Saturday, November 14, 2009

Don't get comfy with the idea of Valverde coming back

McTaggart's blog post this afternoon references an email from Valverde's agent, Gene Mato.

"The Astros have communicated to Jose their desire to bring him back. He really enjoyed his time there and is open to the idea of returning. With that said, he is intrigued with the whole free agency process and the interest that is being generated."

Note the past tense of the infinitive "to enjoy."

Greeneville Astros: Jonathan Meyer

Jonathan Meyer
How did he get here?: Drafted, 3rd Round, compensation pick (2009)
Stats: 6'1", 195 lbs, Bats: Switch Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2010: 19

Season line: 62 games, 259 PAs. 42x221 - .190/.301/.299 - 15XBH-27RBI. 69K:36BB

vs. LHP (47ABs): .106/.300/.106, 18K:13BB, 0XBH-1RBI
vs. RHP (174ABs): .213/.302/.351, 51K:23BB, 15XBH-26RBI

Home (108ABs): .176/.308/.296, 32K:21BB, 7XBH-15RBI
Away (113ABs): .204/.295/.301, 37K:15BB, 8XBH-12RBI

Bases Empty (108ABs): .139/.262/.241, 36K:18BB, 6XBH-2RBI
Runners on (113ABs): .239/.338/.354, 33K:18BB, 9XBH-25RBI
w/RISP (75ABs): .227/.355/.373, 21K:16BB, 7XBH-16RBI

June (27ABs): .148/.207/.185, 7K:2BB, 1XBH-2RBI
July (97ABs): .227/.348/.289, 30K:18BB, 6XBH-13RBI
August (93ABs): .172/.288/.355, 31K:16BB, 8XBH-12RBI
September (4ABs): .000/.000/.000, 1K:0BB, 0XBH-0RBI

K/PA rate: 26.6%
XBH/H rate: 35.7%
K:BB ratio: 1.92

Meyer spent all of his 62 games at 3B, committing 16 errors in 201 chances for a .920 Fld%.

Despite leading the team in strikeouts, Meyer also drew 36 walks, for a K:BB ratio under 2.00. But let's not read too much into this, as he came out of Simi Valley High School and skipped the GCL. So he's still a young guy. He started slowly, and was 3x34 in his last ten games of the season for a .088/.238/.265 line.

Citizen Steve, what say you on Jonathan Meyer?
Looks older than 18, and has a solid glove, making several amazing plays. Still struggling to catch up to pro-pitching.

Buster Olney wants in on the Bourn love-fest

And Buster Olney breaks down the evolution of Michael Bourn:

Before joining Aguilas in winter ball, in the Dominican Republic, he started to unravel the puzzle of his swing. Besides pulling ground balls to the right side of the infield, Bourn also was hitting the ball off the end of his bat a lot -- clues, he felt, that told him his swing was too quick, and that his bat wasn't in the hitting zone long enough. He liked to watch Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee take batting practice, and he admired how their level swings seem to be pulled through the plate for so long, giving them a greater chance for better contract. Bourn's swing, on the other hand, was just too quick, which is why he kept hitting the harmless grounders to second base.

Late in the 2008 season, Astros coach Dave Clark gave Bourn a suggestion -- Bourn should try hitting with his weight shifted forward at the outset of his swing, rather than with his weight back, on his left hip. Ultimately, Clark said, Bourn would need to get back to hitting with his weight back -- but this change would allow Bourn to focus on how he used his hands in his swing path.

Imagine swinging a Wiffle ball bat with your hands only, and without shifting your weight from your back hip to your front hip; this is what Clark did in September of 2008. And he could feel, in his swing, a solution evolving. He began to hit the ball to the left side of the infield, or through the middle. The progress continued in winter ball, and in spring training, Berkman suggested to him that he should work off a tee daily, develop a routine in which he practiced his level swing path, using his hands and the shift of his weight in concert...

...And in spring training, Bourn noticed that the foul balls he was hitting were going into the stands along the third base line. A good thing, he felt.

"What this told me was that I was doing better at letting the ball get deeper in the strike zone," said Bourn. "I was a little behind the ball, and all I needed to do was to be a little quicker."

2009 was a great year for Bourn, and a springboard for what I hope will be a successful 8-10 years. Maybe more importantly, the Lidge/Bourn trade offered some confidence in the abilities of Ed Wade (that he got something more than a case of Icy Hot for Pudge is another example).

The key to Bourn's career will be 2010. If he can further evolve into a solid offensive center-fielder, making the adjustments to overcome the adjustments that NL pitchers will inevitably counter with, Bourn will be a vacuum in CF.


Olney also has a note on Jason Castro:
There appears to be an excellent chance that Jason Castro will be the Astros' everyday catcher at some point next season. Some observations from one talent evaluator: "He's pretty clean defensively. I think he's going to be a lot like [A.J.] Pierzynski -- he's aggressive at the plate, and he'll hit .280 with 15-20 homers. He's really gotten better."

Bourn: Feel-good human-interest local-boy hyphenated-All Star

Jerome Solomon's Told-You-So column on Michael Bourn this morning is a good one:

He might be confident and somewhat stubborn, but to this point he hasn’t been as concerned with critics as with improving his game.

That makes him easy to root for.

The stubbornness is why continued improvement is likely, and why he could truly become a special player. Bourn has always believed he could be a great player. He doesn’t think he is a great player yet.

And he's good at taking directions:
The Astros told Bourn what to work on in winter ball last year — staying on top of the ball, hitting the other way, being more selective — and he looked like a different hitter this season.

He improved his average by 56 points — hitting .285, which was almost as high as his on-base percentage (.288) in 2008 — thanks to 66 more hits, and he led the league in stolen bases with 61. Offensive consistency made it easier for people to applaud his defensive prowess.

Who should get credit for Bourn (besides Bourn?):
Cooper should get some credit for Bourn’s development as a hitter. Jose Cruz played a major role in Bourn becoming a better outfielder. The God-given speed would be wasted if Bourn didn’t get the great jumps for which he is now known.

Between all the jokes, Justice makes a pretty good point

Justice takes a break from writing about...everything else to put some words together about the finanical state of the Astros, and how that's going to be reflected in the 2010 lineup:

In a lot of ways, the Astros are making the tough decisions they should have made two years ago. Instead of patching the roster with old guys, they've decided to give some younger players a chance.

But they're not going into a full tear-down mode because of previous contract mistakes. Carlos Lee has a no-trade clause, which is unimportant because the $55.5 million remaining on his contract means the Astros couldn't give him away.

So the Astros are going to get better and cheaper where they can. If you're looking for positives, it's that they could be dramatically better defensively with Tommy Manzella at short and Jason Castro at catcher. I'm guessing Edwin Maysonet will end up at second and Chris Johnson at third...

...Would it be better to blow the roster up and start over? Sure it would. But unless he has a dramatic change of heart, Drayton isn't going to allow Wade to trade Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt.

I've said this before, though I'm not going to sift through 2551 posts (yep) to find it. The Astros have too much money on the books to go into Rebuilding mode. Teams that rebuild have payrolls of $40-60 million. Teams that rebuild don't have $59 million tied up in five players. So Ed Wade (who may or may not have a Long-Term plan) will try to catch lightning in a bottle and win a winnable division - especially if Boras rips Holliday out of St. Louis. Hopefully he won't do it by trying to get Smoltz to come to Houston, and let the younger guys learn on the job.

To get fans interested in the Astros again, they'll need to see that there's some team-building going on. We want to see the guys we've heard about in the farm system for four and five years play. We don't want to see Russ Ortiz. We don't want to see the Astros bring in David Wells.

The Crawfish Boxes seem to agree (Note: this post was written before I read their take):

It's too true, and too sad. Does no one in the Astros front office, marketing, business, public relations, common sense departments not see it this way at all? Drayton is pretty much agreeing to lock himself into a viscous cycle where he blames poor revenue (read: fan attendance) and then cuts costs. Thereby making the team worse—ostensibly, for now—and further driving down fan attendance. Who wins in this scenario?

I'll put forth that the Common Sense Department was cut a couple of years ago.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Greeneville Astros: Nathan Metroka

Nathan Metroka
How did he get here?: Drafted, 47th Round (2008)
Stats: 6'2", 220 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2010: 23

Season line: 64 games, 233 PAs. 45x212 - .212/.280/.264 - 11XBH-17RBI. 65K:18BB

Note: Metroka spent the first three weeks of the season in Lexington. And spent the rest of the season in Greeneville. Again, the Lexington splits aren't included in the following.

vs. LHP (34ABs): .147/.275/.147, 16K:6BB, 0XBH-2RBI
vs. RHP (138ABs): .246/.297/.319, 36K:8BB, 10XBH-13RBI

Home (87ABs): .264/.304/.345, 27K:5BB, 7XBH-10RBI
Away (85ABs): .188/.281/.224, 25K:9BB, 3XBH-5RBI

Bases Empty (51ABs): .196/.255/.431, 13K:4BB, 6XBH-2RBI
Runners on (67ABs): .090/.116/.164, 19K:1BB, 3XBH-5RBI
w/RISP (43ABs): .070/.070/.116, 11K:0BB, 2XBH-3RBI

June (31ABs): .290/.389/.387, 12K:5BB, 3XBH-4RBI
July (72ABs): .194/.237/.222, 23K:4BB, 2XBH-5RBI
August (65ABs): .246/.319/.323, 17K:5BB, 5XBH-6RBI
September (4ABs): .000/.000/.000, 0K:0BB, 0XBH-0RBI

K/PA rate: 37.8%
XBH/H rate: 25.6%
K:BB ratio: 3.61

Metroka didn't commit any errors at Lexington, but committed four - all in his 41 games in RF (with 10 in LF and 2 in CF).

