Thursday, August 1, 2019

Thursday Morning Hot Links

The Astros shook the baseball world yesterday with their acquisitions of Zack Greinke, Joe Biagini, Aaron Sanchez, and Martin Maldonado. More so with the first name, less so with the last three. Still, the Astros apparently played a baseball game. Like, the Indians didn't just forfeit. I don't get it, either. We'll see if they come out to play today. Houston is 69-40, eight games up on Oakland with 53 regular season games to play.

*If you missed any of the action on this cursed website yesterday, some links:
-County Mountie Trade Deadline wrap-up.
-How Payroll shakes out going forward.
-What the rosters might look like with everyone healthy.
-And initial thoughts from as soon after the Deadline as I possibly could.
-If you want to relive yesterday minute-by-minute, you can do so here.

Houston vs. Cleveland

Yeah, so the Astros lost. They had a 1-run lead twice (1-0, 4-3) and just couldn't hold on. Cleveland scored seven unanswered runs and hit three three-run home runs off of Jose Urquidy and Collin McHugh. Hinch:
Our whole team just struggled with the three-run homer. They hit three of them, and then they added a fourth. Urquidy lived and ultimately caved on the edge a little bit. They won the big swings. It looked at times like he was working around the strike zone, and then it looked like he got in the strike zone and they hit a couple of pitches.

*Urquidy: 4IP, 8H/6ER, 1K:1BB, 2HR. Urquidy only got the Indians to swing and miss five times in 86 pitches thrown. Zack Greinke also pitched yesterday and held the Yankees to 2H/2ER, 7K:3BB in 5IP. I bet Greinke makes the start Urquidy would make next week.

*McHugh: 1IP, 3H/4ER, 2K:1BB, 2HR. Baseball-Reference now has McHugh at a -0.3 bWAR (they may have had him under 0.0 before, I just didn't notice it).

McHugh, 2014-2018: 678.2IP, 637H/265ER, 661K:189BB. 3.51 ERA / 1.22 WHIP / 3.50 FIP. 112 ERA+.
McHugh, 2019: 60IP, 54H/38ER, 65K:20BB. 5.70 ERA / 1.23 WHIP / 4.81 FIP. 79 ERA+.

McHugh is simply getting hammered with home runs. He has allowed 12 HR in 60IP in 2019, after allowing 13 HR total in 135.2IP in 2017-2018.

There aren't a whole lot of nights you get three three-run homers, especially against Houston...When we beat Houston, we've played a really good game because they're a really good team.

*Devenski-Sneed-Abreu: 3IP, 0H/0ER, 3K:1BB. Bryan Abreu made his major league debut and retired the side on 17 pitches. Shoutout to Bryan Abreu.

*Carlos Correa was 2x4 with a double and a solo home run that opened the scoring for the Astros. Three of his four hits since returning from the IL have been for extra-bases. It's his second two-hit game since coming back

*Jose Altuve was 1x3 with 2BB. In his last 16 games (74 PAs), he has gotten on base 37 times, hitting .448/.500/.761.

*Yuli Gurriel extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a three-run double. In those 18 games he's hitting .411/.434/.740.

On June 8 Gurriel was hitting .252/.283/.382.
In the 41 games since: .365/.402/.725.

*Alex Bregman was 1x3 with a walk. Bregman, July: .233/.402/.452 on a .232 BABIP, 15K:21BB. Unlucky.

Other Astros News

*Ryan Pressly was placed on the 10-Day IL nearly two weeks after getting smoked on the knee by a line drive and obviously not looking right his last couple of times out. Hinch:
I didn't want him showing up to the ballpark every day not knowing [if he could play]. Throwing in the afternoon and waiting to see if he was feeling good for the game wasn't fair to him or to the team. I talked to him after his throwing session and he just didn't feel right. We all decided it was the best for him. 

Trade Reaction

*Notable: the Greinke trade was submitted to the League Office "a couple of seconds" before the deadline.

*Gerrit Cole, on the acquisition of Zack Greinke:
There was some hooting and hollering. It was like 4:08, I think, is when it broke and AJ came in with a big-ass grin. We were very excited.

Incredible day for the organization and our team. The energy in our room after a thing like that happens is palpable. You know that what you have in front of you is one of the greatest opportunities to keep the winning ways alive.

Zack Greinke was at the very top of our list in terms of players that we thought could impact our chances to win the World Series this year and could really fit in well on this club for the next couple of years while we still have our entire offensive unit together.

McTaggart notes that the Astros now have four starting pitchers with an ERA+ of 140 or higher for the first time since the 1907 Cubs.

More Luhnow, on the return package for Greinke:
We gave up four legitimate prospects that we were very excited about. To get a future Hall of Famer like Zack Greinke on our team for the next 2 1/2 years, we had to give up a lot of value, and it was painful. That's why it took so long. We were really resisting giving up all four of those guys and tried different permutations and different replacements, but at the end of the day, that's the deal they insisted on and that's the only deal that was going to get done. We ended up conceding at the last moment.

Cole, on Greinke:
As a pitcher, I've watched him and tried to learn from him every opportunity I can. I think he's a Hall of Famer and I think he's one of the best pitchers of our generation. Just really a true craftsman in the sense of always evolving, always being forward-thinking. His preparation is off the charts. Durability. Competitiveness. What a pickup. They nailed it.

*Luhnow, on the acquisition of Biagini and Sanchez:
We've been interested in Sanchez for a long time and interested in Biagini for a long time.

Well that's not a great quote. On Sanchez:
Ideally, he's a starter for us next year. Whether or not he's more impactful this year in the rotation or in the bullpen remains to be seen. I'm going to get [Strom] and A.J. to figure that out. His last outing was dominant, and if he does that, it's going to be hard to keep him out of the rotation.

On July 28 against Tampa, Sanchez threw 5.2IP, 6H/4ER, 10K:0BB, putting together a two-start stretch in which he totaled 10.2IP, 11H/5ER, 16K:0BB.

The ugliness of Sanchez's season totals really stems from a few bad starts in June. Let's check the splits, by calendar month (because that makes sense):

Mar/Apr: 31IP, 21H/8ER, 27K:20BB, 2.32 ERA / 1.32 WHIP
May: 29IP, 37H/17ER, 29K:13BB, 5.28 ERA / 1.72 WHIP
June: 27IP, 44H/36ER, 16K:19BB, 12.00 ERA / 2.33 WHIP
July: 25.2IP, 29H/15ER, 27K:7BB, 5.26 ERA / 1.40 WHIP

Luhnow, on Biagini:
Quite frankly, we love Biagini. We think he's got a chance to get some important outs for us the rest of the season.

Stassi, on getting traded:
It's been a whirlwind of emotions. I've spent...some time to reflect on being a part of this organization for so long. These guys, they've been brothers to me since day one. I've been with George since 2013, Bregman ever since he got drafted, Altuve since 2013. I've known these guys for years, and...I'll never forget my time here. 

Kemp, on getting traded to the Cubs:
Leaving that group behind was emotional because of how genuine everyone in that clubhouse was day in and day out. From the parking garage staff, clubhouse staff, to the community relations team, and to the coaches and teammates, each person brought their best attitude each day, and that's why the Astros are one of the best organizations in baseball.

*ESPN's David Schoenfield:
When so many front offices are afraid of making a mistake and dealing a prospect who then becomes a star, Jeff Luhnow continues to outmaneuver his peers...The Yankees are good, but the Astros won the day. And just as Verlander beat them twice in the 2017 ALCS, you wonder if Greinke will haunt the Yankees this October.

*FanGraphs' Dan Szymborski does a deep dive into how Greinke has adjusted as he moves into the later stages of his career. Szymborski:
Houston doesn't get Greinke cheaply, but this is exactly the sort of trade the Astros needed to make, and the kind of take-no-prisoners aggressiveness the organization has shown when they really want a player. The cost isn't prohibitive; the Astros brought in a star pitcher without giving up a single player who was obviously a top 100 prospect...In a league in which money and prospects are meekly handed out when a team has an opportunity to strike a critical blow, Houston keeps demonstrating why they're one of the best, most focused organizations in baseball today.

*Chandler Rome: The Greinke trade feels like the Verlander trade.

*Jake Kaplan: Ten thoughts on the Astros' Trade Deadline.

*Brian T. Smith: The Astros now feel like World Series favorites.

*SI's Emma Baccellieri: Astros Deadline Grade? A+.

*Tom Verducci: The Astros just lapped the Dodgers and Yankees. Verducci:
By getting pitcher Zack Greinke - the best among more than 70 players who changed teams - Houston declared itself the most nimble, fearless team in baseball...Houston emphatically made itself the favorites to win the World Series, and it did so by acting boldly. In a game gone mad over prospects and relief pitchers, the Astros just traded for one of the best starting pitchers in the game for a third consecutive year.

*Playoff Odds, July 25:

SiteProj. Rec.% to win ALW% to win AL% to win WS

*Playoff Odds, August 1:

SiteProj. Rec.% to win ALW% to win AL% to win WS

July 31 AL Pennant Odds, FanGraphs:
Yankees: 24.3%
Astros: 24.1%
Twins: 7.5%
Indians: 6.0%

August 1 AL Pennant Odds, FanGraphs:
Astros: 39.2%
Yankees: 23.3%
Twins: 15.1%
Indians: 10.2%

July 31 World Series Odds, FanGraphs:
Astros: 24.1%
Dodgers: 18.1%
Yankees: 14.1%

August 1 World Series Odds, FanGraphs:
Astros: 26.4%
Dodgers: 17.3%
Yankees: 13.6%

*A Musical Selection: