Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Morning Hot Links

Welcome to your second weekend as reigning World Series champs. What are you doing to make someone else feel badly about their favorite team?

*Brian McTaggart has a rundown of what the Astros need going in to 2018. The biggest flaw? The bullpen, of course. McTaggart's likeliest additions: Mike Minor, Tony Watson, Boone Logan - all lefty relievers.

Mike Minor declined his option with the Royals, so he's a free agent this winter. He had a 2.55 ERA/2.62 FIP to go along with striking out 10.2 batters/9 innings, and he's predominantly a fastball/slider guy who saw his 91.7mph average fastball jump to 94.9mph in 2017.

Tony Watson, he of the National League Champion Dodgers, had more limited success in 2017. Between the Pirates and the Dodgers, Watson posted a 3.38 ERA/4.45 FIP with a 15% HR/FB rate, which doesn't factor in to his abnormally-high .309 BABIP (he had a career .261 BABIP allowed).

Boone Logan's $7m option was declined by the Indians last week thanks to concerns over his shoulder, which limited him to 21IP in 2017.

Minor is going to be the highest-paid of the three, and the other two would automatically get the Charlie Morton treatment from fans (oh wow he wasn't great/was injured now the Astros are going to turn him into a soul-eating machine!) We should be careful with thoughts like those. They're dangerous.

*Here's Jon Heyman's predictions (matched up against an expert's predictions) for the contracts of the Top 80 free agents this offseason.

*Random Astros fact of the day:
Jose Altuve has accumulated 26.2 fWAR in 982 career games, good enough for 10th all-time among batters in franchise history. He's played about 600 fewer games than 9th on the list, Terry Puhl, and is just 0.6 fWAR behind him. Altuve's 7.5 fWAR season ranks 8th among Astros batters all-time, and was just the 11th 7+ fWAR for a batter in franchise history.

*Jose Altuve and George Springer won AL Silver Slugger awards last night. Well, they won them during the season, of course, but come on you know what I mean. It's Altuve's 4th-straight Silver Slugger, and Springer's first.

*Tom Verducci: How the Astros mastered applying their pitching data, with great looks into McHugh, McCullers, Peacock, and Morton.

*Wednesday Jeff Sullivan noted that the Astros were the beneficiaries of the worst called ball of the season. Yesterday he noted that the Astros threw the worst called strike of the season. We should have known all along this was our year.

*Joe Musgrove visited the DeBakey VA Medical Center yesterday in honor of Veterans Day.

*KPRC interviewed Jeff Luhnow yesterday. Luhnow, on what needs to happen this off-season:
...There's not any major surgery here. This team is good enough to go out and repeat just as-is, so we're going to keep working at it, but we're pretty excited about what the prospects are for next year.

*If the Astros sign a player who received a Qualifying Offer, they will forfeit their 3rd-highest pick in the 2018 draft.

*The Paul Wall/Johnny Dang grills are pretty legit.

*Chronicle photographer Karen Warren picked her favorite photos of the season.

*The Astros have the smallest number of minor-league free agents in baseball, with seven.

*So there was a men's only gala (*eyes roll out of head*) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston last night and a server bumped into a guy who dropped the World Series trophy. Although, if you're going to damage an artifact, MFA Houston is probably a good place to do it.

*Mike Fiers was inducted into the Nova Southeastern University Hall of Fame last night.