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2024 roster

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by IdStrosfan, Jun 18, 2023.

  1. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    Backup catcher is more important than you are giving it credit for in my opinion

    Even with Diaz as the "everyday" catcher, the backup will play 40 games or so. That's about a quarter of the season, and at a position that can have a big impact on the games

    I fully agree with you that we should be looking to stay good long term much more than just looking at next year. That's why I think steadying the pen, finding a good utility guy who fits our needs, and getting the right backup catcher should be priorities to filling out what is a great roster. None of those would be high $, and if filled through trades none would require a big asset cost.

    If we ran it back today and just filled the few roster spots from within, with a good analytical manager I would put us as the favorites quite honestly

    But I would rather not see us running out the Goodrums, Julks, Sanchez level players while trying to do it
     
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  2. IdStrosfan

    IdStrosfan Member

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    My point on the backup catcher is that the difference between running Salazar out there 40 times and running X veteran available FA is likely less than the differences other acquisitions would make.

    Fangraphs projects him at 0.2 fWAR in 45g / 175 PA.

    Most FA catchers will be significantly less than 1.0 fWAR in that playing time.

    It feels the other positions: 2 relief pitchers and a 70% starting OF would make a larger impact.
     
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  3. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    Would be easier to agree backup catcher wasn’t important if some of our most talented pitchers weren’t head cases

    In any case, I fully agree the pen is more important, in fact I think the pen and another utility guy are both more important

    But we do have to have a backup catcher, and you can get one without spending a lot. Not to mention if we go into the season with Sanchez as the backup and Diaz gets hurt, things go downhill quickly

    The LF bat so many want is more of a luxury than a need. It would be great to add an impact bat to yet another spot, but the money isn’t going to be spent to do so in my opinion
     
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  4. ApolloRLB

    ApolloRLB Member

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    I think LF and reliever probably provide more upside in the base case but I see minor leaguers that you could test out in those spots as well which is good thing to keep the window open.

    I don’t see that same flexibility at catcher. I’d rather Salazar be the call up in case of injury. If one of Diaz/Salazar get injured at all who is playing catcher every 4th day?

    in other words there is more downside to not signing a backup catcher.
     
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  5. IdStrosfan

    IdStrosfan Member

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    I really don't think it's a luxury, though

    Now that Diaz and McCormick have graduated to regular starters, there is only 1 spot in the starting 9 that will be passed around like a bottle of schnapps at a sorority party. The other 8 will start most games.

    Vs LHP the team is very well balanced. Diaz and Bregman were the only starters who were not above average for the season but both were much better in the 2nd half. Even Pena was very good.

    Here even Dubon or Meyers who project to share the last spot were very good.

    That's not the case vs RHP. Tucker, McCormick, Abreu, and Pena are all much much weaker. Pena is flat bad.

    To complicate matters, both Meyers and Dubon are very weak here too. If they were weak vs LHP, the rest of the lineup could make up for it but vs RHP this team doesn't have that luxury.

    If the Astros got a platoon starter OF that hits RHP at a slightly better than average level to hit 8th in front of Pena then this offense would be top of the AL.
     
  6. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    Agree

    But if they don’t get that, with much better lineup construction regularly, and hopefully better health, they could easily be the best even without it. That’s why I say it’s a luxury

    Either way, I hope I’m wrong about the tax line and Crane is ready to say F it let’s go. I also hope I’m wrong about him not signing Alex or Kyle because of contract length. All that would be great. I don’t think I’m wrong though
     
  7. Marshall Bryant

    Supporting Member

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    Not every decision about improvement ends in SPEND MORE.

    There is a point of diminishing returns on spending.
     
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  8. Hey Now!

    Hey Now! Contributing Member

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    Look at Adley - anyone expecting more than 105, 110 games from Diaz next year *as a catcher* - that's unlikely to happen. So the back-up is going to get 50+ games, easily.

    And not to stir this up - but that was *a* mitigating factor in the Maldy/Diaz situation last season: Diaz had never caught more than 51 games in a minor league season. He was never going to catch 100+ games last year. I think that's the root of Dusty's "You'll thank me later" comment: Diaz was being groomed on several fronts, and the physicality of the position was definitely one of them.

