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[Official] Astros Spring Training

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Castor27, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. SuraGotMadHops

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    Isn't that the same injury Morton had in 2017? I think he missed 6 weeks, but he did come back strong as hell after.
     
  2. Fyreball

    Fyreball Contributing Member

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    Honestly, JV's injury doesn't bother me. It was evident during last year's playoffs that his arm was fatigued. A little load management would probably pay dividends in October.
     
  3. Houstunna

    Houstunna The Most Unbiased Fan
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    Maybe just an educated guess, but 790am said Justin will miss opening day.

    Managers and coaches need to protect players from themselves. Justin shouldn't have pitched Game 4, or at least, he should've been yanked after struggling the first few innings. Harden and Co shouldn't be playing all those minutes regardless if they say they're good to go.
     
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  4. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    Gotta say, I don't think the JV injury is the end of the world, but I don't think it is a good thing. I'm all for load management of healthy players, but if choice is between JV throwing 2-4 extra games and being injury free, or missing those games with a lat strain, I'm for the 2-4 extra games.
     
  5. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    The Astros have not definitively declared that Justin Verlander will begin the season on the Injured List, but it’s very difficult to envision their ace being ready for the first turn through the rotation after he was shut down from throwing on Monday because of a lat strain.

    Though the team described the strain as “mild,” the interruption to Verlander’s spring training progression will set him back. He threw 2 2/3 innings in his first Grapefruit League start on March 3 but only two innings on Sunday before his premature exit. In each of his two past spring trainings with the Astros, he has built his arm up to the five-inning threshold before the regular season.

    For Verlander to avoid a season-opening stint on the 15-day IL — yes, here’s your first reminder that it’s back to being 15 days for pitchers — he would probably need to be ready to start the fifth game of the season, on March 30 at Oakland. Such a timeline is aggressive, particularly since it’s still unclear exactly when the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner will be cleared to resume throwing.

    Presuming Verlander does require his first IL stint since 2015, the Astros face even more uncertainty in their rotation than anticipated. Rookie José Urquidy would project to be their No. 3 as opposed to their No. 4, and two of Josh James, Austin Pruitt and Framber Valdez figure to account for the Nos. 4 and 5 spots. This development will have a trickle-down effect on their bullpen, as well.

    Catchers (2): Martín Maldonado, Dustin Garneau

    Others on the 40-man roster: Garrett Stubbs

    If Garneau wasn’t out of minor league options, the No. 2 catcher spot might be up for debate. But the Astros aren’t going to expose Garneau to waivers and risk losing their depth just so Stubbs can make the Opening Day roster. Stubbs has minor league options remaining, so he can begin the season in Triple A and be available for a call-up in the event of an injury.

    Infielders (5): Yuli Gurriel, José Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Aledmys Díaz

    Others on the 40-man: Abraham Toro, Taylor Jones, Jack Mayfield

    The starting infield is set, leaving Díaz to fill in when manager Dusty Baker gives one of his regulars a designated hitter day or an off day. Díaz can also fill in as a left fielder, especially at Minute Maid Park, where there is less ground to cover than the other AL West ballparks.

    Toro, Jones and Mayfield project to begin the season in Triple A. Toro, who is primarily a third baseman, would likely warrant a call-up in the event of an injury to Correa or Bregman. Jones could get his first career call-up if Gurriel or Díaz go down. Mayfield would probably need multiple injuries ahead of him to get a chance, especially since outfielder Myles Straw can play some middle infield.

    Outfielders (6): George Springer, Michael Brantley, Josh Reddick, Kyle Tucker, Myles Straw, Yordan Alvarez

    Others on the 40-man: None

    Springer will be the starting center fielder and Brantley will be the starting left fielder. Reddick and Tucker project to share right field. Straw is the new Jake Marisnick, a back-up, defense-first outfielder who can enter late in games to play center field and push Springer to right field.

    Alvarez will garner a vast majority of his plate appearances as the DH. But, if his knees allow it, he will also make occasional starts in left field. He is by far the team’s worst defensive outfielder, so the Astros don’t have much incentive to force the issue if his knees don’t cooperate. His value stems from his bat.

    Starting pitchers (5): Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers Jr., José Urquidy, Josh James, Framber Valdez*
    *Presuming an IL stint for Verlander

    Others on the 40-man: Austin Pruitt, Bryan Abreu, Cristian Javier, Rogelio Armenteros

    Rotation depth is the biggest deficiency on the roster. Of the five starters in this projection, Greinke is the only one who has been a starter for a full major league season in his career. He’s now obviously the presumptive Opening Day starter.

    Verlander’s injury significantly increases the odds that James will make the rotation, as he had recently seemed to move ahead of Pruitt in the then-fifth starter competition. If Verlander does end up on the IL to begin the regular season, it’s probably going to be Valdez and Pruitt vying for the final rotation spot.

    Pruitt is known for his command while Valdez is all stuff. Pruitt is out of minor league options, so he’ll be on the roster in one capacity or another. Valdez can be optioned, so if he doesn’t make the rotation he’s not guaranteed to be in the bullpen.

    For Valdez, strike-throwing is key. His fastball-curveball combo is plenty effective when he’s in and around the strike zone. He gets the nod here based on the fact the Astros have recently been using Pruitt in three-inning relief stints.

    Relievers (8): Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Joe Smith, Brad Peacock, Austin Pruitt, Jared Hughes, Chris Devenski, Bryan Abreu

    Others on the 40-man: Joe Biagini, Blake Taylor, Cy Sneed, Cionel Pérez, Kent Emanuel, Enoli Paredes, Nivaldo Rodriguez

    If down their workhorse atop the rotation to begin the season, the Astros will have to lean on their bullpen for even more innings than they previously anticipated. Enter Abreu and Pruitt, both starters in the upper minors who can pitch in multi-inning stints out of the bullpen.

    Peacock’s inclusion is contingent on him making it through his delayed spring training progression with enough time to be ready for Opening Day. Hughes, a non-roster invitee to spring training, would have to be added to the 40-man roster by March 18.

    Biagini has one minor league option year remaining, which opens the door for him to begin the season in Triple A. Taylor has a legitimate shot at making the roster as the left-hander, but his lack of experience makes it more likely that he’s bound for Triple A.
     
  6. jim1961

    jim1961 Member

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    SP

    #1 - Injured
    #2 - Zach
    #3 - Lance (recovering from surgery)
    #4 - Unknown
    #5 - Unknown

    Nobody else concerned?
     
  7. sealclubber1016

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    Verlander is gonna miss a month or so, otherwise absolutely nothing has changed.

    If you were concerned, you still should be. If you weren't, then your opinion shouldn't have changed.

    I wasn't , and still am not.
     
  8. Houstunna

    Houstunna The Most Unbiased Fan
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    Any fan in their right should be concerned at least a little. Our 37 y/o horse is injured before the season even starts after a massive overexertion the prior season. Perhaps said overuse is good because it justifies the current situation. Or, maybe this is the beginning of the end. The injury (IF only a month or so) won't devastate the rotation, but there's no doubt a legit reason to be concerned.
     
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  9. jim1961

    jim1961 Member

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    I was, and now I am a little more. We are depending a lot on unproven talent to fill innings lost during the off-season and now additional ones until JV is healthy. Our offense better shine this year, especially early.
     
  10. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    If you were already concerned about how they were going to get a lot of wins this year, regardless of anything else, not sure what else is going to appease you.
     
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  11. jim1961

    jim1961 Member

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    The emergence of a solid #4 and #5 would go a long way. Someone actually stepping into these roles. Right now, its, maybe this guy, or, this guy has the stuff but...
     
  12. mkahanek

    mkahanek Member

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    Umm. Quite. But in 2017 didn’t we go some time with Fiers being our only starter healthy. We were trotting out him, peacock, musgrove and I don’t know who else to patchwork the rotation in the regular season. That season worked out will. Hope for the same. But yea. Our rotation is quite concerning as it looks thin as toilet paper.
     
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  13. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    it will

    and if we are goin the way of the Rays a little when it comes to pitching, we have plenty of upside arms that could do well one time through the lineup, or two
     
  14. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    LOL Get over yourself baseball writers. You are not God's gift to the game.

    "It's not about us the writers! It's about you the fans!"
    ... GTFO!



    Locker-room access is not strictly about us, the reporters. It is about you, the readers. We are your extension into the world of professional sports, your conduit for gaining a deeper understanding of the games we enjoy watching so much.

    Before going any further, I will state the obvious: The last thing any reporter wants to do is contribute to a public health crisis. With Major League Baseball exercising “an abundance of caution,” it is difficult for any of us to object to a temporary ban on locker-room access, even the reported six-foot distance baseball will require in interviews in other areas. The question of access also pales in comparison to the serious hardship some will face due to the coronavirus.

    My concern, and the concern of many other reporters, is that MLB and the other leagues will find the temporary arrangement rather satisfying and make closed locker rooms the new norm. That would be a problem, and not because we would be prevented from doing our jobs. We could still do them, just not as well, and readers would be less enlightened as a result.

    Here’s just one recent example of what can come out of locker room conversations. I can give you countless others from my nearly three-and-a-half decades of covering Major League Baseball, which continues to provide the most extensive access of the four major professional sports leagues, if less than at the start of my career.

    On Monday, hours before the four leagues announced their temporary ban of reporters from locker rooms due to the coronavirus, I was having an informal conversation with a prominent major leaguer inside his clubhouse, the kind of informal conversation a baseball writer conducts with numerous players each day.

    Often these conversations are of little consequence, exchanges about the weather, news in baseball or other sports, maybe even the world at large. At the very least, though, they build trust, enabling reporters to develop relationships that are not merely transactional, but based upon mutual respect.

    My conversation with the player, whom I was seeing for the first time this spring, initially was just a case of me catching up with him, seeing how he was doing. But as we spoke, he pointed out, with enthusiasm and in some detail, how his area of the team had improved, and how that improvement might actually benefit his own performance in the coming season. What he said had not occurred to me previously. Perhaps in the next few days, it will lead to a decent story.

    In fairness, both MLB and the players’ union seem to recognize the importance of access. They did not scale it back in the most recent collective-bargaining agreement, and ongoing discussions between baseball writers, the union and MLB regarding the next CBA also have been positive, according to Derrick Goold, the former president of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

    MLB, in announcing its temporary ban Monday, said, “Clubs will be expected to provide best efforts in facilitating usual media coverage and access to uniformed personnel and team officials in these alternate settings. Access for and coverage by the BBWAA and all media are vital to our game and we hope to resume normal operations as quickly as possible.”

    Fair enough, as long as that’s where it ends.

    BBWAA president Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune issued a statement Monday night acknowledging support for any policy that will “assure a safe and healthy work environment … especially in a time of heightened concern throughout the globe due to the spread of the coronavirus.” The statement, however, also reflected the writers’ concern with the league’s action.

    “The decision by Major League Baseball to join other leagues in closing the clubhouse to media is disappointing, even as a ‘temporary step,’” the statement said, “and we desire to work with MLB and MLBPA to discuss solutions beneficial to the players and media alike, until we can return to the access that allows us to chronicle the game and humanize its performers like no other sport.”

    I know many in the general public are not interested in the ins and outs of sports writers’ jobs, and that some regard us as nuisances who should “just leave the players alone.” I also know reporters are not granted locker-room access at international sporting events, with interviews taking place in news-conference settings or “mixed zones” that make one-on-one conversations virtually impossible.

    Reporters are fully capable of writing elegantly about those events with such limited access, but a good reporter works a clubhouse like a detective, seeking clues that will provide greater insight into the subject, give stories more life. I can’t tell you how many times during the postseason, in particular, that waiting out a player has made my story better, such as this one from the 2019 World Series.

    The access in baseball, though, benefits players, too, and not simply because it allows them to explain their side of a story to reporters in a more private setting. Just as players are accountable to reporters, reporters are accountable to players. It’s a checks-and-balances system that works rather well, not just for beat writers who ask questions in the public interest, but also for players who can address coverage they find objectionable with reporters.

    Just the other day, a player I saw for the first time in more than a year said he wanted to talk to me. I knew instinctively what he wanted to discuss: During the 2018-19 offseason, when the player was a free agent, I tweeted something that he interpreted — not incorrectly — as disrespectful. I did not realize at the time that I had crossed a line, but came to understand it later. It stayed with me, too, because I previously had enjoyed a good relationship with the player.

    Sure enough, when I visited the player at his locker, he brought up the tweet. Right away, I told him I knew where he was going. In this case, I apologized, and we went on to have a good conversation. In other cases I might agree to disagree with a player, coach or manager, but at least we will clear the air. And we are all better for it.

    Those kinds of discussions cannot take place during a news conference when other reporters are present, trying to ask their own questions. They will occur less naturally, if at all, in the more structured environments baseball will create during its temporary ban on clubhouse access.

    Players come into contact with all kinds of people on a daily basis, not just reporters. Yet the four major sports leagues are targeting no other group in precisely this way, knowing reporters will come off looking petty and insensitive if they offer even a hint of protest.

    Call it an abundance of caution. Call it whatever you’d like. Just understand that if the leagues extend the bans, fans will lose, too.
     
    #454 J.R., Mar 10, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2020
    Chilly_Pete likes this.
  15. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    I disagree... no contending team has ever been that dependent on a #4 or #5 starter, including the 2017-2019 Astros.

    I actually think this presents a great opportunity for guys like either James, Urquiddy, even Whitley, or the possibility of a tandem/opener system.
     
  16. awc713

    awc713 Member
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    Any chance of HOU looking at an innings eater on the FA market? I’m guessing we’ll just fill the innings internally, not sure who is even left on the market who would be viable.
     
  17. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    Only natural that they'd be selfish enough to worry about themselves at a time like this.

    Maybe also a tad scary to them when they realize how minuscule and relatively unimportant they are... they have make-believe jobs that only exist because of the health/abilities of the players in the league.

    Hilarious to read the universal backlash on twitter to this stance... they're probably wishing they could go back to bashing the Astros right about now.
     
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  18. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    Nobody available on the free agent market projects to be better than Framber or Pruitt or whoever the in house options are. Jason Vargas, Andrew Cashner, Clay Buchholz, Danny Salazar...all those dudes have more questions than answers.

    Houston will sit tight and see where they’re at when the deadline gets close.
     
  19. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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  20. Memphis_Stro

    Memphis_Stro New Member

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    Lovely...thanks for the clarity Dusty
     
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