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Astros baseball: we've got uniforms and everything.

Updated: 2017-05-22T16:44:43-05:00


Astros-Tigers Series Snapshot: May 22-25, 2017



Astros face another team from the AL Central.

Houston Astros (29-15) vs. Detroit Tigers (21-21), May 22-25 2017


RHP Brad Peacock (2-0, 1.10 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) vs. RHP Michael Fulmer (5-1, 2.72 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)

Time: 7:10 p.m. CT
TV: ROOT SPORTS Southwest, MLB Network (Out of market only)
Online: MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790, La Nueva 94.1 FM (En Español)


RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (4-1, 2.65 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (4-2, 6.25 ERA, 1.61 WHIP)

Time: 7:10 p.m. CT
Online: MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790, La Nueva 94.1 FM (En Español)


RHP Charlie Morton (5-2, 4.26 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) vs. LHP Daniel Norris (2-3, 4.81 ERA, 1.72 WHIP)

Time: 7:10 p.m. CT
Online: MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790, La Nueva 94.1 FM (En Español)


RHP Mike Fiers (1-2, 5.14 ERA, 1.43 WHIP) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (4-3, 4.39 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)

Time: 7:10 p.m. CT
Online: MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790, La Nueva 94.1 FM (En Español)

Series Snapshot

Split records: Astros — 14-9 at home; Tigers— 9-11 on the road

Run differential: Astros — +54.0 (3rd best in MLB); Tigers— -9.0 (19th)

Runs scored per game: Astros — 5.00 (8th); Tigers— 4.90 (11th)

OPS+: Astros — 118 (1st); Tigers— 106 (6th)

wRC+: Astros — 114 (2nd); Tigers— 104 (6th)

Earned Runs allowed per game: Astros — 3.55 (2nd); Tigers— 4.79 (27th)

ERA+: Astros — 109 (10th); Tigers— 86 (28th)

Last 10 games: Astros — 6-4; Tigers— 5-5

2016 head-to-head record: 2-4, Tigers

2017 head-to-head: 0-0

Colin Moran Showing Improvement in Triple-A


Moran has made some changes this season and they are paying off Colin Moran has had an interesting trip through the minor leagues. From a potentially rumored #1 overall pick, to being traded to another organization only a year later, he has seen his fair share of ups and downs. This season in AAA, he seems to be making big improvements that are paying off. Moran attended the University of North Carolina where he hit .345 with 13 HR, 91 RBI and 63 BB/25 K in 71 games. A phenomenal junior season set him up well for the 2013 MLB draft. He was rumored as a possible selection for the Astros at 1.1 but the Astros took Mark Appel and Colin Moran was scooped up by the Marlins with the 6th pick. Moran was seen as probably the best bat in the draft and a guy who could move quickly through a system. Moran started the season in High-A hitting .294 with a .342 OBP in 89 games before being traded to the Astros as part of the Jarred Cosart deal. The Astros assigned Moran to Double-A where he finished out the season hitting .304 in 23 games. To this point, Moran showed his ability to hit for average but the power wasn't there. Moran would put together a great 2015 season though playing in 96 games in Double-A. He finished the season hitting .306 with 25 2B, 9 HR, 67 RBI. .153 ISO, 136 wRC+. He stock was on the rise and he started the 2016 season out in AAA with Fresno. This season didn't go as expected as he hit just .259 with 10 HR, 88 wRC+ in AAA. Even with the struggles, he was eventually called up to the Astros. He only played in 9 games going 3-for-23 with 2 RBI. Many wrote him off, though forgetting that Alex Bregman started his career 1-for-32. Moran put together a very nice Spring Training this year hitting .389 with 2 HR, 10 RBI in 36 at-bats. Colin had a solid start to the 2017 season hitting .250 with 3 HR, 16 RBI and an impressive 12 BB/12 K ratio. Moran went on the DL and missed about two weeks but has came back with a vengeance. In the 9 games since returning from the DL he is hitting .364 with 4 HR, 9 RBI good for a 218 wRC+. So for the season he is slashing .283/.372/.540 with a 135 wRC+. What has changed? One of the most notables changes from 2016 to 2017 has been his walk and strikeout rates. He has improved his walk rate from 9.2% in 2016 to 12.4% in 2017 and decreased his strikeout rate from 24.3% in 2016 to 14.0% in 2017. He has seen a big jump in ISO (.109 to .257) all while having a lower BABIP. Many MLB hitters have talked about elevating the ball (specifically Josh Donaldson) and how that had lead to success. Well looking at Moran's batted ball profile, he appears to be doing the same. His FB% is up from 29.7% in 2016 to 37.2% in 2017. The 37.2% is his highest career mark since his first season in the minors. Not only is he hitting more flyballs, he is hitting more line drives too, seeing his LD rate go from 23.1% to 27.7%. He is also hitting the ball to the pull side and center field more than he has in his career. One of the commenters here on The Crawfish Boxes (I can't remember who exactly) mentioned a change in Moran's batting stance this season, so I decided to take a look. I pulled an image from Moran this season and compared it to Moran in early 2016. Not the best of images but the differences are clear. The left side is 2017, the right side is 2016. This season, it appears Moran got rid of his open stance and is keeping his hands higher when he begins his load. You know who also keeps his hands high near his head and back shoulder? Josh Donaldson. I'm not saying the two guys are even close to the same player, but interesting to see the changes in his stance and how it has possibly led to more flyballs. Here is a good article from Fangraphs talking about the benefit of hitting flyballs. His groundball rate this season is 35.1% which is easily the lowest of his career. This season, Moran already has 15 XBH in just 113 at-bats. That means 13.2% of his at-bats have ended in extra base hits. Last season he had just 29 XBH in 459 at-bats, meaning only 6.3%[...]

