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Topics - Nate Colbert

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The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / 2019 Rule 5 Draft
« on: March 06, 2019, 02:54:11 pm »
Stop laughing.

It's never too early to know who's at risk for being lost (and relatedly who might be more likely to be included in deals at the trade deadline). I haven't done any independent research and am assuming (for now) Roster Resources is accurate in identifying player who'll be Rule 5 eligible for the first time*. Herewith the 50 players with an R5 bullseye on them...

RHP Brandon Bailey
RHP Ronel Blanco
RHP Akeem Bostick
RHP Chad Donato
RHP Justin Ferrell
RHP Ralph Garza
RHP Jose Hernandez
RHP Cristian Javier
RHP Carson LaRue
RHP Brendan McCurry
RHP Enoli Paredes
RHP Hansel Paulino
RHP Erasmo Pinales
RHP Leovanny Rodriguez
RHP Cesar Rosado
RHP Abdiel Saldana
RHP Carlos Sanabria
RHP Edgardo Sandoval
RHP Cy Sneed
RHP Gabriel Valdez

LHP Brett Adcock
LHP Kent Emanuel
LHP Ryan Hartman
LHP Carlos Hiraldo
LHP Alex Winkelman

C Oscar Campos
C Ruben Castro
C Scott Manea
C Jamie Ritchie
C Chuckie Robinson

1B Taylor Jones

3B Abraham Toro

SS Jonathan Arauz
SS Miguelangel Sierra

INF Juan Pineda
INF Nick Tanielu
INF Ronaldo Urdaneta
INF Enmanuel Valdez

UTIL Alex De Goti
UTIL Osvaldo Duarte
UTIL Jack Mayfield
UTIL Antonio Nunez

OF Yordan Alvarez
OF Carmen Benedetti
OF Ronnie Dawson
OF Bryan De La Cruz
OF Carlos Machado
OF Hector Martinez
OF Andy Pineda
OF Stephen Wrenn

Bold = Rule 5 eligible for first time

*As I go thru their list I immediately see one error with Arauz being identified as Rule 5 eligible for the first time in 2019 when in fact it was 2018.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Skeeters News
« on: February 26, 2019, 04:42:14 pm »
From today's press release...

Major League Baseball (MLB) announced today that it has reached a three-year agreement with the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) that will permit MLB to test experimental playing rules and equipment during the Atlantic League’s Championship Season.  In addition to rules governing the transfer of players from the Atlantic League to Major League Baseball, the new agreement includes rights for MLB to implement changes to Atlantic League playing rules in order to observe the effects of potential future rule changes and equipment.  MLB will work with ALPB to modify the experimental playing rules and equipment each season during the agreement.

MLB also will enhance its scouting coverage of the Atlantic League, installing radar tracking technology in the eight Atlantic League ballparks and providing statistical services to ALPB clubs.

The new agreement continues Major League Baseball’s longstanding practice of testing potential new approaches under game conditions.  In recent years, MLB has utilized and evaluated experimental rules in its Arizona Fall League, the game’s top off-season developmental platform.

Major League Baseball and the Atlantic League will announce the experimental playing rule and equipment changes for the 2019 ALPB Championship Season in the coming weeks.

Game Zone 2019 / Astros vs Nats 2/23/19
« on: February 23, 2019, 05:53:54 pm »
Kyle Glaser  @KyleAGlaser 13m ago
Jake Marisnick opens the game with a leadoff home run. Took a 96 mph Scherzer fastball and sent it out to center field. Not many better ways to get started than that

Talk Zone / Spring Training 2019
« on: February 19, 2019, 11:56:52 pm »
ICYMI, the ATTSW broadcast sked:

Feb 24 (Sun) vs Braves
Feb 25 (Mon) vs Mets
Feb. 27 (Wed) vs Nats
Feb. 28 (Thur) vs Marlins
Mar 10 (Sun) vs Nats
Mar 11 (Mon) vs Mets
Mar 12 (Tue) vs Nats
Mar 14 (Thur) vs Marlins
Mar 19 (Tue) vs Phillies
Mar 20 (Wed) vs Yankees

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / 2019 International Signing Period
« on: February 13, 2019, 12:45:59 am »
The one that starts this July 2nd...

  • The Astros are no longer in the penalty box and thus aren't restricted in how much they can pay individual players.
  • Estimated pool for this period is $5,232,500.*
  • As noted in the other thread, the club still has monies remaining in its 2018 international pool but anything unspent there will not carryover to 2019.

*MLB hasn't yet released the actual figure for 2019. The pools get adjusted upwards annually based on increases in league-wide revenue. I applied last year's 5% pool increase to arrive at an estimate for this year.

So BA with an article today about which players are linked to certain clubs. The Astros are expected to sign Dominican SS Dauris (aka Dauri) Lorenzo for an amount likely to be greater than $1.5MM. Switch-hitter. Some vid. Signed out of the Otro Nivel BB Academy (I believe that's the same academy Framber Valdez was signed out of).

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Minors Spring Training 2019
« on: February 12, 2019, 12:17:51 pm »
According to an article by Kaplan in The Athletic (some day I'm going to get that wrong and refer to it as "The Atlantic"), spring training for minor leaguers starts on March 3 (pitchers and catchers) and March 7 (everyone else). Per usual, there is a mini-camp that starts sooner for several dozen of the minors guys. That begins on Feb. 21. Those invited:

Pitchers: Adcock, Bailey, Donato, Garza, Ivey, Javier, Paredes, Scheetz, Solomon.

Catchers: Manea, Papierski, Salazar

Infielders: Arauz, Duarte, Matijevic, Pena, Sierra, Valdez

Outfielders: Beer, Benedetti, Goetzman, Julks, Wrenn

Scott Manea came in the JD Davis trade.

Granden Goetzman was signed last July but barely played after being released by the Cardinals. I suspect they're trying to convert the long-time OF into a pitcher.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Ex-Bus Rider News 2019
« on: January 29, 2019, 12:23:08 pm »
Kevin Comer, who spent 6 years in the org and last year pitched at AAA in the Tigers system, signed a minor league deal with the Twins.

Talk Zone / Astros Hall of Fame
« on: January 26, 2019, 03:51:48 pm »
More details released today including the composition of the committee making the selections...

...Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan, Astros Manager of Authentication and Team Historian Mike Acosta, 2019 Astros HOF inductee and Special Assistant to the GM Craig Biggio, Astros Community Outreach Executive and former broadcaster Bill Brown, Astros VP of Communications Gene Dias, 2019 Astros HOF inductee Larry Dierker, President of the Houston / Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR Bob Dorrill, Astros VP of Foundation Development Marian Harper, National Correspondent Alyson Footer, Astros Beat Writer Brian McTaggart, and baseball and Houston historian Mike Vance.

List of inaugural inductees is also in the article if you hadn't seen the list previously.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / State of the System 2019
« on: January 12, 2019, 07:52:36 pm »
A bit convoluted so not sure how well this will translate but here goes:

Lance Brozdowski @LanceBroz 3h ago
Amazing thread. @drivelinebases emphasized to a group of reporters and myself at the Winter Meetings how big the @astros player development advantage is compared to other teams. Everyday I see stuff like this [referring to thread below by Tyler Wolfe] and realize how correct he was. Will never forget that convo.

Tyler Wolfe @twolfie3 20 hours ago [Wolfe was a 39th round pick who last played in the system in 2017]
Some fun facts about my time with the Astros: In extended we had three cages set up just like this. One fastball machine in each cage paired with a lefty/righty breaking ball or change-up. Pregame BP was similar and also one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done.

Tyler Wolfe @twolfie3  20 hours ago
One group was in the cage with this same double machine set-up to match that days starting pitcher. The on field group involved a normal BP setup but the pitcher would throw different types of pitches and we would have certain situations and counts for each round.

Tyler Wolfe @twolfie3 20 hours ago
Other teams would be down the line laughing at us because we would be breaking bats and barely getting balls out of the cage. Then we would go out and score 6+ runs every game and kick the crap out of them. And of course we had a blast motion sensor on for every BP and game swing.

Tyler Wolfe twolfie3 20 hours ago
One last thing about the Astros that is my favorite to share: In extended spring we only had one tee in the whole complex. We couldn’t use it unless we were doing a drill with a coach, otherwise it was off limits. Usually the drills off the tee only involved a pvc pipe or towel.

Talk Zone / El Tortugo
« on: January 09, 2019, 03:09:44 pm »
Snowflakes who're triggered by HR celebrations shouldn't read/watch this on Willians Astudillo.

Talk Zone / Ex-Astros News 2019
« on: January 09, 2019, 02:50:16 pm »
I'll expand this as time/interest warrants and clubs issue more press releases as to 2019 staffing...

Minor Leagues
Adam Everett--infield coordinator (Braves)
Mike Brumley--hitting coordinator (Braves)
Doug Mansolino--field coordinator (Braves)
Dave Wallace--director of pitching (Braves)
Greg Gross--hitting coach @ AAA Reno (D-Backs)
Doug Drabek--pitching coach @ AA Jackson (D-Backs)
Franklin Stubbs--hitting coach @ short-season Hillsboro (D-Backs)
Randy Knorr--manager @ AAA Fresno (Nats)
Danny Darwin--pitching coach @ AA Chattanooga (Reds)
Daryle Ward--hitting coach @ AA Chattanooga (Reds)
Ricky Gutierrez--manager @ hi-A Daytona (Reds)
Doug Henry--pitching coach @ AA Northwest Arkansas (Royals)
Brooks Conrad--manager @ low-A Lexington (Royals)
Harry Spilman--special ass't to player development (Royals)
Leon Roberts--senior hitting advisor (Royals)

Talk Zone / 2019 Roster (New & Improved)
« on: December 29, 2018, 09:40:05 pm »
Thought the other thread was getting a bit unwieldy so as we head into the new year a new thread...

Pitchers (20)
Martes (questionable whether he's moved to 60-day DL due to possible service time implications)
McCullers (almost certainly gets moved to 60-day DL during spring training)
Peacock (out of options)
Smith (probably gets moved to 60-day DL during spring training if spot needed)

Catchers (3)
Stassi (out of options)

Infielders [8]
White (out of options)

Outfielders [8]
Kemp* (out of options)
Marisnick (can elect free agency under Article XIX(A) if sent to minors 40 days after the season starts)


Beer and Queso / RIP Penny Marshall
« on: December 20, 2018, 04:10:54 pm »
Talented director whose trifecta (Big/Awakenings/A League of Their Own) in the late 80/early 90s is hard to beat.
Joe Posnanski with an ode to one of my favorite baseball flicks.

Squiggy is a baseball scout??? I may have known that at one time but I had certainly forgotten it...

32-year old Mickey Storey, just a couple of years removed from his playing career, will be AAA Round Rock's manager. He was the manager at QC in 2018 (and developmental coach at BC a year earlier).

Reported by McTaggart.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / 2019 Draft
« on: December 05, 2018, 06:07:09 pm »
Six months and counting...

As it stands today (and this will change slightly depending on FA signings), the Astros will pick at:
  • #32 (1st round)
  • #69 (2nd round)
  • #80 (comp pick for Keuchel)
  • #111 (3rd round)
  • #143 (4th round)

MLB Pipeline came out with their first Top 50 Draft Prospect list. Some of the more interesting (including local guys) names who might be available when the Astros pick at #32:
  • LHP Nick Lodolo/Junior--the 6'6" Horned Frog likely gets picked quickly if he steps up his game this spring.
  • OF Jerrion Ealy/HSer--Ole Miss commit who also plays football which of course affects signability.
  • SS Braden Shewmake/Junior--the 6'4" Aggie and lefty swinger might not stick at shortstop.
  • OF JJ Bleday/Junior--another lefty swinger, the Vandy player has the arm for RF.
  • 1B Michael Busch/Junior--yet another lefty. Luhnow likes his Tarheels but might like this one more if he could play 2B or LF (which may be a possibility).
  • OF Matt Wallner/Junior--lefty hitter with arm for RF who currently patrols CF for Southern Miss.
  • OF Maurice Hampton/HSer--LSU commit who like Ealy has the football card to play.
  • SS Will Wilson/Junior--the NC Stater might have to shift to 2B.
  • SS Logan Davidon/Junior--the Clemson switch-hitter is likely to stick at SS. Wood bat struggles in the Cape though.
  • RHP Tyler Dyson/Junior--FB touching upper 90s but command/control and developing 3rd pitch needed.
  • 3B Brett Baty/HSer--lefty hitter out of Lake Travis HS is a Longhorn commit.
  • SS Matthew Lugo/HSer--the Carlos Beltran BB Academy product is a U of Miami commit.
  • OF Kyle Stowers/Junior--lefty swinger for Stanford has arm for right.
  • RHP Ryne Nelson/Junior--a two-way player for Oregon as an infielder/reliever, the hard-thrower moves into the starting rotation this spring.
  • RHP Matthew Thompson/HSer--one of two highly-rated Cypress Ranch HS pitchers who are Aggie commits.
  • RHP JJ Goss/HSer--the other.
  • 1B/OF Mike Toglia/Junior--will be one of the youngest college juniors at the time of the draft/switch-hitter/above average defender at 1B but may be able to play corner OF.
  • LHP Erik Miller/Junior--another Stanford Cardinal/has struggled in the CCBL.
  • 1B Logan Wyatt/Junior--lefty hitter for Louisville/great eye at plate/lotsa power/probably limited to 1B.
  • OF Will Robertson/Junior--lefty swinger for Creighton may be limited to left.
  • SS Nasim Nunez/HSer--superb defender/questionable bat/switch-hitter.

Others of note: SS Bobby Whitt, Jr (Colleyville Heritage HS), 3B Josh Jung (Texas Tech) and C Shea Langeliers (Baylor) are all projected to go in the first 10 picks.

Talk Zone / Shift-Banning Proposal Gaining Momentum
« on: December 05, 2018, 01:29:43 pm »
or so says Jayson Stark:

At last month’s owners meetings, baseball’s competition committee gave the commissioner “strong” backing to try to “put something in place” to limit shifts, according to sources who spoke directly with members of the committee. So next up, it’s time to run this – and more – past the players’ union.

He quotes a front office person saying it's a slam dunk as far as getting approval from the players.

Also says pitch clock likely to be...pitched as well to the union.

Totally unknown as to what the new shift rules might look like but Stark thinks the most likely approach would be a rule requiring two infielders on each side of 2nd base.

Talk Zone / AL West News 2019
« on: November 20, 2018, 09:29:47 am »
Beltre retired.

Talk Zone / 2019 HOF Ballot
« on: November 19, 2018, 01:35:17 pm »
Along with holdovers Wagner/Kent/Clemens, Berkman/Oswalt/Pettitte on the newly-released HOF ballot.

One man's view of the debutantes:

Brian Kenny @ MrBrianKenny 1 hour ago
# HOF ballot: Very Good Debut Class. Easy Yes: Rivera, Halladay. Probably: Helton, Berkman. To be studied: Pettitte, Oswalt.

Talk Zone / Team Payroll 2019
« on: November 04, 2018, 12:21:54 am »
Guaranteed salaries (7 players)......................77.5 (1)
Arb-eligible salaries (11 players).....................49.6 (2)
Pre-arb salaries (7 players)................................4.2 (3)
Total 2019 payroll (current roster)..........131.3

Both Roster Resource (RR) and Spotrac (ST) say final 2018 payroll was $163MM. If you assume a 2019 payroll somewhere between 5% above or below that figure (i.e., in the range of $155MM to $170MM), then the Astros have room to add somewhere between $25MM and $40MM in payroll. If you've been on the joy juice (or think Crane might view 2019 as the window possibly closing with the impending free agency of Verlander & Cole) and think the payroll might be increased by as much as 10% to $180MM, then add another $10MM to that upper bound.

(1) Verlander, Reddick, Springer, Gurriel, Altuve, Smith and Rondon. RR reports it as $77.5MM while ST says $77.9MM, with the minor difference being the calculation of the pro-ration of the Gurriel signing bonus.
(2) See the arb-eligible thread.
(3) RR plugs in a figure of $7.77MM which works out to $1.11MM per pre-arb player. That's way too high. The average pre-arb salary for the Astros in 2018 was $592K so I used $600K as the 2019 figure (7 players X $600K = $4.2MM).

Talk Zone / Important Dates 2018-2019 Offseason
« on: October 27, 2018, 02:59:49 pm »
Some of the following dates are keyed off when the WS ends. I've assumed the series goes to six games and will revise this accordingly if it ends up going five or seven games.

  • Oct. 31--free agency begins:
    • Marwin (Boras client)
    • Morton
    • Maldonado (Boras client)
    • Keuchel (Boras client)
    • Sipp
    • Gattis
    • McCann
  • Nov. 4--deadline for making a qualifying offer (QO) of $17.9MM to a team's own free agents:
    • Marwin
    • Morton
    • Keuchel
  • Nov. 6--GM meetings begin.
  • Nov. 14--deadline for a player to accept/reject QO. For each QO not accepted, Astros will receive a draft pick prior to the beginning of the 3rd round of the 2019 draft.
  • Nov. 20--date rosters must be locked down for purposes of the Rule 5 draft.
  • Nov. 30--non-tender deadline for arb-eligible players.
  • Dec. 10--winter meetings begin.
  • Dec. 13--Rule 5 draft.
  • Feb. 14--pitchers & catchers report.

Talk Zone / Awards 2018
« on: October 25, 2018, 05:09:08 pm »
Bregman, Keuchel and Machete all finalists for Gold Gloves.

Talk Zone / Joe West is a Dumbass
« on: October 17, 2018, 08:28:31 pm »
Originally posted in the GZ but am putting it here given the controversy this call will cause for years...

Evan Drellich @EvanDrellich 14 minutes ago
I don’t quite know how to explain to you all how horrendous that call was. I don’t care who wins. Maybe I’ll get a book deal if the Red Sox win a World Series. Go Red Sox! But I can’t fathom that. It’s too big a stage.
Drellich of course is a Red Sox beat writer these days.

Jeff Passan  @JeffPassan 1m ago
Carlos Correa rips a single. Astros lead, 3-2.

Sorry. That's my tweet from what should be.

Carlos Correa rips a single. Red Sox lead, 2-1.

Jeff Passan  @JeffPassan 2m ago
This seems pretty straightforward: "No interference shall be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence" unless "it is clearly intentional." If you look at the replay, it's awfully hard to see clear intention from the fan in touching Mookie Betts' glove.

Jeff Passan  @JeffPassan 8m ago
I'd love to hear the explanation for that. Didn't look like a fan reached over the fence. If he didn't, and the ball was over the fence when it was touched, and the contact was incidental between the fan and Mookie Betts' glove, that has to be a home run, right?

Jayson Stark  @jaysonst 7m
If you had bottom of the 1st, Game 4, for the first "Joe West moment" of this series, you win. Not sure how Cowboy Joe & the replay reviewers in NY could conclude that fan reached onto the field of play to interfere, based on what I saw. But that's how a 2-run HR became an out!

Joel Sherman  @Joelsherman1 10m ago
Altuve is called out on fan interference after replay. I think that is a bad call. The ball was beyond the fence and Betts closed his glove before the ball arrived. I don't think he was going to catch that. 2-run HR goes away. #Astros #RedSox

Buster Olney  @Buster_ESPN 12m ago
Are you going to eject the fans for that? If not, it should be a home run.

Chris Cotillo  @ChrisCotillo 17m ago
Astros security is not ejecting the fan. He’s getting a warning instead.

Chris Cotillo  @ChrisCotillo 15m ago
Fan’s name is Troy Caldwell. Said that call was one of the worst calls he has ever seen Said he will “need security to escort me out of here if the Astros don’t come back to win this.”

Game Zone 2018 / ALCS Game #4: Red Sox @ Astros October 17, 2018
« on: October 17, 2018, 05:55:24 pm »
No fucking around tonight boys...

RF Mookie Betts
LF Andrew Benintendi
DH J.D. Martinez
SS Xander Bogaerts
3B Rafael Devers
1B Steve Pearce
2B Brock Holt
C Christian Vazquez
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.

RHP Rick Porcello

3B Alex Bregman
CF George Springer
DH Jose Altuve
2B Marwin Gonzalez
1B Yuli Gurriel
RF Josh Reddick
SS Carlos Correa
C Martin Maldonado
LF Tony Kemp

RHP Charlie Morton

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Offseason Transactions 2018-2019
« on: October 16, 2018, 07:58:08 pm »
Joe Frisaro @JoeFrisaro 9 hr ago
Breaking: The @Marlins have traded Minor Leaguer OF Adonis Giron and LHP Brayan de Paula to the #Astros for an undisclosed amount of international bonus pool money. The two prospects played for the #Marlins Dominican Summer League team.

Mark Feinsand @Feinsand 8 hours ago
According to a source, the Marlins received $500K in International pool money from Astros in today's deal.

Giron was a J2 signee last year as a 16-year old who received a $350K bonus from the Marlins. This year in the DSL he hit .255/.331/.362 in 67 games with 12 SBs in 20 attempts. Listed at 5'10" 190 lbs, he's described by BA as "a corner outfielder with average speed that will likely slow down as he ages and an average arm that could tick up once he gets stronger".

De Paula was signed as a 17-year old by the Marlins on 4/26/17. This past season was his 2nd year in the DSL and he posted a 1.29 WHIP in 44.1 innings with 45 Ks. Listed at 6'3" 175 lbs.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Under the Knife 2019 & Prior
« on: October 14, 2018, 07:08:23 pm »
Thought this deserved its own thread and could more easily update moving forward...

According to his Instagram account, Alex House (24th rounder from 2017 out of Florida Atlantic who pitched just 5 innings this season) had arm surgery last month. Unless indicated otherwise going forward, gonna assume for now it was Tommy John.

Also Ryan Thompson (23rd rounder, 2014) confirms via his instagram that he had TJS in May.

Players Undergoing TJS
  • Kent Emanuel: 6/3/15 (missed most of 2015 and some of 2016 season)
  • Devin Conn: 1/1/16 (while in college)
  • Kyle Serrano: 3/1/16 (while in college)
  • Chad Donato: 7/1/16 (missed 2016 after being drafted)
  • Jose Hernandez: 1/1/17 (missed all of 2017 and returned in June 2018)
  • Brady Rodgers: 5/2/17 (missed remainder of 2017 and returned in June 2018)
  • Joe Perez: 6/3/17 (returned for 4 games this year before again going on DL)
  • Edgardo Sandoval: 6/21/17 (missed remainder of 2017 and returned in June 2018)
  • Jandel Gustave: 6/21/17 (still out)
  • Nick Hernandez: 3/27/18
  • Gerardo Bojorquez: 4/25/18
  • Ryan Thompson: 5/1/18
  • Francis Martes: 8/15/18
  • Alex House: 9/1/18

Game Zone 2018 / ALCS Game #2: Astros @ Red Sox, October 14, 2018
« on: October 14, 2018, 05:54:33 pm »

Springer CF
Altuve 2B
Bregman 3B
Gurriel 1B
White DH
Gonzalez LF
Correa SS
Maldonado C
Reddick RF

Cole, P

Red Sox

Betts RF
Benintendi LF
Martinez DH
Bogaerts SS
Pearce 1B
Devers 3B
Kinsler 2B
Bradley CF
Vazquez C

Price, P

Game Zone 2018 / ALCS Game #1: Astros @ Red Sox, October 13, 2018
« on: October 13, 2018, 04:12:11 pm »

Springer CF
Altuve 2B
Bregman 3B
Gurriel 1B
White DH
Gonzalez LF
Correa SS
Maldonado C
Reddick RF

Verlander P

Red Sox

Betts RF
Benintendi LF
Martinez DH
Bogaerts SS
Pearce 1B
Holt 2B
Nuñez 3B
Bradley Jr. CF
Leon C

Sale P

Talk Zone / Grass 27, Artificial Turf 3
« on: October 12, 2018, 04:05:57 pm »
With today's announcement that they're switching from grass (and despite a retractable roof), the D-Backs join the BJs and Rays with turf home fields.

And the Rangers may join them come 2020 when their new retractable roof park opens.

Talk Zone / Arb-Eligible Players 2018
« on: October 09, 2018, 03:38:15 pm »
MLBTR with their annual stab at guesstimating how much players will earn in arbitration for 2019 (amounts in paren are what they earned in 2018)...

Gerrit Cole – $13.1MM   ($6.75MM)
Roberto Osuna – $6.5MM   ($5.3MM)
Collin McHugh – $5.4MM   ($5.0MM)
Carlos Correa – $5.1MM   ($1.0MM)
Lance McCullers – $4.6MM   ($2.45MM)
Will Harris – $3.6MM  ($2.8MM)
Ryan Pressly – $3.1MM   ($1.6MM)
Brad Peacock – $2.9MM   ($2.44MM)
Jake Marisnick – $2.4MM   ($1.9MM)
Chris Devenski – $1.4MM  ($0.6MM)

If all these guys returned (doubtful--you can certainly envision trade scenarios for Harris, Peacock and perhaps Devo), the impact on overall team payroll would be an increase of $18.3MM.

Beer and Queso / Texas/OU 2018
« on: October 06, 2018, 02:23:43 pm »
Kirk Bohls  @kbohls 42m ago
Seven TDs, one FG, one punt. Total annihilation by Texas.

Sure, Kirk.

Game Zone 2018 / Astros @ Orioles, Regular Season Finale
« on: September 30, 2018, 12:28:16 pm »
1. Springer, CF
2. Altuve, 2B
3. Bregman, 3B
4. Marwin, SS
5. Gurriel, 1B
6. Gattis, DH
7. Reddick, RF
8. Stassi, C
9. Kemp, LF

Morton on da bump.

Let's see how many folks are ignoring this one for another Texans' fiasco.

Game Zone 2018 / Astros at Orioles, 9/29/18 (Game #2)
« on: September 29, 2018, 02:40:29 pm »
1. Altuve, 2B
2. Straw, LF
3. Bregman, SS
4. Gurriel, 3B
5. White, 1B
6. Gattis, DH
7. McCann, C
8. Marisnick, CF
9. Tucker, RF

Keuchel starts but won't go beyond 3 innings. McCullers will make an appearance in this game.

Game Zone 2018 / Astros at Orioles, 9/29/18 (Game #1)
« on: September 29, 2018, 02:28:04 pm »
Quest for 103 continues with Dylan Bundy and his 5.49 ERA opposing in this one...

1. Springer, CF
2. Correa, SS
3. Reddick, RF
4. Marwin, 2B
5. White, 1B
6. Gattis, DH
7. JD Davis, 3B
8. Maldonado, C
9. Kemp, LF

Verlander on the mound

Game Zone 2018 / Astros at Orioles, 9/28/18
« on: September 28, 2018, 04:01:23 pm »
The quest for 103 starts off against a pitcher with a 1.43 WHIP and just 70 Ks in 96 IP with this annoyingly-described lineup:

1. Some short Venezuelan guy playing 2B
2. A redneck in RF
3. LSU guy at 3B
4. A taller Venezuelan guy playing LF
5. Some kid from PR playing SS
6. Best fat guy hitter since the Puma playing 1B
7. Cannonball at DH
8. Another PR guy at C
9. Short Vandy guy in CF

Ex-Bruin who ain't exactly fond of another ex-Bruin his team will see next week

Game Zone 2018 / Your AL West Champion Astros at Blue Jays, 9/26/18
« on: September 26, 2018, 01:33:09 pm »
Carlos back for today's matinee...

1. Marisnick, CF
2. Kemp, 2B
3. Correa, DH
4. Gurriel, SS (yes, you read that right)
5. White, 1B
6. Tucker, LF
7. Davis, 3B
8. Stassi, C
9. Straw, RF

Bullpen day with Devenski the opener followed by McCullers, et al.

Talk Zone / Team Milestones 2018
« on: September 23, 2018, 09:36:35 am »
Yes it's the Strikeout Era and the record is likely to be broken again next year but...

The pitching staff broke the record for most strikeouts in a season with 1,615. The top 14 team Ks in all MLB history are all from the past 3 seasons:

1. Astros, 2018........1,615
2. Indians, 2017........1,614
3. Astros, 2017..........1,593
4. Red Sox, 2017.......1,580
5. Yankees, 2017.......1,560
6. Dodgers, 2017.......1,549
7. Yankees, 2018.....1,540
8. Dodgers, 2016.......1,510
9. Dodgers, 2018.....1,496
10. D-Backs, 2017......1,482
11. Red Sox, 2018....1,476
11. Nats, 2016............1,476
13. Indians, 2018.....1,464
14. Nats, 2017............1,457

And what an absolute shock--every single team on the list went to the playoffs (assuming the Dodgers are able to hold on).

Talk Zone / Road to the Postseason 2018
« on: September 20, 2018, 05:59:35 pm »
A's whomping the Angels 21-2.

Final score 21-3. 3.5 games back.

Beer and Queso / Hurricane Florence
« on: September 10, 2018, 11:48:00 am »
Seems to have strengthened from Cat 2 to Cat 4 in just a matter of hours. If it comes ashore in North Carolina, will be the first hurricane of that strength to hit that state in 60+ years.

Stay safe, Reuben and other North Carolinians.

Talk Zone / September Additions
« on: September 09, 2018, 07:04:34 pm »
Chandler Rome @Chandler_Rome 13m ago
On the Astros' pregame radio show, Jeff Luhnow said if Triple-A Fresno is eliminated from the playoffs tonight, the Astros will bring up "a player or two" before tomorrow's game in Detroit. Some others will be told to "hang tight."

Game Zone 2018 / Astros @ Red Sox, Sept. 9, 2018
« on: September 09, 2018, 03:37:37 pm »
The lineup against Rick Porcello w/Marwin back in the starting lineup:

1.Springer 8
2. Altuve 4
3. Bregman 5
4. Gurriel 3
5. Correa 6
6. Gonzalez 7
7. White DH
8. McCann 2
9. Reddick 9


Game Zone 2018 / Astros @ Red Sox, Sept. 8, 2018
« on: September 08, 2018, 12:35:15 pm »
CFM returns, Marwin doesn't, Correa moved down...

1. Springer (RF)
2. Altuve
3. Bregman
4. Gurriel (1B)
5. Correa
6. White (DH)
7. Marisnick (CF)
8. Maldonado
9. Kemp


Game Zone 2018 / Astros @ Red Sox, Sept. 7, 2018
« on: September 07, 2018, 04:26:51 pm »
The guys facing off against David Price tonight...

1. Springer (RF)
2. Altuve
3. Bregman
4. Correa
5. White (DH)
6. Gurriel (1B)
7. Reddick (LF)
8. Maldonado
9. Marisnick (CF)


Game Zone 2018 / Twins @ Astros, Sept. 5, 2018
« on: September 05, 2018, 04:04:37 pm »
Let's keep this shit rollin' along...

1. Springer
2. Altuve
3. Bregman (SS)
4. White (1B)
5. Gurriel (3B)
6. McCann
7. Reddick
8. Gattis
9. Kemp


Game Zone 2018 / Twins @ Astros, Sept. 4, 2018
« on: September 04, 2018, 02:53:33 pm »
If you didn't see the news, JD Davis and Dean Deetz were called up from Fresno today. After serving a PED suspension earlier in the year, Deetz had 50 Ks and 18 BBs in 34 IP working out of the Grizzlies bullpen. (Along with Dallas Keuchel and Josh James, Deetz now makes 3 Jim Stevenson signees on the active roster.)

1. Springer
2. Altuve
3. Bregman
4. Correa
5. White (DH)
6. Gurriel (1B)
7. Reddick
8. Maldonado
9. Kemp


Game Zone 2018 / Twins @ Astros, Labor Day 2018
« on: September 03, 2018, 10:22:21 am »
No Tuve or White...

1. Springer
2. Kemp
3. Bregman
4. Correa
5. Marwin
6. Gurriel
7. McCann
8. Gattis
9. Reddick


Game Zone 2018 / Angels @ Astros, Sept. 2, 2018
« on: September 02, 2018, 05:03:31 pm »
1. Springer
2. Altuve
3. Bregman
4. Correa
5. The Meg
6. Marwin
7. Piña
8. Machete
9. Hugs for Homers

G. Cole

On the Angels side, Ohtani with his first trip to the mound in nearly 3 months. Limited pitch count obviously.

He's about to join Babe Ruth as the only players in history to pitch 50 innings and hit 15 home runs in the same season.

Game Zone 2018 / Angels @ Astros, Sept. 1, 2018
« on: September 01, 2018, 03:46:24 pm »
Shit, it doesn't seem like it ought to be September already.

Anyway some trivia for tonight's game from the game notes...

Tyler White (33rd rounder) and Josh James (34th round) will become only the 2nd pair of Astros to start in the same game after being drafted by Houston in the 30th round or later. Only other duo to do so was Darryl Kile (30th) and Eric Anthony (34th) in the 91-93 seasons.

James is the lowest drafted pitcher in Astros' history to start a game for them (Kile was the lowest previously).

(I'm guessing that there had to be some NDFA duos or NDFA pitchers who started for the Astros over the last 50+ years but whatever.)

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Fall & Winter Leagues 2018-2019
« on: August 30, 2018, 03:51:43 pm »
Forrest Whitley, Ronnie Dawson, Myles Straw, Abraham Toro, Trent Thornton, Erasmo Pinales and J.B. Bukauskas all going to the Arizona Fall League.

Talk Zone / Reamed in the Ravine
« on: August 05, 2018, 01:07:45 am »
Stats By STATS @StatsBySTATS 1 hour ago
The Dodgers' 14-0 loss to the Astros tonight marks their largest shutout loss at home since July 22, 1923, when the then-named Brooklyn Robins fell to the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field, 14-0.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / 2018 Rule 5 Draft
« on: August 03, 2018, 05:16:07 pm »
So let's crowdsource a list of Astros' prospects that'll have to be protected in this years' Rule 5, shall we? (And I do mean crowdsource you lazy pricks!)

So I'm sure you most of you have the Rule 5 draft rules memorized but for those few who might have forgotten:

1. A minor league player who was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract is eligible for selection starting with the 5th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season, and a minor league player who was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract becomes eligible for selection starting with the 4th Rule 5 Draft following his first qualified season.

2. If a player signs his first contract after the conclusion of the season of the MLB or minor league club to which he is first assigned (even if he signs prior to the Rule 5 Draft), the next season is considered to be the player's "first qualified season" for Rule 5 eligibility purposes. (Depending on the minor league, the conclusion of a minor league club's season could be as early as the first week of August, or as late as the second week of September).

3. A player eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent who signs a minor league successor contract prior to being declared a free-agent and a free-agent with prior MLB and/or minor league service who signs a minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft is eligible for selection if the player;was 18 or younger on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 5th Rule 5 Draft since he signed his first contract, or the player was 19 years or older on the June 5th immediately prior to signing his first contract and it is at least the 4th Rule 5 Draft since he signed his first contract.

4. Any player on a minor league reserve list who has either been released or had his contract voided and then re-signs with the same MLB organization within one year is eligible for selection.

5. Any player on a minor league reserve list who has been outrighted to the minors previously in his career is eligible for selection.

6. A player on the Voluntary Retired List, Disqualified List, or Ineligible List is not eligible for selection.

7. An MLB club can designate any player on a minor league reserve list "eligible for selection" in the Rule 5 Draft even if the player would not normally be eligible, but once a player is designated "eligible for selection," he remains eligible for selection in all subsequent Rule 5 drafts. NOTE: A club might do this if the club is planning to release the player during the off-season. 

8. A minor league player-manager who would be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft if he was only a player can be selected, but if he is selected, the player-manager can reject the selection and retire. He has 30 days to decide. If he rejects the selection and opts to retire as a player, the player-manager is ineligible to be reinstated as a player for a minimum of one year.   

Rules 3-8 do come into play from time to time (though presumably Rule 8 hasn't been used in decades if ever). A recent case involving the Astros was Rule 4 and the Cionel Perez situation. But bottom line Rules 1 and 2 are far and away the primary ones that have to be dealt with. Here's how I would summarize the impact of those two rules on this year's draft as far as who would be eligible to be taken:

1. A HS draftee taken in 2014 or earlier
2. A college draftee taken in 2015 or earlier
3. IFAs aged 16-18 at signing who inked a contract in Aug 2014 or earlier
4. IFAs aged 19 and older at signing who inked a contract in Aug 2015 or earlier

Application of Rule 2 above to the IFAs is always the biggest challenge. Since those players are almost always assigned to the DSL or GCL and those leagues generally end their seasons in August is where that month comes into play as the cutoff date.

So let's take this category by category and we'll start with the 1st (HSers taken in 2014 draft or earlier). I've got the following:
  • C Ruben Castro--still relatively young at 22, having a nice offensive season for QC, no defensive scouting report but is throwing out 42% of baserunners
Agree or disagree with this list? I wanna see at least 3 responses before moving on to the next category.

(BTW, there's always a certain amount of org types dotting the rosters so let's exclude those from the list. I mean, does anyone really care if an Eduardo de Oleo is lost in the draft?)

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / 2018 Futures Game
« on: July 05, 2018, 10:04:15 am »
Whitley has been selected for the game, scheduled for July 15.

Beer and Queso / RIP, Harlan Ellison
« on: June 28, 2018, 05:39:02 pm »
Prick or prickly, take your pick. But a great sci-fi author (one of my favorites) and some of his quotes are more relevant than ever:

"The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity."

"Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Well, that’s horsepuckey, of course. We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our informed opinions. Without research, without background, without understanding, it’s nothing. It’s just bibble-babble. It’s like a fart in a wind tunnel, folks."

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Hot Sheet 2018
« on: June 25, 2018, 04:07:58 pm »
Astros (and former Astros) dominate the BA list for the week ending 6/24 with Tucker at #1, Alvarez at #5, Cesar at #18 and Beer at #19. Re Cesar:

" leading the Astros’ system with a .354 average and 90 hits this year. He’s got above-average raw power, too, and could hit his way into a bench role in the major leagues."

Exes Daz Cameron (Verlander trade) and Jorge Guzman (McCann trade) are also on the list, with the former having recently gotten promoted to AA.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Top Prospect Lists 2018-2019
« on: June 22, 2018, 08:21:44 pm » did their midseason re-shuffle of their Top 100 Prospect rankings. Tucker moves up from #17 in their preseason rankings to #10 currently, Whitley drops slightly from #9 to #11 and Yordan Alvarez moves on to the list at #54. JB Bukauskas had been on the list at #76 but dropped off. Exes include Franklin Perez (#33) and Albert Abreu  (#65).

They wrote this on Alvarez:

"Alvarez also has some surprising athleticism for someone his size. He'll flash above-average speed once he gets going, though it plays more as average and he'll likely lose a step as he matures physically. He has shown more aptitude in left field than at first base and gets the job done on the outfield corner. His arm earns fringy to average grades, and the Astros plan on giving him some time in right field."

They have no clue either as to what's going w/Bukauskas noting his "undisclosed injury" in an accompanying article.

And in case you missed the BA midseason rankings:

BA released an updated Top 100 Prospects list today. Whitley, Tucker, and Alvarez all stayed in roughly the same place, but Corbin Martin vaulted from unranked up to #85.


The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / 2018 International Signing Period
« on: June 22, 2018, 07:06:29 pm »
2nd year in the penalty box for the Astros so no signees >$300K. BA says the following players are linked to the club (no ages given but expect the usual raft of 16-17 year olds):

  • RHP Johangel Ramirez--Venezuela
  • OF Frank Perez--"hit .374/.528/.549 in 129 plate appearances in Cuba’s 15U national league in 2016"
  • OF Tomas Ramirez--DR
  • C Miguel Palma--Venezuela

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / State of the System 2018
« on: June 21, 2018, 06:11:49 pm »
Paul Braverman @PaulBraverman 37s ago
[email protected] are tied with the Yankees and Red Sox for the most wins in @MLB (50).  @FresnoGrizzlies have the most wins in @TripleABaseball (44).  @cchooks have the most Double-A wins (45).  Houston #Astros affiliates lead all of @MiLB with a combined .567 winning %. 

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Cubans in the System
« on: June 20, 2018, 07:14:34 pm »
A quick recap of the 15 Cubans other than Yuli signed by the Astros, 12 of whom are still in the system (1 at Fresno, 6 at CC, 1 at BC, 2 in the GCL, 2 in the DSL):

RHP Rogelio Armenteros (bonus not disclosed)--24 year old with 127 Ks and 40 BBs in 115 AAA innings
RHP Michel Martinez (bonus not dislosed)--released
RHP Yoanys Quiala ($794K bonus)--24 year old with a sky-high WHIP of 1.50 in 108 IP at CC between 2017 and 2018
OF Alejandro Garcia ($750K bonus)--released
RHP Carlos Sierra (bonus not disclosed)--23 year old currently on DL with 30 Ks vs 13 BBs in 27 combined IP this year between CC and BC.
OF/1B Norberto Castellanos (Astros-$75K bonus)--released
OF/1B Yordan Alvarez ($2MM bonus + equivalent tax)*--you might have heard of him
INF Anibal Sierra ($1.5MM bonus + equivalent tax)--24 year old with a .263/.309/.329 line in 22 games for CC after starting year at BC
LHP Cionel Perez ($2MM bonus + equivalent tax)--22 year old at CC is the 6th-ranked prospect in the system
RHP Jesus Balaguer (bonus not disclosed)--24 year old with 33 Ks in 25 IP for BC but also 27 BBs
RHP Elian Rodriguez ($1.9MM bonus + equivalent tax)--21 year old on GCL roster after throwing 25 innings in DSL last year
SS Rolando Espinosa ($175K bonus)--17 year old currently .208/.283/.333 in 14 games in the DSL
C Lorenzo Quintana ($200K bonus)--29 year old hitting .225/.295/.383 for Corpus
LHP Julio Robaina ($220K bonus)--17 year old who skipped DSL and has thrown 3 scoreless frames for GCL club
RHP Franny Cobos ($125K bonus)--17 year old with an 0.47 WHIP in 10.2 IP in the DSL

*paid by Dodgers

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / GCL Astros 2018
« on: June 18, 2018, 10:08:32 pm »
Opened up play today with a 6-3 loss.

3B Joe Perez (last year's 2nd-round pick and 53rd overall) went 1-2 with 2 walks in his pro debut. He's coming off TJS. Was hitting in the 3rd spot in today's game.

Other 2017 draft picks on the roster include 5th-rounder C Nathan Perry, 10th-rounder Kyle Serrano (the former Vols' pitcher) and 29th-rounder OF Andres Santana (who signed for $250K, 7th-largest bonus among Astros' picks last year).

5th-overall prospect Freudis Nova ($1.2MM bonus) was at SS and hit leadoff in his stateside debut, going 1-5.

International signees OF Wilyer Abreu ($300K), SS Yorbin Cueta ($1MM), RHP Angel Macuare ($695K), SS Deury Carrasco ($480K), C Nerio Rodriguez ($450K) and INF/C Gerry Castillo ($400K) are also on the roster.

And then there's Cuban RHP Elian Rodriguez, who cost the Astros $3.8MM in bonus + tax last year. He walked 30 in 25 innings in 2017 pitching in the DSL.

Marwin with only hit in the game thus far, a double in the B2 with 2 out.

McCann grounds out to end inning.

Heading to T3, tied 0-0.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / 2017 International Signing Period
« on: June 27, 2017, 01:38:53 pm »
Kicks off July 2 (as it does every year).

Given that the Astros are subject to the penalty and are limited to signing players for no more than $300K apiece, you're not gonna see them tied to any of the top guys. BA has put up a list of the Top 50 International Prospects (might be behind paywall). They are linked to the #50 prospect on the list. Heiter Tokar is a big (6'7" 250 lb) 17-year old righty out of Brazil. Upper 80's fastball (touching 91), advanced changeup and a breaking ball needing work.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / GCL Astros 2017
« on: June 25, 2017, 02:29:48 pm »
It's still preliminary (particularly short some pitchers), but a GCL roster is starting to shape up. As expected, several players initially on the Greeneville roster (such as Enmanuel Valdez and Juan Pineda) have now been assigned to the GCL. A further look later at notable names on the team.

Season starts tomorrow.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Tri-City ValleyCats 2017
« on: June 15, 2017, 01:52:47 pm »
Who knows whether he'll make the official roster when the season opens, but noticed that LHP Ben Smith pitched today in the exhibition game versus the Albany Dutchmen of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Smith of course was a 17th-round pick of the Astros back in 2014 out of Coastal Carolina. He didn't pitch that season as at the time he was drafted he was rehabbing from TJS. He didn't pitch in 2015 either after being diagnosed with lymphoma. Finally returned to the mound for the 2016 season, pitching mostly at Greeneville. He walked 45 in 39.2 IP.

Good luck to him in 2017.

Talk Zone / WHOOP
« on: June 10, 2017, 09:07:14 pm »
From Nick Cafardo:

"An interesting product is starting to infiltrate baseball. It’s called WHOOP, which measures physiological changes in athletes over time. It’s a device worn on the field and currently used by the Astros and Yankees."

From the company's press release:

The WHOOP system includes a sleek wrist-worn strap that measures key strain and recovery variables more than 100 times per second, 24 hours a day. WHOOP’s proprietary algorithms then process this data to provide athletes an Intensity score, which informs them about the level of strain on their body and what it means; a Recovery score, which measures the body’s preparedness for strain or exertion; and a Sleep Performance score, which evaluates the hours of quality sleep an athlete got in relationship to the sleep he or she needed. The WHOOP system presents a team dashboard to coaches and trainers to help inform training and game day decisions. is streamed via Bluetooth to a sophisticated analytics platform that analyzes Intensity, Recovery, and Sleep Performance. Coaches and trainers can view each athlete’s data on an easy-to-use team dashboard to determine what activities they have engaged in, how much strain they have placed on themselves, and how they have recovered. Coaches and trainers then can easily see which athletes are undertraining or which are overtraining and putting themselves at risk of an injury, resulting in improved individual and team performance.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / DSL Astros 2017
« on: June 02, 2017, 04:29:43 pm »
Season cranks up tomorrow. Some of the players likely to show up on the Orange and Blue rosters:

  • OF Ronny Rafael--signed for $1.5MM three years ago and back for his 3rd season in the DSL, having hit just .184/.291/.266 over his first 2 years. Blue
  • INF Yeuris Ramirez--signed for $500K a couple of years ago, batted .178/.312/.254 in 40 games in 2016. Blue
  • OF Cesar Cortez--signed for $100K in 2015 out of Panama, hit .228/.343/.322 last year for the Blue squad.
  • INF Yorbin Cueta--signed for $1MM last year out of Venezuela and like all 2016 signees this will be his first season in pro ball. Blue
  • INF Freudis Nova--signed for $1.2MM last year out of the Dominican. Orange
  • C Nerio Rodriguez--signed for $450K in 2016 out of the DR. Blue
  • RHP Angel Macuare--signed for $450K in 2016 out of Venezuela. Blue
  • INF Deury Carrasco--signed for $480K in 2016 out of the DR. Orange
  • RHP Jairo Solis--another Venezuelan pitcher signed for $450K in 2016. Orange
  • INF Jeury Castillo--Dominican signed for $400K in 2016. Orange
  • C Jose Alvarez--Venezuelan catcher signed for $195K in 2016. Orange
  • RHP Angel Ortega--signed for $180K in 2016 out of Venezuela. Orange

Updated to reflect which team they're on now that the rosters at seem to have been finalized.

The Tigers of Detroit*
Kinsler, 2B
Avila, C
Cabrera, 1B
V. Martinez, DH
Upton, LF
Mahtook, CF
Romine, 3B
Collins, RF
Iglesias, SS

Norris, P

*Didya know fact of the day: the oldest continuous one-name, one-city franchise in the AL.

The Former Colt 45s
Springer, RF
Marwin, SS
Altuve, 2B
Gattis, C
Beltran, DH
Gurriel, 1B
Bregman, 3B
Aoki, LF
Marisnick, CF

Morton, P

Evidently Hinch is still sending a message to Correa.

Talk Zone / Trade Deadline 2017
« on: May 13, 2017, 03:32:35 pm »
Yeah, premature as hell and highly speculative as these kinds of articles usually are, but Joel Sherman of the NY Post with his thesis as to why the trade deadline deals may occur earlier than usual this year given the number of starting pitchers likely to be available (and he's not the first national writer I've read that is making the case for a possible glut in the starting pitcher market at the deadline). The lack of high draft pick compensation for high revenue teams under the new labor deal may be a contributing factor to the surplus.

The list of names thrown out by Sherman includes a lot of the usual suspects but some others that haven't been mentioned as much as possible trade bait  (a number of these are dependent on whether their respective teams remain in or continue to be out of contention):

Alex Cobb
Chris Archer
Jake Odorizzi
Ervin Santana
Hector Santiago
Justin Verlander
Jason Vargas
Ian Kennedy*
Jose Quintana
Derek Holland
Miguel Gonzalez
Sonny Gray
Jeremy Hellickson
Gerrit Cole
Ivan Nova
Zack Greinke
Johnny Cueto
Matt Moore
Jeff Samardzija
Marco Estrada
J.A. Happ*
Yu Darvish
Martin Perez

*if healthy

Again, you can pick apart the likelihood of certain of these names to be traded but the point of the article (and others that I've seen) is that the trade deadline market seems to be trending in the favor of buyers with a surplus of starting pitchers available.

Talk Zone / Another Devenski Article
« on: May 01, 2017, 12:57:38 pm »
The Fangraphs folks have certainly shown themselves to be quite the DEVOtees as I believe this is something like the 4th article they've written on him in the last month. Still it's an enjoyable article (and the Astros minor league piggyback tandem starter scheme even gets a bit of a shoutout).


The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Hot Sheet 2017
« on: April 21, 2017, 09:47:55 am »
#15 Franklin Perez
#18 Kyle Tucker

exes: #4 Brett Phillips


Talk Zone / The 40 Surviving Members of the Colt .45s
« on: April 20, 2017, 02:36:31 pm »
(via Astros County)

Great work by folks compiling a list of the remaining players who wore a Colt .45s uniform, ranging in age from Bobby Shantz at 92 to Dierker at 71.

A couple of the less notable names on the list actually had fascinating backgrounds/later careers. As noted in the comments section, Carroll Hardy was player personnel director for the Denver Broncos for many years and was a key hand in assembling the players who formed the Orange Crush defense. Not mentioned is that Hardy was also a 2-sport professional, having played 1 year as a halfback for the San Francisco 49ers where Y.A. Tittle was his QB. On the baseball side, the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame member is also the answer to the trivia question as to "who's the only player to pinch-hit for Ted Williams?".

Another interesting guy on the list is Aaron Pointer. As the comments point out, he is the brother of members of the Pointer Sisters. Not mentioned, however, is the fact that he and his cousin Paul Silas (the future NBA player and coach) both went to McClymonds High School in Oakland, which earlier had produced Bill Russell, Frank Robinson and Curt Flood. Also not mentioned is his later career as a football referee. As this Seattle Times article points out, he was the first black referee in the Pac-10. He later went on to become a head linesman in the NFL for 16 years. Also the answer to a baseball trivia question: who was the last minor league player to hit .400 in a season? That would be Mr. Pointer, who hit .402 in 1961 for Salisbury in what was then called the Western Carolinas League (which would later become the South Atlantic League). He also played in NPB from 1970-1972 with the Nishitetsu Lions.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / State of the System 2017
« on: April 19, 2017, 01:26:40 pm »
Based on average age of the four full-season rosters, Astros are 3rd youngest among all 30 organizations.

Day off for Poo Holes

Escobar, 3B
Revere, LF
Trout, CF
Calhoun, RF
Cron, 1B
Simmons, SS
Marte, DH
Espinosa, 2B
Maldonado, C

Chavez, P

Springer, CF
Red Dick, RF
Altuve, 2B
Beltran, DH
Gattis, C
Bregman, SS
Marwin, 3B
Yuli, 1B
Aoki, LF

Morton, P

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Extended Spring Training 2017
« on: March 29, 2017, 11:22:28 am »
Soon the full season rosters will be announced and inevitably the questions will be asked as to "Where's player XYZ?". Injuries aside, the answer of course is EST. One such player we know will be there per Jake Kaplan is the 20-year old Cuban lefty Cionel Perez (effective signing cost of $4MM this past winter). As noted in the article, he sat 93-94 with his FB (touching 96) in his first minor league outing of ST. Competitively, he last pitched in 2014 in the CNS.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Fresno Grizzlies 2017
« on: March 21, 2017, 05:46:57 pm »
Luhnow said White will play second, third and some first base at Triple-A. Moran will play third and first and perhaps some shortstop. Reed will be first base/designated hitter.


Beer and Queso / RIP Bill Paxton
« on: February 26, 2017, 11:03:12 am »
Someone tweeted out that the native Texan was the only actor killed by a Terminator, an Alien and a Predator.

Nice genre turns in pics like Edge of Tomorrow and Weird Science as well.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Mini Camp/ST Report Date
« on: February 22, 2017, 09:47:13 am »
Jake Kaplan said yesterday on twitter that the mini-camp for the more elite prospects begins this Saturday. Only names he mentioned were LHP Cionel Perez, C Jake Rogers and SS Anibal Sierra.

Remaining minor leaguers report March 5/6.

Talk Zone / The Pen
« on: February 16, 2017, 09:35:22 am »
Nice article on James Hoyt over at FanGraphs.

Talk Zone / Aches, Pains and Muscle Strains (2017 Version)
« on: February 15, 2017, 12:53:15 pm »
Evan Gattis has a sore throwing shoulder and already needs a cortisone shot for it (says twitter).

Stop this plague right here, don't let it spread!

"Major League Baseball plans on testing a rule change in the lowest levels of the minor leagues this season that automatically would place a runner on second base at the start of extra innings, a distinct break from the game’s orthodoxy that nonetheless has wide-ranging support at the highest levels of the league, sources familiar with the plan told Yahoo Sports."

Will be used in the GCL and AZL this season.

Yahoo Sports

Talk Zone / Crane Named to MLB Executive Council
« on: February 03, 2017, 09:43:24 am »
Bob Nightengale ‏@BNightengale  10 minutes ago
 Jim Crane of #Astros and Ron Fowler of #Padres join #MLB executive council replacing Bill DeWitt of #Stlcards and Jim Pohlad of #Twins.

8-man executive council was mostly turned over when Manfred came in two years ago. 6 newer owners appointed at that time to go along with DeWitt and Pohlad (who both had served under Selig) who were retained for continuity purposes. Presumably leaving now as terms expired and/or continuation of process of moving up newer owners (although the timing of the switching of DeWitt and Crane is certainly delicious).

Talk Zone / NRIs 2017
« on: January 13, 2017, 10:37:18 am »
Along with the previously announced three MLFAs (Brignac, Centeno and Riefenhauser--all covered in the Bus Ride transaction thread), the following players with big league camp invites:

Pitchers: Riefenhauser (lefty), Martes, Sneed, Frias, Holmes (lefty), Jankowski, Perez, West
Catchers: Centeno, Stubbs, Heineman
Infielders: Brignac, Singleton, Davis
Outfielders: Fisher, Laureano, Garcia, Kemmer

Players (other than MLFAs) with first-time invites to big league camp.

Longetivity awards to Heineman (4th consecutive year) and Jankowski (3rd consecutive year).

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Manager/Coaching Assignments 2017
« on: January 10, 2017, 05:02:25 pm »
Arguably the biggest change is Morgan Ensberg taking the reins as the V-Cats manager. He had been minor league mindset coach.

Former V-Cats manager Lamarr Rogers doesn't appear to have been retained. He spent 2 years in the organization after having spent the previous 16 years in indy ball. Also apparently ousted was former Lancaster manager Ramon Vazquez. Omar Lopez effectively replaces him at Buies Creek after having managed QC in 2016 and Lancaster in 2015.

Russ Steinhorn moves up to take over at QC after having managed the DSL Blues squad last year. Ex-org player and coach Wlad Sutil manages for the first time at the GCL club. He replaces Marty Malloy, who spent 3 years managing the GCL team before moving on this offseason to take a job helming the Lakewood BlueClaws in the Sally for the Phillies.

Josh Bonifay previously this offseason was named the Texas Rangers' major league field coordinator. His replacement as the manager at Greeneville is Danny Ortega (previously a coach in the DSL).

No managerial changes at Fresno and CC.

Astros PR

Talk Zone / Beltran in The Players' Tribune
« on: January 10, 2017, 09:51:51 am »
A few excerpts from the article:

There are four or five guys who really shaped me into the player and person I am today. Craig Biggio is one of those guys. I owe so much to that man.

[Carlos] Correa and I have talked a lot about leadership during the past two years, and he’s always asking for advice that will help him be a clubhouse leader even though he’s one of the younger players on the team. So this kid gets it, believe me.