It's hard to know what to think about Metroka. He opened a can last year in Greeneville, hitting .327/.387/.531 in Greeneville last year, but hitting .150/.227/.175 in Lexington early this season got him a return visit to Greeneville, where his OPS dropped off 374 points. His K:BB ratio jumped from 3.36 to 3.61 from 2008 to 2009, as well. I'm not sure where he'll start in 2010 - maybe Tri-City?

Citizen Steve, what say you on Nathan Metroka?
Repeated after struggling at Lexington - can't hit a curve ball.

To the batting cages!

Greeneville Astros: Wilton Infante

Wilton Infante
How did he get here?: Signed contract prior to 2006 season
Stats: 6'1", 175 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2010: 22

Season line: 42 games, 150 PAs. 24x143 - .168/.207/.308 - 11XBH-10RBI. 38K:6BB

Note: Infante played for a week, 7 games worth, in the GCL. We're not taking those into account in the splits, but they have been included in the Season Line.

vs. LHP (24ABs): .125/.192/.125, 5K:2BB, 0XBH-0RBI
vs. RHP (94ABs): .138/.173/.319, 27K:3BB, 9XBH-7RBI

Home (71ABs): .169/.203/.338, 21K:3BB, 6XBH-5RBI
Away (47ABs): .085/.140/.191, 11K:2BB, 3XBH-2RBI

Bases Empty (51ABs): .196/.255/.431, 13K:4BB, 6XBH-2RBI
Runners on (67ABs): .090/.116/.164, 19K:1BB, 3XBH-5RBI
w/RISP (43ABs): .070/.070/.116, 11K:0BB, 2XBH-3RBI

July (22ABs): .045/.045/.045, 8K:0BB, 0XBH-0RBI
August (96ABs): .156/.206/.333, 24K:5BB, 9XBH-7RBI

K/PA rate: 25.8%
XBH/H rate: 56.3%
K:BB ratio: 6.33

Infante spend 35 of his 36 games in the field in the outfield: 24 in RF, 6 in LF, and 5 in RF. He made four errors in 64 chances for a .938 Fld%.

He didn't hit the ball often, but when he did, he hit it hard. It's quite amazing. After working this up for all of the GCL Astros and half of the Greeneville Astros, I haven't seen anyone with as high a XBH/H rate as Infante.

Citizen Steve, what say you on Wilton Infante?
Last chance. Look for him to be released before or during Spring Training.

That's not exactly encouraging, but this is his second go-around in the App League, and last year he hit .185/.265/.196. So his OPS improved from .460 to .514. But...his highest OPS in his four-year career in the Astros organization was in 2007, when it was .768 in his second tour of the Dominican Summer League.

Astros getting Bullpen Plans A/B/C in place

McTaggart posts some info on the Astros' plan for the bullpen, noting that he would like to re-sign both Valverde and LaHawk:

"The back end of the bullpen is an issue that has to be dealt with."

Well, that's not very helpful, and McTaggart notes:
Considering Houston's payroll is going to shrink next year, retaining both could be a challenge in tough economic times.


"Whether being able to retain Valverde or do something in free agency or make a trade or take a younger guy and try to push him to the back end of the bullpen, we have to be open-minded."

So I guess it's like this:
Plan A - Re-sign Valverde and LaHawk
Plan B - Make a trade
Plan C - Convert one of the existing relievers (Jeff Fulchino? Alberto Arias?) and make him the 8th inning/9th inning guy.

More GIDP fun

Yesterday's post spawned some more curiosity, so let's take us a gander at the rate of GIDPs per batted ball. If batted ball is defined as (AB - K) + SAC, then following this formula, Tejada had (635 ABs - 48K) + 8 SAC = (635 - 48) + 8 = 595 batted balls. We already know that Tejada grounded into 29 double plays. This is a rate of 20.517 batted balls per GIDP (46th. Meaning there were 45 players who GIDPed at a better rate of Batted Balls than Tejada). Who GIDPed more often than Tejada (per batted ball)?

Oh, in order to be on this list, a player had to have grounded into at least five double plays (with at least 100 batted balls)

Name (Team)Batted BallsGIDPBB per GIDP
Kearns (WAS)1231210.250
Soto (CHC)2591913.632
Hall (MIL)1431014.300
Redmond (MIN)116814.500
Quintero (HOU)116814.500
Jaramillo (PIT)1741115.818
Lowell (BOS)3892416.208
Helms (FLA)1641016.400
Molina (StL)4492716.630
Longoria (TB)4512716.704
Pudge (HOU/TEX)3372016.850
Kouzmanoff (SD)4292517.160
Romero (ARI)122717.429
Guillen (KC)2321317.846
Young (MIN)3081718.118
Johnson (SEA)2021118.364
Molina (ARI)112618.667
Kapler (TB)170918.889
Baldelli (BOS)114619.000
Pence (HOU)4792519.160
Gonzalez (SD)4482319.478
Doumit (PIT)2341219.500
Hill (CHC)178919.778
Beltre (SEA)3771919.842
Aurilia (SF)101520.200
Millar (TOR)2021020.200
Young (PIT)2661320.462
Diaz (ATL)2871420.500
Guerrero (LAA)3281620.500
Tejada (HOU)5952920.517

Lance Berkman posted a 28.846 BB/GIDP rate. Other players with a better GIDP/BB ratio than Tejada who also had 500+ batted balls were: Jose Lopez (22.160), Albert Pujols (22.261), Ryan Zimmerman (22.727), Miguel Cabrera (22.955), Brandon Phillips (24.714), and Carlos Lee (26.524).


Brocail "would love to play"

Buster Olney's blog post this morning has a lot of information, but most relevant to us is that of his bit on Doug Brocail.

Long-time reliever Doug Brocail has had quite a life journey, through 15 seasons in the majors and a life-threatening heart procedure and a couple of Tommy John surgeries -- and now his journey has him out on hunting trips with his wife and five daughters; all of his kids are avid hunters. Madison, his 15-year-old daughter, recently took down a 13-pointer in Texas.

It's unclear, however, whether Brocail will pitch again, whether teams will take another shot with him. "Would I love to play? Absolutely," said Brocail, who figures to stay in baseball in one way or another.

13-pointer? What is this, NBA Jam?

Greeneville Astros: Ryan Humphrey

Ryan Humphrey
How did he get here?: Drafted in 15th Round (2009)
Stats: 6'0", 190 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2010: 21

Season line: 40 games, 143 PAs. 28x128 - .219/.301/.281 - 7XBH-6RBI. 48K:14BB

vs. LHP (29ABs): .207/.381/.207, 11K:2BB, 0XBH-0RBI
vs. RHP (99ABs): .222/.306/.303, 37K:12BB, 7XBH-6RBI

Home (68ABs): .250/.329/.294, 24K:8BB, 3XBH-2RBI
Away (60ABs): .183/.269/.267, 24K:6BB, 4XBH-4RBI

Bases Empty (74ABs): .216/.293/.270, 30K:8BB, 4XBH-0RBI
Runners on (54ABs): .222/.311/.296, 18K:6BB, 3XBH-6RBI
w/RISP (35ABs): .171/.256/.257, 13K:4BB, 2XBH-5RBI

June (29ABs): .310/.375/.379, 8K:3BB, 1XBH-3RBI
July (43ABs): .163/.217/.209, 17K:3BB, 2XBH-1RBI
August (52ABs): .231/.344/.308, 22K:8BB, 4XBH-2RBI
September (4ABs): .000/.000/.000, 1K:0BB, 0XBH-0RBI

K/PA rate: 33.6%
XBH/H rate: 25%
K:BB ratio: 3.43

Humphrey spent all of his fielding time in the outfield - 30 games in LF and 12 in CF, committing four errors in 74 chances for a .946 Fld%, with one outfield assist.

This wasn't a pretty season by any means, but a rough July tanked Humphrey's numbers (going 7x43 with 17Ks). Still, that K:BB ratio is going to need to get better.

Citizen Steve, what say you on Ryan Humphrey?
Solid fielder but not much with the bat. Good athlete but not remarkable.

Let's hope for a good off-season/2010 for Ryan.

Astros finally get some love on a free agent list

Captip to The Crawfish Boxes for getting to this one first. SI's Ben Reiter ranks his Top 50 free agents, with a prediction as to where they'll end up.

Of note for Astros fans:

Jose Valverde: Phillies
Miguel Tejada: A's

#23 - Justin Duchscherer: Astros
A versatile pitcher who made the All-Star Game as a reliever in '05 and a starter in '08, Duchscherer did not play at all last season due to right elbow surgery, and then underwent treatment for clinical depression. But he went 10-8 with a 2.54 ERA in 2008, and those numbers will look inviting indeed to a number of pitching-starved teams out there, such as the Astros.

#40 - Fernando Rodney: Astros
Despite his inordinately high ERA and WHIP, Rodney somehow managed to convert 37 of his 38 save opportunities in '09. He appears to pitch better with a save on the line. The Astros, who will likely lose Jose Valverde, will need a closer, and Rodney's stuff should play better in the NL than in the AL.

What say you, Crawfish Boxes?

I like Duchscherer and agree that he would be a good fit here in Houston. He would come at a discounted rate based on his missed 2009 season, and doesn't walk a ton of batters, nor give up an inordinate amount of fly balls. His last name would be fun to say on a consistent basis, as well.

Absolutely true. Duke-Shur. Repeat. Duke-Shur.

Arbitration dates

Just a reminder about some of the key arbitration dates this off-season:

December 12: Deadline for teams to offer arbitration or to decline to tender a contract to eligible players
Jan 5-15: If player is tendered a contract, he can file within these dates
Jan 19: Players and clubs submit contract offers
Feb 1-21: If no agreement is reached, the case goes to a panel of three judges.

It's noted that owners have won 57% of arbitration cases since 1974 (280 of 487 cases).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Greeneville Astros: Grant Hogue

Trying to bang these out as quick as I can. Next up? Grant Hogue

Grant Hogue
How did he get here?: Drafted in 35th Round (2009)
Stats: 6'1", 190 lbs, Bats: Switch Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2010: 23

Season line: 53 games, 206 PAs. 50x176 - .284/.365/.392 - 13XBH-14RBI. 32K:16BB

vs. LHP (31ABs): .226/.324/.258, 3K:3BB, 1XBH-2RBI, 4SB/1CS
vs. RHP (145ABs): .297/.374/.421, 29K:13BB, 4XBH-12RBI, 13SB/4CS

Home (87ABs): .287/.386/.391, 20K:9BB, 7XBH-5RBI
Away (89ABs): .281/.343/.393, 12K:7BB, 6XBH-9RBI

Bases Empty (104ABs): .308/.400/.423, 17K:12BB, 7XBH-1RBI
Runners on (72ABs): .250/.313/.347, 15K:4BB, 6XBH-13RBI, 17SB/5CS
w/RISP (37ABs): .270/.317/.378, 8K:1BB, 3XBH-13RBI, 5SB/0CS

June (4ABs): .500/.750/.500, 0K:2BB, 0XBH-2RBI
July (79ABs): .304/.385/.392, 15K:7BB, 6XBH-8RBI, 10SB/2CS
August (91ABs): .253/.313/.385, 17K:6BB, 7XBH-4RBI, 6SB/3CS
September (2ABs): .500/.750/.500, 0K:1BB, 0XBH-0RBI, 1SB/0CS

K/PA rate: 15.5%
XBH/H rate: 26%
K:BB ratio: 2.00

Hogue played all 53 of his games in center field, making four errors in 102 chances for a .961 Fld%, and also had two outfield assists. Hogue clearly has some wheels (he stole 54 bases in two seasons at Mississippi State), so getting the read on those balls should come along as he progresses.

Looking at his splits, Hogue did well against RHPs and obviously struggled against LHPs. July was his best month, posting a .777 OPS, and then dropping off in August - likely due to a long season at Mississippi State and then his first professional season.

Citizen Steve, what say you on Grant Hogue?
My favorite player on the team this year. Old for the league, he should have been in the leadoff position more. Very, very fast player. He injured his shoulder in college and slid in draft as a result - should have been drafted higher. How highly do the Astros think of him? How often do 35th Round college seniors get invited to the Instructional League? Scrappy player, with good baseball smarts (he once took second on a bloop hit when he saw the outfielder was going to throw to the cutoff man, instead of to second). It will be interesting to see him in Lexington next year.

Greeneville Astros: Oscar Figueroa

Next up is infielder Oscar Figueroa. What's that you say? I know. I said we'd cover players with the higher-level team with which they played. However, Figueroa got 7ABs with Tri-City, from September 3-6. we are.

Oscar Figueroa
How did he get here?: Signed contract prior to 2006 season
Stats: 5'11", 154 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2010: 22

Season line: 42 games, 149 PAs. 26x137 - .190/.236/.248 - 6XBH-14RBI. 21K:9BB

However, because Minor League Baseball only keeps the stats from the current team, we don't get a real good look at young Oscar Figueroa. So we'll have to do what we can.

K/PA rate: 14.1%
XBH/H rate: 23.1%
K:BB ratio: 2.33

This was Figueroa's first season in the States, after spending three seasons in the Venezuelan Summer League. So let's look at his three seasons under the above stats:

K/PA rate: 8.5%
XBH/H rate: 31.7%
K:BB ratio: 0.71

K/PA rate: 15.1%
XBH/H rate: 39.1%
K:BB ratio: 1.86

K/PA rate: 17.8%
XBH/H rate: 25%
K:BB ratio: 1.9

Based on his previous three years in the VSL, Figueroa's K/PA rate improved, as did his K:BB ratio. So adjusting doesn't seem to be an issue for Figueroa, he'll just need more time. Problem is, if he needs three years to master a level, he'll be approximately 61 years old when he's Major-League ready. And unless he's Satchel Paige, that ain't gonna cut it.

In the field, Figueroa played 19 games at 1B (5 errors in 170 chances, .971 Fld%), 13 games at SS (5 errors in 52 chances, .904 Fld%), 6 games at 2B (0 errors in 23 chances, 1.000 Fld%), and 1 game at 3B (1 error in 3 chances, .667 Fld%). Problem is, Aaron Bray kind of dominated at 1B, and the Astros drafted this Mier guy with their 1st Round pick who plays a pretty mean shortstop.

Citizen Steve, what say you on Oscar Figueroa?
Fan Favorite. A shortstop who played 1st and contributed to the high error rate among Mier & Meyer (IMO). Was expecting more from him based on Venezuelan stats, but turns out to be a roster filler.

Breaking news: Payroll will be less than 2009

Brian McTaggart checks in with Ed Wade, who says that payroll will shrink from last year. He didn't say to what level, but that it would be substantial enough that Valverde and Tejada will go elsewhere:

"I'm not going to get into that level of detail. It was under where it was a year ago. Our desire is to work a number of younger players into our mix and we have every intention of doing that. That will have an impact on the final number."

That sound you hear? That's Chris Johnson clicking his heels.

Tejada's GIDPs

Tejada has been much-maligned in the past few days based on the number of times he has grounded into a double play. In an earlier post, it was pointed out that Tejada has led the NL in GIDPs in each of the last two years with 32 in 2008 and 29 in 2009.

Citizen Ryan pointed out, however:
I'm not saying Tejada is worth 8 figures by any means, but I just have to laugh when people say he shouldn't get money because he grounds into double plays. He grounds into double plays because he doesn't strike out much. It's a trade off. I'm sure for every rally-killing double play ball he's had, he's had a simple 6-3 to score a run because he didn't strike out. How hard is this to figure out?

So let's take a gander at Tejada's GIDPs from 2009.
April: 3
May: 3
June: 7
July: 4
August: 6
Sept/Oct: 6

1st-3rd Inn: 13
4th-6th Inn: 10
7th-End Inn: 6

When HOU was losing: 16
When HOU was leading: 5
When game was tied: 8

To end the inning: 16
w/RISP: 9
when GIDP scored a run, anyway: 0

So. What can we gather from this? 23 of his 29 GIDPs came in the 1st-6th innings, and 24 of them occurred when the game was either tied or Houston was losing. I only saw one instance in which Tejada represented the winning run at the plate in the 9th, and GIDPed to end the game. In four instances, Tejada GIDPed 2+ times (2 GIDPs three times, and 3 GIDPs once).

In nine instances, there were runners in scoring position when Tejada GIDPed, and the run didn't score in all nine cases. And looking at this, there was obviously someone on 1st base when Tejada GIDPed, and in nine instances there was at least one runner in scoring position. Once was there someone on 2nd and 3rd. So that's 39 (give or take a baserunner here and there. Screw it, let's call it 40) baserunners that Tejada took off the basepath. Given that he hit in front of Berkman and Lee most of the year, how many of them can reasonably be expected to score? All 40? Probably not. So let's say that Tejada cost the Astros 20 runs (it's arbitrary, I know) with the GIDPs. That would put the Astros at 663 runs scored, to 743 against, which would put the Pythagorean W-L at 76-86, or two games better than their final record.

It should be noted that this is so subjective, it's borderline absurd. It's hard to quantify how many games were lost because of this. Tejada ended the inning 16 times, meaning there were 0 outs when he GIDPed in 13 cases. What happens if he just strikes out? Or if he pops out? Would Berkman drive him in? Would Lee? No way to know.

Obviously, Tejada represented quite a few outs because of his bat, but as Ryan pointed out, he only struck out 48 times in 673 PAs. That's one K per 13.2 ABs, and was the best in the National League (and 3rd-best in the Majors). So did he GIDP? Hell, and yes, he did. Is Ryan correct? I believe so...

If you're looking for help with your gambling picks, don't use Doc's

That's actually probably a good rule to live by: Don't ever, under any circumstances, use any business named "Doc's." That said, Doc's enjoyed some good luck on Sunday, despite an improbable pairing.

Underdogs went 2-10 – and that was more than enough to make us smile. We’re hopeful that Week 10 will be just as sweet. But enough about us, how did you do with your NFL picks?

Our players chose one underdog correctly: the Houston Astros over the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have now failed to cover their last two spreads after rattling off five straight wins against the number.

I always knew that Valverde's fist pump would throw off Manning.

Astros may have themselves a late-inning reliever in Englebrook

Baseball America's Ben Badler has some love for Even Englebrook:

Astros 27-year-old righthand reliever Evan Englebrook is older than most prospects in the AFL, but he’s also one of the league’s hardest throwers. Englebrook, who pitches exclusively out of the stretch, threw 94-96 mph yesterday for the Saguaros, creating extreme downhill angle from a high three-quarters arm slot out of a 6-foot-8, 225-pound frame.

“With that kind of height and that angle, and with that kind of power arm, everything he throws is hard,”
(Saguaros Manager David) Bell said. “I think he definitely has a future. I see him as a late-inning reliever."

Phillies' interest in Tejada continues

Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer has an update on the Phillies' search for a third baseman (Remember there was reported interest back on Nov 9):

People who have spoken about the subject with the Phillies general manager believe his wish list is headed, in some order, by Placido Polanco, Mark DeRosa, and Adrian Beltre. All are free agents...

...Amaro has met or spoken by telephone with the agents for a number of free-agent third basemen. In addition to Polanco, DeRosa and Beltre, the crop includes Chone Figgins and Miguel Tejada. All interest the Phillies.

