Saturday, November 4, 2017

Saturday Morning Hot Links

*So there was an actual parade for the Houston Astros because they won the World Series. It still hasn't sunk in for me, yet. Richard Justice writes how the Astros felt Houston's love. Justice:
This was a release for fans who've waited 56 seasons, for fathers and sons and best friends and co-workers, and thousands and thousands of others who've talked about this day, dreamed about it, wondered if it would ever really happen.

*Brian T. Smith: A parade for the ages.

*The Astros picked up Jose Altuve's $6m option and Marwin Gonzalez's $5.125m option for 2018. Altuve has already generated enough WAR for 2018 that he is already severely underpaid.

*The inestimable Roger Angell: Long Wait, Great Win.
For the rest of us not in or around Houston, the reward after two thousand four hundred and fifty-eight regular season games and thirty-eight more in the postseason is a bit more sleep and, for the moment, at least, no more innings.

*Tyler Kepner: How the Astros finally hit on a formula that worked for them. Luhnow:
Not every plan makes sense for every team. But where we started, with the worst team in baseball and one of the worst farm systems in baseball, we really had no choice. We had to focus on developing our own and when the time is right, adding to it.

*Jeff Bagwell:
This is a great team. I don't think the world knew it. Well, they do now. Nobody wanted us to win this whole thing. Everybody else wanted the big teams. But we beat the Red Sox. We beat the Yankees. And now we beat the Dodgers. Pretty cool.

*Justin Verlander and Kate Upton missed the parade because, presumably, they're in Italy getting married. Apparently some people are mad that Verlander didn't postpone it. This is a silly take. It's not like they're getting married at a rec center in Refugio. They're two very high-profile people getting married in a foreign country. I don't know anything about them or their wedding plans, but I'm guessing they're not plans that are easily postponed. And it's not as though they started thinking about getting married in October. Verlander has been an Astro for, what, 60-something days? And before that he was on a Tigers team that very clearly wasn't going to the playoffs. Chill out. Let them get married.

*Uh. Brian McCann's mom is marrying Mark Teixeira's dad this winter.

*Here's a great story on Astros fan Charles Rice.

*Get some gear here.

*Four mock-ups of the Astros' WS ring.

*The five Astros who finally won a ring after a career of near-misses.

*Ken Davidoff wrote about how Luhnow's family helped him deal with the media.

*SF Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins: The Astros' title rises far above analytics.
If anything, the Astros were defiant of an analytics-driven trend that saw players adjust their "launch angle," go for home runs at any cost, work the count to frustrate opposing pitchers and not worry about striking out. They were the most efficient offensive machine in the game, did a lot of first-pitch swinging, emphasized contact hitting and struck out less often than any team in the majors.

*FiveThirtyEight predicts a few more seasons of Astros/Dodgers World Series, or at least a few Astros/Indians ALCS.

* listed the 2018 World Series contenders.

*The Cubs' front office sent pizzas to the Astros' front office. Hopefully the Astros will carry the tradition of buying pizza for the next World Series champion by just sending an intern to buy pizza for themselves.

*A.J. Hinch discussed his new bench coach, Joe Espada, and we note that assistant hitting coach Alonzo Powell will leave to become the Giants' hitting coach.

*Check this November 2016 post from the County Mountie, in which he described Charlie Morton as such:
He's a groundball pitcher with some strikeout ability. If you're looking for an under-the-radar sign that could bring a nice payoff, this is it.

*Jon Heyman wonders how long the Astros can keep their core together.

*Buy every Astros-related SI cover since 1981.

*Jim Callis says Riley Ferrell has closer material.

*Springer, Altuve, and Bregman are expected to be on Saturday Night Live.

*Evan Grant takes a look at what the Rangers need to do to close the gap on the Astros.

*Alex Bregman is already a Hall of Famer: