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Astros baseball: we've got uniforms and everything.



Updated: 2017-11-16T17:50:00-06:00

 



Astros 2B Jose Altuve is 2017 American League MVP

2017-11-16T17:50:00-06:00

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BBWAA picks right player for the 2017 AL MVP.

Baseball Writers' Association of American voted Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is the 2017 American League Most Valuable Player, announced on Thursday.

Altuve, 27, got 27 of the 30 first place votes, winning in a landslide over second-place finisher New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge with 405 points.

Altuve is only the fifth AL second baseman to win the award, he joins Tigers’ Charlie Gehringer (1937), Yankee Joe Gordon (1942), White Sox Nellie Fox (1959), and Red Sox Dustin Pedroia (2008). No position has had fewer MVP winners including six in the National League.

Altuve won his third batting title in 2017, batting .346 (204x590), he added 112 runs scored, 39 doubles, four triples, 24 home runs, 32 stolen bases, 58 walks, 84 strikeouts, and .410/,547/.957 slash.

Altuve has been and still is the heart and soul of the Astros organization since being called up in 2012 and his successes culminated in the 2017 World Series title, the first in franchise history.

Altuve becomes the third player at 5-foot-6 in height, with Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto (1950) and Athletics pitcher Bobby Shantz (1952)as the shortest MVPs.




Astros MiLB Position Review: Shortstop

2017-11-15T10:30:02-06:00

A review of the shortstop position in the Astros minor league system We continue our position reviews in the Astros system this week, taking a look at the shortstop position. Here are the previous position reviews: Catcher First Base Second Base Third Base TOP PERFORMERS Reid Brignac Overall the shortstop position was weak in the minors in 2017 but Brignac provided the needed depth at AAA in case there were injuries. The veteran infielder had a .737 OPS with 33 XBHs in 110 games. 2017 Stats: 110 G, .251 BA/.326 OBP/.411 SLG, 17 2B, 13 HR, 52 RBI, 41 BB/116 SO Deury Carrasco The Astros signed Carrasco for $480,000 in the summer of 2016. Carrasco played this season with the DSL Astros and had a solid professional debut. In 64 games he had a 125 wRC+ with more walks than strikeouts. While he doesn't have a lot of power, he makes up for it with his plate discipline and speed, evident by the 32 stolen bases. 2017 Stats: 64 G, .266 BA/.407 OBP/.319 SLG, 9 2B, 1 3B, 17 RBI, 32 SB, 50 BB/48 SO Freudis Nova Nova was the Astros big get in 2016 signing him to a $1.2 million deal. He made his professional debut this summer and was solid posting a 110 wRC+. He started the season really well hitting .326 in June and .305 in July before falling off a pit in August. Overall, it was a good debut for the Dominican shortstop. 2017 Stats: 47 G, .247 BA/.342 OBP/.355 SLG, 6 2B, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 8 SB, 15 BB/33 SO THE REST OF THE PACK Miguelangel Sierra Sierra was a high profile signing out of Venezuela for $1 million in 2014. He showed some promise last year hitting 11 HR in 31 games for Greeneville. Unfortunately, he struggled this year with Tri-City hitting just .178 with 4 HR in 57 games. Given his young age, he still has a ton of upside. 2017 Stats: 57 G, .178 BA/.260 OBP/.297 SLG, 8 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 17 BB/62 SO Jonathan Arauz Arauz was acquired by the Astros as the add on piece in the Ken Giles trade. Arauz split time between Tri-City and Quad Cities at 18 years old this season. He hit .264 with .704 OPS in 33 games with Tri-City. He only hit .220 with Quad Cities but did have 20 BB/18 SO in 36 games. 2017 Stats: 69 G, .242 BA/.336 OBP/.319 SLG, 10 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 32 BB/47 SO Anibal Sierra Astros signed Sierra for $1.5 million in 2016. Given his age at signing, 22, it appeared he could be a fast rise. Unfortunately, he had a terrible 2017 season. He played 9 game with Quad Cities hitting .250 before being promoted to Buies Creek where he hit .196 in 2014 games. Overall he had a 60 wRC+. Low walk rate, high strikeout rate. That signing looks very odd at this point. 2017 Stats: 113 G, .201 BA/.271 OBP/.290 SLG, 11 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 4 SB, 29 BB/127 SO 2018 OUTLOOK/CONCLUSION Just like second base and third base, the Astros are set at shortstop with Carlos Correa. The minor leagues are filled with a ton of upside in Sierra, Arauz, Nova and Carrasco but all are far away at this point. The upper minors is kind of bare and the older guy in the group, Anibal Sierra, really struggled in 2017. Thanks to Correa, there is plenty of time to let one of the young guys develop. [...]



Do the Astros or Yankees have a brighter future? A debate between fans

2017-11-15T08:27:57-06:00

Noted Astros process apologist CRPerry13 debates infamous Yankees Twitter troll @realMaxFairplay to settle the question that has been gnawing at the entire world for at least the last few minutes Today, I am joined by infamous Yankees superfan @realMaxFairplay, who has become one of #AstrosTwitter’s favorite punching bags. Turns out, despite being a graduate-level troll, Max is a cool dude, if completely delusional about his Yankees. The topic at hand? Who has a brighter near-term future, the Yankees or the Astros? Both teams are young and feature superstar-quality players. Follow Max (or Chris) on Twitter for some amusing banter. Also, vote in his polls. If you are an Astros fan. @realMaxFairplaySunday, 12 November 2017 Hey there, Fairplay here. You may know me from the infamous twitter account I run, @realMaxFairplay, where I educate baseball fans about how many championships, HOFers, retired numbers, etc. the Yankees have. Recently I've run this Twitter poll about which team has a brighter future; the options are either the 27 time champion New York Yankees or the trash ass Astros. Everything was going fine with the voting until biased Astros fans got involved and started retweeting it, which of course lead to skewing the results of the poll. I ran the poll again hoping that these idiots had their fun and would move on, but of course Astros fans have nothing better to do and the same thing just ended up happening again. I ran the poll for a third time with the stipulations that you cannot vote in the poll or retweet the poll unless you follow me. Since I have way more Yankee fans than Astros fans who follow me, I thought for sure that this poll would would turn out better than the last two, but one glaring oversight on my part was of course Astros fans have absolutely no honor or class and have violated the rules of the poll. At this point my strategy is to attempt to use reason with this psychotic fan base that seems to think that the laws of baseball have broken and the Yankees will stop producing dynasties while the Astros enjoy a 3peat or some such nonsense. This is what is actually going to happen: The Yankees will enjoy an outfield consisting of Clint Frazier, Bryce Harper, and Aaron Judge and an infield that contains Manny Machado, Didi Gregorious, Greg Bird, and number one prospect Gleyber Torres, with Sanchez behind the plate. This is your Yankees for the next ten years. We have seen this happen plenty of times before. We can see the script unfolding before our very eyes if we just simply pay attention. This is the New York Yankees we are talking about here. No other team has a track record of consistently putting together a dynasty and winning championships. If the Astros got pushed to a game 7 with a Yankee dynasty that is in its infancy (I'd even argue it’s still in the womb), how the hell are they going to deal with what's coming? The Astros aren't going to have to find a way to get better, they're going to have to find a way to get A LOT better. Somebody is going to have to explain to me how that happens and how they plan on keeping that kind of team together for ten years. Let's assess the situation honestly and just accept that the Yankees are likely to add 5 more championships before 2030 while the Astros at some point in that time span go back to being the laughing stock of baseball. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images @CRPerry13Sunday, 12 November 2017 I had a nice outline in my head for how I would present my case that the Astros have a brighter future than the Yankees, but then I read your email. Your rambling nonsense has left me with a dilemma - do I present my rational argument for the Astros? Or do I merely ridicule your delusional vision of the Yankees? Being a fair man, I am opting for both. The Astros, who had the 18th-highest payroll to open 2017, have stated that once competitive, they expect to move into MLB's top five payrolls. That gives them plenty of room to sign two of the top ten hitt[...]



On The Astros: A Second Look At 2017 Free Agent Relievers

2017-11-14T08:30:02-06:00

Another perspective on prospective free agent relief pitching targets for the Astros this winter Author’s Note: Yes, I’m aware that this topic was well-canvassed last week here on this site. In truth, Jimmy and I had the same idea at the same time and both wanted to write a piece about it, so here we are. Hopefully there is enough differentiation here to make the conversation worthwhile afresh, so the two weeks (whenever I had time) spent researching and writing this piece wasn’t wasted. In case you missed it, make sure you go read Jimmy (AstrosFuture) Price’s piece about potential reliever targets for the Astros. This piece will attempt to piggy back off of some of the information about a couple pitchers mentioned therein, and ultimately add another couple of names to the list. But first? First, we need to talk a little bit about who this writer does not think should make the list. The No-Go List No one on this list is a bad pitcher - in fact, a couple of them are currently premium pitchers who are about to command quite a payday. And in some cases, that may be why the Astros should avoid them. Wade Davis This is one of those instances where the pitcher is currently good, and there is quite a lot of public pressure (from many of the fans and the media) for the Astros to sign him. In my amateur estimation, however, the Astros should resist. Here’s why. First, he is one of the preeminent relief arms on the market. He is going to ask for (and receive, probably from a large-market contender) a lucrative, multi-year deal that is based at least in large part on what he’s done in the league. And good for him, more power to him. I don’t think the Astros should go down that road for a couple of reasons: because of the cost-benefit analysis (he’s had one 3 win season as a reliever, one two win season, and otherwise has hovered around 1.1 fWAR) of the dollars spent and likely-lack of available surplus value in a proffered contract...and because I think the 32 year old right handed reliever is hitting the front end of his aging curve decline, and I am in the camp who believes that you sign a contract to pay a player for what they will do, not for what they did do in the past. Over the last three years, his BB/9 rate has gone from 2.67 to 3.32 to 4.30 in 2017, for starters. Fine, BB/9 isn’t a great stat for indicating decline. In addition, his FIP has increased from 1.19 in 2014 to 2.29 in 2015 and 2016 before reaching 3.38 in 2017. His xFIP increases have been even more pronounced in that time frame - 1.93 in 2014, 3.07 in 2015, 3.68 in 2016, 3.57 in 2017. His SIERA has a similar look. He still has a solid WPA, RE24, WPA/LI, and Clutch score if you’re into those (you really should be at least glancing at these stats, especially for relievers, as a good barometer for past performance even if it isn’t terrible predictive...see this piece and this piece and this piece for more info about these stats) but they have diminished over his 2014-15 numbers as well pretty much across the board. His average velocity has diminished slightly each of the last two seasons as well. All of this to say that Wade Davis is obviously not a bad pitcher right now, today, but there are enough concerning indicators there (coupled with the likely cost both in dollars and years for Davis) to lead this writer to think that the Astros should (and probably will) focus their efforts elsewhere. Greg Holland It’s really hard (at least for this plebeian) to evaluate pitchers coming out of Coors Field, and even more so when it’s their first season back from Tommy John Surgery. That said, Holland at the very least falls into the “probably more expensive/more years than makes sense” camp even if the concerns over his injuries are allayed. Additionally, one would assume he (along with Davis, actually) would be expecting a very specific role in whatever bullpen they join, and I think I would avoid adding any pitcher who expe[...]



Potential Reliever Targets for the Astros in Free Agency

2017-11-09T15:38:13-06:00

Here is a list of potential targets for the Astros Last night I was perusing on Twitter and I saw some talk about signing free agents. Some wanted outfielders, some wanted starters, some wanted relievers. It got me thinking though. With the Astros losing a few relievers to free agency this off-season, especially two guys from the World Series roster (Luke Gregerson, Francisco Liriano), I think the Astros will be in the market for relievers. But I don't think it will be the big money guys like Wade Davis and Greg Holland. Here are some relievers I think could be good fits for the Astros as far as budget and contract goes. I will use the MLB Trade Rumors contract predictions for this article. I also think they will/should be in the market for another lefty to replace Sipp. Here is my list: Brandon Morrow, RHP Morrow is a guy Astros fans will be familiar with due to his time with the Dodgers in the World Series. Yes, the Astros rocked him in game 5, but he pitched in all 7 games and outside of game 5, was pretty solid against the best offense in the league. Morrow was a starter for the majority of his career before making the full transition to the bullpen in 2016. Over the last two seasons with SDP and LA he had a combined 1.96 ERA, 2.30 FIP and 58 K in 59.2 IP, and didn't allow a single HR in the 2017 regular season. Morrow had a solid groundball rate this season at 45% and will add another high velocity arm with his 98 MPH fastball and 89 MPH slider. MLB Trade Rumors Contract Prediction - 3 year, $24 million Bryan Shaw, RHP Shaw has been one of the better relievers over the 6-7 years including leading the league in appearances three times with the Indians. Just looking at ERA, Shaw had his worst season of his career (3.52) but he also had his best career FIP (2.96) indicating he might have pitched better than it shows. He had 22 BB/73 K in 76.2 innings this season. Shaw also had a very good groundball rate at 55.9% but had a career high in BABIP (.311) this season. Overall, Shaw appears to be a guy the Astros could run out there and count on having a very good season and bolstering the middle innings. Shaw throws a 95 MPH cutter and an 83 MPH slider. MLB Trade Rumors Contract Prediction - 3 year, $21 million Mike Minor, LHP Minor came up with the Braves and was a decent starter from 2010-2014. He missed the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to injury but finally made it back to the big leagues as a reliever with the Royals in 2017. Minor was absolutely dominating this season posting a 2.55 ERA with 88 K in 77.2 innings. This also came with a 2.62 FIP while allowing just 6.6 hits per 9 innings. Minor also dominated left handed hitters in 2017. Lefties hit just .163 with .423 OPS against him in 102 plate appearances. Moving to the bullpen also allowed Mike Minor to see an uptick in his velocity. As a starter he set around 91 MPH but this year averaged 94-95 MPH with a high of 97 MPH in August and September. Minor would give the Astros a dominant left option but could also be a full inning guy and not just a LOOGY. MLB Trade Rumors Contract Prediction - 4 year, $28 million Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images Jake McGee, LHP McGee made his name known in 2015 with the Rays when he had a 1.89 ERA and 90 K in 71.1 innings. The Rockies ended up trading for him prior to the 2016 in an attempt to bolster their bullpen. Unfortunately, his first year with Colorado did not go well as he had a 4.73 ERA and just 38 K in 45.2 innings. As expected though, his road numbers were a bit better. McGee turned it around in 2017 with a 3.61 ERA (2.93 FIP) and 58 K in 57.1 innings. He was very good on the road posting a 2.64 ERA and 1.93 FIP with 32 K in 30.2 innings. McGee isn't necessarily a groundball guy like the Astros like but if employed properly, he could be a good add. McGee still maintained his velocity in 2017 averaging 95+ MPH on his fastball. MLB Trade Rumors Contract Prediction - 3 year, $18 million A[...]



Astros MiLB Position Review: Third Base

2017-11-08T10:30:02-06:00

A look at the third base position in the Astros minor league system We continue our position reviews in the Astros system this week, taking a look at the third base position. Here are the previous position reviews: Catcher First Base Second Base TOP PERFORMERS Colin Moran After a disappointing 2016 season which saw Moran hit .259 with an 88 wRC+, he rebounded nicely hitting .308 with a 133 wRC+ in AAA. Moran showed an increase in power slugging 18 homers in just 82 games. Moran was promoted to Houston and was 4-for-11 with a homer before a foul ball hit his face causing him to miss some extended time. 2017 Stats: 82 G, .301 BA/.369 OBP/.532 SLG, 16 2B, 18 HR, 65 RBI, 33 BB/59 SO J.D. Davis Davis has shown power throughout his career and it continued in 2017. He started the season back in AA showing improvement before being promoted to AAA. In 16 games with Fresno he hit 5 HR and drove in 18 earning him a callup to the Astros. Davis posted a 100 wRC+ in 25 MLB games. 2017 Stats: 103 G, .282 BA/.345 OBP/.527 SLG, 23 2B, 26 HR, 78 RBI, 5 SB, 40 BB/108 SO Tyler White White also repeated AAA in 2017 but made some nice improvments. Like Moran, he increased his slugging from .500 to .525 and his wRC+ increased from 109 to 130. He appeared in 22 games with the Astros this year and had a 126 wRC+. Overall it was a successful rebound season for White. 2017 Stats: 111 G, .300 BA/.371 OBP/.528 SLG, 22 2B, 25 HR, 89 RBI, 7 SB, 47 BB/101 SO Abraham Toro-Hernandez Toro-Hernandez was drafted by the Astros with the 5th round pick in the 2016 draft. Toro made his full season debut this year playing third base and a handful of games at catcher. He started the year with Tri-City and hit .292 with 8 2B, 6 HR in 32 games before being promoted to QC. There he hit 9 HR in 37 games. Overall he had a 149 wRC+ with 14.0 BB% and 17.8 K%. 2017 Stats: 69 G, .246 BA/.364 OBP/.496 SLG, 11 2B, 15 HR, 33 RBI, 3 SB, 40 BB/51 SO THE REST OF THE PACK Josh Rojas Rojas had a surprisingly solid season as a 26th round pick in this year's draft. The 23 year old was immediately assigned to Quad Cities where he showed some power hitting 10 HR with a .487 SLG in 52 games. He had a short stay with Fresno (4 games) in which he hit .333 with 4 BB/3 SO. Rojas is a lefty hitter and one to watch as he moves up next season. 2017 Stats: 56 G, .261 BA/.319 OBP/.478 SLG, 5 2B, 5 3B, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 19 BB/46 SO Randy Cesar Cesar doesn't walk much but he has continued to put up solid batting lines. Cesar started the season with Quad Cities hitting .302 with 3 HR in 27 games before being promoted to Buies Creek. There he hit .295 with 15 2B and 4 HR in 83 games finishing with a combined .297 BA and .350 OBP. 2017 Stats: 110 G, .297 BA/.350 OBP/.403 SLG, 23 2B, 7 HR, 57 RBI, 4 SB, 33 BB/108 SO 2018 OUTLOOK/CONCLUSION The third base position is in good hands with Alex Bregman at the MLB level but the Astros also have a ton of depth behind him. Moran could be the DH next year and Davis has shown the ability to hit at the big league level (.893 OPS with 4 HR over final 17 games). White might be more of a 1B/DH guy but he does have some versatility to him. Add in the high potential guys like Toro-Hernandez and a late bloomer like Rojas, and overall, the Astros have a third base position in the minors worth watching. [...]



Help! Sign Petition to Name Connecticut Street After George Springer!

2017-11-07T23:00:02-06:00

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Sign a petition to help Springer get a street named after him in his hometown

Dan Russell of New Britain, Connecticut (George Springer’s hometown) has started a petition to re-name a street after the World Series MVP. Show your support for our star and sign the petition.

For your convenience, the link is below:

George Springer Petition

Not that you need more reason to sign it but George Springer had a historic World Series hitting .379 with 1.471 OPS and 5 HR. The 5 HR tied a World Series record. He had 29 total bases and 8 extra base hits in the World Series, breaking the previous records. He is the heart and soul of the team. Let's help him out here!




The Five Best Astros Games of 2017

2017-11-06T10:00:04-06:00

One fan’s pick for his favorite games As we bask in the afterglow of the Astros’ first World Series win, let’s take a moment to look back at the five best games of 2017. Which ones will we remember in 20 years? Which ones will instantly bring us back to this magical season and remind us of how much fun this team was? Which games were your absolutely favorites? Here are my top five games. 5. The Rangers sweep It’s the first entry on this list and I’m already breaking my own rules. This is less one game and more about the whole series. It was super, super nice to sweep the Rangers the first time Houston played them in 2017. That series, May 1-3, Houston outscored South Oklahoma’s team 24-10. They polished it off with a 10-1 shellacking that sent the Rangers to a horrendous 11-17 record. With Houston already sitting at 19-10, the Astros had a nice eight game lead over the 2016 division champs and it was May 3. What? Hmm? I’m sorry, I’m getting something in my earpiece. It turns out “people” are saying that there was another “game” in this “series,” that Houston didn’t “sweep” the Rangers because Arlington won “the fourth game.” Also, they’re saying that “I” don’t know how to use “quotation marks.” No matter. Given Houston’s struggles against the Rangers in the previous two years, it was oh so sweet to jump on them early and never really let up this year. 4. Memorial Day in Minnesota I feel like this may be met with resistance in the comments, but this one was a favorite for the circumstances and the outcome together. Like many of you, I was watching this game on a lazy Memorial Day afternoon. The house was clean, the lawn mowed and baseball was going to take me home. Except the Twins laid Houston out. Future staff ace Brad Peacock was staked to a slim 2-0 lead, but promptly gave it up. By the end of the fifth, Houston was trailing 7-2 and Jordan Jankowski was in the game. That’s when I headed to the movies with the family. Little did I know Houston would score 11 runs in the top of the eighth, adding three more in the ninth for good measure and completely storm back against the upstart Twins. It was unbelievable. I remember walking into the Star Cinema Grill we were seeing the movie at and the game was still on. I was quite surprised. I assumed things would have been wrapped up by the time we actually got there. Nope. It wasn’t the first time Houston reached into its bag of magic this season, but it was a notice of sorts. The Astros should never, ever be counted out. 3. Clinching the AL West By chance, earlier in the summer, a group I’m involved in was buying tickets to an Astros game. They picked Sept. 17 back in May. Little did they know that Sept. 17 would turn out to be the day Justin Verlander made his first start in Houston. It was also the game where the Astros clinched the AL West title. It was much like the Astros run after trading for the big righthander. They hit some dingers. They played great defense. Verlander struck some fools out. The highlight was staying after the game to see all the players celebrating on the field. Jake Marisnick even came onto the field with his hand in a cast to share in the revelry. It was a sign of revelry to come. 2. The Verlander Game Lordy, lordy. I’ve already written about this. Given the frequency of my posting lately on this fine site, I feel it best not to repeat myself too much on the matter. Suffice it to say, that was one of the best pitched games by an Astro in team history. It’s right up there with Mike Scott’s no-hitter to clinch the division in ‘86. Verlander was masterful. It was even better because he did it at home. The crowd got to lose their minds when he came back out for the ninth. Then Altuve made his Mad Dash to the plate and this game got sealed into history. 1. Game 5 of the World Series T[...]