*When the 19 non-roster invitees to Spring Training camp were announced, and Forrest Whitley wasn't one of them, it raised some eyebrows..Now the Astros have provided some rationale for not inviting their top pitching prospect to Major League camp. Luhnow:
He's going to get some exposure in camp, but the reality is there's a good possibility Forrest Whitley will continue to progress and be an option for us late in the summer, and anytime you can conserve some innings in February and March [that] you can deposit into September and October, that's a good thing.
20-year old Forrest Whitley threw 18.1IP in 2016 and 92.1IP in 2017. So...hell, Luhnow won a World Series, and I didn't. So whatever. For Luhnow's part, he did say he could throw an inning or two with the big-league club. But Whitley is also 20 and might get hype throwing against big-league hitters with Justin Verlander watching from the dugout, trying to throw a 128-mph fastball and blowing out his elbow. These are the things we think about, now.
*Ken Giles' arbitration case is today. He wants $4.6m, the Astros want to give him $4.2m. Going to a panel to argue why Giles is overrated by $400,000 seems totally worthwhile.
*Wanna see Lance McCullers throw a bullpen?
*The Astros have sold 19,000 season tickets for 2018 - the highest in 12 years.
*FanRag says the Astros have somewhere between the sixth-best and 30th-best outfield in baseball.
Astros fans, your old pal @hunterpence is opening a games cafe in Houston. Coral Sword - 1318 Telephone Rd. - opens Friday. Board games, coffee, craft beer, good food, WiFi. Open 7 am to midnight. pic.twitter.com/xbKdoMfsX5— Alyson Footer (@alysonfooter) February 1, 2018
*Anaheim's going to a six-man rotation.
*Hardball Times: Who is Jackie Robinson's best on-field comparison?
*RIP Oscar Gamble. The story behind the best baseball card ever.