    I think there were... 2? regular catchers that played 120+ games at the position last year? Most fall into the 105-115 range. I would guess Diaz will be on the lower end of that - but highly doubt he'll exceed it. Especially with them wanting him to be ready to play every day in a pennant race and/or postseason.

    Diaz will definitely be a pitch count next year.
     
  9. IdStrosfan

    IdStrosfan Member

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    Completely agree

    This team is not devoid of talent. Quite the opposite in fact. This team does not need an all-star, top of the lineup MVP candidate- it already has several of those.

    What it needs is a complimentary hitter who extends the lineup and improves the production in a single, specific area.

    Because of that, there are several players out there that fit and are reasonably cheap. They will have warts - can't hit LHP, strike out too much, extensive ground balls or fly balls to a detriment, play poor defense, etc. But that's what makes them affordable and Altuve, Alvarez, Tucker, Bregman, etc already here means the team can absorb that.

    This team already has a 9 deep lineup that can destroy LHP while everyone plays their natural fielding position and has good defense.

    Player and wRC+ vs RHP

    CF:
    Moniak 132
    Yastrzemski 126
    Bleday 108
    Tauchman 108
    Duvall 124
    Bellinger 120
    Kiermier 106

    LF/RF/1B:
    Velazquez ( KC) 152
    D.J. Stewart 148
    Benson 147
    Fraley 115
    Kiriloff 138
    Kepler 128
    W. Castro 122
    Larnach 110
    B.Lowe 128
    H Ramirez 110
    Wade 125
    Noda 124
    Rooker 119
    O'Hearn 129
    Santander 118
    Hays 111
    J.Sanchez 117
    Wisdom 114
    Drury 113
    Vaughn 112
    Verdugo 109
    S. Garrett 108
    Heyward 123
    McCutchen 113
    Conforto 109
    Pham 109
    W.Calhoun 108
    Gallo 106
    Vogelbach 119
    Ford 117
    Belt 146
    J.D. Martinez 132
    Solano 120
    Pederson 115
    Solar 109.

    Now many of those players are FA and expensive and some FA and cheap. Most are on teams and can be traded for without a crazy return being required.

    Some I definitely don't want on this team but any of them would improve the lineup and run production vs RHP if they duplicated last season's performance
     
    #189 IdStrosfan, Nov 9, 2023
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2023
  10. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Assuming Diaz doesn't struggle, I think he will catch about 2/3rds of the time..... so 100-108 games, with him DHing or playing first another 40 times.

    I agree with you that he isn't going to catch 140 games like some think.

    Yeah - except he did not play Diaz down the stretch, he barely played him in the playoffs behind the plate and he did not bring him into games in the playoffs when the Astros were behind.

    He played Maldonado because his top starters preferred Maldonado and because Baker preferred Maldonado.

    It is why someone like Mitch Garver, Victor Caratini or Tom Murphy are important possible targets.
     
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  11. Hey Now!

    Hey Now! Contributing Member

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    Admittedly, I did not look at *every* catcher - but the top ~10-12, and none of them caught more than 122 games last year. So, no Diaz is not catching 140, or 130, or even 120. He'll be in the 100-110 range.

    Yeah, I'm not arguing Baker managed Diaz appropriately. Only that, as a matter of fact, Diaz was not going to play more than ~100 games - MAX - as a catcher last year, regardless of who the manager was.

    I saw someone was doing a podcast about how many more games the Astros would've won with Diaz playing 125 games at catcher, and that is pure fantasy. His previous high in the minors was 51. He was not going to go from that to the most in MLB. Period. I don't know what their number was - but there was absolutely a cap. I recall Brown at one point stating the goal was 300 PAs (which he exceeded). So I'm guessing the cap was.. 75 games?

    He only played ~52 so everyone is free to gripe up a storm he was almost certainly underutilized. But there is no way he's playing more than 100-110 games *as a catcher* next year so, yeah: they need a competent back-up.
     
  12. Marshall Bryant

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    I'm still holding out for Trout plus cash as the Angels move on to a rebuild. His remaining contract fits right in with our MAX in years.

    LF Alvarez*
    CF Trout
    RF Tucker*

    C Diaz
    1B Abreu
    2B Altuve
    3B Bregman
    SS Pena

    DH ?

    OF McCormick
    IF Kessinger
    C2 ?
    Ut Dubon
     
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  13. Marshall Bryant

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    Not actually knowing Maldy's personality, do you think he can make a transition to a non player position without a little time away?
     
  14. IdStrosfan

    IdStrosfan Member

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    The more I think about it, the more I'd like to see Meyers get a shot at the 75% starting spot in CF. Chas in LF in those.

    Maybe sit him vs the 33% toughest RH matchups for him w/ Yordan in LF and Chas in CF but start the rest.

    When he was playing regularly he performed better.

    For the year he reduced his K rate nearly 5% and raised his BB rate nearly 2% from 2021 (I don't count 2022 as I don't think he was healthy)

    His best month was May, when he had the most PAs and his 2nd best month was April when he got the 2nd most PAs.

    I still think he could have a Chas like breakout in him but hasn't had a real and extended chance over a 3-4 month period.

    Absolutely worst case he provides gold glove calibur defense in CF and very good baserunning value.

    The team simply doesn't have the salary space to get a FA nor the prospect value to trade for anyone clearly better.

    Give him 4 months and then look for someone at the deadline if he doesn't make that jump I think is there waiting.

    If they need a bat at the deadline, it can be a cheap rental as the guys like Barber, Corona, Melton, Loperfido, etc will have another year at AA/AAA heading into spring training 2025.
     
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  15. BlindHog

    BlindHog Member

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    My thinking is that Barber or Corona will get at least a cup of coffee as the fourth outfielder in Houston in 24. Melton moves to first base while Loperfido percolates in center.
     
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  16. IdStrosfan

    IdStrosfan Member

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    I don't see Melton moving to 1B unless he shows he can't handle the OF or 3 others have clearly established themselves as clear cut starters and/or better than him. He may end up there, but I don't see that decision being made before 2025 at the earliest. And if/when Tucker leaves that may sink any talk of it until Baez is ready (if he makes it)

    I think Barber or Loperfido can help this team if/when he shows he is MLB ready. There isn't playing time for both but plenty for 1 or the other.

    Corona is another issue. He hits LHP much better than RHP, just like Meyers and Dubon (and Chas and Tucker incidentally) so as long as all 4 of them are on the roster he doesn't really help this team or fill a need. I actually think he is a good trade piece unless Meyers is traded.
     
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  17. Jeremy Williams

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    What is the most likely everyday lineup under Espada in 2024?

    2B Altuve
    SS Pena
    RF Tucker
    LF Alvarez/Chas/Meyers
    3B Bregman
    C Diaz
    1B Abreu
    DH Chas/Singleton/Meyers/Alvarez
    CF Dubon/Chas/Meyers

    ?
     
  18. Mr.Pringles

    Mr.Pringles Member

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    Altuve
    Dubon
    Alvarez
    Bregman
    Tucker
    Abreu
    Diaz
    Chas
    Pena
     
  19. cmlmel77

    cmlmel77 Up all Night Watching Houston Sports
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    If Dubon is getting 100 more ABs over the season than Chas, I will want Espada gone just as much as I did Dusty.

    Altuve
    Bregman
    Yordan
    Tucker
    Chas
    Diaz
    Abreu
    Meyers/Dubon/(other)
    Pena
     
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  20. IdStrosfan

    IdStrosfan Member

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    Altuve
    Alvarez
    Bregman
    Tucker
    Abreu
    McCormick
    Diaz
    Meyers
    Pena.

    I think Dubon goes back to 1-2 games per week utility. I bet he gets extra reps at 3B in spring in hopes he can be Alex's primary backup.

    Meyers gets 1st shot at starting CF spot but he needs to take a Chas- like jump vs RHP to keep it.

    If he can't be 100+ wRC+/OPS+ vs RHP by July then decided if someone like Barber or Loperfido is the answer or move Chas back to CF and trade for a bat 1st LF type at the deadline.
     

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