Then, when I decided to join the Astros, I called [A.J.] up and relayed a very simple, straightforward message. “Put my locker next to young guys who I can help,” I said. “Get me around the kids … the players who I can have an impact on. In spring training, during drills, whenever you can. Give me the opportunity to help all the young players get better.” He promised me he’d do that, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Good read here.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Prospect Rankings 2017
« on: November 18, 2016, 10:53:26 am »
Baseball America with their new Astros Top Ten Prospect list (which leads in to their Top 30 Prospects rankings in the Handbook early next year):

1. Francis Martes
2. Kyle Tucker
3. David Paulino
4. Franklin Perez
5. A.J. Reed
6. Forrest Whitley
7. Teoscar Hernandez
8. Yuli Gurriel
9. Derek Fisher
10. Garrett Stubbs

Quite the leap for Stubbs (at least according to BA), who goes from not even making their Top 30 Astros' Prospects list last year to the Top 10 this season and being called in a separate article posted today "one of the best defensive catchers in the minors".

Mostly the chat was a yawner but there was this:

Matt (Norfolk, VA): Who is omitted from this list, further down the top 30 that has the best chance of vaulting to the top of next years list?
J.J. Cooper: The Astros have a number of young arms who could keep climbing. I’ll throw Hector Perez out as one name to watch who could be a Top 10 guy next year.

Talk Zone / Astros in WBC 2017
« on: November 16, 2016, 09:34:27 pm »
WBC not everybody's cup of tea but...

Several articles (including here and here) recently have noted that the Puerto Rico squad will have quite the Astros flavor--new bench coach Alex Cora will be the GM while Carlos Correa will be somewhere in the infield (alongside Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez). George Springer, whose mother is from Puerto Rico, is "expected" (or "might", depending on the article) to play for PR as well. Once (and future?) Astro Carlos Beltran also expected to again be on the PR squad as he was in 2013.

Talk Zone / Starting Rotation
« on: November 10, 2016, 09:14:19 pm »
Still a TBD on whether Devenski and/or Feliz are in the mix come March:

"Devenski was such an important part of our bullpen that it's hard to think about him not in that role," Luhnow said. "But at the same time, starting pitching's hard to find and I think he can do it. And the same thing for Feliz. So, we're going to have to see how the offseason goes before we make a determination on those two guys."


Talk Zone / Trade Rumors
« on: November 09, 2016, 09:34:40 pm »
Yankees open to trading Brian McCann and Astros keep showing up in those reports. First it was Joel Sherman of the NY Post last week and now Morosi is jumping in:

Jon Morosi ‏@jonmorosi  3 hours ago
#Astros indeed interested in #Yankees C/DH Brian McCann, source confirms.

The lefty-hitting McCann is owed $17MM for each of the next 2 years.

Ken Rosenthal looks at the implications of a McCann trade to the Astros (as well as some other trade/free agent possibilities).

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Ex-Bus Rider News 2016-2017
« on: November 03, 2016, 01:42:57 pm »
Three players from the CC Hooks 2006 Texas League championship team have now won World Series rings--Ben Zobrist, Hunter Pence and Juan Gutierrez. Gutierrez of course was a member of that '14 Giants squad with Pence.

(From a tweet by Hooks' broadcaster @CoffinMJC)

Talk Zone / Ex-Astros News 2016-2017
« on: November 03, 2016, 01:14:15 pm »
New offseason, new thread.

White Sox reportedly set to decline $3MM 2017 option on Matt Albers.

Talk Zone / Year End Awards 2016
« on: October 27, 2016, 04:19:36 pm »
In addition to Altuve winning the Sporting News Player of the Year Award, the Rawlings Gold Glove finalists were announced. Keuchel unsurprisingly is one of the 3 finalists at AL pitcher while Springer and Rasmus each made the corner OF lists. Pedroia, Cano and Kinsler made the list at 2B ahead of Altuve. Ex Carlos Perez (along with McCann and Salvador Perez) was on the catchers list over Castro.

GG Finalists list

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / International Draft in 2018
« on: October 17, 2016, 05:27:56 pm »
The terms of the international draft are being fleshed out in the CBA currently being negotiated with the MLBPA. If agreed to by the players, the new draft will:

  • go into effect for the first time in March of 2018
  • consist of 10 rounds held over two days
  • only involve players at least 18 years of age once fully implemented in 2021 (currently players can be signed at age 16)
  • involve MLB operating a plantation facilities in the Dominican Republic where players will live and develop skills prior to being drafted


Talk Zone / Arb & Non-Tender Decisions
« on: October 10, 2016, 04:59:04 pm »
MLBTR with their projections as to what the 8 Astros arbitration candidates (Keuchel, McHugh, Fiers, Peacock, Harris, Marwin, Springer, Marisnick) will earn. The only non-tender possibilities on that list look to be Fiers and Peacock (though the latter may have salvaged another year with the Astros based on his pitching in September).

Assuming the Astros tender all 8 and the MLBTR projections are in the ballpark, that would increase the 2017 payroll by $31MM. Add in dollars already committed (Altuve, Gurriel, Gregerson, Sipp, Singleton) of $33MM plus making the assumption that Gattis' option of $5MM gets picked up and that gets you to a total of $69MM. Add in $7MM for the remaining 13-14 guys earning minimum salary or close to it and that pushes the 2017 payroll to $76MM before factoring in trades/free agent signings/etc.

Talk Zone / 2017 HOF Class
« on: October 03, 2016, 07:45:09 pm »
The "Today's Game Era (1988-2016)" ballot* was released today with the following 10 names:

  • Harold Baines
  • Albert Belle
  • Will Clark
  • Orel Hershiser
  • Mark McGwire
  • Davey Johnson
  • Lou Piniella
  • John Schuerholz
  • George Steinbrenner
  • Bud Selig

Only worthy name in my view is Schuerholz.

*Not to be confused with the "Modern Baseball Era (1970-1987)" ballot, the "Golden Days Era (1950-1969)" ballot, or the "Early Baseball Era (1871-1949)" ballot. Voting for each era is on the following schedule:

Today's Game – 2016, 2018, 2021, 2023
Modern Baseball – 2017, 2019, 2022, 2024
Golden Days – 2020, 2025
Early Baseball – 2020, 2030

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Jason Martin
« on: October 03, 2016, 01:36:43 am »
Article (plus some video) on Martin published a few days ago at Today's Knuckleball.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / 2017 Draft
« on: October 02, 2016, 09:27:33 pm »
The Astros will be drafting 16th, one slot ahead of where the drafted last year. Subject of course to free agent/QO signings.


The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Trent Thornton
« on: October 01, 2016, 01:40:08 pm »
Scouting report from Wilson Karaman of BP on the 23-year old righty who had a solid season in time split between Lancaster and CC. A best-case scenario per Karaman? A future #3 starter if somehow everything breaks right.

Beer and Queso / Roger Angell on "Most Important" Vote of His Lifetime
« on: September 24, 2016, 03:35:35 pm »
Excellent piece in the New Yorker by the 96-year old baseball writer.

Talk Zone / Free Agents 2016
« on: September 15, 2016, 11:19:50 pm »
Heyman pulls some numbers out of his ass and guesses what the top 30 free agents (actually 33) will net this offseason. As far as current Astros:

24. Fister (2 yr/$16MM)
30T. Rasmus (1 yr/$6MM)

Neither Valbuena nor Castro made the list.

A few others of note:

2. Edwin Encarnacion (4 yr/$80MM)
3. Wilson Ramos (4 yr/$68MM)
20. Dexter Fowler (2 yr/$24MM)

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Offseason Transactions 2016-2017
« on: September 13, 2016, 10:57:42 am »
RHP Martires Arias--BA reported the Astros have signed the 6'10" Dominican pitcher to a 2017 contract. The 25 year old was originally signed by the Mets and spent 7 years in that organization before leaving as a MLFA after the 2015 season and joining the Padres where he spent this past year until recently being released. Control has been a huge problem for him with 196 walks in 406 career minor league innings. Stats for the 2016 season: 37 walks vs 70 strikeouts in 56 IP for Lake Elsinore with 62 hits allowed. Also 6 plunks and 10 WPs. Has never pitched above high-A ball.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Fall and Winter Ball 2016-2017
« on: August 31, 2016, 01:52:37 pm »
The Astros announced their Arizona Fall League contingent:

Pitchers Francis Martes, David Paulino, and Jacob Dorris plus catcher Garrett Stubbs along with INF Nick Tanielu and OFs Ramon Laureano and Jason Martin.

Game Zone 2016 Archive / Athletics @ Astros August 31, 2016
« on: August 31, 2016, 01:39:13 pm »
Not the cleanest of defensive innings in T2 as A's go up 3-0. GB single under Correa's glove, error on a hard-hit grounder to Correa and a ball that got past Marisnick for a triple followed by a sac fly.

That's the promotion for tonight's game by the Kane County Cougars. Among the contests and other themes:

"Traffic cones will be set up throughout the ballpark to aid in concourse congestion while various areas including bathrooms and the Cougars Den Team Store, will require a fee via the Cougars I-PASS system."

Yes, Kane County is in Illinois.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Best Tools 2016
« on: August 06, 2016, 12:32:57 pm »
BA recently published their best tools survey of each league's managers. Astros' minor leaguers (limiting this to players who are still in the minors) who showed up on the lists:

MWL best baserunner: Kyle Tucker
Cal League best defensive OF: Ramon Laureano
Cal League best baserunner: Bobby Boyd
Texas League best baserunner: Teo Hernandez
Texas League best breaking pitch: Francis Martes
Texas League best reliever: Brendan McCurry
PCL best control: Brady Rodgers

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Youngest Players by League
« on: July 27, 2016, 03:32:32 pm »
From Baseball America:

  • Francis Martes--4th youngest in Texas League
  • Osvaldo Duarte--7th youngest in the Cal
  • Franklin Perez--4th youngest in the MWL
  • Jonathan Arauz--3rd youngest in the Appy
  • Miguelangel Sierra--9th youngest in the Appy

Three shortstops, two pitchers.

And of course Correa and Bregman the 4th and 5th youngest players in the American League--think about that for a contending team! (Though the Rangers have two on the list as well in Mazara and Odor.)

Beer and Queso / Big 12 Expansion
« on: July 20, 2016, 04:46:45 pm »
Brett McMurphy ‏@McMurphyESPN  1 hour ago
BYU & Houston (5 votes each) top @ESPN poll of Big 12 coaches on expansion. Next: Cincinnati, Memphis (4 votes each); CSU, UCF (1 vote each).

Full article.

Talk Zone / Bregman Up "As Early As" This Weekend
« on: July 12, 2016, 08:28:47 pm »
According to Jim Bowden on twitter...

"Houston Astros are expected to call-up top prospect Alex Bregman as early as this weekend according to sources familiar with their planning. Makes sense after seeing him in the Futures Game. He not only appears ready but his bat is further along than AJ Reed and Tyler White two other rookies they've already given chances to. Bregman will probably play third with Luis Valbuena moving to first base."

List compiled by Baseball America. #4 on the list is Derek Fisher, where they note his "improving centerfield defense". Teo Hernandez is in the "Five to Watch" category.

Talk Zone / Trade Deadline Rumors
« on: July 03, 2016, 01:26:42 pm »
Nick Cafardo says the Blue Jays are scouting the Astros system closely.

Also says the Astros (along with a slew of other contenders) interested in the Rays' Matt Moore.


The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Futures Game 2016
« on: June 28, 2016, 03:00:17 pm »
Joe Musgrove and Alex Bregman both named to the roster.

Ex Josh Hader also on the US roster.

Talk Zone / Kemp down
« on: June 24, 2016, 10:40:22 pm »
to make room on the 25-man for Reed. A.J. to DH in tomorrow's game.

40-man move to be made tomorrow.

Talk Zone / Did he have to sell the bulldozer?
« on: June 21, 2016, 06:06:08 pm »
"Several professional athletes, including San Francisco Giants pitcher Jake Peavy, Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez and retired Houston Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt, were cheated out of more than $30 million by an investment adviser in a Ponzi-like scheme, federal investigators said Tuesday."

"All three athletes said they hired Narayan in part because he represented himself as a devout Christian involved in charitable causes and claimed to be a certified public accountant. The SEC says Narayan has never been a CPA."


Good grief, athletes and their money. What kind of numbnuts hand over their cash without doing even the simplest of due diligence (like checking whether someone is a CPA or not)?

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Tri-City ValleyCats 2016
« on: June 14, 2016, 09:05:51 pm »
The club released a preliminary unofficial roster.

Not unexpected but Daz Cameron is on the roster.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / DSL Astros 2016
« on: June 03, 2016, 06:25:04 pm »
Season kicks off tomorrow.

Roster highlights:

  • CF Gilberto Celestino--signed for $2.25MM last year (as of now the 2nd highest bonus ever paid for an int'l player by the Astros)
  • INF Yeuris Ramirez--signed for $500K last year out of DR
  • INF Enmanuel Valdez--signed for $450K last year out of DR
  • OF Hector Martinez-signed for $300K two years ago, hit .251/.319/.329 in DSL last year
  • INF Ronaldo Urdaneta-signed for $60K last year out of Venezuela

  • OF Ronny Rafael--signed for $1.5MM two years ago, hit .180/.259/.270 last year in DSL
  • LHP Javier Navas--signed for $175K two years ago, put up a 1.62 WHIP in the DSL in 2015
  • OF Cesar Cortez--signed for $100K last year out of Panama
  • INF Juan Pineda--signed for $100K two years ago, hit .293/.406/.345 last year in DSL

Game Zone 2016 Archive / Astros @ Red Sox, Sunday 5/15
« on: May 15, 2016, 01:00:50 pm »
Walks (2), Castro airmailing a throw into centerfield and a double and Devenski and the Astros already down 2-0 heading to T2.

Also a near disastrous inability to field an infield popup.

Talk Zone / Tim Lincecum
« on: May 03, 2016, 08:35:12 pm »
For a guy with a collective 1.402 WHIP over the last 4 seasons, that showcase on Friday is sure as hell generating a huge amount of hype. Anyway, the Astros will be one of about a dozen teams who are supposed to be there.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / 2080 Baseball
« on: April 27, 2016, 10:24:54 pm »
A new scouting website that's sprung up in the last year or so, they have recent postings (and video) on Kyle Tucker and Daz Cameron. Excerpts of what they say about each:

"In the field, Tucker has enough arm for right field, and he takes average routes to the baseball at present. He’s currently an above-average runner with 4.25 times HP-to-1B, but as the body continues to mature the speed should scale back some. Overall, it’s a corner-outfield profile with the potential to produce at the plate, giving him a good chance at a future as a first-division right fielder."


"The 2015 sandwich-round pick is giving away at-bats early, expanding the zone and often working from behind in the count. Additionally, Cameron has failed to square-up the ball with authority when he is making contact, perhaps causing him to press even more."

Fuller writeups here.

Shorter writeups on the site for Derek Fisher, Joe Musgrove ("one scout from a rival organization recently made the argument that Musgrove is the third best pitcher in the Astros organization, major league arms included"), Francis Martes, A.J. Reed, Riley Ferrell and probably a few others I've overlooked.

Talk Zone / The Process: Medical Evaluations in Trades/FA Signings
« on: April 02, 2016, 05:18:51 pm »
Interesting article I thought from the Cincy Enquirer on some of the details involved in medical evals.

"But in 2010, MLB introduced its Electronic Medical Records system, housing medical information on every player on every team in one centralized, online location. When a trade is being discussed, one team doctor can give another an electric key to access the records of a specific player. (Players are also given this key to distribute to whomever they wish once they reach free agency.) Access to such records usually shuts off after 24 hours, underlining how streamlined MLB has made a process that used to take at least several days."

"Those records are also dizzyingly complete. All available medical information on every player at every level of every organization is included, and go far beyond the scans taken when players first report to spring training each February. If a player sought treatment for any issue at any point in the season – even if he was issued two ibuprofen for a headache – that information is included."

A bit surprised to see the Reds team doctor admit that team doctors use certain code words when talking to the doctors from other teams to convey the necessary information without having to spell things out and perhaps get in trouble with their own clubs.

Excellent read--go check out the full article here.

Game Zone 2016 Archive / Astros @ Braves - March 28, 2016
« on: March 28, 2016, 05:12:51 pm »
Springer, RF
Moran, 3B
Correa, SS
Rasmus, CF
Gomez, DH
Tucker, LF
White, 1B
Castro, C
Worth, 2B

Fister, P

Rain delay at Kissimmee.

Springer, RF
Bregman, SS
Gomez, CF
Rasmus, LF
Reed, DH
Castro, C
Singleton, 1B
Davis, 3B
Hyde, 2B

Feldman, P

Talk Zone / The Competition
« on: March 25, 2016, 05:15:54 pm »
C.J. Wilson and his sore shoulder = out for "at least" first month of season.


Talk Zone / Dot in the Middle of this Spinning Pinwheel of Lunacy
« on: March 19, 2016, 02:37:18 pm »
Nope, nothing to do with Richard Justice.

Most of have probably been following what's going on with the White Sox and the whole Drake LaRoche saga. I've certainly found the situation amusing in a schadenfreude kind of way. Here's Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun Times (who's grown to be more of a prick as he's gotten older but can still be an entertaining writer) with his latest take on the mess roiling the organization.

(BTW, anyone remember the old Sportswriters on TV program that Telander was on nearly 30 years ago with a bunch of old fart Chicago scribes? I still miss that show. Similar shows today seem like pale imitators.)

Game Zone 2016 Archive / Braves @ Astros - March 13, 2016
« on: March 13, 2016, 12:48:17 pm »
Stros up  1-0 after two innings.

Game Zone 2016 Archive / Astros @ Cardinals - March 12, 2016
« on: March 12, 2016, 12:52:20 pm »
Mike Fiers retired all 9 batters he faced in first 3 innings, including 4 whiffs.

Game Zone 2016 Archive / Braves @ Astros - March 9, 2016
« on: March 09, 2016, 11:13:48 am »
Altuve, 2B
Springer, RF
Correa, SS
Valbuena, DH
Gomez, CF
Castro, C
White, 1B
Gonzalez, 3B
Marisnick, LF

Keuchel, P

Game Zone 2016 Archive / Blue Jays @ Astros (SS) - March 6, 2016
« on: March 06, 2016, 12:46:21 pm »
Scott Feldman returned to the mound and retired all 6 Blue Jays he faced over first 2 innings. Replaced by Wojo who had a perfect T3.

Colby Rasmus homered off Marcus Stroman as Astros up 1-0 heading into B3.

Game Zone 2016 Archive / Mets @ Astros - March 5, 2016
« on: March 05, 2016, 12:11:54 pm »
Springer, RF
Moran, 3B
Rasmus, LF
Gomez, CF
Reed, 1B
Castro, DH
Bregman, SS
Stassi, C
Fontana, 2B

McHugh, P

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Jamie Ritchie
« on: March 02, 2016, 04:02:54 pm »
To whet appetites and get folks to buy his book, John Sickels has published some of his player writeups. One was on Ritchie:

Jamie Ritchie, C, Houston Astros
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-2 WT: 190 DOB: April 9, 1993

The Astros drafted Ritchie in the 13th round in 2014 from Belmont University in Tennessee. He is a line drive hitter with exceptional strike zone judgment. He basically never swings at a bad pitch but he’s not passive and will make good solid contact on anything in the zone. On the negative side, his swing is level and he may never hit for much home run power. On defense he is a very good receiver in terms of blocking and general reliability, with low passed ball and error rates. However, his arm is just so-so and he threw out only 22% of runners last year. He spent time at first base and is a competent defender, but without more home run power he doesn’t ideally fit there. We need to see how Ritchie transitions to the higher levels. The throwing difficulties and lack of home run power make it unlikely for him to be a future regular, but he could have value as a pinch-hitter/platoon bat/backup catcher/backup first baseman. Grade C.

