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2023 Season Astros General Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Snake Diggit, Apr 10, 2023.

  1. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    Maybe the Chronicle can get Kaplan?
     
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  2. SuraGotMadHops

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    Chandler will be right at home at the Athletic, just the next former Chron writer in the list of jerkwads that irritated the front office and coaching staff, and will write a hit piece on the Astros soon.
     
  3. IBTL

    IBTL Member

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    Chandler Rome sucks ass.
     
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  4. The Drake

    The Drake Member

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    Yup. Dude is a grade-A misanthrope and BUM
     
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  5. IBTL

    IBTL Member

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    Misanthrope! Nice word choice!
     
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  6. J.R.

    J.R. Member

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  7. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Last year in April and May of 2022 .... Jose Abreu had an OPS of .650 with 17 K in around 70 at bats..... .690 OPS in April/May of 2021 (with an OPS of .550 in June)........

    So the start has been pretty bad, but he has looked bad early in the season before, and has had months this bad or worse in the past.

    In 2021 he had two terrible months out of the first 3.... with an OPS below 600 and then another one below 700.... and still finished with 30 homers and almost 120 rbi and an OPS+ of like 125 and a raw OPS of .833

    He is older, and he has been written off before a few times before but has bounced back.

    I am not ready to be overly worried, especially when you consider his Spring Training OPS was north of .900 in 50 at bats.
     
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  8. Nook

    Nook Member

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    As for Chandler Rome.... I can't take an ******* with this hair cut seriously.

    [​IMG]

    Either he lets a blind woman cut his hair or he slaps a cereal bowl on his melon and cuts around it.

    Either way.... if you cannot do something as basic as getting an adult hair cut, then your opinion is not valid.
     
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  9. J.R.

    J.R. Member

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    https://theathletic.com/4426381/2023/04/19/yainer-diaz-prospect-astros-at-bats/

    HOUSTON — Yainer Diaz did not seem to be himself, and almost all of the Astros took notice. Hitting coaches saw a young player pressing during his first extended chance to establish himself. Manager Dusty Baker, juggling a lineup missing two linchpins, tried to let the 24-year-old prospect work through it. He started Diaz twice in the team’s first four games, including on Opening Day against the Chicago White Sox.

    In the 10th inning of the fifth game, Baker summoned Diaz to pinch-hit with two outs and the winning run at third base. Houston included him on its Opening Day roster for this precise purpose: late-game at-bats in place of starting catcher Martín Maldonado. Diaz saw six pitches, swung at four of them and struck out against Tigers reliever Trey Wingenter. The Astros lost the game one inning later.

    “When I made the team, there were a lot of other young guys that made the team as well, all very good baseball players,” Diaz said Tuesday through an interpreter. “I think when it first started, I wanted to show that I could be in the lineup every single day, play every single day.”

    Diaz struck out during three of his seven at-bats on the Astros’ season-opening homestand. In the middle of the misery, Hazael Wessin pulled Diaz aside. Wessin, one of the Astros’ assistant strength coaches, worked with Diaz at Triple-A Sugar Land and in the Dominican Winter League. The player he saw at both stops did not match the big-league version.

    “He told me every time he saw me at the plate, it looked like I was trying to prove something,” Diaz said Tuesday through an interpreter. “That’s something I really don’t need to do.”

    “Everyone here knows the potential you have,” Wessin told him, ” just go out there and trust yourself.”

    The conversation changed Diaz’s demeanor. Demonstrating it on the field or in the batter’s box is becoming more difficult. Diaz has started three times in the 11 games since Houston’s season-opening homestand, sporadic playing time that’s prompted a plethora of questions surrounding roster construction, player development and whether Diaz can tailor his free-swinging approach enough to earn more regular playing time.

    Diaz has taken 22 plate appearances this season. Among his Astros teammates, only fellow catcher César Salazar has fewer. Diaz did not appear in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss to the Blue Jays, with Salazar receiving a pinch-hit at-bat in the ninth for Maldonado. Salazar, who represented the tying run, struck out against Toronto closer Jordan Romano.

    The team surprised some by passing over former first-round pick Korey Lee to carry both Diaz and Salazar on its Opening Day roster behind Maldonado. Baker and general manager Dana Brown said they prioritized more offense for a lineup missing both Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley.

