Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday Morning Hot Links

*Ignoring the fact that 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 are National League teams, Jonah Keri ranked the Astros as the third-best team as of the beginning of Spring Training. The Rangers are #7.

*Doug Fister will be your Grapefruit League Opening Day starter on Thursday against the Phillies.
Hinch: "It made sense to have our newest guy to kick us off so we can have competition with him."

*Neal Cotts joined the Astros because he wants to win.

*Jason Castro has made a concerted effort to improve his defense.

*Ken Giles learned his slider from Brad Lidge, who learned it from former Astros coach Dewey Robinson...

*A.J. Hinch is excited about 29-year old reliever James Hoyt.

*Between Alex Bregman, Colin Moran, J.D. Davis, and Tyler White, the Astros like what they have on the left side of the infield. Moran is trying to recover from an injury-plagued 2015:

I got off to a pretty slow start and then broke my jaw (sliding into a base). And then I came back, I rolled my ankle, and I had a back spasm. But then after that, I was all good to go for the last two months.
-Colin Moran

Moran hit .306/.381/.459 in 96 games for Corpus in 2015. From the beginning of the season to the end of June, though, he was hitting .261/.323/.348 - finishing the season with a .333/.416/.526 kick.

*John Sickels has your Top 20 Astros prospects for 2016, with Alex Bregman and A.J. Reed leading the way with A-grades. 

*Dallas guy thinks the Astros win the AL West ahead of the Rangers.

*That cheatin'-ass Cardinals scouting director's sentencing will not be held on Opening Day. 

*The Rangers signed Ian Desmond to a 1-year/$8m deal. Ian Desmond rejected a 7yr/$107m extension offer before the 2014 season, and rejected the qualifying offer from the Nationals in November...