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A Weekly AL West Roundup, Week 7


The Rangers continues their steep ascent back into contention, while the Angels and Athletics also post winning weeks.  The story of the week has to be the Texas Rangers charge back into contention, closing the gap in the AL West down to 5.5 games heading into week eight. The Astros managed to avoid their first losing week of the season on the back of counterbalancing sweeps, but will need to get back on track with the rest of the AL West heating up and tightening the division race. As our trend chart shows, the Astros still hold a healthy lead, but good teams respond to adversity and the way the Astros finish out this 10 game home stand will say a lot about the depth and mental toughness of this year’s squad. Of particular note on the trends, the rest of the division helped solidify the AL West’s reputation, as the Rangers broke above the .500 line for the first time all season and the Angels positioned themselves to make the same move in week eight. Now, it is time for our weekly trip around the division to catch up on the happenings for each team in the AL West: 1. Houston Astros (3-3) A week of stark contrast, the Astros finished off an impressive road trip by sweeping a scuffling Miami Marlins team before returning home to get swept themselves. The weekend was even harsher than the sweep initially looks, as injury was added to insult with both Dallas Keuchel and Brian McCann finding themselves on the disabled list. Both guys look to return quickly as Keuchel is dealing with a pinched nerve and only expected to miss one start and McCann is only on the seven-day concussion DL. We will note that any time a concussion is involved it has the potential to linger and result in a prolonged absence, but let’s assume McCann won’t miss much more than a week. Looking ahead the Astros will look to bounce back as they complete a rather challenging home stand with four games against the Detroit Tigers and three against the Baltimore Orioles. 2. Texas Rangers (5-1) How quickly the tides seem to have changed in Arlington. With Cole Hamels on the DL, Rougned Odor and the offense sputtering and Sam Dyson full on imploding his way out of the closer role things looked bleak in April, but May has breathed fresh life into this team. The Rangers ended a 10-game winning streak Saturday with a loss to Detroit, but quickly rebounded to take the rubber game Sunday. With four straight series wins and wins in 11 of 12 the Rangers are the hottest team in baseball and that can predominantly be attributed to starting pitching. If you were just looking at the results, you would never have guessed that this team entered the season with real depth questions. To illustrate this, Texas ranks seventh in team ERA and registered nine quality starts during their winning streak. The schedule takes a tougher turn in week eight, as the Rangers stay on the road for three in Boston and three in Toronto. If the Rangers win both of those series or even come away with a 3-3 record on the week they will have really made a statement during the month of May. 3. Los Angeles Angels (4-2) At risk of sounding like a broken record, Mike Trout is leading the league in WAR (again…) and Albert Pujols is moving up the all-time offensive rankings when he can stay on the field. Trout’s consecutive games with a home run streak ended at four, but he now has 14 already, the highest mark he has posted by the end of May in his career (and he still has a week left to keep hitting them). Hell, the Mets even thought about intentionally walking him with the bases loaded this weekend. Looking past Trout and his super human effort to carry the Angels on his own, Los Angeles was able to post a 4-2 record on the week behind an early week sweep of the White Sox and a sweep avoiding win Sunday afternoon against the Mets in New York. It is shaping up to be another wasted year of Trout’s prime, as the Angels look destined to loiter around .500 without a major shakeup.[...]

Astros Prospects of the Week (5th & 6th Edition)



Week 5 Player of the Week - Jason Martin, OF, Buies Creek Astros (High A)

There was some intense competition for this spot this week. Martin beat out Kyle Tucker, Derek Fisher, and Dexture McCall to nab this honor. Let’s look at Martin’s insane week.

  • .391/.440/1.043/1.483 slash
  • 9 hits, 8 of which went for extra bases (4 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs)
  • That’s 24 total bases in 1 week
  • Remember, the Carolina league is not anything like High A Lancaster used to be. It is a pitcher’s league.

Don’t sleep on Jason Martin. Remember he’s only 21 years old and he’s sporting a 134 wRC+. The amount of talent in the Astros outfield farm may be higher than any other position group.

Week 5 Pitcher of the Week - Rogelio Armenteros, RHP, Corpus Christi Hooks (Double A)

Armenteros has already nabbed this award once. If you show up twice on this list you are likely having a very good year. Spoiler alert, he is. He’s sporting a 1.25 ERA with a 33% K rate. Yes, Rogelio (80 grade name) is striking out a third of his batters faced and only walking 9%. Here’s the week:

  • 8 IP, 12 Ks, 3 BBs
  • He only allowed 6 hits

Armenteros is a very likely candidate to join Frances Martes at Triple A at some point this season.

Week 6 Player of the Week - Colin Moran, 3B, Fresno Grizzlies (Triple A)

Colin Moran started a tad slow to the season but he has turned it up at Fresno lately. He’s got the wRC+ up to 131 and the BB/K percentages are nice also (12% and 15% respectively). Here’s Colin’s week:

  • .417/.481/.875/1.356
  • 10 hits, 2 doubles, and 3 home runs

Moran’s ISO this season is at .239. Perhaps some pop is starting to develop into that bat as Moran fills out that 6-4 frame.

Week 6 Pitcher of the Week - Framber Valdez, LHP, Buies Creek Astros (High A)

One of the joys of researching this “discovering” a guy. I barely remembered Framber Valdez pitching a few inning in spring training. I had forgotten about him. He’s definitely on my radar to stay, now. Here’s the week:

  • 10 IP, 11 Ks, 3 BBs, allowed 3 hits
  • That’s good for a 0.90 ERA and a 0.60 WHIP
  • 12 of the 22 balls put in play were ground balls

Framber (another 80 grade name) throws from the correct side to garner a lot of interest from Astros management. With the lack of LHP in the system, he could be someone who gets a real shot with the big club in the future. He’s 5-11, 170 pounds, so he’s not big. He throws a curve and a good sinker in the low 90s range. The change-up is still being developed. Here’s a good article on Valdez from the Houston Chronicle.