Also if you look in the comments section of the Sickels Top 20 list that I linked to the other day, you'll see full writeups as well on Derek Fisher, Franklin Perez, Albert Abreu, Jon Kemmer, Miguelangel Sierra, Alfredo Gonzalez, David Paulino, Tommy Shirley, Tony Kemp, Jonathan Arauz, Andy Aplin and Michael Feliz.

Along with the Ritchie one above, I especially liked reading the ones on Gonzalez and Arauz.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / 2016 Draft
« on: February 29, 2016, 01:46:14 pm »
With selection day roughly 3 months away, the draft order has now been finalized with all the QO guys having signed. Astros pick 17th (and then at #61, #97 and then every 30 picks after that). The bonus pool amount is $5,865,700 which ranks 22nd (winning is a motherfucker, ain't it?). Could be worse--the Rangers have just $3,293,006 available to spend.

Talk Zone / Yankee Killer Dallas Keuchel
« on: February 27, 2016, 09:37:35 pm »
Nice profile in the NY Times.

Talk Zone / Who's on First?
« on: February 27, 2016, 04:40:49 pm »
Preston Tucker re-acclimates to the position. The law firm of Singleton, Duffy, White and Reed says we have enough competition.

Talk Zone / You Can't Steal First Base
« on: February 25, 2016, 03:45:01 pm »
but you can get there quicker than everyone else--the 2015 Astros led all clubs in fastest times to 1B.

In addition to Altuve (who ranked 5th in all of MLB), the article says that Marisnick, Springer, Gomez, Correa and Tucker all posted above average times. Tucker wouldn't have immediately sprang to mind as being a member of that speedy group.

Talk Zone / One less punching bag at the Chron
« on: February 19, 2016, 03:27:41 pm »
JdJO is leaving to become a columnist (!) at the StL Post-Dispatch (per tweets). Must reading, there.

What sacrifices to the baseball gods have to be made to get Zach Levine to take his old job back?

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / 2016 Int'l Signings
« on: February 16, 2016, 06:17:39 pm »
Baseball America has the bonus pools for the international signing period beginning July 2. Based on winning percentages from the 2015 season, the Astros have one of the lowest pools at $2,197,000 (that compares to the $4,248,800 available last year). Note that 10 teams (which includes the Angels) cannot sign individual players during this upcoming period for more than $300,000 due to having exceeded the pools in the 2015 signing period.

Beer and Queso / Deadpool
« on: February 13, 2016, 07:32:51 pm »
Just got back after seeing and it was awesome. Hard to think of a more perfect superhero movie. Hopefully it'll do great at the box office and studios will do more R-rated comic book films.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / How the Top 100 Rankings Compare
« on: February 12, 2016, 09:12:01 pm »
So looking at how the BA/MLB/BP/Klaw rankings compare:

Reed 11/40/55/44
Martes 20/41/63/40
Bregman 42/22/39/19
Tucker 61/74/93/67
Cameron 74/75/85/NR
Musgrove 83/NR/NR/NR
Paulino 91/NR/NR/NR

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Micro Camp 2016
« on: February 11, 2016, 05:23:14 pm »
not Mini Camp, because just 10 players attending (duh) beginning Feb. 26:

RHP Mike Hauschild, LHP Michael Freeman, LHP Tommy Shirley, RHP Travis Ballew, RHP Cy Sneed, C Garrett Stubbs, C Jamie Ritchie, INF Mott Hyde, INF Nick Tanielu, OF Teoscar Hernandez.

Sneed is the former Brewers 3rd-rounder out of DBU who came over in the Villar trade in November.

Remaining Bus Riders report Mar 7.


The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Injury Updates
« on: January 24, 2016, 01:52:52 pm »
Based on the Q&A session yesterday at FanFest with Quinten McCracken and Mike Elias, Jayne has estimated return dates on TJS rehabbers Kent Emanuel (mid-season), Kyle Smith (spring training) and Derick Velazquez (end of season) as well as Tommy Shirley and his mystery injury (May).

Article also covers other areas: draft philosophy, international scouting including Venezuela and Asia and pitchers who may help the big league club this season (McCracken's picks include Shirley, Jordan Jankowski and Chris Devenski).

TCB also has an article covering the same ground.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / And the Cuts Begin
« on: January 20, 2016, 06:23:10 pm »
Astros start to release guys who are no longer in their 2016 plans (from the Apply League and MWL transactions pages):

LHP Zach Davis--25th round pick in 2014 out of Central Missouri State (Jim Crane's school, which I'm sure didn't hurt his chances any of getting drafted by the Astros). Topped out at QC last season.

RHP Jorge Perez-30th rounder in 2013 out of Seminole JC. Struggled with his control all 3 seasons in the organization, even more so at QC last season.

LHP Lachlan Madden-one of three Aussie guys signed several years ago. Bonus wasn't reported at the time (IIRC) so presumably nominal dollars were involved.

LHP Starlyng Sanchez--signed back in 2012 out of the DR, spent all or parts of 3 seasons in the DSL (also spending some time stateside).

RHP Joselo Pinales--another Dominican signee in 2012, topping out in the NYP last season. Signed for $70K.

LHP Alejandro Solarte--came from the Blue Jays in the Adron Chambers trade back in 2014. Struggled at Greeneville last season.

Talk Zone / Options, Options, Options
« on: January 19, 2016, 08:21:14 pm »
Who's got 'em, who doesn't...

Dan Straily--No
Brad Peacock--Yes

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Minors Winning Percentage, 2012-2015
« on: January 15, 2016, 04:27:47 pm »
Article from BA noting that in the four seasons since Luhnow took over the Astros lead the minors in winning percentage at .550. Next highest is the Mets at .539.

The junior stros also lead with six championships claimed over that time period (actually tied with D-Backs). Also notes that Tyler White has been on championship teams in each of his three minor league seasons.

[In 2015,] Fresno won the Triple-A National Championship with the youngest lineup and the second-youngest pitching staff in the Pacific Coast League. Double-A Corpus Christi had the best record in the Texas League (89-51) with the youngest lineup and the youngest pitching staff in the league. Greeneville won the Appalachian League title with the third-youngest lineup and second-youngest pitching staff in the league.

Interesting read (I thought) over at Crawfish Boxes about BP's new/updated defensive catching metric which integrates presentation (read: framing), throwing and blocking into a single number and indicates where Max Stassi and some of the Astros minor league catchers rank.

Summary: Stassi and Tyler Heineman good. Roberto Pena (surprisingly*), Alfredo Gonzalez not so good.

*or perhaps not as his particular skillset (arm) is considered much less important than framing in the overall impact on saving runs.

Explanation and table at here and here. The Crawfish article also notes possible biases/limitations in the data.

Major league catchers are also included in the table and Castro comes off well. The Congerbot showed a significant dropoff from 2014 to 2015 with his throwing problems obviously part of the decline but his framing numbers were a bigger issue.

Beer and Queso / St. Louis gets Kroenke'd
« on: January 12, 2016, 08:29:08 pm »
At least the NFC West will now make geographic sense (not that the NFL cares about such things).

Can't feel too sorry for the good citizens of STL though. There is a certain poetic justice in the Rams moving back to LA.

Talk Zone / Salary News
« on: January 12, 2016, 06:04:21 pm »
The 6 Astros who were arb-eligible (Castro, Fields, Gattis, Margo, Keuchel and Valbuena) all filed today.

Figures get swapped on Friday. If somehow no settlements prior, hearings begin Feb. 1.

Have the Astros under Luhnow ever NOT settled an arb case beforehand?

Talk Zone / With the opening of camp just 5 weeks away...
« on: January 12, 2016, 05:55:23 pm »
Tucker still won't need to borrow a 1B glove, Luhnow says the bully is pretty much set if the Astros carry 12 pitchers, Feliz is likely to remain a starter and Bregman isn't moving off SS (yet).


Talk Zone / Non-Roster Invitees
« on: January 01, 2016, 01:12:55 pm »
Per Astros press release:

IF Alex Bregman, RHP Jake Buchanan, IF J.D. Davis, RHP Chris Devenski, OF Derek Fisher, C Tyler Heineman, RHP James Hoyt, RHP Jordan Jankowski, OF Jon Kemmer, IF Tony Kemp, RHP Brendan McCurry, IF Colin Moran, C Roberto Pena, IF A.J. Reed, RHP Brady Rodgers, IF Joe Sclafani and IF Tyler White.

McCurry came in the Jed Lowrie trade with the A's.

Astros also announced a couple of signings that also involve spring training invites: OF Eury Perez and RHP Cesar Valdez.

Perez, 25, has played in the Majors in each of the last four seasons with Atlanta (2015), the Yankees (2014) and Washington (2012-13). Last year with Atlanta, he played in a career-high 47 games, batting .269 (32x119) with a .331 on-base percentage while appearing in 29 games in left field, six in right field and three in center field. He also played 64 games at Triple A Gwinnett where he hit . 297 (70x236) with a .370 on-base percentage.

Valdez, 30, made 23 starts for Tabasco in the Mexican League last season, going 11-6 with a 2.63 ERA (47ER/160.2IP), 161 strikeouts and 28 walks. A veteran of nine professional seasons, Valdez made nine Major League appearances with Arizona in 2010, including two starts.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Francis Martes
« on: January 01, 2016, 01:20:24 am »
FWIW, Jim Callis calls him one of 10 prospects "poised to surge" in 2016 with the note "touching 98 mph with his fastball and backing it up with a devastating power curve."


The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Round Rock in 2019
« on: December 08, 2015, 01:09:12 pm »
If somehow you needed additional reassurance that the Astros again will tie up with RR after the current PDC with the Rangers expires:

DMN article

Lining up with a Triple-A destination for when the agreement with Round Rock is up after 2018. A really intriguing possibility is emerging: San Antonio. It would still give the Rangers an anchor in Central Texas and remain a convenient place at which to rehab or from which to recall players. To make that happen, the Rangers would likely have to align with a group willing to purchase an existing Triple-A team that would move to San Antonio. The current San Antonio club would then move to another location - perhaps Shreveport - in the Texas League. It is, for sure, a complicated scenario, but would seemingly be the most ideal for the Rangers.

San Antonio is trying to get a new baseball stadium built downtown.

Talk Zone / Injury Updates
« on: December 07, 2015, 08:21:57 pm »
Luhnow apparently was handing out medical info today:

Neshek--recovering from surgery on that stress fracture suffered in his right foot last spring that caused him to pitch in pain throughout season/expected to be ready for ST.

Valbuena--bunion surgery on left foot/bothered him during season.

Feldman--cleared to throw after the shoulder thingy/"hopefully" ready for ST.

Peacock--has already begun throwing after that back surgery in August/expected to be ready for ST.

Gomez--chilling in the Dominican as intercostal heals.

Drellich 1 and Drellich 2

Talk Zone / AL West Offseason, Version 2.0
« on: December 06, 2015, 06:20:46 pm »
ICYMI earlier, the A's signed Ryan Madson to a 3 yr/$22MM deal.

Beer and Queso / RIP Guy Lewis
« on: November 26, 2015, 12:16:55 pm »
The Big E, Game of the Century, Phi Slama Jama...such a terrific legacy.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Ex-Bus Rider News
« on: November 20, 2015, 05:19:23 pm »
Chris Lee was added to the Orioles 40-man roster today. The lefty was taken by the Astros in the 4th round of the 2011 draft. He was traded to Baltimore last May for the 46 and 76 slots in the 2014-15 International Pool.

Walks have been a huge problem for Lee. Retarded his progress in the Astros system, spending 3 years w/ the G-Stros and nearly a year and half at QC. Orioles moved him more quickly after the trade as he spent time at hi-A and AA although control was still an issue.

Talk Zone / Ex-Astros News
« on: November 18, 2015, 04:07:07 pm »
David Carpenter elects FA after the Nats kick him off their 40-man roster.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Derek Fisher
« on: November 17, 2015, 11:07:59 pm »
A couple of articles today on him, including a report on his bat heating up in the AFL:

Fisher has hit safely in six straight games for the Desert Dogs, with a .400 average (8-for-20), one home run and six RBIs in that span.

Fisher's recent hot streak has his Fall League average up to .250, and, after driving in a pair of runs Tuesday, he now leads the Desert Dogs with 14 RBIs. Meanwhile, his 13 walks in 16 games have translated to a .391 on-base percentage.

And this write-up in Baseball America:

The scouting report on Fisher pegs him as a corner outfielder, likely limited to left field due to a below-average arm, but with the power and speed to put up 20-20 seasons in the big leagues. He recently showed off his plus-plus raw power with a couple of long home runs that had Fall League crowds buzzing, including a three-run shot off Arizona righthander Yoan Lopez that landed well up the distant, multi-tiered batter’s eye at Salt River Fields.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Rule 5 Draft 2015
« on: November 12, 2015, 11:17:42 pm »
With the Rule 5 scheduled for Dec 10 (last day of this year's winter meetings), the 40-man roster must be set by next Friday in terms of protecting otherwise eligible minor league players.

Jayne of WTHB has put together a list of eligible players.

Musgrove seems a lock to be protected. Not all of Gustave, Aplin, Guduan and Paulino will get added to the 40-man but that group seems next in line as likeliest to be picked.

Talk Zone / Ka-Ching for Correa
« on: August 26, 2015, 07:20:48 pm »
One of a number of endorsement deals sure to come his way:

Although the specific terms of the deal were not revealed, Topps disclosed that the "seven-figure deal is for multiple years." It will also includes signed jerseys, baseballs, bats and art, a first for Topps. However, this is not the first young star in their stable as Topps previously reached exclusive agreements with both Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.


Beer and Queso / Forbes Most Valuable Sports Teams (2015)
« on: July 15, 2015, 03:19:29 pm »
#1 Real Madrid ($3.26B)
#2 Jerry's Jerkoffs ($3.2B)
#2 Skankees ($3.2B)
#4 FC Barcelona ($3.16B)
#5 Man U ($3.1B)
#6 Kobe's Kunts ($2.6B)
#6 Deflators ($2.6B)
#8 Phil's Phuckups ($2.5B)
#9 FatTommies ($2.4B)
#9 DC Slurs ($2.4B)

#16 Texans ($1.85B)

The world’s 50 most valuable sports teams are now worth $1.75 billion on average, up 31% from 2014. The minimum valuation to make the cut is $1.15 billion, versus $856 million a year ago, thanks largely to the soaring worth of NBA and MLB teams. The top 50 includes 22 baseball and basketball franchises, compared to only 10 in 2014. The NFL landed the most teams in the top 50 with 20 franchises, followed by MLB (12), NBA (10) and soccer (7). Formula One’s most storied squad, Ferrari, made the cut at No. 32 worth $1.35 billion and the NHL landed one team on the list with the Toronto Maple Leafs tied for No. 37 at $1.3 billion.


The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / GCL Astros 2015
« on: June 21, 2015, 01:33:18 pm »
A roster is up at Notable assignees from this year's draft include Kyle Tucker and 6th-rounder Nestor Muriel. WTHB has a further breakdown of the roster here.

Season starts tomorrow afternoon.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Tri-City 2015
« on: June 19, 2015, 10:11:59 am »
NYPL action kicks off tonight at the V-Cats take on the Connecticut Tigers.

Although there was a preliminary roster floating around on twitter the other day, still waiting on a more current one to show up on the website. Here's an article in the Albany Times-Union which talks about some of the players on the squad. It notes Cuban defector (signed during the offseason) RHP Rogelio Armenteros will start tonight's game while RHP David Paulino (acquired from the Tigers as the PTBNL in the Jose Veras trade back in Sept 2013 and coming off TJS which caused him to miss 2014) will start Saturday.

Talk Zone / FBI Investigating Cards in Hack Job
« on: June 16, 2015, 10:16:17 am »
NYT Article

Law enforcement officials believe the hacking was executed by vengeful front-office employees for the Cardinals hoping to wreak havoc on the work of Jeff Luhnow, the Astros’ general manager who had been a successful and polarizing executive with the Cardinals until 2011.

Talk Zone / Aiken's Medicals
« on: June 02, 2015, 01:57:03 pm »
Finally circulating to interested clubs but Aiken's side trying to limit distribution. No early consensus yet but there was this comment:

One exec whose team doesn’t have access to the medical told me that execs from other teams told him it isn’t as bad as expected and that they think Aiken will go in the first round.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / DSL - 2015
« on: May 28, 2015, 01:30:32 pm »
Season kicks off on Saturday.

Looks like we're still waiting on updated rosters.

Talk Zone / Jocks, Taxes and Andrew McCutchen
« on: May 23, 2015, 08:05:42 am »
He got a wee bit careless with his pay stub.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Bus Ride Miscellany
« on: April 25, 2015, 04:19:17 pm »
Daren Willman @darenw  ·  Apr 24
Top 5 MiLB orgs by win %
1 #Dodgers 67.27%
2 #Astros 63.79%
3 #Orioles 58.62%
3 #Yankees 58.62%
5 #BlueJays 57.63%

Willman of course behind the terrific website. Give him a follow!

Game Zone 2015 Archive / Astros @ Scurvy Pervies April 22, 2015
« on: April 22, 2015, 08:34:18 pm »
The Good

1.   Altuve, J, 2B
2.   Valbuena, L, 3B   
3.   Springer, G, RF   
4.   Gattis, E, DH   
5.   Lowrie, J, SS   
6.   Castro, J, C   
7.   Carter, C, 1B   
8.   Rasmus, C, LF   
9.   Marisnick, J, CF

P Hernandez, R.

The Bad

1.   Smith, S, DH   
2.   Jackson, A, CF   
3.   Cano, R, 2B   
4.   Cruz, N, RF   
5.   Seager, K,
6.   Morrison, L,
7.   Ackley, D, LF   
8.   Miller, B, SS   
9.   Zunino, M, C

P Happ, J.A.

The Ugly

Ashby and Blum again.

Beer and Queso / Aggies/Longhorns
« on: April 13, 2015, 06:58:22 pm »

BA has a list of top 40 international bonuses of all time (again these lists exclude Cuban players). Mr. Ovando and his $2.6MM rings up at #14.

Depending on how you want to slice and dice it (factoring in bonus size, whether still with original organization, highest level played at), you can certainly make the case Ovando is the biggest bust on the list. 

It should be noted that Michael Ynoa of the A's (signed for $4.25MM in 2008) and Adonys Cardona of the Blue Jays ($2.8MM in 2010) are not looking like the healthiest of investments right now though both are still with their original signing organizations. However, Ynoa did put together a pretty decent year in 2014 pitching in the California League while Cardona is still just 21 years old so he still has plenty of time to turn things around.

