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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Townsend (BLS): Houston paper apologizes for quoting Carlos Gomez’s broken English

He Hate Me was unavailable for comment.

What’s not arguable, though, is that Smith should have used better judgment in quoting Gomez within his article. Gomez, who comes from Santiago in the Dominican Republic, does not speak English as his primary language. He speaks well enough English though that his words are understandable and translatable, yet Smith elected to quote Gomez’s broken English word-for-word.

  “For the last year and this year, I not really do much for this team. The fans be angry. They be disappointed,” said Gomez as he roamed center field against the team with which he spent 2008-09.

As many have noted, quoting people whose speech is marked by dialect or incorrect grammar can present difficult choices for writers. However, they have to know that when the line is crossed, it can be needlessly embarrassing to the person while serving no real purpose to accuracy of the story. 

And yes, there is to be said for getting an accurate quote. There’s also something to be said for empathy and understanding that a player is doing his best to communicate, and in this case own up to his struggles on the field.

Renegade JE (Jason) Posted: May 15, 2016 at 04:09 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, carlos gomez, reporters, spanish

Thursday, May 05, 2016


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Astros, Rangers Exploring Carolina League Teams

Well, the cat is out of the bag: The Houston Astros are looking at placing a High A team at a new Fayetteville ballpark, while the Texas Rangers are still eying a team in Kinston, as work progresses on moving two teams from the California League to the Carolina League.

Astros owner Jim Crane was in Fayetteville today to look at ballpark sites, in a move originally scheduled for last Monday (the trip was delayed due to flooding in Houston). And while the whole Cal to Carolina move for the High Desert Mavericks and Bakersfield Blaze franchises — as well as a new downtown Fayetteville ballpark, something we discussed in the past, as well as a potential Astros High-A farm team at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches — has been hush-hush, it’s out in the open now after Crane’s rather public visit to Fayetteville, per the Fayetteville Observer:

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 30, 2016 at 06:13 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, california league, carolina league, rangers

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Astros should not be worried about Ken Giles - Beyond the Box Score

Don’t cut him yet.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 22, 2016 at 08:26 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, ken giles

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tyler White Already Looks For Real | FanGraphs Baseball

One of the most interesting new hitters in baseball.

White seemed to know more power would be necessary for sustained big-league success. The strikeout rate has spiked alongside the power, perhaps indicating a swing change. He’s the only player in baseball to have recorded at least five balls in play with a launch angle between 25-30 degrees and an exit velocity above 95 mph — the conditions most conducive to hitting home runs. He’s displayed a major league power hitter’s swing plane. Over half his balls in play have been in the air, and he’s slugged 1.000 on elevated pitches — his areas of focus from Spring Training. He’s been thrown one of the lowest rates of in-zone fastballs, an indicator of respect by pitchers — he’s being pitched like J.D. Martinez and Nelson Cruz. White’s still walking as expected and is still spraying the ball all over the field, so he’s kept the things we liked about him in the first place, just with added power on top, and power that looks like it might be legitimate, or at least more legitimate than we’d anticipated.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 21, 2016 at 12:08 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, tyler white

Monday, April 18, 2016

Altuve HR sets Astros on course for first series win - Houston Chronicle

Jose Altuve, home run hitter.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 18, 2016 at 08:45 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jose altuve

Monday, April 04, 2016

Luke Gregerson to be Astros closer | MLB.com

I’m guessing they are using Giles in high leverage situations.

Luke Gregerson will open the season as the Astros’ primary closer, manager A.J. Hinch announced Monday.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 04, 2016 at 10:50 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, ken giles, luke gregerson

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Let’s Find Some MLB Comps for Tyler White | FanGraphs Baseball

Looking over his comps I agree that he’ll need to exceed expectations and add more power to stick around at first. It will be fascinating to follow his progress.

For White to have a successful career as an average-or-better everyday first baseman, it feels like he’s going to have to add some power, like Carpenter did last year. White stands at just 5-foot-11, which may not bode well for a future power spike, but at the very least, he’s cognizant of the fact that a bit more power could go a long way to his game. Here’s a story by Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle from earlier this month in which White talks about focusing on hitting high fastballs and putting the ball in the air more, in hopes of tapping into extra power.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 03, 2016 at 08:13 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, tyler white

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Why acquiring Ken Giles was stunning move by Houston Astros

“I don’t look at the numbers,” Giles said. “That’s your job. My job is to get three outs.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 24, 2016 at 02:47 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, closers, ken giles

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Astros revise manager A.J. Hinch’s contract - Houston Chronicle

The info is top secret.

Approached by the Chronicle during spring training, Hinch had no comment, deferring to general manager Jeff Luhnow.

Luhnow was coy.

“We’re committed to A.J., and he’s committed to us,” Luhnow said. “We don’t comment on contracts.”

The environment Hinch took over in the fall of 2014 was one of disrepair. He had to create cohesion in all directions: with a new coaching staff, the players, and the front office as well.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 08, 2016 at 06:20 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: a.j. hinch, astros, managers

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Astros Use Cutting Edge Technology To Get Better At Baseball

Lance McCullers wants to master his changeup, so he mimics a master…McCullers wants his changeup to look the same way Hernandez’s does in the eyes of opposing batters, so he seeks out data from the Astros’ analytics team. The club, like every other team in baseball now, has access to data from Trackman, the pitch-tracking radar technology employed by MLB’s Statcast. That information shows McCullers where and when Hernandez releases the pitch, and its spin rate: The number of times it rotates en route to the plate.
...
Though drafted out of high school, he needed less than three full seasons in the minors before graduating to the Majors. And he said he latched on to the club’s spin-rate data as soon as it was presented to him.“I thought it was real cool from the get-go,” McCullers said.
...
“It’s all about break, how it looks and how a hitter views that pitch, and based on the analysis that they gave us, we’re able to recreate that feel — that in-game experience — in the bullpen.”
...
But McCullers is part of a generation that came of age in baseball long after numbers became an integral part of it, and when presented with the ever-dreaded notion of “overthinking,” he hailed the certainty of his methods.

GrumpyFan Posted: March 01, 2016 at 09:07 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sabrmetrics

Friday, February 26, 2016

Roger Clemens gives Astros pitchers a split-finger tutorial - Houston Chronicle

Clemens had one of the most menacing split-finger fastballs of the last generation, and he didn’t hesitate when Astros pitching coach Brent Strom asked him to visit with righthanders Michael Feliz, Jordan Jankowski and James Hoyt.

“Just explained to them the proper grip of a split instead of a fork ball and the thought processes when you’re throwing the baseball to home plate,” Clemens said. “And we got a little technical with them too.

“Today here in spring training the wind is a factor, and depending on what field you’re at, that will kind of dictate what a split-finger will do. It’s similar to trying to relate it to golf a little bit on the golf ball with the spin on a golf ball.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 26, 2016 at 10:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, roger clemens

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Astros aim for World Series title in 2016 | MLB.com

How many teams don’t have a goal of winning a championship?

“It is rewarding knowing that all the work we did over the past four years since Jim [Crane] bought the team has led to this point,” he said. “It also makes us nervous, that how do we make sure we keep going forward? The closer you get to the top, the harder it is to stay here. Our goal is win a championship. There’s a lot of luck involved in that and a lot of planning, but we’re going to take it day by day. We’re in a good spot.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 14, 2016 at 07:01 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: a.j. hinch, astros

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Gattis to miss 4-6 weeks after hernia surgery | MLB.com

I wonder whether this injury will impact the Astros plan to get him back behind the plate for some games this season.

Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis told MLB.com on Tuesday that he will miss four to six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a hernia.