Polanco already screwed up in Philly once (Ed Wade traded him in June 05 for Ramon Martinez and Ugueth Urbina. Hm.) Beltre is a Boras guy, and may be priced out of their range, even though he is coming off surgery. Maybe Boras will tell Amaro that Beltre is immune to deconstruction. Figgins is awfully high-priced, as well. So, that may leave DeRosa and Tejada.

Let's hope Ed Wade reads the NY Daily News

The NY Daily News' Jesse Spector advises the Astros on an arbitration matter:

Leading the National League in doubles does not warrant an eight-figure salary, as Tejada is a shell of the player who drove in 150 runs in his first season with the Orioles at the beginning of his ill-fated six-year, $72 million contract. Over the course of that deal, he grounded into a ridiculous 161 double plays, leading his league four times (including each of the last two years in Houston), and while he had his best season since 2006, Tejada is 35 years old with declining power, worsening fielding ability (most hot stove chatter has teams interested in him as a third baseman, not a shortstop) and a checkered PED past.

Jason Castro, by Jason Grey

ESPN Insider Jason Grey has a reflection on Jason Castro, regarding his 2009 season:

The 10th overall pick in the 2008 draft is starting to tap into his above-average power potential, hitting .300 and slugging .446 in a year split between high Class A and Double-A, and he should be getting regular playing time in Houston as early as 2011.

2011?! Doesn't he know we need him in, like, February?

A half-hearted defense of Carlos Lee's...defense

The earlier link to Michael Bourn's Hardball Times page showing what a lights-out defender he was got me to looking around, specifically at Carlos Lee's defense, to see if the Mets official was correct in how atrocious Lee is in left field.

Some stats for you:
Six NL LFs played 1000 innings in their position: Ryan Braun, Chris Coghlan, Raul Ibanez, Garret Anderson, Alfonso Soriano, and Carlos Lee. Let's compare, shall we? (Note: this is organized from ascending innings played).

First, some definitions:
PO = Putouts
Ass = (heh) Assists
TE = Throwing Errors
FE = Fielding Errors
Fld% = Fielding Percentage
DPS = Double Plays Started
BIZ = Balls in Zone
RZR = Revised Zone Rating, the proportion of balls hit into a fielder's zone that he successfully converted into an out
OOZ = Number of plays made outside of a fielder's zone


Now, you can make a strong case that, if you're going to have a defensive liability in left field, it might as well be at Minute Maid Park, where you can throw the ball from home plate to the Crawford Boxes. So there are some major park factors at work here. But Lee wasn't last in any of these categories, except for one that really does matter, RZR. But even in that case, he was only slightly worse than Alfonso Soriano (speaking of oppressive, soul-crushing contracts...) Lee's nine outfield assists tied him with Ibanez for the NL lead among left fielders (again, possibly because of how short LF is at MMP).

Lee also made 51 outs outside of his zone, which is second only to Braun in the NL, though it ties him with Nyjer Morgan, who played in less than half the number of innings Lee played. So is Lee's defense bad? Well, he's slow, and he's a chub. But so am I. But it will take me approximately 2,439,024 years to make $100 million*. So yes, his fielding is bad. But he's only barely worse than another LF in the NL Central with a huge, unmoveable contract.

* - This is something I really regret figuring out. Now I'm depressed.

Wanna take a shot? Take it, then.

The Hard Math Post of the Day

Captip to The Crawfish Boxes for the link to The Hardball Times' OF fielding statistics.

Of note is Bourn's 113 out-of-zone outs.

TCB says:
It's that final number that I think demonstrates how great defensively Bourn is. It can't be easy playing CF in a park like MMP and covering for one of the worst LFers in MLB. Remarkably, Bourn does it, and does it well.

Bourn credits Cruz

JJO lives! And his first words in a couple of weeks take up the cause of Jose Cruz, natch.

The Gold Glove-winning outfielder had some nice things to say about 1st Base/Outfielders coach, and now Community Relations guy, Jose Cruz:

“He knew how to coach us because he played the game. That was the best attribute that he has.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Projecting Pence's arbitration

As you well know, Hunter Pence is eligible for arbitration for the first time, coming in with enough service time in his rookie year that he gets an extra year of arbitration. (Michael Bourn is arbitration-eligible for the first time, as well, but we'll take a look at him later. So let's take a look at arbitration-eligible players from last off-season, who were either Super Twos or had accumulated less than 3 years and 100 days of service time. (* = Super Two)

Jeff Francoeur, Atlanta: $3.375m
Nick Markakis, Baltimore: Signed 6-year/$66.1m prior to arbitration hearing
Luke Scott, Baltimore: $2.4m*
Jeremy Hermida, Florida: $2.25m
Cody Ross, Florida: $2.25m
Andre Ethier, Los Angeles: $3.1m*
Corey Hart, Milwaukee: $3.25m
Angel Pagan, New York Mets: $525,000*
Jeremy Reed, New York Mets: $925,000
Melky Cabrera, New York Yankess: $1.4m*
Jack Cust, Oakland: $2.8m
Shane Victorino, Philadelphia: $3.125m
Nate McLouth, Pittsburgh: Signed 3-year/$15.75m PTH
Chris Duncan, St. Louis: $825,000*

Okay, so this is a list of 14 first-time arbitration-eligible players from the 2008 offseason. Five of them were Super Two players. Of those Super Two players who signed one-year contracts, the average salary was $1.65 million. This is brought down by the contracts of Angel Pagan and Chris Duncan, but it is what it is. Where would Hunter Pence fit in here?

Interestingly enough Baseball-Reference says that Pence and LA's Andre Ethier are quite similar. Is that true? Pence will be 26 on Opening Day 2010 (April 13 birthday) and has a career line of .289/.340/.488, and was an All-Star in 2009.

Andre Ethier was 26 on Opening Day 2009 (April 10 birthday) and had a career line of .299/.410/.482 through his first three seasons. For all intents and purposes, Pence is better defensively (looking at RF/G, and of course, has that All-Star nod.

Of course there's a possibility that the Astros will offer Pence a multi-year deal (a la McLouth), but it would probably need to exceed what Pence would make in three years of arbitration. So if we're going the one-year route, and Andre Ethier signed a 1-year, $3.1m deal (the highest of one-year contracts for Super Two players) last off-season as a Super Two, I would imagine that's the low end figure that Pence will be looking for next month.

Rule 5 Eligible Players

Over at Farmstros they have a list of the players who are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft in December.

Players in all caps are eligible for the 1st time. If the player is on the 40-man roster, they may be eligible, but I've taken them off the list.

WANDER ALVINO, RHP (Tri-City in 2009)
Brandon Barnes, OF (Lexington/Lancaster/Corpus Christi)
Chris Blazek, LHP (Disabled)
Steve Brown, OF (Lexington/Lancaster)
KOBY CLEMENS, IF/OF (Lancaster/Corpus Christi)
DAYAN DIAZ, RHP (Disabled)
Jose Duran, RHP (Lancaster)
Mitch Einertson, OF (Corpus Christi)
Evan Englebrook, RHP (Corpus Christi)
Oscar Figueroa, IF (Tri-City)
Josh Flores, OF (Disabled)
Pedro Gonzalez, C (Lexington)
CASEY HUDSPETH, RHP (Lancaster/Corpus Christi)
Drew Locke, OF (Corpus Christi)
Tyler Lumsden, LHP (Corpus Christ/Round Rock)
NICK MORESI, OF (Lancaster/Corpus Christi)
Mark Ori, IF (Corpus Christi)
SERGIO PEREZ, RHP (Corpus Christi)
Reinaldo Pestana, C (Lexington)
EBERT ROSARIO, IF (Lexington/Lancaster)
Renzo Tello, OF (Tri-City)
JIMMY VAN OSTRAND, 1B/OF (Corpus Christi)

Reactions from Bourn

Alyson Footer has a series of tweets with quotes from Michael Bourn's press conference:

"I've always been proud of my defense. It's something I like to do. I like to work on my all around game, work on it all, because it's a total package to do what you can do on the field. In the Dominican (Winter League, in 2008), I tried to work on my defense as well as offense. It worked better over there, the ground's rough and there are tougher bounces. When you get to a regular field it made it a little easier. Everybody knows in baseball you have to show a little offense to get a Gold Glove. We know it doesn't have to do with offense, but that's what it is in baseball. You have to roll with the punches."

Footer also points out that the first Astro Bourn heard from was Darin Erstad, as well as receiving congratulatory calls from Matt Kemp, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins.

And the awards keep rolling in for Bourn

Alyson Footer is tweeting that Bourn has been given the Cool Papa Bell Award by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum as the NL leader in Stolen Bases. He'll be honored in Kansas City on January 30 at the 10th Annual Legacy Awards ceremony.

Ringolsby: Phillies are lucky Garner ain't around

Tracy Ringolsby's new column says the Phillies will be better next year, just because Brad Lidge will be better.

And there is every reason to believe that Lidge can rebound.

He has done it before. Struggling in Houston, where the inconsistency of manager Phil Garner's use of Lidge was as big a factor as Lidge's own inconsistency, Lidge was given a fresh start with the Phillies a year ago and responded with a summer of perfection. He converted all 48 save opportunities in 2008 — including seven in the postseason...

...A winter to rehab will allow Lidge to be healthy in 2010. Lidge is scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday to remove loose bodies from his right elbow and also have his right flexor tendon evaluated. More than the elbow ailment, however, scouts are convinced Lidge's season-long struggles dealt more with a right knee problem....

Now, he has an offseason to get his mechanics back in order.


Joel Sherman had an idea, and then he didn't

The Mets need someone who can hit. The Astros need some payroll flexibility. Carlos Lee will take up $55.5 million in payroll through the end of his contract. See a connection?

Well, don't.

Wade put the kibosh on this theory by saying, “He is going to be our left fielder. He has a complete no-trade clause and he has made it very, very clear that he does not want to go anywhere.”

