Saturday, February 24, 2018

Saturday Morning Hot Links

The Astros won their Spring Training opener yesterday against the Nationals 3-2. You've all been told by smarter people than me (but by me, as well) that Spring Training really doesn't matter...until it does. There are a few people for whom Spring Training does matter:

1. Guys trying to be the 25th man on the roster
2. Guys in the high minors looking to impress
3. Guys who struggled last year that are trying to start their season off right.
4. Bloggers.

To the guys that are on my team it's a continual progression to get ready for the season. For the younger guys, you can always make an impression. But you have to fight not to draw too many conclusions early. You don't want these guys to ease into the competition, but you're not going to make or break yourself in the first week. We just want guys to get through their first innings healthy.

That said, Rogelio Armenteros (2IP, 0H/0ER, 3K:1BB) had a strong outing. Max Stassi and J.D. Davis hit home runs. Collin McHugh gets the start today. The starts for the next five days will be as follows:
Saturday: McHugh
Sunday: Cole
Monday: Verlander / Martes (split-squad game)
Tuesday: Peacock
Wednesday: McCullers
Thursday: Morton

So Keuchel isn't expected to get his first game-action until Friday at the earliest. Annnnnd the benefit of sleeping in on a Saturday and doing these is that McTaggart has already given us an update: Keuchel will make his Spring Training debut on Monday, March 5. It's part of his customized Spring Training schedule.

Hinch, on Armenteros:
I thought he did well. I can see how he gets his strikeouts. Obviously, it's his first time out. He came out and set a nice little tone and threw strikes. His changeup is really good. I always joke, 'You can't make the team on the first day,' but he tried to challenge that a little bit by punching everybody out.

On Stassi:
We know two of his strengths are homering and framing pitches, and he did both very well today.

*Alex Bregman is ripped, now.

*The Astros welcomed the Stoneman Douglas baseball team to camp yesterday.

*Jeff Sullivan: The Astros look amazing. This is nipple-hardening fun. Sullivan:
Right now, at this moment, the Astros are not only the league's defending champions. They also appear to be a juggernaut. Relative to these Astros, even the Yankees are an underdog. 

*FanGraphs released their Top 27 Astros prospects. Top 10:
1. Forrest Whitley
2. Kyle Tucker
3. Yordan Alvarez
4. J.B. Bukauskas
5. Hector Perez
6. Cionel Perez
7. Freudis Nova
8. Corbin Martin
9. J.D. Davis
10. Gilberto Celestino

Click the link for write-ups on each of the Top 27. updated their Astros' Top 30 prospects. Top 10:
1. Forrest Whitley
2. Kyle Tucker
3. J.B. Bukauskas
4. Yordan Alvarez
5. Freudis Nova
6. Cionel Perez
7. Jorge Alcala
8. David Paulino
9. J.D. Davis
10. Corbin Martin

In that link, shows us the Top 10 Astros prospects since 2011 and it's a fun trip down memory lane.

*Jim Callis says Forrest Whitley's suspension doesn't change his perception.

*Wilson gave out some sweet Championship gloves.

*Friday was the 20th anniversary of tornadoes hitting central Florida and the Astros' Spring Training facility in Kissimmee.

*There's drama with J.D. Martinez's physical with the Red Sox.

*The Rangers are going to a six-man rotation and a bullpen with multi-inning relievers filled in with starters scheduled to throw their side session.

*FanGraphs' Sherry Ring: Did Lenny Dykstra extort umpires?

*Andy McCullough: How Dodgers' GM Farhan Zaidi built a dynasty - in fantasy football.

*Smartphone Detox: How to power down in a wired world.