Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Morning Hot Links

Don't fret. There are only five more off-days left in the regular season.

*Today is the official start of Hall of Fame Weekend *stops to weep* and it's also Dallas Keuchel Day, so let's have a good set of links brought to you by Waking Up Randomly at 3:45 In Order To Have a Panic Attack!

*The Angels and A's were the only AL West teams playing last night. They both lost. Updated standings:
Houston: -
Seattle: -17
West Tyler: -18
Anaheim: -19
Oakland: -23.5

*Off-Day Playoff Odds Check:
FanGraphs (102-60): 100% to win division, 17.5% to win the World Series
FiveThirtyEight (105-57): >99% to win division, 24% to win the World Series
Baseball Prospectus (102-60): 100% to win division, 18% to win the World Series

*Sportswriters in markets where the local team is struggling must love it when the Astros come to town, because it gives them the ready-made "The Astros show (Team) how to rebuild" columns. Good Writer Matt Gelb discusses the lessons the Astros have provided for the Phillies.

*Keuchel, McHugh, McCullers is the rotation for this weekend's series against the Tigers, but beyond's a little unclear. We do know that Brad Peacock will be available out of the bullpen this weekend. Two moves will have to be made today as Keuchel and Will Harris will be activated. Probably Derek Fisher (with Springer expected to return) and Michael Feliz will enjoy that Fresno life. UPDATE: Maybe Michael Feliz will head to Corpus?

*Jerry Crasnick reports that - as of right now, 80-ish hours before the Trade Deadline - Luhnow isn't real keen on trading any top prospects.

*The Astros, Brewers, and Red Sox are the front-runners for lefty reliever Justin Wilson...whose Tigers play the Astros starting tonight. The Detroit Free Press' Anthony Fenech says the Tigers' asking price is, ahem, high:
According to multiple persons with knowledge of the Tigers' talks, they are asking for a high return for Wilson, more in line with the return Aroldis Chapman got for the Yankees last summer (four prospects, including high-rated shortstop Gleyber Torres...

So what's the deal with Justin Wilson? He's versatile (something the Astros obviously like) and has as much success against righties as he does lefties:
Wilson, vs RHB, 2017: .125/.229/.302, 36K:13BB in 109 PAs (.143 BABIP)
Wilson, vs LHP, 2017: .220/.267/.366, 19K:3BB in 45 PAs (.364 BABIP)

And he's under team control through 2018. Wilson isn't the multi-inning weapon the Astros have in Devenski (and now Peacock), having been called on to get 4+ outs three times this season. But he has made 41 appearances in 2017 and has thrown a clean outing in 19 of them. He's only inherited 12 runners all season, but only one of them has scored.

*Facebook's Ken Rosenthal writes that the Astros are "lined up to do a lot of things" over the next few days and the addition of a starter and a top reliever like Wilson or Britton isn't out of the question.

*Twins beat writer Mike Berardino says the Astros are interested in Ervin Santana, but are concerned with his recent dip in velocity.

*The Rangers are ramping up their bidding war for Yu Darvish. If the Dodgers are willing to give up top prospect Alex Verdugo, Yu Darvish will likely be a Dodger.

*The A's want either Clint Frazier or Gleyber Torres in a deal for Sonny Gray while the Astros are seen as "potentially serious players" for Gray.

*Hall of Famer Joe Morgan says Jose Altuve is the "best all-around player in the game:"
You know what they used to say about me? 'He's a good little player.' But then they look at Trout and say, 'That's what a great player is supposed to look like.' And trust me, this is nothing against Mike Trout. I love watching him play baseball, too. But right now, I honestly believe [Altuve] is the best all-around player. I don't know what box you don't check with him.

A big difference from 2016 to 2017 is how Altuve has hit LHPs. In 2016 he had a very respectable .885 OPS against LHPs (.306/.391/.494) with 26K:19BB in 186 PAs. This season he's hitting .363/.431/.593 with 11K:11BB in 103 PAs against lefties, and has already equalled his HR total (5) from last season. 

*Tommy Stokke: Tony Kemp's swing adjustments are paying off.

*Here's a great story from Jake Kaplan on the scout that saw Jeff Bagwell.

*Larry Andersen is very happy for Jeff Bagwell:
I would love to tell him congratulations and thanks for keeping me relevant.

*Brian T. Smith writes that it will be a while before the Astros get their next HOFer. He's probably right. Clemens doesn't really count as an Astro, though those seasons were a lot of fun. Lance Berkman has a lifetime .943 OPS with 1905 hits and 366 HR, but those aren't exactly HOF-worthy. None of the top ten on his Similarity Score are HOFers (closest batter: The Bastard Jim Edmonds). Jay Jaffe's JAWS rating has him short of the average Hall of Fame LF (51.7 WAR for Berkman, 65.2 WAR for Average HOF LF), though that 51.7 is higher than HOFers Joe Kelley, Jim Rice, Lou Brock, Heinie Manush, and Chick Hafey.

*The legacy of Tim Raines, Old-School Nintendo, and RBI Baseball.

*FiveThirtyEight's Neil Paine: The best one-and-done HOF candidates.