Monday, July 10, 2023

Monday Morning Hot Links

The Astros limped into the All-Star Break with a 3-1 loss to Seattle to close out the first half of the season with a 50-41 record, two games behind South Argyle. The Astros have not spent a single day in 1st place this season. Thank God they don't play again until Friday. 

*The Astros go into the All-Star Break with a 42.4% chance of winning the division, just south of the 44% that FanGraphs gives the Rangers, the closest that race has been since June 13. Baseball-Reference still gives it to the Rangers, 62.1-33.9. 

*After scoring six runs against the Rockies on Wednesday, the Astros were outscored 20-6 in the four-game series against Seattle. 

*The Astros managed just 19 hits in their last four games, their fewest in a four-game span since recording 16 hits from July 7-10, 2021, against Oakland and New York. 

*Houston is 15-5 against Oakland, Anaheim, and South Argyle, but 2-5 against Seattle in 2023. 


If anybody had told me that we'd be two games out with all that has happened, injuries and different things that we had, I'd say I'd be happy to have that. I'm just not happy at the moment.

More Dusty:

I think the best days are ahead. The best days have been ahead since we lost all those guys, and the key is to get them back, but to get them back ready. You don't want to get them back when you're not ready...They're on the way, they're real close. We've just got to win some games and stay where we are until we get them back.

*Brandon Bielak was solid: 5IP, 4H/3R (2ER), 5K:1BB. It was his 7th start (out of 11) in which he has allowed two or fewer earned runs, and the 4th in which he walked one batter (or fewer). 

*Rafael Montero's last four appearances (dating back to June 29): 7IP, 2H/2R (1ER), 3K:2BB. That said, Montero is the first Astros reliever to post a -0.3 fWAR in the first half of a season since Rhiner Cruz in 2012. 

*Ryan Pressly's career with Houston: 257 games, 250.1IP, 173H/67ER, 321K:56BB, 2.41 ERA / 0.92 WHIP. 5.73 K:BB ratio.

Billy Wagner's career with Houston: 464 games, 504.1IP, 333H/142ER, 694K:191BB, 2.53 ERA / 1.04 WHIP. 3.63 K:BB ratio.

*Jake Meyers was 0x3. Since going 4x5 on June 5 against Toronto, Meyers: 69 PAs, .136/.246/.186, 16K:9BB.

*Since going 3x5 with a grand slam on June 29, Alex Bregman's last ten games: .143/.268/.171. 

*Martin Maldonado hit a home run in back-to-back games for the first time since September 20-21, 2021. 

*Chron: Houston's first half in review.

*Dusty said that Framber will not pitch in the All-Star Game.

*Jose Urquidy threw a 40-pitch bullpen while Yordan took some swings and Altuve tracked pitches.

MLB Draft

*The Astros selected Atascocita HS/University of Nebraska's Brice Matthews with the 28th overall pick last night. It's the 7th time in franchise history that the Astros have taken a Cornhusker, the most recents being Scott Schreiber (9th Round - 2018) and Jake Meyers (13th Round - 2017). The slot value for 1-28 is $2,880,700.

Matthews hit .359/.481/.723 for Nebraska in 2023, and is the first player in program history have a 20HR/20SB season.

Scouting Director Kris Gross:

Postseason, we brought him into Minute Maid Park and had a day with him and his family here and he did a workout in the cage down below. Very impressed with the kid, the family. A lot lined up since he was at our Urban Youth Academy. We had a lot of comfort pulling that magnet off the board.


New GM Dana Brown comes from a more traditional scouting background, but this is a pick that aligns with the Astros' number-crunching models of the past decade. But Matthews is more than just a data darling, as all of his tools grade as average or better.

ESPN questioned whether he would stay at SS, or transition to the outfield, but Chandler Rome talked to Gross, who said:

We think he's got the athleticism to cover a lot of ground at shortstop. It's a little bit new for him - he was an outfielder mainly in high school, played second base at Nebraska his freshman year. Only two years at shortstop, but we like the range, he's got the arm strength to do it and we think that's his long-term future.

Jonathan Mayo

This one might have taken some by surprise, as Matthews profiled more as a second-round type of talent. But he does have an exciting combination of home run potential and plus speed.

Matt Kawahara: How Matthews went from Atascocita to Nebraska.

*With their second pick of the night, at 2-61, the Astros selected UCLA's Alonzo Tredwell. And all they said was 6'8" he stood, and people thought the pitches that he made were good. Gross:

He's got some frontline potential. His fastball is 90-95, huge extension down the slope. He's got four pitches, he throws a ton of strikes. We thought he really has a high ceiling if he can put it all together. We're excited to get that one in the second round.

Tredwell, who had Tommy John Surgery in 2020, was a closer at UCLA for two years before transitioning to the rotation this year. In 92.1IP in his collegiate career, Tredwell posted a 113K:18BB ratio. 

Other Stuff

*USMNT beat Canada in penalties last night to reach the Gold Cup Semifinal.

*Check on your friends in the Hudson Valley.

*A Musical Selection: