Gerrit Cole is pretty damn good. He's been an effective big league pitcher. Did he give up a few home runs last year? Yeah. Did he have a slightly down season compared to his standards? Yes. That doesn't mean he can't be a top elite pitcher in the American League just given his stuff, his makeup and his ability to pitch.
*Brian T. Smith: Jim Crane knows he has a team that's built to last.
*Ken Giles worked on his endurance this offseason, and he cares not for your worries about him.
*In The Athletic (subscription required) Francis Martes has made the Astros well-pleased with his refined delivery.
Here's a similar story in the Chronicle. Hinch:
He's throwing as hard as anybody in camp. It's still really early, but he came really prepared.
*Brady Rodgers and Jandel Gustave - both coming off Tommy John surgery in 2017 - are on a restricted program that involves some "light throwing."
*Luhnow said that, had Colin Moran not fouled a ball off his face, the Astros might not have traded him to the Pirates:
I think had he been given that opportunity, I think he would have hit .300, I think he would have hit for power. We might not have traded him because we might have wanted to figure out a way to keep him on our club.
*Luhnow talked to Newsday's David Lennon about the slow offseason and the thinking behind the front office slow-play:
We all have great young players in our system and on our big-league teams. And because the investment is so high in young players, they get to the big leagues fairly early. They're still developing at the big leagues, and so swapping one of the young players out for an established veteran is not as attractive today as it would have been five years ago or 10 years ago...It could be that there's just simply fewer spots because a lot of the younger players are taking up spots and they're contributing. It doesn't explain everything, but part of the dynamic is that we're doing a good job as an industry developing young talent and valuing that talent.
You look at who would make a list of the Great GMs in the game right now, and it's a fairly short list: Theo, Luhnow, Dayton Moore, Billy Beane (?), Brian Cashman. How did they get there? It's through drafting - and developing - that talent. We are now in a cycle in which GMs that rely on trades and free agent signings to bolster their team aren't doing so well (see: Dipoto, Jerry). Perhaps the most important "skill" for a GM right now is the ability to draft well.
Look at the playoff teams from 2017 and how many players on the current 40-Man roster - with 1.0+ years of service time - were acquired through the draft, signed as an amateur free agent, or a Rule 5 pick:
Los Angeles: 9
New York: 8
Okay, I'll be honest, I didn't think Chicago would rank last here, but it is what it is. The average number of players who meet this criteria for 2017 playoff teams is 11.1 players/per roster.
Let's look at the teams that finished under .500 with the same criteria:
New York Mets: 15
San Francisco: 13
Chicago White Sox: 8
Kansas City: 6
San Diego: 5
Tampa Bay: 4
The average number of players who meet this criteria on sub-.500 teams is 7.0 players.
There are a host of asterisks that could go along with this list: maybe you traded for a guy in A-ball and you developed him into a Major-Leaguer (see: Martes, Francis) and, as a result, he's not on this list. Maybe your team sucks, and the guys that have made this particular cut simply aren't very good, and that's why your team was 64-98 (cough, Mets/Tigers, cough). There are also issues with making this an annual exercise: the White Sox, Padres, and Braves are going to be good soon, but they won't show up as highly on this list because the building blocks they're using were acquired through trades. But I'll let the point stand. I guess.
*Riley Ferrell talked about getting notified of his Spring Training invitation while duck hunting:
About 3:30pm, birds [were] about to start coming in, [and] I was excited for that. I get this text message, and I'm like, 'I don't know who this is.' Looked at it, and I was like 'Oh, I got invited to big league camp. That's pretty cool.' No longer was I worried about birds.
*2016 4th Round pick Brett Adcock (117Ks in 107.2IP at Buies Creek last season) is ready for the season:
I obviously have things I need to fine-tune. If I didn't, I'd be in the big leagues right now. I'm just trying to make myself 1 percent better each day. If I can do that, hopefully I can end up in the right place.
*Josh Reddick, in all his Josh Reddickness (Reddickulousness?), talked about the ballistic missile scare in Hawaii:
I went back to my room (after it was clear that the alert was not real) and it was actually frustrating, because me and my girlfriend were going to visit with the Dolphins that morning. We got there on time. We got to play with the dolphins that morning. It was plenty of time. She wasn't even worried about dying; she was worried about seeing the dolphins. I said, 'Those dolphins can wait, we can see them tomorrow if we're still here.' Still had a great time.
*Rich Hill has chilled out about the 2017 World Series. In a sample poll of Rich Hill and myself, 50% of respondents have chilled out about the 2017 World Series.
*If you find yourself in Fresno on May 12 you can pick up this sweet Carlos Correa Starting Lineup figure.
*Eric Hosmer signed an 8yr/$144m deal (with an opt-out after five years) with the Padres.
*The Rangers have backed out of the deal to sign reliever Seung-Hawn Oh after concerns about his MRI. So here comes a bunch of editorials comparing them to the dastardly Astros and their treatment of Brady Aiken, yes?
*Chris Archer says the Rays could have the best rotation in MLB. And then they traded Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, so who knows now?
*Fernando Abad, who signed a new deal with the Phillies for 2018:
2010-2012 w/HOU: 84.2IP, 5.10 ERA / 1.56 WHIP, 1.97 K:BB ratio.
2013-present: 233IP, 3.13 ERA / 1.21 WHIP, 2.58 K:BB ratio.
*The Haunting of Lindsey Jacobellis.
*From No Depression: A musician's life on social media.
*The Globe and Mail's Michael Harris: I Have Forgotten How To Read.
#Astros Joe Smith 2017 Pitch Quality— MLB Quality of Pitch (@qopbaseball) February 17, 2018
Late Break (Top 1% MLB)
Horizontal Break (Top 1% MLB)
Location (Top 6% MLB) pic.twitter.com/DDMtkyltsl