.

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    • Lethal combination, and that was against one of the best farm teams in baseball last night … Dojers.

      The guy who started last night for the Skeeters has been the biggest surprise nobody is talking about, J.P. France. We got him in the *14th round* from Miss State in 2018. They were ranked #1 this season as a pitching unit = great coaching.

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      • Yes, and the whole state of Mississippi (and the region) has been a major hotbed of prep talent lately. Assuming a lot of those kids stayed “home.”

        My pitching guru really likes a few of our drafted pitchers, especially McDermott and current TJ rehab, Kouba from DBU. With the success Astros have had with converting Closers to Starters in Conine and Hansen (must be added to 40-man as they are Rule 5’s in Dec.), here is another one FaBIO really likes. The Closer we got from Middle Tn in the *9th round*, who stayed home himself to “put the program on the map,” he said. A 98 grade overall is obviously outstanding.

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  4. Astros continue to attract great talent & dominate International signings. We didn’t have the cash this year, but Luis Baez is waiting to sign with us next Summer (~$1.25M). Just take a look at the easy power on this 17-year old! (Turn volume down.)

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      • I only caught the throws from RF & will have to do some research on secondaries. But wow what a frame 6’3″ at such a young age! Couple more inches and we’ll have a Jake Marisnick without the swing & miss, and all the “Big Fudge” eating.

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  5. And in what would be really, really funny (never to happen) is what if the next great Astros shortstop was Correa. He is 22 and was the # 1156 pick of the draft in 2020.

    J.C. just got promoted to Ashville from Fayetteville where he was hitting ;306 OPS .861 while playing mostly shortstop and fielding .966.

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    • Hallmark comes from same program as Meyers, Nebraska, and attended Dulles HS before that. Since he is a senior and has less leverage (similar to Quincy Hamilton), the Astros were able to get them very inexpensively. He has the credentials to have been chosen sooner.

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  6. Did anyone else notice that the Red Sox came from behind to beat the NYY in the bottom of the 10th last night?
    Boston scored their two runs on:
    The free runner placed at second
    Two wild pitches
    A walk
    Two more wild pitches
    Sac Fly.

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  7. Nice win for the team that should have won – Odorizzi good until he wasn’t – and solid bullpen runs by Bielak, Taylor and Javier.
    Another big dinger by Tucker.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tears of West coast joy stream down my face as I report:
    The bad Twins beat the Fantastic Angels, who didn’t have trout for supper, rendon for desert or Ohtani for brunch.
    The Dodgers lost to Colorado, at home, in extra innings. Oh, sob!
    The mighty Giants were preparing to sup on the hapless Pirates in the City by the Bay. AAARRR, Matey! The Pirates steal the gold from the haves and bury it under the Gate! Pittsburg takes it, 6-4.
    24,000 watched Seattle at home beat the A’s, 4-3. That is about 4 times the fans the A’s are averaging at home.
    No wonder I was up late.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve always hated how huge a gap there was between the MLB and MiLB. I’m glad the Astros are doing something positive for their kids.

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      • The long term advantages of the Astros move of taking the biggest headache minor leaguers face out of the equation will start to show down the line as players sign or don’t sign after being drafted, or as an amateur free agent because they know they don’t have to worry about living arrangements anywhere in the Astros system.
        This adds to the equation of having the AAA team in the same city, the AA team 150 miles away from the big club and the AAA club. The High A team and the low A team are within driving distance of each other, within driving distance of the ST facility(Rookie League FCL) and there are free living quarters in each place.
        The Astros have come a long way in their facilities and it is going to pay off even more when players start talking to each other about it.
        Maybe the guy from Nebraska who signed with the Astros heard about the state of the Astros minor league system from Meyers and Schreiber or from the Nebraska coaches who already knew about it.
        Maybe Cuban players and players from the DR have heard about how their biggest fears of moving to the states and starting a totally new life has been made much easier by a team who takes care of their players and whose entire minor league and major league systems are in the type of climate and social environments they like.

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      • A *minor* add on comment…the families, who let the players live with them.
        I can list a few but here are a some quotes:

        “When the players are in double A, Corpus Christi, I host two-three ball players. There are several families that host them as well. They live with us for free. It’s a very rewarding feeling getting to help these young men chase their dream.” (@_CCHooksHostMom hosted Pedro Leon)

        “My daughter’s mom & step-dad were a host family for our local Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros. My daughter became friends with Jose Urquidy.” (2019 @thedoggeneral1)

        These folks also give personal reports on the guys you wouldn’t see anywhere else. Lot going on behind the scenes. One thing you’ll see as well is teams drafting guys, or being traded closer to home like Barefoot staying in Fayettville and Asheville too long, being from Dunn, NC; or Austin Pruitt coming back to The Woodlands where he is from. Or how about Jason Castro, whose family never moved and raised their kids here?

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    • I know a minor leaguer that received a nice signing bonus. It was suggested he buy a truck and travel trailer with some of his money. So he had his own living accommodations. But when he got promoted mid-season family members had to fly and rent a car. Move his truck and trailer because he had no day off to travel to new club. He had it much better than most but as the article mentions, it drains a couple thousand a month from someplace.

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  9. They win another game they should have. Framber with 6 innings of a no-no. The pen gives up a couple hits including a homer by Pressly – Yordan with a nice dinger and small ball getting the other three runs.

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  10. Hey Dan, Pressly read your post and you jinxed him!
    Yordan seems to be getting his swing back.
    Abreu has been pitching better lately.
    Carlos is still not hitting, but his glove and arm are still elite. If he could be the next Ohtani and pitch for us, then he might be worth $300 million.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. GS1 posted the other day about a Twitter account (@UmpScorecards), I find that I have to check and see if my eyes are deceiving me. And guess what, I can guess better than C B Buckner, or Joe West or others. I find that a call that is right on the line or just off the line I not a really bad call. But you can see many pitches are completely within the strike zone called a ball or one that is the width of two baseballs outside the lines called a strike.

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    • I read about a test run in the minor leagues with robot umpires. The manner described seems to be a good solution. The manner explained was the computer made a ball/strike call. That was sent to the iPhone and ear buds of the umpire. The umpire could call the pitch with the computer or ignore it. Also potential swings could alter the call. I thought that would be a solution that everyone – to include umpires – would think beneficial.

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  12. Brock Holt getting called out on ball four. Then getting tossed along with the manager was funny. Mainly because I don’t like their team. However, last night, Korey Lee was catching for Corpus. With the count 2-2. The pitch was almost dead center over the plate for ball 3. Then on the next pitch, the ball was inside and called strike three. So even though the result helped Corpus, obviously Korey Lee said something to the umpire. He got tossed. From the dugout you can see Lee yelling “You are terrible.”

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  13. Diaz will be activated today and be in the lineup for tomorrow nights game!
    Bregman will play tonight for his first rehab start! Astros swept the Rangers and they have won 61 games! What’s not to love about this news!
    And as soon as his no hitter was lost, the Yankees coughed up 5 runs to the Red Sox!!

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  14. The Astros completed a sweep on a Sunday afternoon, which is rare.
    The Astros won a series, which is not rare.
    The Astros swept a series in which they hit poorly.
    The Rangers we faced in the series were the worst team the Astros have played all year.
    The Astros head to Seattle and Oakland heads to San Fran.
    It looks like the Nationals have folded up their tents.
    Braves have one final shot at catching the Mets this week. They need a miracle.
    Yankees have a decent shot at the WC, but trail in their division by nine games.

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  15. * Diaz has rejoined the team and headed to Seattle. Stubbs has been optioned.
    * Pedro Leon was pulled tonight from the Skeeters game. Not sure why.
    * The Astros lead over Oakland is 5.5 games. Their lead over 3rd place Seattle is 7.0 games.
    * Houston won the season series from Boston and CWS. They lost the season series to TB. Tiebreakers matter, as these four teams are bunched together at the top of the AL.

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    • Hope that we play at least .500 baseball on this trip. The M’s, Giants and the Dodgers (spit) will be a challenge to the guys. Hope to start it off right with a win over the M’s tonight. The A’s have the Padres for 2, the Angles for 4 and the Padres for 2 more so it’s more or less a crap shoot as to who has the easier schedule. Would love to pick up another game or two against them.

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      • We need to tamp down on the M’s right away. They have been playing good ball and are now on the A’s tail. They remind me of the 2015 Astros with a young core they are trying to build around. Don’t need to give them more inspiration than they already have.

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  16. Mystery surrounds who the Astros might target at the trade deadline. A starting pitcher, center fielder, or bull pen help? I wonder about targeting Max Scherzer. He ain’t a spring Chicken so do we take a chance on an older pitcher who might have a arm issue after he’s signed? Don’t need another Justin Verlander deal who gets $66MM for being injured. I’m not sure. And I don’t know about a center fielder either. Will a Sterlin Marte or other player make that big a difference? I’d rather us get a good reliever and then look at the off season to acquire a starting pitcher when the market is not crazy. But then again, what do I know? I just feel that we have some really good position players in the minors and considering that we’ll probably lose Correa (I hope not) and Brantley and Guurriel will probably be gone after 2022 I don’t want us to mortgage the future for an “all in ” approach this year.

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    • IF (and that is a big IF) Click has to stay under the Luxury Tax, his hands are tied. (Example only: Click’s money tops out on a player making $3 Million who has $1.5 left for this year. So why would a team trade a good player who is only making $1.5 Million for the rest of this year)

      Dance with the one who brung ya. — Darrell Royal

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      • It’s not impossible. Say you have a player you want and his salary puts you over the limit. Ask the team you are dealing with to come up with a proposal that includes the money from them that keeps you under the luxury limit. It cost you a better prospect to make the deal, but the goals are accomplished for both clubs.
        Yesterday, the cash-poor Pirates included $1.4 million dollars to the cap strapped Padres(who are wealthy in cash) in the Adam Frazier deal.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I don’t have a clue as to what might happen between now and the deadline. I know there are a couple of guys I don’t want to lose and a couple of guys I want to lose. And I hope Click gets something done without screwing up my plan.

    Liked by 2 people

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