Astros Prospect Report: May 21st, 2017


See how the Astros minor league teams and prospects performed last night AAA: Fresno Grizzlies (18-26) won 9-3 (BOX SCORE) Coleman was on the mound for the Grizzlies last night and had one of his better outings allowing just 1 run over 5 innings. The Fresno offense scored early and often. Brignac got the scoring started with an RBI single in the second, on his way to a 4-for-4 day. Aplin added a sac fly in the 2nd as well. In the 4th, Brignac added to his day with an RBI double. The Fresno would add three more in the 6th on a Kemp RBI double and a Moran 3 run HR. Moran now has 7 HR in 113 at bats this season. He had just 10 HR in 459 at-bats last season. He has also had a hit in all 9 games since coming off the DL. Kemmer added an RBI double in the 7th. West had a solid outing in relief tossing 2 scoreless innings with 2 strikeouts to close it out. Note: Fisher is hitting .352 with 7 HR, 20 RBI over his last 24 games. Tony Kemp, 2B: 1-for-4, R, 2B, RBI, BB, SB Derek Fisher, CF: 1-for-5, R, RBI, SB Teoscar Hernandez, RF: 1-for-4, R, 2B, SB Colin Moran, 3B: 1-for-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB Tyler White, 2B: 0-for-3, R, BB Max Stassi, C: 0-for-3, R, BB Reid Brignac, SS: 4-for-4, 2 R, 3 2B, 2 RBI Preston Tucker, DH: 1-for-5, R Jon Kemmer, LF: 1-for-1, 2B, RBI Casey Coleman, RHP: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K (WIN) Kevin Comer, RHP: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K Aaron West, RHP: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K AA: Corpus Christi Hooks (21-22) win 5-0 (BOX SCORE) Bostick got the start for the Hooks last night and was phenomenal. He went 6 scoreless innings allowing just 3 hits on 77 pitches. Boyd got the Hooks on the board with a sac fly in the 4th. In the 5th inning, Stubbs had a big 2 run single to make it 3-0. Stubbs finished the day with 3 hits and a walk. He has 11 BB/12 K in 26 games this season. Corpus Christi picked up a run in the 7th on a Davis RBI double and another in the 8th when Nunez scored on a double play. Ferguson had a good game reaching base in all five plate appearances (2 singles, 3 walks). Stutzman tossed two scoreless innings in relief and Minnis closed it out with a scoreless 9th. Note: Ferguson is hitting .385 over his last 10 games. Drew Ferguson, CF: 2-for-2, R, 3 BB Garrett Stubbs, C: 3-for-4, R, 2 RBI, BB J.D. Davis, 3B: 2-for-5, R, 2 2B, RBI Antonio Nunez, 2B: 2-for-3, R, BB Bobby Boyd, LF: 0-for-4, RBI Kristian Trompiz, SS: 2-for-4, R Akeem Bostick, RHP: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (WIN) Sean Stutzman, LHP: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K Albert Minnis, LHP: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K A+: Buies Creek Astros (27-17) lost 8-2 (BOX SCORE) Rough day for the offense yesterday for Buies Creek. They managed just 2 hits during the game and both came during the first inning. Martin lead-off the game with a single and eventually scored on a Cesar RBI single. Martin extended his hit streak to 6 games with the first inning single. Straw drew another walk and now has 24 BB/29 K in 38 games. Ferrell got the start and got roughed up allowing 6 runs over 2.2 innings. Garza relieved Ferrell and pitched well tossing 3.1 scoreless innings. Garza hasn't allowed an earned run over his last 8.2 innings pitched. Brey threw 2 scoreless innings in relief and now has 8 K in 5 innings for Buies Creek. Note: Straw has drawn 10 BB in his last 10 games and has a .393 OBP this season. Jason Martin, LF: 1-for-4, R Myles Straw, CF: 0-for-2, BB Randy Cesar, 3B: 1-for-4, RBI Dexture McCall, 1B: 0-for-2, BB Arturo Michelena, SS: 0-for-2, BB Justin Ferrell, RHP: 2.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 0 K Ralph Garza, RHP: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K Howie Brey, LHP: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K A: Quad Cities River Bandits (20-21) won 15-8 (BOX SCORE) After being shutout for 31 consecutive innings, Quad Cities broke through in a big way yesterday. Ayarza put the River Bandits on the board with a 3 run HR in the first inning. Franco had a g[...]

2017 MLB Draft Profile: D.L. Hall, LHP, Valdosta HS (GA)


Tale of the Tape Age on Draft Day: 18 years, 9 mos. Height: 6’1” Weight: 190 lbs. B/T: L/L Player Overview One of the top prep arms heading in to the spring for this year’s draft, Hall is a slight-of-build lefty with an advanced arsenal of pitches for his age. That 6’1’’’ height doesn’t scream upside (his stature has also varied by publication - some places have him an inch shorter or taller) but he’s pitching in a fertile watershed for prep players and could be a #2 starter at his ceiling. Even though the state of Georgia has actually produced more prep draft selections from the position player front in recent years, the state is still ripe with pitching talent - Hall and fellow Georgian Mackenzie Gore should both go in the top 15 picks this year. Regardless of position, it’s one of the best locations in the country to showcase prep talent in terms of weather (playing time), competition (facing top prep hitters) and location to many MLB teams and their scouting departments. So Hall will attempt to continue these recent trends with an advanced fastball and one of the best curveballs in the draft that make him one of the safer prep arms to come around in some time. Hall’s fastball sits in the low 90s (90-94 range) and can touch 95 on occasion - the fastball from an 18-year old would offer enough to dream on, but his curveball is exceptional and will push his professional floor even higher. Hall has a developing changeup that’s not very dependable right now but could work itself into an average or above-average pitch down the road. Hall’s curve gets a paragraph of it’s own because it’s very good: That breaking pitch clocks in the mid-70s and has great depth and sweeping action, as well as a high spin rate as reported by (Luhnow alert). It can also get slurvy, suggesting differentiation and shape change that should help distinguish it from the normal 12-6 form at the pro level. That curveball projects as a plus offering, although Hall gets mixed reports on his overall command/control of his pitches. Back on the projectability/athleticism/height thing: Many reports from scouts and evaluators actually sound optimistic about Hall’s athleticism. It helps that he’s not a lumbering hurler over 200 lbs. - remember, we’re trying to project 18-year olds, who still should be growing. Hall’s delivery also has some effort to it, so it could use some tweaking to potentially improve his command. Any projection (which is possible if he’s really bigger than his reported height) could push his fastball consistently up a few ticks on the radar gun and help with that command. Though fellow Georgian Mackenzie Gore is considered a “polished” prep arm, Hall’s left-handedness, experience on the high school showcase circuit and advanced breaking ball give him a considerably higher floor than many prep arms (and even some college ones) that we normally cover in draft years. He’s still 4-to-5 years off from the majors due to simply learning how to pitch as he fills into his frame, but will be nice long-term pitching prospect for whichever team drafts him. Projected Draft Range Most mocks and draft rankings have hall within 9-15 range without a ton of fluctuation. He’s been known in scouting circles for quite some time so I imagine most scouting departments are comfortable with that ranking. I definitely don’t think Hall is the best prep pitcher in this class, but the breaking stuff and left-handedness give him a pretty high floor for a prep arm so I’d be surprised to see him fall past the #13-15 range. Miami loves prep arms, has probably seen him a ton of times due to location and has the 13th pick so that could be his floor. Does he make sense for the Astros? He’s a prep lefty with some obvious risk, but the high-ish floor with advanced breaking stuff puts him on a similar projection level as Forrest Whitley. He would probably be BPA [...]

Indians 8, Astros 6: Home runs can’t bring Astros back against Tribe



Astros swept by Cleveland.

Over 100,000 fans saw the Astros take on the Indians over the weekend. The Houston faithful didn’t see the Astros flex their muscles against one of the AL’s best teams. Instead, they learned that the Astros may have a Indians problem with Cleveland completing a three-game sweep with an 8-6 win on Sunday.

The Astros were able to put a late comeback but Joe Musgrove dug too deep of a hole in the first four innings of the game.

Yan Gomes and Jason Kipnis each had RBIs in the first inning and Gomes put the Indians up 5-1 with a three-run home run in the third inning.

Musgrove allowed the first two batters to reach base in the fourth inning and was pulled for Ashur Tolliver. Tolliver allowed a walk, two singles, and a hit-by-pitch that resulted in three more runs being scored.

Jose Altuve attempted to start the climb back with a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth.

Marwin Gonzalez and Alex Bregman went back-to-back with home runs in the ninth to set the score at 8-6. Gonzalez home run came after a 13-pitch at-bat.

Nori Aoki ended the game with a strikeout.

Houston Astros News: May 22, 2017


Your one-stop shop for Houston Astros and news from around the league for Friday, May 22, 2017. Astros News Indians hammer Joe Musgrove, complete sweep of Astros For as much as Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. have alleviated concerns about the top of the rotation, the rest of the Astros' starters have called into question the team's depth. Astros' Dallas Keuchel lands on disabled list Astros ace Dallas Keuchel was placed on the 10-day disabled list Saturday with a pinched nerve in his neck. Astros place Brian McCann on 7-day concussion DL A day after they lost their ace for at least one start, the Astros disclosed they will also be without their primary catcher for at least this week. Astros option Ashur Tolliver to Triple A After saving the Astros' bullpen with four innings of relief in Sunday's loss to the Indians, lefthander Ashur Tolliver was optioned back to Class AAA so the team could bring in a fresh arm Monday. Peacock fills in for Keuchel vs. Fulmer, Tigers Brad Peacock hasn't appeared as a starting pitcher since Spring Training, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch told Peacock then that he'd be the replacement if a starter went down with an injury. Peacock's chance will come Monday. Season's first hiccup doesn't negate Astros' MLB-best record It began with the best team in baseball back in town and 104,620 fans showing up to watch it all. Bullpen of the Week: Astros Sipp solid in sub; Giles, Devenski, Peacock, Harris also stellar Around the League The Luis Robert signing is part of the end of an era Sunday’s Say Hey, Baseball features a big international signing for the White Sox, a sweet play by Nolan Arenado, and the question of whether the Brewers have just been lucky. Fishing for Ways to Stop Trout The fact that Terry Collins considered intentionally walking Mike Trout with the bases loaded over the weekend -- a tactic reserved only for peak-level Barry Bonds and Josh Hamilton -- just gives us occasion to point out the very ridiculous reality that right now Trout is a better hitter than he has ever been before. Which Team Has MLB’s Best Double-Play Combo? These days, we’re blessed with a number of amazing young shortstops. Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, and Corey Seager, for example, are already among baseball’s top players. Manny Machado is a shortstop who just accidentally plays third base. All of them are younger than 25. Week Ahead: Postseason preview brewing? Surprise contenders D-backs, Brewers meet for 4-game series in Milwaukee Major League Baseball and Facebook Announce Friday Streaming Deal Facebook has struck a deal with Major League Baseball to show 20 games live this season in an agreement that expands the social media network further into the world of live programming. Braves acquire Matt Adams from Cardinals as fill-in for Freddie Freeman The Atlanta Braves have found their fill-in for injured star Freddie Freeman. [...]