Gattis said via text message that he is optimistic he will be ready for the start of the regular season or shortly thereafter, and he hopes to start getting some at-bats in mid- to late March. Astros position players are scheduled to work out for the first time on Feb. 23.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 10, 2016 at 08:31 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, evan gattis

Friday, January 29, 2016

Fangraphs: Astros Take Fister Chance

The setting should be comfortable. Not that anyone particularly enjoys pitching in Houston, because cheap home runs are going to happen, but the Astros aren’t afraid of softer-throwing pitchers. Last year their pitching staff had the lowest average fastball velocity in the American League, and the only hard-throwing projected starter this coming year is Lance McCullers. Maybe this is part preference and part driven by budget concerns, but the Astros are willing to work with someone who throws in the 80s.

GrumpyFan Posted: January 29, 2016 at 10:50 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Monday, January 25, 2016

Deadspin: U.S. Attorney Suggests Password Cardinals Used To Access Astros Scouting Database Was “Eckstein123”

Here’s what U.S. Attorney Michael Chu said (from the transcript of Correa’s re-arraignment):

MR. CHU: It was based on the name of a player who was scrawny and who would not have been thought of to succeed in the major leagues, but through effort and determination he succeeded anyway. So this user of the password just liked that name, so he just kept on using that name over the years.

What about Chris Truby?

eddieot Posted: January 25, 2016 at 05:34 AM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals, david eckstein, hacking

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Yoenis Cespedes still available but Astros not likely destination - Ultimate Astros

Where will Cespedes land?

General manager Jeff Luhnow on Friday afternoon reiterated that he feels the team does not need to make further moves this offseason. Yet, it’s clear the Astros don’t consider their winter over.

“We’re still in the same spot we’ve been in,” Luhnow said. “We’re monitoring the players that are available and trying to figure out if there’s a fit, and when I say available, I don’t mean only via free agency. There’s discussions with other teams about trade possibilities as well. Chasing down a lot of avenues.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 19, 2016 at 06:44 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, free agents, yoenis cespedes

Monday, January 18, 2016

DeWitt gives views of hacking episode : Sports

Those concerned about the potential precedent the Cardinals’ hacking of the Houston Astros established received Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr.’s answer during a wide-ranging interview at Winter Warm-Up on Sunday.

He used the phrases “outlier”, “rogue element” and “one-off situation” when referring to the federal investigation that stems from former Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa, who earlier this month pleaded guilty to five counts of illegal entry into a protected database owned by the Astros.

“Certainly shocked us, and I think shocked everybody in the game,” DeWitt said. “Look, it’s a very competitive business, we all want to beat the other team. Everybody lives within the rules and tries to figure out what’s going to give them the advantage, but that sort of activity is just not at all in the culture of MLB.”

It remains unknown how MLB will mete out punishment for baseball’s version of corporate espionage. Some have suggested it sets a precedent with the Redbirds. Punishments could include a fine, the loss of draft picks or limits on draft spending. MLB is planning its own investigation, and has requested information from the U.S. attorney’s office. Correa’s sentencing is scheduled for April 11.

“I have confidence in the commissioner doing the right thing, whatever that right thing is,” DeWitt said. “I think it depends on the facts. Some of the facts you know because there was a confession there or a plea. What else they have and want to talk to the commissioner’s office about, I don’t know.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 18, 2016 at 06:13 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals

Guilty plea just the beginning in Astros hacking case - Houston Chronicle

Federal judges have recommended - but not mandatory - sentencing guidelines to follow on a points system. The amount of loss greatly increases the number of points - and therefore, likely prison time.

To Toren, that may explain how the plea agreement came together.

“They don’t want to include the full amount of damages or loss,” he said. “Since he pleaded guilty, the only way he may have pled guilty, they don’t want to have to send him to jail for 50 years. Because that is a lot of loss.

“Based on the guidelines and the loss to the victim, I think that there is a very, very high likelihood that he’s going to serve at least two to three years in prison.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 18, 2016 at 05:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals

Friday, January 08, 2016

Former Cardinals scouting director to be indicted for hacking the Astros today

Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal reports that ex-Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa will be indicted today on charges arising out of the hacking of the Houston Astros’ database in 2014. Correa is expected to plead guilty to charges related to hacking the Astros.

