Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Tuesday Morning Hot Links

The Astros won 11-1. Clear Brook HS and UH alum Corey Julks (8th Round - 2017) hit a grand slam. Jake Adams (6th Round - 2017) hit a 3-run home run. Garrett Stubbs and Myles Straw added homers, with Stubbs hitting the first Houston homer of 2020. If you had Garrett Stubbs in your pool, kindly come to the window and ye shall be burned for witchcraft. Bryan Abreu looked good. Everyone got booed. Altuve got hit by a pitch (in the foot, by a breaking ball. Chill out).

*The Astros played their first true road game of the Spring, in Lakeland against the Tigers, and hooboy did they hear some boos. Chandler Rome:
(Altuve, Correa, Gurriel, Bregman) were heckled heavily in the five innings they played. The reception was nasty. The individualized insults were audible through a small, otherwise quiet ballpark. The crowd made no louder noise than when it directed dismay at the Astros. 

You knew it was going to happen. Every day (it's going to happen) until we just start winning and beating on the ball. It's no problem.

Correa, on the "reaction" from the crowd:
What reaction? I didn't hear anything.

*Bryan Abreu got the start and threw two perfect innings, striking out four batters, including Miguel Cabrera. Remember, Spring Training stats don't matter, unless you want them to. Dusty, on Abreu:
He's not being ignored. He's a guy that's definitely on our radar. I didn't know him before this. He was up last year. He throws the ball well. He had a good demeanor and good tempo. We like him.

*Chandler Rome has a good profile about the offseason work put in by Ronnie Dawson (2nd Round - 2016). Dawson, year-by-year:

2017: .278/.363/.437, 110K:59BB in 562 PAs.
2018: .258/.333/.428, 130K:45BB in 499 PAs
2019: .207/.313/.385, 152K:50BB in 498 PAs.

I hit the ball really well. I hit the ball really hard. I just missed a lot of pitches. If I cleaned up that, the strikeouts go down and my hard hits go up - I have more home runs and have more doubles.

*The outfield starters are likely playing today.

*Over at The Athletic, Keith Law dropped his Top 100 Prospects list. The Astros' contingent, in full:

#14: Forrest Whitley. C'est tout. Law, on Whitley:
His upside is unchanged - a No. 1 starter who can give you 200 innings - and we'll see shortly if the mechanical tweaks he's made this winter get his delivery to where it needs to be. 

Jake Kaplan: The three keys for this to be The Year of Forrest (Whitley).

Sign Stealing Stuff

*The Astros have started responding to the various (seven, apparently) lawsuits brought about by the sign-stealing scandal. Among those who have sued the Astros: daily fantasy sports players, season-ticket holders, Mike Bolsinger, etc. The Astros:
It is well established...that attendees or viewers at sporting events have no express or implied right to an event free of penalties, undisclosed injuries, rules violations, cheating, or similar conduct, and claims asserting such a right have been repeatedly dismissed. Even accepting the Complaint's allegations as true, the alleged sign-stealing does not in itself render false any statement about the team's strengths and successes...If there is any implied understanding of fans, it is that rule infractions will occur during the games.

I'm no lawyer, but I did take the LSAT hungover in 2002. One outcome, I would assume, is that if the suit continues and the Astros are found liable, anyone with any kind of vested interest in the game could sue a team over...say...pine tar or a foreign, sticky substance on the arm of the pitcher. Is that the same as using a live camera feed to transmit pitches to hitters? No, but the team's legal counsel apparently got on Baseball-Reference and used the stats that showed the Astros' offense was more potent on the road than it was at home. And the Spygate defense utilized by the New England Patriots in Mayer v. Belichick, which the Patriots won.

*Miguel Cabrera has Altuve's back on the Sign Stealing. Cabrera:
We knew (the sign-stealing methods) from a long time ago. Two years ago, we knew. So, when I asked him again this offseason, it was the same conversation we had two years ago...He told me he didn't do it and I believe him. People made fun of him about the tattoo, but that's real. It's real...I believe he didn't do it because he (said) that to my face. He looked me in the eye and said he didn't do it. I believe him.

So the Tigers knew, the A's knew, Jonathan Lucroy knew...I'm starting to wonder if Aaron Judge and the Yankees' melodrama about the whole thing is (gasp) simply for PR?

*Gerrit Cole:
I'm going to miss those guys. They're under scrutiny right now. So many people are coming after them. I anticipate them bunkering down. I think they are going to play really hard, and really well this year. Hopefully if they do that, maybe they can quiet it down a little bit, proving this will be a fresh slate for them. But I'm telling you, we played fair and square last year. I didn't see anything in 2018 either. I really didn't. But no one wants to hear it now.

*Jeets says the Sign Stealing Scandal is a black eye for Baseball. Jeets:
It's like a slow drip of responses coming out from everyone. You hope at some point people can just move on. But, look, it's unfortunate. It's a black eye for the sport. 

This is the most Substance that Jeets has ever contributed to a baseball discussion.

*MLBPA President Tony Clark sees a direct correlation between market inefficiencies, technology, metrics, service time manipulation, and the trash can scheme.

Other Stuff

*RIP, Katherine Johnson. From Vox: The math that made Katherine Johnson a legend.

*The Atlantic: You're probably going to get Coronavirus. You're probably not going to die.
The disease (known as COVID-19) seems to have a fatality rate of less than 2 percent - exponentially lower than most outbreaks that make global news. The virus has raised alarm not despite that low fatality rate, but because of it.

*Look, I'm not a Chuck Schumer fan but getting riled up because he spent $8,600 on cheesecake over seven years is not smart. $8,600 over seven years is $102/month, or about $25.50 a week, or about one cheesecake every two weeks from Junior's.

*A Musical Selection: