Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Reinforcing the Astros - 30 July

Well, the Astros don't need me to do any reinforcing, as they have acted to bring in Roberto Osuna, the supremely talented but forensically challenged Blue Jay, who is not yet eligible for regular season play because of a suspension for intimate partner violence.  For this privilege, they traded Roberto Osuna Lite (Ken Giles, who was also much of the inspiration for this series because I was curious about how he was going in Fresno), Roberto Osuna Junior (Hector Perez), and a member of the Roberto Osuna Society of Previously Banned Ballplayers (David Paulino).  The optics of this are interesting and not in a good way for the Astros - I spent an hour writing much too much on Roberto Osuna, then confined it to the Draft bin, where it will probably degrade slowly over time.  The Astros are taking a risk with this trade, but if everything comes out hunky-dory, they may have a bullpen to match the Yankees', with perhaps a slightly higher risk of melting down.

One under-reported aspect of this trade is that the Astros, who are facing another 40-man roster crunch come November, managed to trade two players off the 40-man for one on it.  I think the Astros will be attempting a slow sell off of their former prospects or quad A types in minor trades in coming months, but whether these trades actually yield anything remains to be seen.  Slow roster turnover is likely to continue, and those on the margins of the 40-man would be wise to have a bag permanently packed in the coming year.

With that in mind, this series is about scouring the upper levels of the minors for those who can help the Astros in September onward.  I don't think the Astros have a Miggy Cabrera (a 19-year old who can come up from A-ball and rake from the outset in the post-season), so I am only going to concentrate on AA and above.  Most of the guys mentioned in these articles will not make a difference, but this exercise is about familiarising ourselves with those we may see from September onward.

So the Hooks (66-41) hosted the 63-44 San Antonio Missons, and won by a score of 3-0.  Framber Valdez dominated a lineup that included Josh Naylor from a strong San Diego farm system to the tune of 7.2 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out 12.  Justin Ferrell completed the shoutout, getting four outs while striking out two.

On the offensive side, the Hooks managed 9 hits (all singles) and one walk.  Three of those hits went to 1B Randy Cesar (3 from 4), who was mentioned in last nights dispatches as well.  A struggling Abraham Toro had two hits from three at-bats, raising his average to a svelte .175.  No one tearing it up on the offensive side of the ball in Corpus at the moment, it seems.

Corban Martin starts for the Hooks tomorrow.  Excitement!!  Martin's AA ERA sits at 2.60.

The Grizzlies (63-45) continued their series with the 49-58 Storm Chasers, winning 5-3.  It was "Josh James Night" in Fresno - those readers of Fangraphs' Fringe Five will know who Josh James is, as he currently sits well atop the leaderboard.  James allowed 4 hits, three of which were doubles, giving up 3 runs (all earned).  It seems these hits were clustered, as all runs scored in the one inning.  However, he also struck out 8 in six-and-one-third, while walking one.  He exited at 105 pitchers.

Buddy Boshers struck out 2 while facing 5 batters, allowing no hits or walks.  Riley Ferrell allowed two hits in one scoreless inning, striking out only one.  His ERA sits at 6.

Jamie Richie, a catcher who was also mentioned in this article yesterday, went 2 for 4.  Yordan Alvarez hit a solo home run while going 1 for 4, AJ Reed went 1 for 4 with a double, and Derek Fisher just went 1 for 4.  However, the standout performer was Taylor Jones (1B) who went 2-3 with a walk, and two doubles and no RBI's.  Nick Tanielu (manning 3rd base) and SS Antonio Nunez both went 1 for 3, with the latter driving in two runners.

Ok, so stay posted to see who else performs in the upper minors.  Hopefully, we see Yordan Alvarez get more playing time - if he gets hot, he could make a real difference to the struggling mob of Astros corner players.

Tomorrow is a travel day for the PCL, then Cy Sneed starts on Wednesday against Nashville.