As if this option needed to be shot down any more, I ran it by a Mets official who said Lee has become such an atrocious left fielder that he would be too much of a nightmare defensively even with his power.

Seems to me that, in order to be "very, very clear," one would have to be asked, and asked, if they would waive said no-trade clause.

Bourn wins Gold Glove

Michael Bourn's Radiohead-esque 2009 season continues as Brian McTaggart is telling us that he has won a Gold Glove award. Congratulations to Bourn.

He's the first Astro to win a Gold Glove since Ausmus in 2006, and is the second Astro outfielder to win in franchise history (Cesar Cedeno).

Ed Wade:
"It comes as no surprise. It's a tremendous honor for Michael and well-deserved. He makes center field seem awfully small when he's out there, and I don't think you really appreciate what he does defensively until you see somebody else out there and realize how big our ballpark and other ballparks are. He covers a tremendous amount of ground, is a great athlete and has great instincts and never takes anything for granted. We're fortunate to have him, and I'm happy that his peers have recognized him for what I assume will be many Gold Gloves...

..."Those guys that worked with him on the developmental side deserve a lot of credit, and the work he's done in our organization with [coaches Jose Cruz] and [Dave] Clark and anyone else that did work with him, deserves a lot of credit. It's about the guy, and this guy happens to be an exceptional defensive center fielder.""

And Rob Neyer chimes in:
Everyone doesn't love Michael Bourn, but I rated him as the best center fielder in the National League. He's never won a Gold Glove and it would have been easy for the voters to ignore a weak-hitting kid playing for the Astros. But they didn't. Bravo, again.

Weak hitting?!

Daniel Gibson is a bigger Astros fan than all of us. Combined.

You know what that is? That's Cavs' guard Daniel Gibson. And that on his head?

"I always do different designs," said Gibson, who got the Texas outline shaved onto his head Tuesday in Cleveland shortly before the team flew to Orlando. "It's just something I like doing... I always try to do something different to bring some fun and excitement to the game. Everybody loves it. They say it's the best one.

"Everybody loves Texas."


Bourn named MVP

How do you win the team's MVP award? Look like hell one year, making everyone question whether or not you should be able to even own a bat, much less swing one, and then turn it on in the second year. This is known as Radiohead Syndrome, in which the jump from first effort ("Pablo Honey") to second effort ("The Bends") makes one wonder if you sold your soul to the devil in between.

Regardless, I think everyone is happy with the progression Bourn showed in 2009, and that was rewarded with being officially named Team MVP by the Houston Chapter of the BBWAA.

Bourn is the first center-fielder to win this honor since...Lance Berkman did it in 2002, and is the fourth CF in franchise history to be Team MVP. Cesar Cedeno and Jimmy Wynn are your other two.

Tal Smith, last September:
"I think he's clearly the best center fielder we've had defensively in a long, long time. Cedeno was really something, but Michael has been absolutely outstanding. He's everything we had hoped for and more. I think he responded quickly in what is really his second full season in the Major Leagues."

Other awards:
-Wandy Rodriguez won the team's Pitcher of the Year
-Jeff Fulchino is your team's Rookie of the Year
-Brian Moehler won the Darryl Kile Good Guy Award
-Lance Berkman won the Russell Achievement Award (?)
-Adam Dunn won the Houston-area Major League Player of the Year award

Gold Gloves to be announced today

The annual moaning begins for the National League today as the Gold Glove Awards will be announced. Whom among the Astros could win?'s Doug Miller tells us that:

Kaz Matsui with a .991 fielding percentage, six errors and 5.0 RF could be a darkhorse, although his UZR (-1.7) hurts his cause.

Or Michael Bourn, with his 8.6 UZR, or Hunter Pence, with his NL-best 16 assists could be rewarded today.

Or the voters will just give it to the guys who won last year. Look for Greg Maddux to win his 43rd Gold Glove award today.

Find yourself in the Chicago area? Go hear Jake Goebbert

2009 13th Round draft pick Jake Goebbert will be speaking in Chicago this Sunday:

Speaking of HHS speakers, 2006 Hampshire High grad and future Major League Baseball star Jake Goebbert will be back in the area Sunday to give a talk about "The Role of Faith in Sports" at Cornerstone Church, on Russell Road just east of Muirhead Road in Plato Center. He will speak at both of the church's services, at 8:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

The son of the folks who run Goebbert's Pumpkin Patch, Goebbert attended college before being drafted by the Houston Astros in the 13th round of the 2009 major league draft. Last summer, he played Single A ball for the Astros' Tri-City Valley Cats in Troy, N.Y.

Wanted: Funny Jumbotron Stories

Now that AC's readership is expanding somewhat, I want to start some reader-submission entries. First up? I want your funniest Jumbotron stories. Since this is an Astros blog, let's see if we can't keep it to Minute Maid Park, or at another park when the Astros were on the road, or any minor-league affiliates with a Jumbotron. I'll start.

A couple of years ago, a friend of a friend hooked The Constabless and myself up with 2nd row seats, off the Astros' dugout. The guy next to me sits down with his significant other, and is sweating profusely. I'm a chatty guy, so I try talking to him, but he's obviously very fidgety and nervous, and is only capable of answering in one-syllable responses, or with a grunt. I write him off as a recovering drug addict and turn my attention elsewhere.

Then in one of the middle innings, after the Astros do their Kiss Cam thing, there's a "(Name), Will You Marry Me?" And I look at the guy on the Jumbotron, and figure out why he was so nervous. Yes, he was proposing to his lady.

Not content to just let him have his moment, I, then a 27-year old man, completely flipped my crap and leaned over to get in the shot. I wagged my tongue, banged my head, even gyrated a little bit. At one point, as the lady was saying yes, and The Constabless was hitting me, the new fiancee looked at me and shook her head, giving pause to the guy proposing.

I felt, and still feel, terrible. I was on the Jumbotron for so long that a buddy I hadn't seen in eight years came down from his seat in the third deck and said, "I knew that was you!"

Awful. Shameful.

That's what I'm looking for. Send an email to with your awful, shameful, hilarious Jumbotron stories.

Closing the book on Lackey

So given that there's a better chance at Cecil Cooper becoming the team's ombudsman than the Astros' signing John Lackey, all John Lackey rumors are hereby closed. Unless someone links him to the Astros.

HumandChuck's thoughts on Arnsberg

So now that some time has passed, and some perspective has been granted, I thought it would be a good time to go back and see what Blue Jays fans thought about losing Brad Arnsberg to the Astros. As mentioned before, Astros County is a part of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, as is the Blue Jays blog Hum and Chuck. So, Joanna, now how do you feel about losing Arnsberg?

Arnie, as he is known, is insanely popular with most pitchers. One of the reasons he was originally hired by JP Riccardi was because Arnie had a very personal relationship with AJ Burnett from his Marlins days and JP wanted AJ. To the point of obsession.

Arnie was more or less used as a lure to get AJ in a Jays uni. They tried to do the same thing with Matt Clement the year before, when he was still a decent pitcher, and apparently that was a consideration for Clement before he ultimately chose Boston.

I'm not sure you know all that much about Jays pitching, but the last five seasons or so, our pitching, when healthy, has been downright filthy.

A healthy Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett, Dustin McGowan, Shaun Marcum is more than enough to get any team outside the AL East deep into the playoffs. How much of that was Arnsberg, I dunno, but AJ Burnett did say his time in Toronto (under Doc and Arnsberg) changed him as a pitcher. That's nice, I guess. But he looks more or less the same pitcher in pinstripes. Except he's richer. And more obnoxious. Post game cream pies were stolen flat out from the Jays. So he should be writing a cheque every time he pies Jeter or CC or ARod.

We also had a great bullpen, anchored by BJ Ryan, Scott Downs and Jason Frasor. Again, I don't know how much of that is Arnsberg.

He, for sure, took Ricky Romero under his wing this season, and Romero posted very decent numbers in his rookie season.

One season, the Jays the first team in 50 years to have the best ERA in baseball from both their starters and relievers in the same season. Our hitting was for shit, so it didn't do us much good, but it's nice anyway.

Now, for the down sides. He and Ted Lilly used to butt heads. A Jays starting 3 of Doc, AJ and Lilly was what Joe Torre answered while still in New York about which team he wouldn't want to face in the playoffs. Arnsberg publicly said that Lilly was uncoachable. They apparently had a disagreement over Lilly's position on the rubber. Lilly was a quiet dude, but apparently very stubborn. So that might be all Lilly.

And now for the thing that concerns me about Arnsberg. I probably don't pay enough attention to other teams, but there seemed to be an excessive amount of guys going under the knife and being generally injured. And not old, broken down guys. But I'm talking about kids. Off the top of my head, Shawn Marcum, BJ Ryan and Jesse Litsch had TJ under Arnsberg's watch. Dustin McGowan, who is insanely talented, has been injury plagued. He is diabetic, which contributes to his frailty. Ryan was released from the Jays this season after coming back from TJ as a shadow of his former self.

All of this might just be coincidence or just the guys, but it might also be conditioning. I can't find the data to back it up, but it seems a lot of guys were injured under his watch on the Marlins. I know for sure AJ had his Tommy John surgery in that time. So again, young guy breaking down.

So maybe you should expect a lot of brilliant pitching when/if the dudes are healthy.

He seems a very affable guy and Roy Halladay really likes him. And if you know anything about Roy Halladay, you would understand what a compliment that is.

Read more of Joanna's work at Hum and Chuck.

Greeneville Astros - Aaron Bray

Next up is Astros County's adopted player, and loyal columnist, Aaron Bray. Read all your Aaron Bray content here.

Aaron Bray
How did he get here?: Drafted, 27th Round (2009 draft)
Stats: 6'0", 180 lbs, Bats: Left Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2010: 22

Season line: 48 games, 189 PAs. 44x158 - .278/.388/.323 - 6XBH-20RBI. 35K:28BB

vs. LHP (34ABs): .176/.282/.235, 8K:5BB, 2XBH-1RBI
vs. RHP (124ABs): .306/.416/.347, 27K:23BB, 4XBH-19RBI

Home (79ABs): .291/.364/.329, 15K:8BB, 3XBH-10RBI
Away (79ABs): .266/.410/.316, 20K:20BB, 3XBH-10RBI

Bases Empty (81ABs): .284/.420/.309, 19K:19BB, 2XBH-0RBI
Runners on (77ABs): .273/.352/.338, 16K:9BB, 4XBH-20RBI
w/RISP (50ABs): .300/.379/.320, 9K:7BB, 1XBH-17RBI

June (10ABs): .200/.333/.200, 4K:2BB, 0XBH-0RBI
July (52ABs): .288/.406/.442, 10K:11BB, 4XBH-9RBI
August (80ABs): .300/.398/.363, 16K:13BB, 4XBH-9RBI
September (3ABs): .667/.750/.667, 0K:0BB, 0XBH-1RBI

K/PA rate: 18.5%
XBH/H rate: 13.6%
K:BB ratio: 1.25

Thirty-two of Bray's 35 starts in the field were at first base, where he posted a .972 fielding percentage, participating in 19 double plays among 1B, 2B, and 3B. Ten games were spent at DH.

Bray finished the season strong, hitting .405/.488/514 over his last ten games and, unlike many of his rookie counterparts, got better as the season went on, posting season higs in runs, hits, extra-base hits, RBI, BA, OBP, and SLG in August. Left-handed pitching gave him some trouble, but he hit .306/.416/.347 against righties. The K:BB ratio is encouraging, as well.

Citizen Steve, what say you on Aaron Bray?
Team player. Did whatever was asked. Old for the League, and it will be interesting to see what he does in Lexington next year. Needs more pop.

Greeneville Astros - Miguel Arrendell

Miguel Arrendell
How did he get here?: Signed contract prior to 2006 season
Stats: 6'0", 165 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2010: 22

Season line: 46 games, 176 PAs. 32x136 - .235/.394/.368 - 9XBH-14RBI. 37K:35BB

vs. LHP (27ABs): .074/.278/.074, 14K:8BB, 0XBH-2RBI
vs. RHP (109ABs): .275/.424/.440, 23K:27BB, 9XBH-12RBI

Home (63ABs): .286/.452/.524, 19K:19BB, 8XBH-9RBI
Away (73ABs): .192/.341/.233, 18K:16BB, 1XBH-5RBI

Bases Empty (82ABs): .220/.366/.366, 22K:18BB, 6XBH-2RBI
Runners on (54ABs): .259/.432/.370, 15K:17BB, 3XBH-12RBI
w/RISP (35ABs): .343/.479/.514, 9K:10BB, 3XBH-12RBI

June (10ABs): .200/.333/.200, 4K:2BB, 0XBH-0RBI
July (52ABs): .288/.406/.442, 10K:11BB, 4XBH-9RBI
August (74ABs): .203/.394/.338, 23K:22BB, 5XBH-5RBI

K/PA rate: 21.0%
XBH/H rate: 28.1%
K:BB ratio: 1.06

Arrendell spent 16 of 41 starts at DH; 15 at 2B, 8 at SS, and 2 at 3B. While at 2B, Arrendell made three errors in 62 chances for a .952 fielding percentage, just a tick under his career .953 fielding pct at second base - his strongest position, defensively, and the one where his batting average can be excused.

This was Arrendell's fourth season in the Astros' organization, and his first in the States, having spent the previous three seasons in the Dominican Summer League. This includes 15 games as a rookie in 2006 in which he went 2x37 with a line of .054/.205/.054. But the ability to control the strike zone has been his strength throughout his four seasons. In 2008, Arrendell struck out 30 times, and walked 57. His high OBP can be attributed directly to the walk rate. Also down from 08 was his stolen bases. Arrendell stole 20 bases in the DSL, getting caught six times (76.9%). In 2009, that dropped to four stolen bases in eight attempts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ed Wade speaks!

In a brief interview with Brian McTaggart, we learn:

-The GM Meetings are a chance to basically set up the big moves coming next month in Indianapolis

"We've had meetings all day today and also had the opportunity to sit and talk to other clubs, just trying to assess each other's needs and whether there will be future discussions to be had down the road with regard to trades. It's been pretty much routine at this point."

-There is a rough estimate of what the 2010 payroll is, but he's just been so busy.

"We'll have some more internal meetings when we're all in the same city at the same time. With the manager search, the trip to the [Arizona] Fall League and this trip, we've had little chance to sit down and have those discussions. We have a pretty fair idea at this point in time and we'll bring it into greater clarity in the next week or so."

-"Impact" is a subjective adjective.

"The definition of impact player, I struggle with that. We're going to do what we can to try to improve the ballclub. Without playing labels or trying to fit guys into categories, I think if there's an opportunity to do something from a standpoint of free agency or trade, we'll try to make the best decisions."

The Sporting News: Don't even think about Lackey, Houston

Dan Levy drops some reality on us today:

All signs point to New York for John Lackey, who was ostensibly the Angels ace but could be as far down as third in the Yankees rotation if he signs with the World Champs. Other teams have leaked out, including the Angels, Mets, Dodgers, Astros, Orioles, Brewers and Mariners. You can cross at least four teams off that list. Lackey will go to New York or stay in southern California.

Hopes dashed before we even knew to get them up

Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees blog says it's unlikely that Andy will return to Houston in 2010. Not that anyone ever thought that would happen, anyway. Especially after Letterman made fun of it...

Now that Pettitte is a free agent again, a second homecoming seems unlikely.

He goes on to quote Ed Wade:
“We have to be realistic of what our situation is at the moment. Right now we have Oswalt, Wandy, Norris. We picked up Moehler’s option. And we need to give opportunities to Paulino or Bazardo or Lopez. If we can improve our situation, we’ll try to do that, but at this point in time, we’re pretty much focused on the guys that we have right now and we’ll see what’s out there on the edges. We can’t add appreciable payroll. We’ve indicated that publicly, our payroll is going to go in the opposite direction.”

Tejada "makes sense" in Oakland's Mychael Urban thinks Tejada makes sense in Oakland:

Miguel Tejada back in Oakland? Makes sense, right? He can play SS and 3B, two question-mark positions for the short/long term.

It sounds like everybody outside of Houston agrees that Tejada won't be in brick red in 2010.

Brewers, and likely the Rangers, are out on Lackey

I seriously don't expect the Astros to make a push for John Lackey given the size of his impending contract, but it's still worth noting that half of the Texas teams are out of the Lackey sweepstakes.

According to the Dallas-Morning News' Jeff Wilson:
Daniels said the team will explore free agents but not on the upper end of the market. "We're going to explore trade opportunities first," Daniels said.

And one of the dark-horse candidates to land Lackey, Milwaukee, is likely out, as well:
Lackey, Brewers officials believe, would prefer to go to a larger market. The Brewers almost certainly would not make the best offer, and Lackey might only use their proposal to persuade other clubs to bid higher.

Wagner "in demand," says hilariously-named agent

Billy Wagner's agent, Bean Stringfellow (I swear), said this morning (via Smiley Rosenthal):

Six teams have already called to ask about his client.

All of them are interested in Wagner as a closer, Stringfellow said.

"That's what he is -- a closer," Stringfellow added.

Stringfellow declined to say which teams had inquired. But the Tigers, Astros, Rays, Orioles, Braves and Nationals are among the clubs with uncertainty at the back end of their bullpen.

There's your six teams.

Astros could screw LaHawk, and just might do it

Buster Olney's blog post this morning has to do with who's getting screwed (Billy Wagner) and helped (Mark DeRosa) by their Free Agent Type status.

LaHawk's Type A status could be used as leverage by the Astros to re-sign him:
He'll be 37-years-old next month and because he's a Type A free agent, the Astros could wreck his market by offering him arbitration and tying him to draft-pick compensation. Hawkins made $3.5 million last season, and other GMs believe it's a no-brainer for the Astros to offer arbitration to both Hawkins and Jose Valverde, who is also listed as a Type A.

Greeneville Astros: Luis Alvarez

Maybe you've noticed that Team MVP Jose Altuve has been skipped. And you're right, because we're looking at players with the highest level team with which they've played. So now we look at catcher Luis Alvarez:

Luis Alvarez
How did he get here?: Signed contract prior to 2007 season
Stats: 5'11", 198 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2010: 20

Season line: 17 games, 53 PAs. 13x48 - .271/.340/.396 - 4XBH-8RBI. 11K:3BB

vs. LHP (8ABs): .125/.222/.500, 1K:1BB, 1XBH-3RBI
vs. RHP (40ABs): .300/.364/.375, 10K:2BB, 3XBH-5RBI

Home (27ABs): .222/.300/.370, 6K:2BB, 2XBH-6RBI
Away (21ABs): .333/.391/.429, 5K:1BB, 2XBH-2RBI

Bases Empty (20ABs): .227/.348/.250, 3K:2BB, 0XBH-0RBI
Runners on (28ABs): .286/.333/.500, 8K:1BB, 4XBH-8RBI
w/RISP (19ABs): .263/.263/.526, 4K:0BB, 3XBH-8RBI

June (11ABs): .273/.273/.364, 2K:0BB, 1XBH-0RBI
July (37ABs): .270/.357/.405, 9K:3BB, 3XBH-8RBI

K/PA rate: 20.7%
XBH/H rate: 30.8%
K:BB ratio: 3.67

Alvarez allowed six passed balls in 17 games behind the plate, and committed three errors on top of that, so defensively it was a down year for him, and he threw out 25% (6x24) of baserunners. This is also down from 08 in the Venezuelan Summer League, where he threw out 6 of 11 baserunners.