Costa says between 5-12 charges will be filed. While the charges are yet unknown, the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act would cover such activities. The FBI has been investigating for months. There are serious potential penalties under this law.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 08, 2016 at 11:49 AM | 68 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, astros, cardinals, criminal, hacking, proprietary

Monday, January 04, 2016

Morgan Ensberg now Astros Minors mindset coach | astros.com

Ensberg says it’s all about supporting the players and doing everything the organization can from an analytical side to figure out the best way to teach them the game. But, he warns, he’s not a psychologist.
“It’s something the players, coaches and managers can trust that will stick with them when things go bad,” he said.

And Ensberg admits he could have used a mindset coach when he played. It was sink or swim.

“I always ended up being that guy for other guys, and it’s really because I care,” he said. “I don’t like that players feel anxiety. It’s scary, and I try not to talk about it too much, but it’s a very scary deal. People don’t want to hear it. They want to say, ‘Look, you’re making billions of dollars.’ And it’s true. We’re very fortunate when it comes to money, but make no mistake about it—those guys out there are scared to death. They’re staring at the ceiling, and I want to help them at least get through parts of that.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 04, 2016 at 08:07 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

All-or-nothing approach defines draftee Bregman - Houston Chronicle

Meet Alex Bregman.

Frank Anderson, father of big league pitcher Brett Anderson and a University of Houston assistant coach, has put on clinics at the Albuquerque Baseball Academy and also has seen Bregman since he was about 10 years old. He never worked as closely with Bregman as Brewer did, but even from afar, the same qualities were apparent. The Astros have a dirty-uniform, non-stop, get-it-done player - with talent to boot.

“The motor that he has that other people don’t have, and the drive and the day-to-day things that he did, even at a young age when I was out there, I mean, it’s the same things that you see today,” Anderson said. “It’s just a motor that never stops. It’s something that not a lot of people have, and you watch it from afar and you go, it’s something special.”

Anderson recalled Bregman playing for multiple teams as a teenager. On a 110-degree day, the kid was racing around town, trying to play just the final four innings of his third game of the day.

That kind of endurance likely would lend itself to bull riding just as well as it did creating one of the best amateur shortstop’s in the nation.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 22, 2015 at 09:50 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, astros, prospects

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Jeff Luhnow defends drafting Mark Appel after trading him - Ultimate Astros

That has to sting.

Trading Mark Appel — the first overall draft pick in 2013 and the eighth overall draft pick in 2012 — in a package with four other pitchers for a premier young closer and a 17-year-old shortstop speaks for itself.

Appel hasn’t lived up to expectations. And everything that has transpired since the Astros drafted him indicates the organization made the wrong choice picking atop the 2013 draft.

The second pick that year, third baseman Kris Bryant of the Cubs, was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2015 by a unanimous vote. Appel, 24, has yet to pitch in the big leagues. Bryant, 23, hit 26 home runs and had an .858 OPS last season in the bigs.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 13, 2015 at 09:05 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, kris bryant, mark appel

Former No. 1 pick Mark Appel saddened to be leaving Astros organization - Ultimate Astros

Mark Appel doesn’t pay off for the Astros.

“The only emotions and the only feelings toward the Astros is gratitude,” he said. “There’s so much thankfulness for what they’ve done for me, how they’ve supported me and how they handled everything and just supported me through my difficult season through my learning curve of acclimating to pro ball and really working through some difficulties and struggling.

“I’m not going to shy away from the difficulties that I’ve had, but the Astros have just been very gracious to me. I’m just so thankful to be part of the organization.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 13, 2015 at 08:03 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, mark appel, phillies

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Astros acquire Ken Giles from Phillies | MLB.com

The Astros will send pitcher Vincent Velasquez, left-handed pitcher Brett Oberholtzer and one Minor Leaguer to the Phillies in exchange for Giles, who will be a key piece to the back end of their bullpen.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2015 at 08:59 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, phillies, trades, winter meetings

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