Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sunday Morning Hot Links

*Folk Hero Anthony Gose walked all three batters he faced yesterday in an 8-1 loss to Washington. Tony Kemp, Kyle Tucker, and Derek Fisher had the only three hits. Justin Verlander threw 3IP, 2H/0ER, 5K:0BB. Martes struck out four in 2.2IP.

There have been 38IP thrown this Spring by pitchers who are unlikely to make the Opening Day roster:
Trent Thornton: 6.1IP, 5H/1ER, 6K:2BB
Rogelio Armenteros: 5IP, 3H/1ER, 8K:1BB
Cionel Perez: 4IP, 2H/1R (0ER), 1K:1BB
Framber Valdez: 4IP, 5H/0ER, 3K:3BB
Brendan McCurry: 3.2IP, 2H/0ER, 6K:1BB
Mike Hauschild: 3.1IP, 4H/3ER, 5K:1BB
Riley Ferrell: 3IP, 3H/2ER, 2K:1BB
Matt Ramsey: 3IP, 8H/6ER, 6K:3BB
Jacob Dorris: 2.1IP, 4H/3ER, 4K:0BB
Cy Sneed: 2IP, 2H/1ER, 1K:1BB
Yoanis Quiala: 1.2IP, 2H/1ER, 0K:1BB

So that's a combined 38IP, 40H/18ER, 42K:15BB. Another reason why Spring Training results don't tell you the whole story.

*Hunter Atkins writes that the LOOGY position is Tony Sipp's to lose. Hinch:
There's a ton of focus on his split because it was a wipeout pitch in '15. It was erratic in '16 and '17. But in reality those that are around pitchers will tell you, it's hand speed on all of his pitches. If he's got good hand speed on his split, that means he's finishing his fastballs, his slider is pretty good. 

Sipp really has dropped off significantly in 2016-17. In 2014 and 2015 he posted an equal 2.93 FIP, having never posted a FIP below 4.20 in any of his five prior major-league seasons. In 2016 it was 6.19 and 5.22 in 2017. xFIP tells a similar story: never below 4.08 in his five seasons prior to joining the Astros in 2014, where he posted a 2.94 xFIP, and a 3.38 xFIP in 2015. Then a 4.98 xFIP in 2016, and a 4.34 xFIP in 2017. According to FanGraphs the only two seasons in which Tony Sipp's split fastball was above average was 2014 and 2015. Sipp has one year remaining on his 3yr/$18m contract. The Astros won the World Series without - or, maybe, in spite of - Sipp, but it would be nice for him to bounce back on take some of those innings off the horses.

*Jake Kaplan has an in-depth piece in The Athletic (paywalled) about Kyle Tucker's development. Tucker:
I feel like I've done a lot better with plate discipline. That's what I was wanting to do this year. Last year, I was just swinging all over the place. But I think that's the biggest thing that's been helping me so far. 

*Brian T. Smith writes in the Chronicle that Josh Reddick is ready to actually contribute in another World Series. Reddick:
I'm getting a ring because of my teammates. I didn't really help a whole lot in the World Series. I'm not saying I didn't help, I just didn't help at that time.

*Though Justin Verlander threw to Brian McCann in every one of his Astros starts last year, Hinch is using Spring Training to get the pitchers used to throwing to all catchers. Hinch:
I'm really interested in catchers having familiarity with the pitchers, but I'm also interested in the pitchers having comfortability with the catchers, so when they walk on the field that day, no matter who's catching, they know the guy's going to be prepared to handle their stuff and they trust them.

*27-year old undrafted free agent Jack Mayfield is in his first big-league camp and is soaking up all he can.

*Some season tickets went up 14% from last year.

*The new owners of the Fresno Grizzlies slashed beer prices and affirmed that they're staying in Fresno, which is great for the good people of Fresno. Gonna be a shame when the Astros flip back to Round Rock this fall.