This was Alvarez' third season in the organization, and his first in the States. He traditionally has had a much better K:BB rate (32:32 in 08), but 53PAs just isn't enough to get a good look through the stats. He only played until July 26. Why? That's why we have Citizen Steve. Take it away, Citizen Steve:

Alvarez's season was cut short by injury. But he was impressive, and getting better, behind the plate. The injury happened when he was backing up a play at first, caught a spike, and messed up his knee - I heard it was cartilage damage.

Astros shoot down ridiculous Halladay rumor

Whereas the Canadian Richard Justice (captip to Citizen Kevin for the joke) speculated that the Astros would/could/should be interested in Roy Halladay, the London Free-Press' Bob Elliott shoots it down.

Speaking to "an Astros official":
The Astros? "We have the pitching coach (Brad Arnsberg), but we don't have the dough, don't have prospects."

Thank God. Sanity.

A's a potential suitor for Tejada

The San Francisco Chronicle is saying that Miguel Tejada "makes sense from a roster point of view" in Oakland.

The A's always need right-handed hitters, and unless they sign an infielder who can play SS along with Cliff Pennington, they'll have to promote Gregorio Petit, who didn't hit well in either AAA or the majors last year. Miggy can still outhit anyone they've got in the infield, even at age 35. It's not clear if the steroid issue or anything else from his first tour of duty would preclude a return.

Despite rumored interest from the Phillies, who would want him to play third, and the A's, who apparently are ok with him playing short, I imagine that Houston is still Tejada's first option. Unless Run-DMc and Easy Eddie lowball him. Which is entirely possible. It's still too risky to offer Tejada arbitration, because he just might accept. And under arbitration rules, a player accepting arbitration cannot take more than a 20% pay cut, meaning that Tejada would be making at least $12 million.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Two more free agents file

McTaggart is reporting that Valverde and Brocail have filed for free agency.

Writers can't get enough of the Astros' potential interest in pitchers

The Toronto Star's Richard Griffin says the Blue Jays need to trade Roy Halladay stat, and he lists ten teams who would be a good fit.

First, the criteria for these ten teams:
-See themselves as contenders.
-Showed previous interest in Halladay.
-Have the prospects to put together a package.
-Have the necessary financial resources to strike a long-term deal while they have him.
-Are no longer upset with the Jays' GM since he's new, young and enthusiastic.

Really? The Astros fit here? Griffin's logic:
The Astros hired Doc's pitching coach Brad Arnsberg and have more payroll than you think.


"One AL Assistant GM" thinks Lackey's plane will land in Houston

Jerry Crasnick's Eight Questions for Baseball Executives article talks about your standard, high-priced free agents, like Jason Bay and Matt Holliday. And John Lackey. polled 20 general managers, assistant GMs, personnel people and scouts. And "one AL Assistant GM" says Lackey will end up in Houston, while eight said the Yankees, four said the Mets, three said he'd re-sign with the Angels, while the Dodgers, Astros, Orioles and Brewers received one vote each, and one executive said he has "no idea."

I think this is highly unlikely, as Crasnick's poll puts Lackey's price tag at 3 years/$36 million on the low end and 5 years/$95 million or 6 years/$100 million on the high end. Lackey will use Burnett's 5-year/$82.5 million as a baseline.

However, this AL Assistant GM says Houston is the dark-horse contender:
"They need pitching badly, they have money and they need to win."

Obviously, his first and third points are right on, but his second point? That's up for debate.

However, in another article, Buster Olney says Seattle, Texas, and Milwaukee are the dark-horse contenders. How many dark-horse contenders can there be for one free agent?

And SI's Jon Heyman says Lackey is looking for a $100m deal. He also says that Lackey may want to pitch in Texas, but doesn't even mention the Astros as the Texas team for which he may want to pitch. And I'm guessing that Midland doesn't count.

Bray Day - Episode 8

Aaron Bray was the 27th round draft pick for the Astros in last June's amateur draft. He was also the winner of the Astros County Adopt-a-Player contest. Each week, Aaron will write a column for Astros County detailing his off-season. Check the sidebar for archives.

Astros Fans,
Hope all is well for everyone in Astros County. This week was a long one - filled with working out, working a baseball camp and, of course, doing school work. The clock is ticking, before I know it school will be over and I will be down south for spring training.

Today's question comes from Duman:
You were drafted as a 3rd baseman but didn't spend a lot of time there this year. What was it like to start you pro career playing a new position? And if you don't mind, give folks a report on what it is like playing in Greeneville? How their facilities compare to the rest of the Appy League and how sick you got of eating at Applebee's?

It was different starting out a new career at a new position. I went in with a positive attitude, I just wanted to play and I got that chance to. I just hope the organization was pleased with what they got. I consider myself a hard worker and thats why I did while I was there.

As for playing in Greeneville, by far the best facility in the Appy league. From cages to locker rooms to playing surface. It did not get any better than that, and I enjoyed playing there. As for eating at Applebee's every night after the game, I will say it got old. I have yet to eat at Applebee's and Subway since I returned home. I had a rotation of what to eat when I went there. I loved traveling because we were able to eat at different places. The Appy League must have a contract with Applebee's because there was one every where we went.

Have a great week...
Aaron Bray

Got a question for Aaron? Email!

Phillies could be interested in Tejada

Philadelphia Inquirer's Jim Salisbury is reporting that the Phillies could have interest in Miguel Tejada, if he's serious about being willing to play 3B, now that they've declined Pedro Feliz' $5.5mil option in 2010.

Also on the Phillies' watch list for free agent third basemen are Adrian Beltre, Chone Figgins, and Mark DeRosa. Writer Andy Martino notes, though, that the Angels will likely make a hard run at re-signing Figgins, and DeRosa is 34, after all. That leaves Beltre.

Back to Salisbury's article, though:
The Phils explored the idea of trading for Tejada and moving him to third several years ago, but he was not open to changing positions at the time.

Davidoff's Ten Best GMs

Don't bother. Ed Wade isn't on this list. But here are Ken Davidoff's Top Ten General Managers:

1) Billy Beane, Oakland
2) Larry Beinfest, Florida
3) Theo Epstein, Boston
4) Doug Melvin, Milwaukee
5) Andrew Friedman, Tampa Bay
6) Brian Cashman, New York
7) Dan O'Dowd, Colorado
8) Ken Williams, Chicago White Sox
9) Dave Dombrowski, Detroit
10) Mark Shapiro, Cleveland

Are seven of the ten best GMs in baseball in the American League? And three of them in the AL Central?

Interesting to see Melvin as the lone NL Central rep in the top ten. For a further breakdown of NL Central GMs, head on over to The Crawfish Boxes (with whom AC is beginning a Thaw).

Rogers: Astros may need Wagner

With Jose Valverde's impending free agency, the Chicago Tribune's Phil Rogers speculates on the future of Billy Wagner:

The Cubs don't have much payroll space, and they may prefer to go with Carlos Marmol as their closer. Then again, they wouldn't do so a year ago when Marmol was coming off a good season. The Cubs could offer Wagner a chance to close, as could the Orioles, Rays, Tigers, Angels, and Braves. Even Wagner's old teams, the Phillies and Astros, have back-end bullpen concerns.

My take: The Sox could use Guerrero or another RBI guy to lessen the load on Paul Konerko, the often-injured Carlos Quentin and Gordon Beckham. But Williams seems to want a left-handed hitter and will steer away from base-clogging types, like Guerrero. Wagner makes sense for the Cubs only they've had enough of Carlos Marmol. He did a solid job as the closer once Lou Piniella gave him the job. I'd stick with him for 2010. But he would have some trade value. Wagner will want to close wherever he goes, so to have him and Marmol in the same bullpen isn't a good idea.

So if Chicago is out, and the Astros need a closer, would you want them to sign Billy Wagner?

Rangers could be dangling Brandon McCarthy

Texas' beat writer T.R. Sullivan has some notes on the glut of SPs in Texas' organization.

Notably, Brandon McCarthy could be made available as Neftali Perez looks like he'll be in the rotation for Texas come 2010.

Texas could be willing to talk about trading somebody like Brandon McCarthy with the many teams that are searching for starting pitching...

...McCarthy (7-4, 4.62) ended the season as the fifth starter, but the Rangers are talking about moving Neftali Feliz into the rotation. They also know that they have Matt Harrison and Eric Hurley coming back from shoulder surgery. They know that Dustin Nippert was 3-3 with a 4.65 ERA in 10 starts, and Guillermo Moscoso was 5-4 with a 2.31 ERA at Triple-A Oklahoma. They have talked about moving C.J. Wilson into the rotation as well. McCarthy's history of injuries will make teams think twice. He has made just 22 starts over the past two seasons. Other teams would much rather talk to the Rangers about Hunter and Holland. But many clubs are looking for pitching, and this will not be a great free-agent market for starters.

McCarthy's history of injuries will make teams think twice. He has made just 22 starts over the past two seasons. Other teams would much rather talk to the Rangers about Hunter and Holland. But many clubs are looking for pitching, and this will not be a great free-agent market for starters.

What would Texas want? Sullivan notes they'd rather add a bat than subtract one, and the Astros are short on bats. He does note that they could use a utility infielder, or a right-handed bat. Carlos Lee, is a perfect fit as a DH, you say? Ahhh, hold on.

Clubs are always willing to eat some money to make a trade happen, but the general rule is the more money that's eaten, the more prospects are asked for in return. The Rangers, given their economic situation, are not looking to take on a big contract.

I, for one, wouldn't be interested in a Lee/McCarthy swap, unless there were some Triple-A prospects involved, given McCarthy's history of injuries. But if the Rangers aren't interested in paying Lee's millions, then it's probably a non-issue.

Veteran Backup Bonanza!'s Doug Miller's article on potential C2s is interesting, as he notes:

It'll be a veteran-backup bonanza for the Cardinals, Giants, Astros, Red Sox, Indians and Phillies -- all of whom figure to be in the market for one-year stopgap options.

That's true. I don't think anyone is really comfortable with the idea of a Quintero/Towles platoon behind the plate. What are the options available? There's only one Type A free agent catcher, Bengie Molina, and you can bet that means the Astros aren't interested. Type B free agent catchers abound, however. A list, you ask? Well, sure (2009 teams following the comma)

Ramon Hernandez, Cincinnati
Miguel Olivo, Kansas City
Yorvit Torrealba, Colorado
Rod Barajas, Toronto
Jason Kendall, Milwaukee
Pudge Rodriguez, Texas
Jason Varitek, Boston
Gregg Zaun, Baltimore

What about non-typed (?) free agent catchers?
Eliezer Alfonzo, San Diego
Brad Ausmus, LA Dodgers
Paul Bako, Philadelphia
Josh Bard, Washington
Michael Barrett, Toronto
Henry Blanco, San Diego
Ramon Castro, Chicago White Sox
Chris Coste, Houston
Michel Hernandez, Tampa Bay
Jason LaRue, St. Louis
Chad Moeller, Baltimore
Jose Molina, NY Yankees
Mike Redmond, Minnesota
Brian Schneider, NY Mets

Anyone catch your eye as a stop-gap until Castro is ready?

GM Meetings begin today

Of note this morning, the General Managers' Meeting begins in Chicago today. Of course, we'll have updates as they become available...

Greeneville Astros: Frank Almonte

We're going to approach the Greeneville Astros player-by-player breakdown a little bit differently, coming at it not by position, but by alphabetical order. It will cut down on me missing a player on accident.

Frank Almonte
How did he get here?: Signed contract prior to 2007 season
Stats: 6'2", 190 lbs, Bats: Right Throws: Right
Age as of April 1, 2010: 21

Season line: 38 games, 153 PAs. 34x138 - .246/.314/.428 - 14XBH-23RBI. 40K:11BB

vs. LHP (30ABs): .300/.364/.400, 9K:3BB, 1XBH-4RBI
vs. RHP (108ABs): .231/.300/.435, 31K:8BB, 13XBH-19RBI

Home (74ABs): .257/.333/.392, 20K:7BB, 8XBH-15RBI
Away (64ABs): .234/.290/.469, 20K:4BB, 6XBH-8RBI

Bases Empty (66ABs): .227/.329/.424, 21K:7BB, 7XBH-3RBI
Runners on (72ABs): .264/.299/.431, 19K:4BB, 7XBH-20RBI
w/RISP (49ABs): .204/.245/.347, 15K:3BB, 4XBH-16RBI

June (25ABs): .160/.222/.200, 9K:1BB, 1XBH-2RBI
July (91ABs): .253/.317/.484, 25K:7BB, 10XBH-16RBI
August (22ABs): .318/.400/.455, 6K:3BB, 3XBH-5RBI

K/PA rate: 26.1%
XBH/H rate: 41.2%
K:BB ratio: 3.64

Almonte spent all of his games in the outfield, including eight in which he was the DH, playing 21 games in LF and 11 in RF, committing one error in 43 chances.

This was Almonte's third season in the Astros' organization, and his second in Greeneville. Almonte didn't play past August 8 of this year - for reasons I'm still trying to find - but 2009 was similar to 2008 for him. In 2008, Almonte had a 6.7:1 K:BB ratio, striking out in 31.3% of his PAs. So in that regard, he has brought his K rate down, but his OPS dropped from .750 to .741 from 08 to 09, and those Ks are going to need to come down. He may have been finding his groove when his season was cut short, hitting .324/.395/.647 in the last ten games of his season.

Citizen Steve attends Greeneville games regularly, and I've asked him to respond to our review of their 2009 season. This comment is, appropriately, in the Comments section, but it's worth putting on the Main Page. Take it away, Citizen Steve:

Almonte collided with a pitcher on a squibber down the first base line on Aug. 9th. He tore something and was done for the year. Likely also for his career based on his age and the length of the rehab. Nice kid. It's a shame.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

NESN goes out of its way to warn the Astros about Marco Scutaro

This is bizarre. The improbably-named Evans Clinchy warns:

There will be a lot of teams actively looking for a free-agent shortstop this winter including the Tigers, Astros and Padres. Along with Toronto and Boston, the Cardinals could also be shopping for one, unless they have faith in Julio Lugo.

All of these teams should take a look at Scutaro, but they should also ask themselves one important question: How much can you really value a two-month breakout at the outset of a contract year?

Scutaro has a career .265 batting average and comes with occasional power to the gaps. He doesn't steal bases, he doesn't walk much, he can't hit the ball out of the ballpark and his defense is adequate. Simply put, there are a lot of Marco Scutaros out there. Supply is high and the Red Sox need to be careful to keep their demand under control.

So...sounds like he'd be perfect in Houston!

Justice lobbies for Chris Johnson

In a blog post this morning, Richard Justice takes on the task of making a case for Chris Johnson at 3B1 come 2010:

Tejada made $14.8 million in 2009. He's a great, great guy, a great clubhouse presence, a great teammate. Unfortunately, the Astros can't afford him unless he's willing to play for something like $2 million. He may not be worth it at that price, either.

Baseball is about power and pitching, and Tejada doesn't provide either. He did hit .313, but walked just 19 times and hit only 14 home runs. I have to think that rookie Chris Johnson would do better than that, and there's a chance he'll get better. Tejada is headed the other way...

...Would you rather have pitching or a old third baseman? I'd rather have pitching, but that's just me.

Update on Castro

Zach Levine has an update on Jason Castro, who has been sent home - though not due to an injury.

"There was a short bit of dialogue about how I was feeling and if it was something I would consider. We thought it was the best choice to start to recoup and look forward to next season."

Ricky Bennett:
"After talking to the staff and spending the week in Arizona, we feel it's time for Jason to rest and focus on the 2010 season. Jason has made tremendous progress throughout his first full season of professional baseball. From a developmental standpoint, he's done everything we've asked of him every step of the way, both offensively and defensively."

This is absolutely the right decision. In 2008 Castro played in the following places:
Stanford: 67 games, 279 ABs
Tri-City: 39 games, 138 ABs
Hawaiian Winter League: 23 games, 78 ABs*
Total: 129 games, 495 ABs
*Captip to Street for the HWL stats, which I forgot...

Now 2009...
Lancaster: 56 games, 243 ABs
Corpus: 63 games, 268 ABs
World Cup: 7 games, 23 ABs
AFL: 11 games, 42 ABs
Total: 139 games, 576 ABs

10 games and 81 ABs might not seem like a lot, but when you're talking about a commuter league like the California League, and then going to the Texas League, and then going to Italy, and then to Arizona...? That's a long long season. Go get some sleep, there, Jason.

Astros take AC's advice

Zach Levine and Alyson Footer are both tweeting that the Astros have sent Jason Castro home from the Arizona Fall League. Hopefully with some codeine and a case of Pedialyte.

Good decision.

Greeneville Astros - Final Stat Leaders

Before we launch into the player-by-player recap for the Greeneville Astros, let's look at the final statistical leaders, eh?


BA: J.D. Martinez - .403
SLG: J.D. Martinez - .740
OBP: J.D. Martinez - .446
OPS: J.D. Martinez - 1.186
Runs: Jose Altuve - 45
Hits: Jose Altuve - 58
Doubles: Jose Altuve - 20
Triples: Jiovanni Mier - 6
Homers: Jiovanni Mier - 7
RBI: Jiovanni Mier - 32
Total Bases: Jiovanni Mier - 93
Walks: Jonathan Meyer - 36
Strikeouts: Jonathan Meyer - 69
Stolen Bases: Jose Altuve - 21
Caught Stealing: Grant Hogue/Jiovanni Mier - 5
Errors: Jiovanni Mier - 18

Wins: Angel Gonzalez - 5
Losses: Carlos Quevedo - 7
IP: Jose Cisnero - 55.2
ERA (10 G min.): Nathan Pettus - 2.60
WHIP: Nathan Pettus - 1.10
Saves: Nathan Pettus - 6
Home Runs allowed: Luis Cruz - 10
Strikeouts: Jose Cisnero - 64
Walks Allowed: Jose Cisnero - 30

Castro 0x2 in AFL Rising Stars Game

Can someone get this guy some rest? Maybe some Gatorade? Jason Castro is basically doing wind sprints after a short off-season followed by a long season followed by this year's short off-season. Anyhow, Castro was C1 in last night's AFL Rising Stars Game. How did he do? If you're good at context clues, you already know that he went 0x2.

His replacement, Matt McBride, hit a 2-run homer off Drew Storen in the bottom of the 8th that provided the go-ahead run for the West's 8-7 win.

What, so any time a hurt pitcher becomes a free agent, the Astros are a fit?

Smilin' Ken Rosenthal's new column talks about a lot of issues, but the one of most relevance to us Astros fans has to do with Josh Beckett. And it's not even a rumor as much as it barely qualifies as speculation.

Beckett will be a free agent following the 2010 season, and will make $12mil next year. But then he's a free agent. Rosenthal:

He loves Boston, but is a native Texan who would be a free agent at 30. It's easy to imagine his appeal to the Astros and Rangers. It's also easy to imagine the risk-averse Red Sox balking at deal of longer than three or four years.

Read into this: "A smart organization like the Red Sox might not want to give a pitcher in his 30s with a history of injuries more than three or four years. But the Astros and Rangers might!"