*Dusty Baker wants the Astros to be more aggressive on the basepaths. Baker:
I'm an aggressive person. Baserunning is probably one of the things that I think is really missing in baseball. Aggressive baserunning (and) smart baserunning. You can't just be aggressive. You have to be smart about it. Baserunning can create a lot of mistakes on the opposition. You're going to get thrown out every once in a while. But if you don't try anything, then that's very boring baseball, and you don't put pressure on the opposition.
The 2019 Astros stole 67 bases in 2019, 17th in MLB and 8th in the AL. They were thrown out 27 times for a success rate of (71.3%).
*Jake Kaplan put out his Opening Day Roster Projection 3.0, which includes Austin Pruitt and Jared Hughes.
*ZiPS Projections are live at FanGraphs! Some notable projections:
-Altuve: .305 BA, Yordan: .288 BA, Bregman: .287 BA.
-Bregman: 7.1 fWAR. Springer: 4.6 fWAR; Altuve: 4.5 fWAR; Kyle Tucker: 3.3 fWAR
-Correa projected at 109 games played.
-Verlander: 4.7 fWAR, Greinke: 2.8 fWAR...and that's pretty much it. ZiPS isn't so high on the Astros' rotation.
*One in a Million: An oral history of Zack Greinke's time with the Royals.
*Garrett Stubbs is going to try his hand at 2B, with the help of Matt Chapman and another Catcher-Turned-Second Baseman named Craig Biggio.
*Aledmys Diaz won his arbitration case and will make $2.6m in 2020.
*Blake Taylor, the return from the Mets for Jake Marisnick, was blown away by the information the Astros gave him. Taylor:
They show you everything. They say, 'This is how much hop your fastball has, this is how much your slider has.' The information is there and they're hands-on and work with you. Everything is specialized to you. It's not cookie-cutter....I hope to make an impact on this team and if I break with the team that's awesome, and if I don't, I'm going to work my ass off to get up there.
In that link we also find that Dusty would like Yordan to play more outfield, but it's up to Yordan's knees.
*Check out What The Heck Bobby's interview with Former Astros Farmhand Daniel Minor. It's super-insightful information about playing in a crowded system (even if the team had lost 100 games forever), playing in Mexico and Venezuela, and what it was like to play in the Atlantic League when they were doing a dry-run on the crazy new rules.
*I spent a few days working on a timeline regarding the whole sign-stealing thing. It's 5000 words and goes back to 2006. Have fun.
*Josh Reddick told reporters:
At some point, you have to move on and not give a s**t. We're going to go out there and win and shut everybody up.
*Mike Fiers talked to The Athletic. When asked if he was worried about his safety in coming to Houston, Fiers:
No. Everyone's crazy - everyone can get crazy at a certain point if they don't like something that you do. Listen...everyone's mad at (the Astros). There are teams that are mad. It doesn't matter what it is, extra protection, I mean, what are you going to do? There's not much you can do.
*Buster Olney thinks Rob Manfred should censure the 2017 Astros.
*Alden Gonzalez: Why players are so willing to sound off on the Astros.
*The Yankees are pretty much always down to rip the Astros, even with Gerrit Cole in the room.
*Joe Girardi what is you doing:
Judge: *sad because Altuve “stole” MVP from him in 2017*— Off-SZN (@AstrosOptimism2) February 20, 2020
Judge’s manager in 2017: pic.twitter.com/kVNmDSuPt4
*Eno Sarris ranked the MLB stadiums by the quality and accessibility of their available craft beer. (Minute Maid ranked 12th).
*Space, Time, and Psychedelics with Tame Impala's Kevin Parker
*Elvis Costello's "Get Happy!!" at 40.
*A Musical Selection: