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[Official] Astros Spring Training

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

  1. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    #161 J.R., Feb 18, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2020
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  2. Screaming Fist

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    Throw a strike, Forrest.

     
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  3. jim1961

    jim1961 Member

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    Hey Springer just got a dinger off Cole. Well, what?
     
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  4. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    What have been your impressions of your pitching staff early in camp?

    I’ve been very impressed with a lot of the young guys that have come to our system. Credit to [Minor League pitching coordinator Bill Murphy] and our Minor League people. Some of the guys that were brought up last year like [Bryan] Abreu and [Cy] Sneed did a nice job for us. Then there’s some guys I’m going to have to become familiar with like [Cristian] Javier and a couple of other guys. It's interesting, as pitching coach you have a Cole and a Verlander and it kind of like makes your job a lot easier because you know what you're going to get every five days. A little bit different this year. I think Lance [McCullers Jr.] has got to step up. Obviously, [Zack] Greinke and Verlander are going to be the staples for this but I'm excited about [José] Urquidy and I'm excited to see how the No. 5 spot comes out.

    Is the No. 5 spot between Josh James and Austin Pruitt at this point?

    Pruitt, James and I think [Framber] Valdez is still a legitimate guy. I never forget what [Mike] Trout said when he faced Valdez and said it was some of the best stuff he'd seen in baseball. And so that shows what Framber has. It's just a matter of consistency. I think you can probably count [Brad] Peacock out of the race. I think he's more valuable to us in the bullpen, so those are the three guys I think that are vying for that fifth spot. James has been very impressive. Credit to James. All winter long between Dan Howells, [head Minor League] strength conditioning coach, and [bullpen coach] Josh Miller and the stuff we've done on the video, he's transformed his delivery. We utilize Cole as kind of a model to help with control and direction, and he's taking to it quite well.

    What have you seen from Forrest Whitley so far?

    Well, I just watched him throw batting practice for the first time out there and I'm not going to place a great deal of stock in to how he did today. Obviously a very talented young man. I haven’t had a great deal of time with Forrest as the Minor League guys have. I'm going to probably step forward here in the next couple days and give him some of my thoughts. I think I have some definitive ideas that can help him, it's just a question of how much. You know, I mentioned to him ‘Heavy is the head that wears the crown,’ and there's been so much expectation on this kid that I’m just glad I never had to go through that. I think it's difficult to meet expectations of other people so his time will come. And when it's right, it'll happen, but I don't think right now I would consider him, you know, a viable candidate [for the No. 5 spot]. I think he's going to be going to Triple-A [Fresno] and put together some numbers, but I am willing to bet we’ll see him this year in the big leagues.

    Of the other top prospects in camp, who do think could be a sleeper?

    I’m really high on Bryan Abreu. I think this guy can be an exceptional Major League starting pitcher.

    The other guys, I've been impressed with [Nivaldo] Rodriguez. Very much so. [Enoli] Paredes has a really young, good arm. It's kind of funny to me. I was kidding Sneed today when I put the schedules together and I usually go with years of service, you know, to prioritize. [Joe] Smith is a priority guy with years of service, Verlander years of service, Greinke obviously. About midrange I have Sneed in years of service guy, you know, when before he was kind of down there. There's so many young people here that Sneed is like a veteran now compared to, but it's exciting and it's fun to work with those guys. I've been blessed. I've been so lucky to have the groups that I've had the last four years. All this publicity and whatever I get as a pitching coach and a lot of it’s owed to the analytics people. They've been great with me. I mean, they've given me information that I would not have been able to glean myself. And it's helped a lot of guys.
     
  5. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast

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    I wouldn't throw him a fastball over the plate either.
     
  6. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    I’m not sure why exactly, but I feel like this offseason has made it more likely that Correa is extended and more likely that Springer leaves after the season.
     
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  7. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    Odd perception shift...
     
  8. conquistador#11

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    I can't even tell what's going on like they're playing cricket out there.
     
  9. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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  10. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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  11. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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  12. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    Largely expected from a manager who's never managed in the AL...

    I just don't think the risk of either injury (or just flat-out incompetence out there) is worth the reward. Play him everyday at DH, minus the road interleague games. Use the outfield contingent of Tucker/Springer/Reddick/Brantley/Straw judiciously to dole out rest. Score lots of runs. Break lots of records. Win lots of games.
     
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  13. Madmanmetz

    Madmanmetz Member

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    Wait... 21 years old and knees are bark WTH? I hope not.
     
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  14. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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  15. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    He’s a huge guy who plays a very awkward outfield. He banged/aggravated his knee more than once making catches last year.
     
  16. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    Catchers (2): Martín Maldonado and Dustin Garneau

    Maldonado will be the starter, but the Astros believe they can extract more from Garneau offensively than he’s shown in his career to date. The right-handed-hitting Garneau has some power to the pull side, which should line up well with the Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park. Though he considers himself a defense-first catcher, he saw improvement in his offense after changing the mechanics of his swing while with the Angels last year.

    Others on the 40-man: Garrett Stubbs

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

    An injury is the only way in which this part of the projection will change before March 26.

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

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

    The Astros would like for Alvarez to play more left field this season compared to his rookie year, when he made only 10 appearances spanning 66 innings at the position after his June 9 debut. But they don’t want it to come at the expense of his knees, which were an issue in 2019. His value is still tied exclusively to his elite bat.

    The early days of spring have offered no hints as to whether Baker prefers Reddick or Tucker as the starter in right field. Tucker, who reported to camp at 210 pounds, looks slightly bigger than he did at the end of last season.

    Others on the 40-man: None

    Starting pitchers (5): Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers Jr., José Urquidy and Austin Pruitt

    The competition for the fifth starter spot is a three-man race between right-handers Austin Pruitt and Josh James and left-hander Framber Valdez. Valdez has the worst odds of the three, but he can’t be ruled out because of the quality of his sinker-curveball combo.

    With his power fastball-changeup-slider repertoire, James definitely has more upside than Pruitt, a soft-tosser whose calling card is his command. James’ past control issues makes Pruitt the safer bet among the two, but James will have ample opportunities to win the job through his performance in Grapefruit League games. The loser among Pruitt and James will be in the bullpen.

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

    Relievers (8): Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Josh James, Joe Smith, Brad Peacock, Jared Hughes, Chris Devenski and Joe Biagini

    Pressly, the Astros’ best reliever, is back to full health after pitching on one knee in the second half of last season and in the playoffs. Peacock is still taking things slow after last year’s neck issue but is expected to be ready ahead of Opening Day.

    Hughes is the newcomer, having signed a minor league contract Monday with an invitation to major league camp. If the Astros don’t add him to their 40-man roster by March 18, he can opt out and become a free agent. A spot on the 40-man roster was vacated Monday when Martes was suspended for the entire season after testing positive for a PED for the second spring in a row.

    Hughes is a sinkerballer, which contrasts with the Astros’ general preference of pitchers who rely on four-seam fastballs. He traditionally generates high ground ball rates but last year gave up a lot more home runs than usual. He describes his sinker as more of a power screwball. He also throws a slider, a splitter and has a four-seamer the Astros might have him throw more than he has before.

    You’ll notice that this projection contains no left-hander, which is how the Astros operated for most of last season under Hinch. Baker said he would like to have at least one lefty in the bullpen but added that a lefty who can’t get lefties out does him no good. Osuna, Pressly, James, Hughes and Devenski are five righties who have the requisite weapons to get out left-handed hitters.

    Lefty Blake Taylor will get a long look in spring training, but he has hardly pitched above Double A. Valdez could be a bullpen option but he probably has more value to the Astros as starter depth in Triple A if he doesn’t win the final rotation spot.

    Down to 210 pounds, Devenski looks to be in his best shape in years, which can only improve his chances to bounce back after two consecutive down seasons.

    Others on the 40-man: Taylor, Bryan Abreu, Cy Sneed, Cionel Pérez, Kent Emanuel, Enoli Paredes, Nivaldo Rodriguez
     
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  17. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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  18. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    Article on Blake Taylor says the Astros compared him to Brent Suter. Interesting comp and would be a great outcome for him. Suter was a very valuable swing man in 17-18 (2.4 fWAR over 183 innings), but was hurt most of last season. With his velocity Taylor has a chance to be a very good reliever (I feel the same way about Cionel Perez).
     
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  19. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    #179 J.R., Feb 20, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
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  20. jakedasnake

    jakedasnake Member

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    Would be awesome if LMC can put together a consistent season. Astros will need to be smart limiting his pitch count over the season so he is fresh in the playoffs.
     

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