Game Zone 2015 Archive / Royals vs Astros 4/3/15
« on: April 03, 2015, 07:06:57 pm »
Free on MLB.TV--no blackouts (or at least they didn't blackout me).

Talk Zone / Suspensions--No, No and Yes
« on: April 03, 2015, 03:42:49 pm »
Josh Hamilton--no (but will of course open season on DL because of the shoulder). And Arte is pissed.

Jarred Cosart--no (but fined for placing illegal bets).

Ervin Santana--yes (blow for Twins as he gets 80 days for steroids).

Game Zone 2015 Archive / Astros vs Hooks 4/2/15
« on: April 02, 2015, 05:41:29 pm »
Don't think there's any radio available for the game (unless you have access to the CC broadcast) but did notice these lineups were posted:

Altuve 2B
Springer CF
Valbuena 3B
Carter 1B
Lowrie SS
Rasmus LF
Grossman DH
Conger C
Marisnick CF

Hernandez P

Kemp 2B
Teoscar CF
Correa SS
Moran 3B
Heineman C
Gregor 1B
Nash DH
Heras LF
Meredith RF

Hauschild P

Talk Zone / Team by Team Payroll - 2015
« on: April 02, 2015, 11:36:05 am »
Astros come in at $71MM, 29th and just ahead of the Marlins at $68.5MM.

Median payroll is $114MM. Dodgers payroll leads MLB and is 4 times that of the Astros and Marlins at $273MM. Yankees and Red Sox are 2nd and 3rd respectively at $219MM and $187.5MM.

Among division rivals, Angels are at $151MM (7th overall), Mariners at $120MM (12th), and the A's at $86MM (27th). The Rangers are spending $142MM (8th overall) for what's likely to be a last place team.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Preliminary Rosters Announced
« on: April 01, 2015, 06:01:34 pm »
Via press release here.

Beer and Queso / Torchy's Tacos Bowl?
« on: April 01, 2015, 12:52:25 am »
No, college football does not need another fucking bowl game. Having said that, I've always wondered why Austin has never hosted one. Well some folks may be trying to change that.

Game Zone 2015 Archive / Astros vs Mets 3/24/15
« on: March 24, 2015, 02:37:41 pm »
Astros have come back on the Mets and now lead 4-3 in T8.

Talk Zone / No more paper ballots
« on: March 18, 2015, 03:39:10 pm »
for the All-Star game.

Damn, I'll miss those (well not really but there is a certain nostalgia with 'em).

Talk Zone / Ex-GM Al Rosen Passes
« on: March 14, 2015, 05:22:42 pm »
The former AL MVP passed away today at age 91.

Underrated GM and a shrewd dealmaker. Some of his deals:

  • Mike Scott for Danny Heep.
  • Kevin Bass, Frank Dipino and Mike Madden for Don Sutton.
  • Dickie Thon for Ken Forsch.
  • Phil Garner for Johnny Ray.
  • Bob Knepper for Enos Cabell.

Talk Zone / Say Hello to Fresno
« on: March 13, 2015, 03:31:57 pm »
or Corpus as the case may be.

OF Domingo Santana, LHP Luis Cruz and NRI C Luis Flores reassigned to minor league camp.

Santana, who was 0-for-17 with 14 strikeouts last year during his first stint in the majors, was 0-for-10 with six strikeouts over five games this spring.

57 players left in major league camp.

Game Zone 2015 Archive / Astros vs StripedYellowPussies 3/12/15
« on: March 12, 2015, 10:59:43 am »
Altuve 2B
Valbuena 3B
Springer RF
Carter 1B
Castro C
Lowrie SS
Singleton DH
Rasmus LF
Marisnick CF

Straily SP

I could see that as a regular lineup when Gattis is not starting (Singleton at 1B and Carter the DH though obviously).

Game Zone 2015 Archive / Astros vs RedTurds 3/6/15
« on: March 06, 2015, 07:41:03 am »
Good guys starting lineup:

CF Marisnick
SS M. Gonzalez
LF Rasmus
DH Gattis
1B Singleton
3B Dominguez
RF Hoes
C Stassi
2B Petit
SP Oberholtzer

Carlos Correa is scheduled to replace Marwin at SS at some point in the game.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / 2015 Int'l Signings
« on: February 26, 2015, 06:08:16 pm »
Baseball America has the bonus pools for the international signing period beginning July 2. Based on winning percentages from the 2014 season, the Astros have the 4th-highest at $4,248,800. The D-Backs have the highest at $5,393,900. However that club plus the Yankees/Red Sox/Rays/Angels cannot sign individual players during this period for more than $300,000 due to having exceeded the pools in the 2014 signing period.

Talk Zone / Aches, Pains & Muscle Strains
« on: February 23, 2015, 07:45:17 pm »
Kinda neat, a google docs spreadsheet containing 40 years of data on players who've undergone TJS.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Tracking the Rule Fivers
« on: February 21, 2015, 02:24:55 pm »
Royals may go with 8-man bullpen in part to hold onto Jandel Gustave.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Spring Training News
« on: February 16, 2015, 09:23:47 pm »
Minor league mini-camp starts March 2. Roster of attendees here.

Remainder of players report beginning March 9.

Talk Zone / Astros Miscellany
« on: February 15, 2015, 09:01:30 pm »
Joel Sherman of the NY Post says George Springer is one of the 50 most interesting people in MLB.

Beer and Queso / Brian Williams
« on: February 10, 2015, 09:26:09 pm »
Regarding NBC suspending him for 6 months:

Ian Millhiser ‏@imillhiser  2 hours ago
BREAKING: Brian Williams becomes first person in human history to suffer professional consequences for lying about the Iraq War.

Talk Zone / Franchise Bests/Worsts
« on: February 10, 2015, 12:54:38 am » is doing this series on each franchise. Fun read. (h/t Greg Rajan)

I do not remember (thankfully) that Reds game.

Talk Zone / AL West News
« on: February 05, 2015, 10:54:51 pm »
In foe (as opposed to faux) news from the last several days:

1. Josh Hamilton's shoulder is a bit Bagwellian (with the arthritis and all) and with the surgery he's iffy for opening day.

2. A DMN columnist whines that the Rangers' schedule is too difficult what with all the West Coast trips (8 trips versus I believe 6 trips for the Astros though mitigated somewhat by the good guys' one additional East Coast trip in comparison).

3. Having already signed LHP Miguel Siverio this offseason, the Mariners may be looking to add a few more Cubans.

4. Jay Jaffe of SI grades the offseason of the Oakland A's and, like everyone else, comes away mostly scratching his head:

Even so, this is a very motley crew [Moneyball Posterboy's] assembled for 2015, and between cleaning out his farm system yet again and tying up scarce cash in Butler, he's running a big risk that that playoff streak will come to an end.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / DVR Alert
« on: February 05, 2015, 05:30:20 pm »
Tyler Brunnemann and Chan Moon have been playing winter ball in the Land Down Under. Their Adelaide Bite club finished the regular season with the best record in the Australian Baseball League at 32-16. Over the next three days, they'll face runner-up Perth Heat in the ABL Championship Series. Since the league was revived (with the help of MLB) in 2010, that Heat club has dominated taking 4 of 5 ABL championships. The best 2 of 3 championship series is being televised on the MLB Network with games starting at 2:30 AM (CT) on Fri, Sat and (if necessary) Sun.

Moon finished 2nd in the league in the regular season with 20 SBs. Brunnemann tied for the league lead in saves with 8 and had a 1.08 WHIP and 3.12 ERA on the season.

Talk Zone / RIP Candlestick
« on: February 04, 2015, 09:25:51 pm »
I have no particular attachment to a stadium where I saw the Astros play numerous times on West Coast road trips but still thought it appropriate to mark its final demise as demolition began today.

Talk Zone / Bagwell back
« on: January 27, 2015, 04:41:06 pm »
Guest instructor this spring.

“And I’m pretty sure if I wanted to I could go work for the Tigers, but I bleed the Astros. It’s what I got to do. And I care about them, but I’m still not totally committed yet.”

From a separate article, Reid Ryan says he's also reached out to Pettitte, Berkman, Oswalt and Billy Wagner about re-joining the Astros in some capacity.

Talk Zone / R.I.P. Mr. Cub
« on: January 23, 2015, 10:23:07 pm »

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Pitch Clock
« on: January 15, 2015, 12:11:20 pm »
That 20-second pitch clock used in the AFL this past fall? Apparently it's coming to AA and AAA this season.

Talk Zone / TV Schedule
« on: January 14, 2015, 12:28:47 pm »
As we wait for RSSW to announce its broadcast schedule for spring training and the full season, ESPN has released its early season schedule. Amid the usual plethora of FUYankees and BlowSox games, the Astros/Indians opening day game will be televised.

Talk Zone / Non-Roster Invitees
« on: January 13, 2015, 10:21:11 am »
Astros announce the following NRIs:

SS Carlos Correa,  RHP  Mark Appel, 3B Colin Moran, LHP Darin Downs, IF Dan Johnson, IF Gregorio Petit, OF Andrew Aplin, IF Matt Duffy, C Luis Flores, IF Nolan Fontana, C Tyler Heineman, RHP Jordan Jankowski, C Roberto Pena, RHP Brady Rodgers, IF Joe Sclafani, RHP Jason Stoffel and OF Preston Tucker.

A few pitchers who I thought going in might have merited an invite but didn't get one: Tommy Shirley, Mitch Lambson and Tyson Perez.

Talk Zone / Best 25 GMs in History
« on: January 12, 2015, 03:54:05 pm »
So a couple of SABR guys are publishing a new book. Wait, I see a couple of you already running (or clicking) away...if it helps, these are the more accessible variety who do things like put together the Baseball Biography Project and are unlikely to get all advanced metricky on your ass (NTTAWWT). The book sounds cool (to me, anyway)--In Pursuit of Pennants: Baseball Operations from Deadball to Moneyball.

In order to promote said book, the authors are publishing a series of articles (beginning today) ranking what they consider the best 25 GMs in history. Here's the parameters they used to compile their list. They're counting down so first up (and a guy with ties to the Astros, though as an asst GM):

Talk Zone / Travelin' Man: Ryan Lavarnway
« on: January 09, 2015, 05:48:47 pm »
  • December 5, 2014: Selected off waivers by the Los Angeles Dodgers from the Boston Red Sox.
  • December 19, 2014: Selected off waivers by the Chicago Cubs from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • December 23, 2014: Selected off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles from the Chicago Cubs.
  • January 9, 2015: Designated for assignment by the Baltimore Orioles.

If he's claimed, that'll be 5 organizations in the space of 35+ days.

Beer and Queso / College Football Hall of Fame
« on: January 09, 2015, 10:49:11 am »
Ricky Williams, Zach Thomas and Bill Snyder among newest members.

Also, The Boz.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Former Bus Rider News
« on: January 08, 2015, 02:12:56 pm »
Jake Goebbert DFA'd by Padres.

Talk Zone / No No A Dockumentary
« on: January 02, 2015, 06:51:40 am »
Just finished watching this doc on Dock Ellis and enjoyed it tremendously. Not always a nice guy (particularly when he was high which was pretty much all the time) but he did turn his life around. How you feel about the film will likely depend on how you feel about Ellis.

Enos Cabell, Bob Watson and Scipio Spinks all with facetime talking about Ellis (significantly so for Cabell and Watson).

Has been playing on Showtime and then TMC but not sure of future scheduling.

Beer and Queso / College Hoops
« on: December 28, 2014, 06:05:52 pm »
How do you have a 3-9 record and yet have road wins over a ranked Michigan State team as well as Kansas State?

Talk Zone / Downs outrighted
« on: December 23, 2014, 10:02:26 pm »
Per MLB transactions page, opening up a spot on the 40-man roster (now 39).

Talk Zone / Petit DFA'd
« on: December 16, 2014, 10:21:32 am »
Per club tweet.

Beer and Queso / Stevie Ray
« on: December 16, 2014, 10:19:38 am »

Talk Zone / The Selig Experience
« on: December 15, 2014, 03:57:26 pm »
"...inspired by the Lincoln Memorial in Springfield, IL."

No truth to the rumor that the Astros exhibit at this "museum" is a mannequin wearing a Houston jersey bent over taking it from behind from a Bud mannequin.

Fuck Bud. And fuck the BlewCrew, fuck the city of Milwaukee and fuck the whole fucking state of Wisconsin.


Interesting. They just deleted the Lincoln Memorial reference from that article. The Google News search results still have it:

Brewers unveil plans to debut the “Selig Experience” at Miller Park minutes ago
“The Selig Experience” was inspired by the Lincoln Memorial in Springfield, IL. It will feature Selig's replica office with stacks of papers. It will be located in the left ...

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Cal League Contraction
« on: December 08, 2014, 08:48:34 pm »
Idea has again resurfaced. Current problems with the Bakersfield and High Desert franchises (and/or their stadiums) has the President of Milb wondering whether it's time to reduce the Cal League by two teams and add a corresponding number to the Carolina League (or FSL). Given the logistical problems, if it happens (and it probably won't) it ain't gonna be anytime soon.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Minor League Staffing Changes
« on: December 08, 2014, 03:17:56 pm »
Per McTaggart tweet, QC baserunning/outfield coach Vince Coleman has been let go.

Beer and Queso / Baseball and softball back in 2020 Olympics?
« on: December 08, 2014, 09:06:48 am »
The corrupt and disease-ridden corpse that is the IOC took steps today to allow both sports to be added for 2020. Host country Japan must still request this (considered a lock given both sports popularity in the country) and then apparently a final vote will be taken in July.

Chicago Tribune.

Talk Zone / HOF Voting 2015 Class
« on: December 02, 2014, 07:17:17 pm »
Time to make fun of the HOF voting.

First up, Garry Brown of the Springfield Republican posts his ballot. Does vote for Bagwell & Biggio (I believe he also voted for both the last 2 years). But no Randy Johnson, no Smoltz and not even a hometown vote for Pedro.

If you've forgotten, here's the full list of candidates this year.

The Golden Era Committee releases its voting results next Monday. The 10 candidates on that ballot are D. Allen, K. Boyer, Hodges, Bob Howsam, Kaat, Minoso, Oliva, B. Pierce, Tiant and Wills.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Rio Ruiz: A Scout's View
« on: November 26, 2014, 03:58:45 pm »
Fluffy or not, here's Pleskoff's take on the Rio man.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Andy Aplin: A Scout's View
« on: November 25, 2014, 07:18:10 pm »
Nice writeup I thought from Bernie Pleskoff.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Top Prospect Lists 2015
« on: November 24, 2014, 09:47:51 am »
BA first up with theirs (rank on last year's list):

  • Correa (#1)
  • Appel (#3)
  • Folty (#4)
  • VV (#6)
  • Feliz (#9)
  • Phillips (#30)
  • Moran (NR - #2 on Marlins list)
  • Ruiz (#11)
  • Teoscar (#16)
  • Hader (#14)

Beer and Queso / Keith Law vs Curt Schilling on evolution
« on: November 21, 2014, 08:18:45 pm »
And the ignorami in Bristol suspend Law?

Exceedingly Sorry Pathetic Nimrods.

Talk Zone / Arb Eligible Players
« on: November 18, 2014, 02:03:00 pm »
Alex Presley avoids arbitration by signing one year, $1MM deal. (per Drellich tweet)

And a link to the subsequent article where it's noted that the non-tender deadline is Dec 2.

Talk Zone / Giancarlo
« on: November 13, 2014, 09:58:45 pm »
@jcrasnick  13m
If Giancarlo Stanton signs a $300 million deal with the #marlins, it will have to include a "must trade" clause.


Talk Zone / Former Astros news
« on: November 11, 2014, 11:24:27 am »
Hope no one objects to a new thread for this.

Brian Bogusevic signs as a MLFA with the Phillies.

Talk Zone / Purp walking
« on: November 10, 2014, 08:22:22 pm »
the unemployment line, that is.

Purpura is no longer employed by the Rangers and is in Phoenix at the GM meetings looking for a job. Not a surprise given his reassignment in 2013 and Nolan having left the organization.

Talk Zone / Free agent rumors
« on: November 10, 2014, 07:17:21 pm »
or wild ass speculation with no substantive basis, take your pick.

First up, RHSP Jason Hammel. Astros supposedly one of 12 teams who've called with the FUYankees also in the mix.

LHSP Francisco Liriano. In more of a "let's see what sticks to the wall" vein, Drellich cogitates that IF in the unlikely event the club were to go after a player with a QO attached then Liriano might be that guy.

Talk Zone / Recapping front office changes
« on: November 10, 2014, 09:22:13 am »
Charlie Gonzalez--former Cardinals scout hired as special assistant. Florida-based scout "responsible for scouting 41st rounder Kevin Siegrist, the Cardinals hard throwing lefthander, as well as outfielder Jon Jay, when Luhnow was in charge of their draft."

Dave Post--#2 guy in amateur scouting under Mike Elias and national crosschecker since 2007 hired away by Padres to become special assistant under new GM.

Marc Russo--an international crosschecker for the Astros who left to join the Braves as their international scouting director.

Dave Geivett--first reported by Tracy Ringolsby, Evan Drellich says it's not yet a done deal. Joined at the hip with ex-Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd, both left that organization last month. Age 51 and experience includes stints with Yankees (scout and organizational instructor), Expos (farm director), Rays (special assistant) and Dodgers (assistant GM). Joined the Rockies in 2000, named as senior vice president of scouting and player development and assistant GM in 2011 before being promoted to senior vice president of major league operations in 2012. Caught flak from Rockies owner Charlie Monfort as being responsible for the team's bad season in 2014.

From the Ringolsby and Drellich reports:

  • In his latest role as Senior VP with the Rox, "Geivett moved his office full-time into the clubhouse and traveled with the team." (Ringolsby)
  • The Geivett and O'Dowd relationship "was unique, with the former taking on responsibilities that typically were reserved for the latter at an attempt to create a progressive front office. That structure, however, struck some as ambiguous. “I don’t even know who’s the GM,” Astros center fielder Dexter Fowler said in spring training after being traded from the Rockies. “I think everybody over there is still wondering who really is the GM … Dan and (Geivett) are just both coexisting.” (Drellich)

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / 2014-2015 Minors Transactions
« on: November 07, 2014, 04:09:43 pm »
1B Bobby Borchering and P Matt Heidenreich released per Matt Eddy tweet.

Neither one much of a surprise there (although the Astros thought enough of the latter to send him to the AFL to pitch last fall). Borchering came in the Chris Johnson trade and Heidenreich in the Brett Myers swap.

Talk Zone / A-Rod and mid-stream urine
« on: November 05, 2014, 09:38:23 am »
Finally fesses up in the whole Biogenesis saga (18 days after lying in a public statement makes full confession to feds after being granted immunity). The key to avoiding detection while taking the PEDS? Mid-stream urine.

Talk Zone / South Korean SS Jung-ho Kang
« on: November 03, 2014, 02:59:27 am »
One last international name to throw out at you and it’s a bit of an oddball.  Kang is a free agent (although apparently subject to a posting process similar to the NPB) and is listed at #50 on MLBTR's Top 50 Free Agents list (as noted in another post, MLBTR predicted the Astros landing Maeda, Soriano and Neshek from that list).

The 27 year old put up some eye-popping stats in the KBO this past season, hitting .356/.461/.739 with 40 longballs in just 117 games (all of his career stats are here). Obviously there are major questions about the guy or he would've ranked a lot higher on the list and most likely we would all have heard of him by now. First and foremost seem to be issues about the glove as to whether he could hack shortstop. Of course for some team that has needs at both positions on the left side of the infield this might not be the worst thing in the world as Kang could possibly slide over and play 3B.

As far as the bat, how exactly that transitions is hampered by the fact there isn't necessarily a history to judge that. There hasn't been a position player move from the KBO to MLB. Shin-Soo Choo and Hee Seop Choi are the only two South Korean position players to make it in MLB but both were signed as amateurs by major league organizations and never played in the KBO (actually Choi did but that was after his MLB career ended). But maybe looking in the opposite direction to get some sense? How did a former MLBer fare in the KBO this past season? 36-year old asshole Luke Scott put up .267/.398/.505 numbers in 2014. Of course, limited sample size since the birther only played in 33 games (before being kicked off the squad and out of the league for calling his SK Wyverns manager a coward. Shocker!). A better comparison would be 27 year old former Blue Jay Eric Thames, who put up numbers not all that dissimilar from Kang at .343/.427/.689 with 37 dongs in 125 games (Thames is a 1B, however). See this for all the numbers put up by Scott, Thames and 8 other ex-major leaguers in the KBO in 2014.

Oh, did I mention the huge offensive spike in the KBO in 2014 caused by the adoption of a new baseball?

But fuck the stat shit, what do the scouts say? This certainly gives you some pause with regard to Kang's plate transition--Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote this several weeks ago:

...there is still some pushback from scouts who have seen him play on whether he translates to major league baseball. Some of the alarms include the leg kick in his stance that’s very pronounced and lasts deep into his swing.

And if you want to see some leg-kicking going on, here's some video.

The MLBTR blurb says Kang is likely a utility player. But a utility infielder with some pop so that doesn't sound like a losing proposition either. Starting SS, starting 3B or (worst case) utility player with a bit of blister in his bat--those are some pretty decent options. The sticking point may be dollars. The combination of posting fee and salary probably rules out most clubs, including the Astros.

Talk Zone / Yoan Moncada and other Cuban prospects currently unsigned
« on: November 03, 2014, 02:10:54 am »
Moncada is a 19 year old switch-hitting 3B/SS who's interesting for several reasons, not only because of the talent level but because (unlike many of the other Cuban players) his signing would be subject to the international bonus pool rules and there's several high-spending clubs who'll be precluded from bidding on Moncada. Jesse Sanchez of is reporting Moncada is scheduled to hold a showcase on Nov. 12 in Guatemala. Here's a recap of some of the comments from Sanchez and from an earlier article on Moncada from Ben Badler of BA:

  • " teenager to leave Cuba since Jorge Soler, a player with exciting tools and dominance of the Cuban junior leagues on par with what Yasiel Puig did at the same age." (Badler)
  • More upside than Rusney Castillo, who signed in August with the Red Sox for $73MM. (Badler)
  • "...better than Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas [see below], who’s in the Dominican Republic but is still likely several months away from free agency." (Badler)
  • "Scouts have called Moncada the next Jorge Soler, and his skills have been compared with those of Yasiel Puig at the same age." (Sanchez)
  • The Cubs and Rangers exceeded their bonus pools during the previous signing period and are effectively precluded from bidding on Moncada. (Sanchez)
  • Yankees, Red Sox and Rays have exceeded their bonus pools by more than 15% for the current signing period. If "unblocked" by the US government prior to June 15, those 3 clubs can sign him but will pay a 100% penalty to do. If unblocked after June 15, all 3 clubs will be unable to sign Moncada. (Sanchez)

Other Cubans currently unsigned:

Yasmany Tomas

The 24 year old corner OF with the power bat has a price tag (according to MLBTR) approaching 7 years and $100MM. Sanchez in a tweet last month mentioned Texas, Philly, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle as having "strong interest". Exempt from international bonus pool restrictions.

Jose Fernandez

A 26 year old 2B who defected just two weeks ago. Some reports say he's not a toolsy dude yet is playing at a high enough level that he could step into a major league job today. We'll see. High OBP guy who strikes out very, very little (reportedly just 10 whiffs in 314 ABs in the Cuban league last year). Haven't seen any scouting reports which would suggest he has the arm strength to make the move to 3B. Exempt from international bonus pool restrictions.

Hector Olivera

Another 2B and recent defector, Olivera is certainly not on the same level as Fernandez (much less Moncada and Tomas). For obvious reasons as he's already 29 and has a checkered injury history. The 2B has shown a good eye at the plate (more walks than strikeouts during his Cuban league career) and has above average power for a middle infielder.  Here's a Sept. article on him from Ben Badler. Exempt from international bonus pool restrictions.

Talk Zone / Smoak claimed on waivers by the Blue Jays
« on: October 29, 2014, 03:56:27 am »
Not writing him off entirely, but so much for the instapundits who thought he should have been drafted by the Astros over Jason Castro.


Talk Zone / No more bird flipping for Canseco
« on: October 29, 2014, 03:19:37 am »
not with his left hand anyway.

Moron shoots off left finger while cleaning gun.

Talk Zone / Labrum tear repair for Peacock
« on: October 28, 2014, 07:23:34 pm »
Always forget there's one of those in the hip as well.

Peacock on crutches for now, delayed start to 2015 season likely.


Talk Zone / Keuchel Gold Glove finalist
« on: October 23, 2014, 01:11:01 pm »
as are Mark Buerhle and Felix Hernandez. The former is a 4-time GG winner (last won in 2012) while King Felix has never won.

According to Rawlings, about 75 percent of the decision is left to managers and coaches (up to seven total votes per team), and about 25 percent is left to the Society for American Baseball Research’s Defensive Index.

Drellich notes that Defensive Runs Saved per Fangraphs has Keuchel at +10, Buehrle at +2 and Hernandez at -2.

Talk Zone / Phil Nevin, manager?
« on: September 25, 2014, 01:08:37 pm »

Beer and Queso / Adrian Peterson indicted for child abuse
« on: September 12, 2014, 04:06:39 pm »
@MarkBermanFox26  58m

Sources: RB Adrian Peterson indicted for reckless or negligent injury to a child N Montgomery County.His atty Rustin Hardin declined comment

Beer and Queso / Strong D?
« on: September 06, 2014, 09:56:28 pm »
Offensive ineptitude no surprise, but what the hell happened to the D? Or is Taysom Hill just that good?

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / revises its player pages
« on: August 12, 2014, 08:19:21 am »
Now has historical splits, game logs and even...cough...twitter handles. Welcome changes but still means they're just now catching up to B-Ref.

Now if they'd added archived video for each player, that woulda been something.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Baseball America Best Tools Lists
« on: August 08, 2014, 10:58:22 am »
Quite the number of JetHawks who make the best tools list in the Cal League:

Josh Hader (best pitching prospect), Chris Devenski (best changeup), Tony Kemp (best strikezone judgement), Roberto Pena (best defensive catcher), Carlos Correa (best defensive shortstop, best infield arm, most exciting player).

Only one QC player made the best tools list in the Midwest League:

Chan Moon (best baserunner).

No CC player made the list for the Texas League. As far as best tools in the Pacific League:

Jake Marisnick (best outfield arm).

Talk Zone / "Fixing" the draft
« on: August 04, 2014, 05:44:40 pm »
John Manuel of BA throws out his ideas for "fixing" the draft in the wake of the Aiken situation. Certainly the pre-draft physical is a no-brainer. The combine idea (which as he notes is already provided for in the CBA) is a bit more controversial. I really like the idea of one but once you get into the details and timing problems arise. In particular, the effect it would have on the date of the draft. If you are going to have a combine it almost certainly has to be held in late June to allow guys on CWS teams to participate. Given that, a later draft would have to go hand-in-hand with the combine idea. Manuel would push the date of the draft to the All-Star break. Of course by doing so you would lose that first year of development time. I suppose you could expand the fall instructional league to compensate but the reason for existence of at least some of the short-season leagues (NY-Penn, etc.) would go by the wayside.

He also proposes shortening the draft to 20 rounds.

Game Zone 2014 Archive / Blue Jays @ Astros 8/3/14
« on: August 03, 2014, 01:53:29 pm »
Down 1-0 to the BJs, T3.

Feldman battered for 6 hits so far. Astros with zero hits.

Beer and Queso / Paul George
« on: August 01, 2014, 10:01:00 pm »
Ugly broken leg in tonight's USA Basketball scrimmage.

Gruesome video.

Game Zone 2014 Archive / Blue Jays @ Astros 8/1/14
« on: August 01, 2014, 05:12:56 pm »
Astros lineup.
4 Altuve
9 Grossman
DH Carter
5 Dominguez
3 Guzman
2 Corporan
8 Marisnick
7 Hoes
6 Petit

1 McHugh

Injuries, sure, but egad that's a ghastly lineup. Eager to see Marisnick play though (and by "see" I of course mean absorbing the essence of the commentary from those who are able to actually watch this game--so comment you fuckers!)

That posted lineup is missing a DH. Chris Carter, where are you??? Fixed.

Beer and Queso / Ebola patients to U.S.
« on: August 01, 2014, 03:47:38 pm »
Two American citizens with Ebola will be moved in the next few days to Atlanta.

After the evacuation plans were made public Thursday, social media in the United States lit up with fearful reactions. Many posts called for keeping the infected patients out of the country. "As much as I respect the Samaritan's Purse workers with Ebola, I really don't want it anywhere near the US," a user posted to Twitter under the hashtag #EbolaOutbreak. On the website of conspiracy talker Alex Jones, who has long purported that the CDC could unleash a pandemic and the government would react by instituting authoritarian rule, the news was a feast of fodder. "Feds would exercise draconian emergency powers if Ebola hits U.S.," a headline read on


Game Zone 2014 Archive / Athletics @ Astros 7/30/14
« on: July 30, 2014, 02:12:50 pm »
Astros throw up a 6-spot in the 1st inning (including a Grossman 2-run shot), Keuchel gives one back allowing a solo HR. Astros up 6-1 T4.

Talk Zone / Luhnow open to trading Keuchel, McHugh and Cosart
« on: July 28, 2014, 11:56:43 am »
Sez Ken Rosenthal, quoting Luhnow (apologies if this was posted elsewhere):

Earlier this season, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told me that he was not interested in trading left-hander Dallas Keuchel or righty Collin McHugh, indicating that both could be part of the team’s future.

Things change.

A shortage of available quality starting pitchers is creating a seller’s market as the non-waiver deadline approaches at 4 p.m. ET Thursday. And now Luhnow is open to trading Keuchel, McHugh or right-hander Jarred Cosart for the right return.

“We do seem to have an excess of pretty good young starters so we wouldn’t rule anything out,” Luhnow said Monday. “We’d have to get back a big-league piece, preferably a bat, in a package that makes sense for the future and present.”

Keuchel, McHugh and Cosart all have less than two years of major-league service. Any one of the three presumably could bring a hitter with comparable talent and service time in return.

Talk Zone / HOF Voting Change
« on: July 26, 2014, 10:46:24 am »
Years on ballot reduced from 15 years to 10.

Mattingly, Trammell and Lee Smith all grandfathered in and will remain on ballot for 15 years.

McGwire the guy most affected by change. Will be kicked off in 2 years rather than having 7 years to wait for PED sentiment to change.

Rice, Blyleven and Sutter only HOFers who were elected after 10 years.

Talk Zone / Tanaka out for minimum 6 weeks
« on: July 10, 2014, 09:40:26 pm »
Partial tear in UCL. Will try nonsurgical option first but TJS apparently not ruled out.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Santana and Correa to Futures Game
« on: June 24, 2014, 02:21:27 pm »
Well, more like Domingo Santana to the Futures Game but Correa of course was selected but a replacement player then was picked for him.

Futures Game Rosters

Talk Zone / Jake Buchanan
« on: June 20, 2014, 09:46:47 pm »
Various tweeters saying he's been called up to make the start tomorrow in his MLB debut. Peacock scratched from his start. Clemens sent down.

Looks like the 40-man is full up but Jose Cisnero is shown on the 15-day DL so a move there to the 60-man would free up space for Buchanan.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / 2015 Draft Thread
« on: June 15, 2014, 12:50:30 am »
Why the fuck not?

6'2" RHP Beau Burrows from Weatherford HS (and an Aggie commit) stands out at PG showcase.

Beer and Queso / College World Series
« on: June 14, 2014, 01:54:49 pm »
UCI at the Horns in a few minutes, followed later today by Louisville vs Vandy.

On tap tomorrow is Tech vs TCU and Ole Miss vs Virginia. Look for Astros' draft picks Derek Fisher and Aaron Greenwood in the latter.

Talk Zone / Don Zimmer RIP
« on: June 04, 2014, 08:21:46 pm »
Per various twitterers.

Unfortunately, the first thing to came to mind when I saw he passed was the term Bill Lee used for him--"designated gerbil". Not a nice recollection, just what popped up.

Condolences to his family.

None of this is new news, but I did find the part about the hitters tracking pitches in the bullpen interesting:

"In baseball, there is a trend toward evaluating plate discipline," says Jeff Albert, the Astros minor league hitting coordinator who oversees a program that combines reams of data on their players with practical application on the field. "We say it's important," Albert says. "We're actually backing that up." In the Astros' own way: Albert insists this is not a walk-happy approach that boosts on-base percentages and at the same time inhibits some hitters' best qualities.

Where the Astros take a step forward from the crowd is in their staunch belief plate discipline can be taught. "Selectively aggressive," barks out hitting coach Darryl Robinson to a JetHawks group that features 20-year-old third baseman Rio Ruiz batting cleanup behind Correa and 22-year-old leadoff man Tony Kemp, who has more walks than strikeouts and a .425 on-base percentage. "We're not looking for walks," Robinson says. "We're looking to do damage. Now, the walk is a by-product of getting a good pitch to hit. We know if we can put a ball in play or not. We know if we can put a good swing on a pitch and hit it hard."

Lancaster is just one stop in a coordinated approach from Houston all the way to the club's Dominican academy. And they're not feasting on younger prospects: The Astros' top three farm teams each have hitters with the lowest average age in their league.

You'll often find their hitters in the bullpen, part of a plan that bucks a widely-held notion that plate discipline can't be taught. "We track pitches," explains Kemp, a Vanderbilt product and second baseman in the diminutive mold of Houston sparkplug Jose Altuve. "When a pitcher is throwing live 'pens, we'll stand there and, when the pitcher releases the ball, call 'Yes' or 'No.'" The idea is to become so adept at identifying whether it's a good pitch to swing at that batters can make the call just as the pitcher releases the ball. And not just whether it will be in the strike zone, but also in the area where that particular hitter is most effective. "That stuck out the most to me in spring training," says Kemp, who silently notes "yes or no" in games. "It's a difference for sure. Jeff Albert also talked about making sure you're focused in on a pitcher's release point." Kemp says that's helped him identify what pitch is coming. "You can see different things like trying to pronate his hand for the change-up," Kemp says.

Talk Zone / Rhiner Cruz is a Golden Eagle
« on: June 04, 2014, 02:49:12 pm »
The Astros evidently sold his contract to Rakuten of the NPB (or he was let out of his contract so he could sign with them).


Rhiner Cruz, he of 1-1 overall fame in the Rule 5 draft a few years ago, signed with the Rakuten Eagles in Japan.

Talk Zone / No more Cubs games on WGN
« on: June 04, 2014, 02:32:06 pm »

Talk Zone / Reducing Tommy John Surgeries
« on: May 28, 2014, 05:24:42 pm »
The American Sports Medicine Institute published today their recommendations for reducing TJS:

  • Optimize pitching mechanics to ensure using the whole body in a coordinated sequence (kinetic chain). A biomechanical analysis is recommended, as it provides objective data to the pitching coach, strength coach, and pitcher. A biomechanical analysis can also serve as a baseline for re-evaluation later in the pitcher’s career, after performance improvement or after return from injury.
  • Do not always pitch with 100% effort. The best professional pitchers pitch with a range of ball velocity, good ball movement, good control, and consistent mechanics among their pitches. The professional pitcher’s objectives are to prevent baserunners and runs, not to light up the radar gun.
  • Open communication between a pitcher and the professional coaching and medical staff is paramount. The pitcher’s elbow and body are living tissue. Pitching and training create small tears in the tissue; rest, nutrition, and hydration repair the tears. A pitcher and his team should have a plan, but that plan needs to be monitored and sometimes adjusted depending on how the pitcher feels. Specifically, the pitcher should keep his trainer or coach up to date about any soreness, stiffness, and pain. That way when there is an issue, the player and team can consider rest, modified activity, or examination from the team physician to allow the elbow to heal and avert serious injury.
  • The pitching coach needs to watch for signs of fatigue on the mound. This could be seen in-game as well as in bullpen sessions.
  • The team trainers, coaches, medical staff, and front office must share knowledge in a holistic approach to minimize the risk of injury.
  • Flat-ground throwing drills and bullpen sessions should not always be at maximum effort. Reduced effort will allow for physical fitness and technique without adding undue stress to the UCL.
  • Be wary of pitching in winter league baseball. The UCL and body need time to recover and build strength, so the concept of annual periodization should include adequate rest from full-effort pitching.
  • Exercise, rest, and nutrition are vital for a pitcher’s health. Performance-Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) may enable the athlete to achieve disproportionately strong muscles that overwhelm the UCL and lead to injury.
  • Pitchers with high ball velocity are at increased risk of injury. The higher the ball velocity, the more important to follow the guidelines above.

The position paper also makes some other points such as lowering the mound would have no impact on TJS and that supposed lower risk of TJS for Latin American pitchers is not borne out by the data (although nothing is mentioned about Japanese pitchers).  It notes that too much competitive pitching and pitching while fatigued are the biggest risk factors for TJS, not the curveball. It also says this (mirroring other recent discussions on the topic):

The real solution is for young pitchers to do less full-effort pitching and more throwing (practice throws, playing other positions, playing other sports). To become a successful adult pitcher, the youth should not strive to be a “youth pitcher” but instead should be a young athlete that is a good pitcher.

Dr. James Andrews was apparently involved in the preparation of the report.

Beer and Queso / Road to Omaha
« on: May 26, 2014, 12:03:01 pm »
Matchups just announced:

Coogs travel to Baton Rouge regional to take on Bryant (who?) while LSU (which also got the last super regional seed) gets SE Louisiana.

Rivalry revisited with Horns vs. Aggies at Rice regional while Wayne Graham & co. tackle George Mason.

TCU takes on Siena (and will host a super regional if it gets that far). DBU vs Sam Houston the other matchup in this regional.

Other Big 12: OSU faces Binghamton in its regional. Texas Tech in Miami regional and faces Columbia. KU goes to Louisville.