    On Tuesday, Diaz said the team “didn’t really talk to me” about playing time when it finalized the roster. On paper, the roster construction should make it easier for Baker to either pinch-hit for Maldonado later in games or play Diaz at first base, designated hitter or left field. For myriad reasons, neither option has manifested. Diaz has carved out a niche as rookie Hunter Brown’s personal catcher, but otherwise, his performance hasn’t forced Baker’s hand. Hitting Salazar instead of Diaz on Tuesday offered another example of the enigmatic situation — one where a supposed offensive weapon isn’t being deployed at all.

    “I think he’s getting some valuable at-bats here,” Dana Brown said before the game. “At some point, we may be able to give him a few more at-bats. Dusty can get a little more creative, whether it’s DH or potentially left field. I don’t think he’s losing development time. I think, at some point, he’ll get over the 300 at-bats that I think we need him to get. I don’t think his development will be hindered at all, but sooner he’ll get in more games, hopefully.”

    Diaz’s primary position remains catcher, but the team exposed him to first base and left field in the minor leagues and during spring training. His defense is uninspiring at all three positions — and carrying Salazar at catcher underscores it — accentuating just how much of Diaz’s value is tied to his bat. Corey Julks’ impressive start has stolen some of the time in left field or designated hitter Diaz might have received. Yordan Alvarez will play one of those two positions nightly, too.

    Julks is a far superior outfielder to Diaz, while Maldonado is the team’s unquestioned starter behind the plate. Maldonado’s value to the pitchers is so immense that Baker is often reluctant to hit for him late in games — especially when the Astros are tied or leading. Maldonado, it should be noted, entered Tuesday’s game with a .310 on-base percentage, averaging a 90.8 mph exit velocity and a 27.3 percent chase rate. All are better than his career marks.

    Diaz slashed .321/.358/.510 in 340 minor-league games, boasted a sub-17 percent strikeout rate and hit his way onto the roster with a strong showing in spring training. His approach is distinct: an almost too-aggressive, free-swinging style that translated well against minor-league competition. The bump up to big-league pitching is proving more treacherous.

    Diaz saw just 2.9 pitches per plate appearance in his minor league career and struck out only 208 times. Diaz has seen 127 pitches in 31 career major league plate appearances. He is swinging at 62.2 percent of them. The major-league average swing percentage is 47.1 percent. Diaz has seven strikeouts in 26 major league at-bats. The sample size is far too small to draw any grand conclusions, but it’s clear the Astros’ staff would like him to make better swing decisions.

    “We would obviously like him to swing less, but we don’t want him to lose his aggression at all,” said Astros assistant hitting coach Jason Kanzler. “The goal would be for him to just compress all of that free aggression into the (strike) zone, or more into the zone. He’s got amazing bat-to-ball skills, incredible power. He’s a really good pure hitter. The stuff up here is a lot better, so if he can just be a little more selective without losing all those good qualities, he’s going to be a good player.”

    Diaz bemoaned his propensity to chase sliders down and away, but that’s a problem for almost all young, right-handed hitters. His whiff rate is just 23.7 percent and he’s made great contact throughout his minor-league career. Diaz’s plate coverage and bat-to-ball skills are the least of the team’s worries.

    “I do think given his really natural, hitter-ish qualities that he is going to end up being less prone (to swing-and-miss) than most hitters,” Kanzler said. “He is going to cover a lot more of the zone than you would expect from a player as young as him.”

    Kanzler and hitting coach Troy Snitker are Diaz’s primary coaches at the major-league level. Their job is a delicate one: trying to discover a balance between the aggression that got Diaz to the major leagues and the control he must show to stay. It is their “main focus” when working with Diaz in the batting cages, Kanzler said, during which the coaches are “more strict with the standards” of plate discipline and pitch selection.

    In Brown’s eyes, therein lies the value of Diaz’s time on the major league roster. Debate can rage whether young players benefit more from everyday playing time in the minor leagues or simply being around the major-league team. Diaz graduated his prospect status earlier this month but, entering the season, The Athletic’s Keith Law ranked Diaz second behind pitcher Hunter Brown in his preseason Astros’ Top 20. Law wrote Diaz “just missed the just missed category” for inclusion in his league-wide Top 100.

    “I think if you’re far away, you need to play every day,” Brown said. “I think when you’re as close as Yainer is to being an everyday big leaguer, he’s probably getting a lot of value from being around major-league players, facing some major-league pitchers, having some of our hitting coaches go through at-bat sequences with him after the game. I think being here is going to help him.”
     
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  10. xcrunner51

    xcrunner51 Contributing Member

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    So you're telling me the club identified problems with Diaz's AB's, is actively working on it and that's the reason why he isn't playing much?!?

    But but, I thought Dusty was just screwing with him....

    Seriously though, it's like they're reading the forums for article topic. This is direct rebuttal to a lot of board's recent complaints.
     
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  11. sealclubber1016

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    Nothing like implementing skills against MLB pitching knowing you only get one or 2 games a week to show it.

    Corey Julks made some very awful swing choices his first 3 games and still got fairly regular AB's. Hensley has made a ton of poor non swing choices and still gets fairly regular AB's, so I don't buy this BS that Diaz deserves so many fewer chances than they get.

    Diaz had 2 bad games (one against maybe the filthiest pitcher in baseball on opening day) since then he's made 3 starts in almost 3 weeks. Salazar's existence on the roster means this sparse usage sure as hell wasn't the plan.
     
    #251 sealclubber1016, Apr 19, 2023
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2023
  12. Screaming Fist

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    They brought up their top position prospect for the purpose of pinch hitting, and they decided to bench him to work with him when his first handful of MLB PAs against high leverage relievers as a PH didn’t turn out so well?

    That’s absurd. If they didn’t believe he was ready then they shouldn’t have started his clock and kept in AAA to begin the season. Nevermind that Diaz is a quite capable catcher and the starting catcher is a below replacement level player. Laughable.

    Also I like the quote from Brown that Diaz will “hopefully” get more opportunities in the future and that he expects him to get 300+ PAs…uh ok. Lol.
     
  13. Screaming Fist

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    There was an interview that Brown have recently that did give me some pause about how things are being run now. If I recall, he distinguished himself as a scout and not an “analytics” guys and indicated that Crane has the final say with Crane leaning on both his ops guys and his baseball buddies in making decisions.
     
  14. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    For Diaz to get 300 PAs, Maldy is going to have to get the Straw treatment.

    That said. Diaz's swing decisions have been bad. From Brown's quotes, the way I read that is that Diaz could probably still hit AAA very well making it hard for him to see why swing decisions are important if they sent him down. I think it is very hard to improve swing decisions against MLB pitchers without facing MLB pitchers in a game. Astros may have to take some lumps getting him PAs, but that does not seem to be Dusty's style on handling players that end up in his doghouse.
     
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  15. Screaming Fist

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    I just don’t get, and the article in no way answers, why he can’t simply start at C 2-3 games a week. He has hit reasonably well in those circumstances and he’s likely as good or better defensively than Maldy. Maddening.
     
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  16. sealclubber1016

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    or DH,LF and 1B

    Even the argument that Maldy is unquestionably "the guy" behind the plate doesn't answer why he's gotten far less PA than the other guys. With 2 starting positions, backup C and backup OF all open there are plenty of PA available, Dusty just refuses to give him any.
     
  17. xcrunner51

    xcrunner51 Contributing Member

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    This could be reading way into things but I kinda get Whitley vibes from Yainer. Super talented, plenty of prior minor league success, effort level isn't really in question.... but isn't super coachable. (this is pure speculation)

    There's plenty for the staff to evaluate him outside of the 9innings. If he's showing poor swing decisions in the cage, he's not magically gonna do better in game.
     
  18. rockbox

    rockbox Around before clutchcity.com

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    I would buy this crap if Meyers and Siri last year didn't make even worse swing decisions with worse batting talent. For whatever reason, Diaz and McCormick had to go an additional step in proving themselves. I guess it has to do with personality and how Baker "feels" about you more than anything else.
     
    #258 rockbox, Apr 19, 2023
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2023
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  19. Screaming Fist

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    Baseball men just know bro, it's what separates them from the spreadsheet huggers.
     
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  20. xcrunner51

    xcrunner51 Contributing Member

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    Dusty definitely has a "type" with regards to players. Super athletic, toolsy/strong defenders get a lot of rope.
     

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