Friday, May 9, 2014

Astros County Roundtable: May 8

We at AC have decided to give any readers out there small a window into the inner-workings of the AC offices.  Once a week, we meet in the AC Boardroom, get Betty and Cynthia to hold all calls, and discuss pressing issues, such as who has been parking in the Constable's carpark, and why Batguy always orders a soy-latte with a Hazelnut shot.  We sometimes get to talking about baseball.  The results of the discussion for this week are below.

Pressing Issue:  Who gets ditched from the rotation once Scott Feldman gets back??

The Constable:  ... crickets...  (Still asleep after his marathon Out of the Park Baseball session.  World Series won in 2027!!)

Cockroach:  I was going to say that Peacock should be the easy choice, because Oberholtzer has been more consistently good, but then I fact-checked myself. Peacock has three Game Scores of 50 or higher in four starts this season, for an average of 48.2. Oberholtzer has four Game Scores of 50 or higher, but in seven starts, for an average of 43.7. Peacock also clearly outperformed Oberholtzer this week. That said, I still think it's Peacock who gets moved to the Goatpen (at least unless/until McHugh gets bombed again), because Oberholtzer has been in the rotation all season and I think he'll need to continue under-performing before he pitches himself out of that spot.

Batguy:  First, I think this all hinges on McHugh's next start. If it's like his last one, he's back in OKC. However, if he can show he still deserves a longer look, I think Peacock gets sent back to the bullpen. I know he has better numbers as a starter than a reliever this season but if you dig a little deeper I'm not sure that success is sustainable. His peripheral stats as a starter are nearly identical to what Lucas Harrell put up. As a matter of fact, Harrell's FIP was lower than Peacock's is as a starter right now. I really liked getting Peacock in the Lowrie trade, but in almost 120 innings in Houston he just can't seem to pull it together.

(Not Hank):  It will be really boring if we all agree, so I will say Oberholtzer. Peacock really must get his walks under control.

Masked:  I think this is an interesting one, and I think we need to be prepared for a surprise.  I think that Obie gets mailed back to OKC for a few weeks to work on his control.  As a 24 year-old soft-tossing lefty, he relies on impeccable control, and this year it hasn't quite been there with his fastball (0.4 vrs -10.9 fastball runs above average).  Fangraphs also thinks that he is not throwing a slider this year, but that his knuckle curve and change up have both improved.  I think he works on his knuckle-curve command and two-seamer again in OKC, while keeping his inning totals down so that he can go the whole year (166.2 is his highest inning total, so I imagine he would be restricted to 180-190 combined IP this year).  This would be a move with an eye to the longer-term.  Then, if McHugh gets shelled over the next month, Obie is back up.

But, in making an argument for Obie being sent down, I also probably have to make an argument to keep Brad Peacock in the rotation.  Peacock is 26, so his time is now, and he already started the year in the 'pen.  His last few starts, including last nights have been quite interesting - he got burned by some pretty good hitting.  His pitch values are in line with his career norms, so he has nothing to work on other than his walks.  His velocity may be a little down (he was throwing 90-91 last night, normally sits at 92-93), so that bears watching.  I think he stays for now.

Stay tuned for the minutes of the next weeks meeting.

Update:  Obie has, apparently, been optioned