Aaron Fitt of BA tweet:

Bids by conference: SEC (10), ACC (7), Big 12 and Pac-12 (5), Big West (4), AAC, B1G, C-USA, MVC, MWC, Southland (2 apiece).

BA article with entire field

Beer and Queso / Mr. Happy should be...happy
« on: May 25, 2014, 06:29:19 pm »
FINAL SCORE: LSU 2, Florida 0: McCune gets a 3-1 to slam the door for the SEC Tournament crown. Sean McMullen with the 2-run bomb.

That is #LSU's 5th SEC tourney crown in seven years.

Randy Rosetta (LSU beat writer) tweets

Congrats to Paul Mainieri, very impressive run of tough tourney titles.

Talk Zone / Grossman cumming, Hoes bumming
« on: May 25, 2014, 06:09:33 pm »
Sorry, all I could come up with.

Grossman up Hoes optioned Grossman to be everyday LF

Drellich tweet.

Talk Zone / Josh Beckett on MLB Network now
« on: May 25, 2014, 03:00:59 pm »
Working on first Dodger no-no since 1996.

  • No hitter thru 8 IP
  • Tony Gwynn, Jr leads off 9th for Philly with fly out. 2 outs to go.
  • Ben Revere grounds out to 1st, 1 out to go.
  • Jimmy Rollins walks.
  • Chase Utley goes to 3-2 count and then whiffs. That's it!

First career no-hitter for Beckett.

Bet Dodgers fans are just loving watching this Beckett no-hitter. Wait. Seventy percent of people in LA can't see the Dodgers? Oh.

Passan tweet

It was 1st time #Phillies were no hit at home since '78, which was by Bill Stoneman

Bob Nightengale tweet

Talk Zone / Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961
« on: May 24, 2014, 10:41:58 pm »
Anyone bought this book and have a recommendation?

A David Barron tweet from earlier brought this to my attention.

Talk Zone / Rudy Owens, come on down...
« on: May 23, 2014, 01:27:19 pm »
Rudy Owens pitching tonight in place of Peacock who has forearm soreness. Josh Zeid optioned so Owens can be promoted for MLB debut.

Drellich tweet

Talk Zone / Luhnow to Japan
« on: May 22, 2014, 11:26:17 pm »

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and pro scouting director Kevin Goldstein are traveling to Tokyo on Friday for a trip designed to increase the club's profile in Japan, as well as interview five candidates for a scouting job based in the country.

Luhnow and Goldstein will spend five days in Tokyo and plan to meet with representatives from several Nippon Professional Baseball clubs to discuss and explore the types of relationships the Astros could have with the teams, whether it's information-sharing or something more collaborative.

"The Astros have not had a presence in Japan," Luhnow said. "We signed Kaz Matsui back in the day [2008-10], and we scout Japanese players in the big international events, so we felt we like we had enough information on Tanaka to be a competitor and to bid on him. I feel like the flow of Japanese players is going to continue.

"You've got two of the top starters in Major League Baseball right now, between [Yu] Darvish and Tanaka, that pitched over there and made a successful transition over here. I don't see that stopping anytime soon. I feel like the Astros need to have a scouting presence over there so we can be better informed as these players become available."

Luhnow wants to hire a Japan-based scout who is bilingual, bicultural, played baseball and can help the team better evaluate talent the next time the Astros are in the hunt for a premium Japanese player.

Luhnow said he and Goldstein will attend several games, scout some players and meet with the media to try to boost the Astros' name out there. Luhnow has been brushing up on his Japanese by using the Rosetta Stone language-learning software.

"People know we bid on Tanaka, and that was a surprise [in Japan]," he said. "I don't want it to be a surprise next time. I want them to know, the good Japanese players, the Astros are going to be players, and we'll have a presence there and the general manager has traveled over there.

Absolutely love this kind of commitment from Luhnow. Would like it to extend to amateur players in the Pacific Rim as well. I don't believe the Astros have signed any amateur players from there since he took over (Chia-Jen Lo and Chan Moon were signees of previous regimes).  

The seeming importance to the Astros of this is the fact that he's making this 5-day trip with the draft just 2 weeks away.

Would also quibble some with this statement from McTaggart in the article:

Japanese players usually only sign with Major League clubs after they've paid their dues in Japan and gone through the posting process

Junichi Tazawa, Mac Suzuki, Micheal Nakamura and Kaz Tadano are/were major leaguers from Japan who signed with MLB organizations directly out of high school. There's also several Japanese players in the minors right now who did the same.

And for those Japanese players who came to MLB after first playing professionally in Japan, only a minority came via the posting process. The majority (Hideo Nomo, most prominently) came to MLB as international free agents.

Talk Zone / Albers DL'd, Cisnero up
« on: April 25, 2014, 04:01:45 pm »
per various tweets

Shoulder tendinitis.

And another reliever's debut is pushed back (McTag tweet):

Jesse Crain developed bursitis. Timetable no longer early May. Will prevent him from starting to throw for another week to 10 days.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Appel sent back to EST
« on: April 25, 2014, 03:57:34 pm »
"It's a little unsettling and the results aren't what we expect," Luhnow said of Appel's adjustment to pro ball. Appel was top 2013 pick.

"His stuff wasn't as crisp as it normally was," Luhnow says of Appel. Luhnow says 4-day tandem pitching was a shock to Appel's system.

Luhnow says he's not concerned about injury.

JDJO tweets

Talk Zone / Springer Up
« on: April 15, 2014, 11:02:05 pm »
according to Mark Berman (via tweet):

MLB sources told FOX 26 Sports the Astros will call up outfielder George Springer tomorrow from Triple-A Oklahoma City

Evan Drellich also confirms via tweet.

Other roster moves, per JDJO tweet:

Robbie Grossman has been sent down to make room for Springer, and Lucas Harell will be designated for assignment, the Chronicle has learned

So I assume the latter means Clemens stays rather than heading back to OKC.

Talk Zone / Lo removed from 40-man roster
« on: April 05, 2014, 04:21:59 pm »
Cleared waivers and outrighted to OKC.


The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Quad Cities - 2014
« on: April 01, 2014, 02:16:28 pm »
Per tweet from Steve Batterson

Pitchers (14)  Tyler Brunnemann, Patrick Christensen, Chris Cotton, Kent Emanuel, Michael Feliz, Evan Grills, Jandel Gustave, Adrian Houser, Chris Lee, Albert Minnis, Zach Morton, Gonzalo Sanudo, Andrew Thurman, Andrew Walter.
Catchers (3) Brett Booth, Brian Holberton, Jobduan Morales
Infielders (6) Austin Elkins, Conrad Gregor, Jack Mayfield, Chase McDonald, Chan Moon, Tyler White
Outfielders (4) Jon Kemmer, Tanner Mathis, Brett Phillips, James Ramsay

This is of course a preliminary roster and will be finalized over the next 2 days. A couple of more cuts will be necessary.

Talk Zone / Brian Cashman's Ferrari
« on: April 01, 2014, 12:59:17 am »
To Cashman, any fellow GM who would look over to the Yankees and say he wished he could have the same resources is seriously underestimating what accompanies those resources. "This is a very fast-moving Ferrari," Cashman said. "And in many cases, those same people who talk that talk would be an insect smashing against the windshield and getting splattered all over the place because they can't believe the amount of velocity that this car is moving at.

Chron article.

That's gonna make him real popular with his GM brethren.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Hooks Roster
« on: March 31, 2014, 07:20:06 pm »
Greg Rajan tweeted out a preliminary roster:

P: Rollins, Jankowski, Ballew, Sogard, Rodgers, A. Robinson, West, Seaton, Heidenriech, Shirley, De Leon, Geith, Cain, L. Cruz.
C: Tyler Heineman, Rene Garcia, M.P Cokinos
IF: Nolan Fontana, Jio Mier, Enrique Hernandez, Matt Duffy, Joe Sclafani.
OF: Andrew Aplin, DeLino DeShields Jr., Leo Heras, Chris Epps, Preston Tucker.

27 players, 2 over the limit. At least one pitcher (perhaps two) would need to go.

As far as position players, I assume Cokinos will slot in as the 1B. Don't see any huge surprises elsewhere, although you could argue that Tucker should be at OKC. But since he only played a half-season with the Hooks last year, I'm not really shocked to see him back here.

Among the pitchers, I'm guessing the 8-man rotation would consist of Cruz, Cain, Rodgers, West, Heidenreich, Rollins, Seaton and Shirley.

I would have thought we'd see Kyle Smith among the pitchers. Wonder if there's an injury.

(Note to admins: could someone set up the separate team threads?)

Game Zone 2014 Archive / Rojos del Aguila @ Astros
« on: March 29, 2014, 04:43:34 pm »
Astros lineup



The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Eric Berger
« on: March 29, 2014, 04:36:04 pm »
Had a decent year in 2013 for OKC out of the bullpen, traded to OAK for the proverbial PTBNL.


The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / The tandem continues
« on: March 25, 2014, 02:15:24 pm »
with one change:

“You’re pitching every fourth day, and then after say, the first month, you’ll have pretty much a week or so, five to six days, to kind of work on whatever needs to be worked on,” farm director Quinton McCracken said. “And you get back on the horse and back into the rotation. And that is the modification.”

Talk Zone / The Rotation
« on: March 20, 2014, 12:14:14 pm »
Starting to come in to focus, as the first 3 starters of the season against the Yankees have been announced by Porter (in order):

1. Feldman
2. Cosart
3. Oberholtzer

Harrell, Williams, Peacock and Keuchel all left fighting for 4th and 5th spots.

(All via tweets)

Talk Zone / Folty, the 2-seamer and the potential for TJS
« on: March 19, 2014, 08:51:12 pm »
Interesting read from Drellich.

No more 2-seamers for Mr. Foltynewicz:

(Pitching coach Brent) Strom noticed Foltynewicz’s elbow drifting away when he threw the two-seamer.

“A lot of the Tommy John (surgeries) that you’re reading about, and one of the things that we’re going to address with the minor league pitching coaches in Houston, is we have to keep our hand inside our elbow as we’re driving a ball in a straight line,” Strom said.

Also on the shelf is his slider, apparently put there during the middle of last season:

...but midseason elbow soreness that Foltynewicz had never previously dealt with made him table it again, presumably for a while.

The replacement breaking ball is a "spike curve":

Many people might refer to the pitch as a knuckle curve, although Strom says that a true knuckle curve is different. The spike curve involves raising the index finger so that the knuckle is visually sticking up, and the pitch is in effect powered by the middle finger alone. Strom looks at Sandy Koufax as a mentor, and this is Koufax-approved thinking. “The most powerful finger on the hand is the middle finger,” Strom said. “So what it does, it takes the index finger out of the equation. ‘Cause the curveball, the best curveball — which I’ve heard from Koufax — are thrown between the middle finger and the ring finger. The thumb is a detriment and the index finger is a detriment in terms of rotation of the ball.

Talk Zone / Springer offered a 7-year $23MM contract last September
« on: March 19, 2014, 07:35:29 pm »
which he rejected (according to this article from Ken Rosenthal).

Drellich subsequently tweets:

That reported offer of Springer’s contract got out suggests that someone is unhappy he’s not a big leaguer yet. Likely wont be on OD, either.

Game Zone 2014 Archive / Astros @ Nats 3/19/14
« on: March 19, 2014, 04:59:08 pm »

Fowler, CF
Altuve, 2B
Castro, C
Krauss, LF
Singleton, 1B
Hoes, RF
M. Gonzalez 3B
Villar SS
Cosart P

Span, CF   
Desmond, SS   
Zimmerman, 3B   
Werth, RF   
Harper, LF   
Ramos, W, C   
LaRoche, 1B   
Rendon, 2B   
Jordan, P

Game Zone 2014 Archive / Astros @ Marlins 3/18/14
« on: March 18, 2014, 01:31:53 pm »
Another Astros starting pitching candidate blowed up good, real good today: the Marlins have spanked Dallas Keuchel to the tune of 7 ERs and 13 hits in just 4 innings. WHIPs of some of the starting pitching candidates this spring: Keuchel (1.62), Feldman (1.67), Peacock (1.60), Cosart (1.71), Oberholtzer (2.00), Harrell (2.16), and Williams (1.32).

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Minor League cuts
« on: March 18, 2014, 01:07:25 pm »
Per McTaggart tweet:

#Astros have released Minor Leaguers J.Batista, R.Connolly, Z.Dando, A. Gillingham, K.Hallock, P.Hipp, A. Ibanez, E.Quezada, Blair Walters

Talk Zone / SABR Analytics Conference
« on: March 17, 2014, 10:21:39 pm »
Some interesting (or not) nuggets from the Baseball America recap:

(Aaron) Boone doesn’t dispute the validity of research indicating that value supplied by a catcher’s pitch-framing skills can be on the magnitude of 20 runs or more per season. “Growing up in a catcher household (his father Bob caught for 19 seasons, winning seven Gold Gloves), I am receptive to the value of a catcher’s pitch-framing,” he said. “Can he steal strikes for his pitcher? Does he receive well night in and night out? Those are important considerations.”

(Former Astros bench coach Eduardo) Perez mentioned briefly an Astros proprietary metric he called BABIP+, which he said incorporates velocity off the bat into its calculation. A consistently high exit velo for a batter means his high BABIP results probably are not a fluke, much the same way a high line-drive rate correlates positively with a high BABIP.

All members of the panel (Manny Acta, Boone and Perez) reserved some skepticism for the readings from the advanced defensive metrics because they don’t always agree with one other, and they often don’t pass the eye test.

Game Zone 2014 Archive / Astros @ Blue Jays 3/13/14
« on: March 13, 2014, 12:24:43 pm »
Singleton strikes out in T1, now 0-16 on the spring with 6 Ks (tho he does have the 6 walks).

Dallas Keuchel on the hill, gives up 3 hits but no runs in B1.

Talk Zone / More Cuts
« on: March 10, 2014, 01:24:07 pm »
 LHP Luis Cruz, RHP David Martinez, OF Domingo Santana and C Max Stassi. A bit surprising that Stassi got sent down so early.

(via tweets)

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Jack Armstrong, Jr
« on: March 09, 2014, 05:25:34 pm »
Probably saw this article yesterday which indicates the young man is in minor league camp trying to resurrect his career as a first baseman after spending three years battling arm injuries (and never taking the mound) since being drafted by the Astros in the 3rd round in 2011. I was curious about this quote:

"It's been a lot of work," he said. "The moment I got cleared in September, I started swinging immediately. It's been a good five or six months of hard work. It's good I was a two-way guy in college so I was always swinging. ... It's something I always wanted to do since I loved it so much, and I was pretty good at it, and based on the circumstances because the arm has been through a lot, it's nice to have something to fall back on and to keep playing this game as long as you can."

I didn't remember him being a 2-way player at Vandy so I looked it up: he had a grand total of 7 ABs all as a pinch hitter during his collegiate career (FWIW, he DID have 4 hits).

Anyhow, best of luck to the kid as he tries to salvage his professional career.

Talk Zone / Nah, this doesn't bother me
« on: March 07, 2014, 06:17:57 pm »
Multiple choice quiz. 2nd overall pick from last June Kris Bryant:

  • (a) is "a monster with ridiculous power".
  • (b) will be "an All-Star third baseman ... soon".
  • (c) has "huge power, good athlete".
  • (d) has "fifty homer power".
  • (e) All of the above.

If you answered (e), then you've already read this article.

Talk Zone / 2014 Astros media guide now online
« on: March 07, 2014, 03:00:26 pm »
and it's available here. Very cool.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / MLB Pipeline Top 100 Prospects
« on: January 23, 2014, 10:22:31 pm »
  • #8 Correa
  • #17 Appel
  • #21 Springer
  • #50 Singleton
  • #52 McCullers
  • #54 Folty
  • #66 DDS

7 of the top 66 prospects plus Callis said via twitter that Santana ranked #100 on his own personal list.


Better link here.

Boston led all organizations with 9 prospects on the list while the Astros and Cubs were tied for 2nd with 7 apiece (if you like obsessing over such things, the above article says the Astros rank #1 overall because individually their 7 prospects are higher up on the list than the Red Sox 9 prospects).

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Minor League Transactions
« on: January 13, 2014, 09:09:00 pm »
Javaris Reynolds (7th round, 2011), Mike Martinez (36th round, 2012), Christian Garcia (29th round, 2012) and NDFA Javier Lozano all were shown the door.

Reynolds never developed, spending 3 progressively worse seasons in the GCL.

Talk Zone / Tim Redding now a coach
« on: December 20, 2013, 03:41:03 pm »
Just announced as the pitching coach for the Washinton Nationals' affiliate Auburn in the NYP league.

I'm sure his players will want to pay close attention when he talks about the mental aspects of pitching.

Beer and Queso / "I am in the on deck circle, dammit"
« on: November 14, 2013, 01:25:23 am »

Talk Zone / Fangraphs Spends Crane's Money
« on: November 07, 2013, 04:12:33 pm »
Scroll down to the "The Real World Plan"

As much as I wanted to piss on this because (among other things) the writer is a fucking dojers fan, I actually kinda like the list. Having said that, I'd substitute Veras for Albers and it's hard for me to imagine the Astros signing BOTH Young and Murphy. I'd sign one or the other (perhaps Murphy because of the lefty bat) and use the remaining $6-7MM to bring in a second veteran starting pitcher.

The caveat to all this is that all the players involved are signed to one-year deals, with exceptions I would assume for Nolasco and Loney. And I don't think Loney blocks Singleton who likely will spend most of 2014 at OKC anyway. If Singleton eventually makes good, you trade Loney next offseason and if Singleton busts you've bought yourself some protection (and it's not like there's anyone else in the system who looks to be the answer at 1B in the next couple of years either).

FWIW, if it were my money I wouldn't be spending the $40MM to upgrade an awful team to a mediocre one. But if that's the direction Crane is headed in, I think the article's suggestions aren't a bad way to go about it.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / AFL All-Star Game
« on: November 03, 2013, 12:02:46 am »
Not exactly an outstanding game for DDS. He grounded out, flied out, and was credited with a SAC on a poor bunt. In LF (Buxton was the CF for the West squad), he clanked a fly ball at the fence.

Jonas Dufek faced 2 hitters, giving up a sharp line drive that should have been caught (credited as a double instead of an error) and retiring the next hitter on a pop-up.

Beer and Queso / Marty Glickman
« on: September 05, 2013, 11:49:00 pm »
Just finished watching the documentary about the guy currently airing on HBO. Going in I only had vague recollections of Glickman, primarily from his early days with the cable network. But he was a really fascinating athlete and announcer. The entire doc is terrific but especially the part about his experience at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin is not to be missed (and how the fuck did an asshole like Avery Brundage manage to stay involved in the Olympics for so long I'll never understand).

Anyhow, if you have a chance to watch the doc I don't think you'll be disappointed.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Minor League Splits @ B-Ref
« on: May 11, 2013, 06:48:39 pm »
Others who follow the minors closer than I may have already noticed it, but Baseball Reference now has minor league splits available on its website. I could be wrong but I don't believe it goes back any further than 2008. Still, great to see this is now available again after bit the dust several years ago.

Talk Zone / The Animal grunts no more...
« on: April 30, 2013, 10:35:06 pm »

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