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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Astros owner willing to add to payroll | MLB.com

Like most clubs, the Astros have their limits. Crane said the club has no plans to raise its payroll higher than the luxury-tax threshold, which would come with severe financial penalties. The Red Sox and Nationals were the only teams subject last season to the Competitive Balance Tax after exceeding the payroll threshold of $197 million. That number will be $206 million next year.

“I’d say if the right situation came along—certainly we’re not going over [the luxury-tax threshold]—but we could move closer to that,” Crane said. “We were pretty high up in the food chain last year. A lot of teams realize the penalty is pretty severe if you go over. We’ll stay within the strike zone.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 11, 2018 at 08:17 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Report: Nationals Ownership Rejected Bryce Harper Trade to Astros

The Houston Astros reportedly had a deal in place for the Nationals’ Bryce Harper at the non-waiver deadline in July but Washington ownership nixed the deal, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The Nationals would have received right-hander J.B. Bukauskas, the Astros’ No. 8 prospect according to MLB.com, and two other minor leaguers, in exchange for Harper. Catcher Garrett Stubbs, the team’s No. 15 prospect, was also reportedly in play, along with another, low-level, minor-league pitcher as well, per Rosenthal.

The Astros’ offer would have benefitted Washington significantly more than the late-round compensatory pick it will receive in the 2019 draft, assuming Harper turns down the team’s qualifying offer on Monday and signs with another club.

So, who do you suppose ultimately regrets this decision the most?

 

QLE Posted: November 11, 2018 at 06:56 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, bryce harper, deadline trades, ownership

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Astros have a few changes occur as the offseason simmers

I missed Hallahan’s departure.What’s going on in Houston?

While the offseason rumors simmer, the Astros’ front office is experiencing employee turnover. Sig Mejdal, one of the key figures in Houston’s data-driven front office, is moving on from the organization as Brian McTaggart of MLB.com notes here. Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports here that another key member of the front office, Ryan Hallahan, the Astros’ senior technical architect, will also leave the club.

 

 

Jim Furtado Posted: November 07, 2018 at 03:49 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Monday, November 05, 2018

Who is the Astros’ future at catcher? Exploring their options, and what they value at the position – The Athletic

A great in-depth look at the Astros catching options.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 05, 2018 at 12:19 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, pay site

Analytics guru Sig Mejdal leaves Astros | Houston Astros

Interesting.

Sig Mejdal, the former NASA engineer and blackjack dealer who spearheaded the analytical team that helped the Astros win their first World Series last year, has allowed his contract with the Astros to expire as he pursues other opportunities, MLB.com has learned.

Mejdal, who served this year as special assistant to the general manager, process development, told MLB.com on Sunday the decision to leave the Astros was his alone. He joined the club in 2012 after following president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow to Houston from St. Louis, initially with the title of director of decision sciences.

“It was me asking for some time to explore other opportunities,” said Mejdal, whose contract expired on Oct. 31. “Jeff is an amazing manager and always been supportive of me and was again in this case.”

Luhnow couldn’t be reached for comment.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 05, 2018 at 09:34 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sig mejdal

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Astros’ Jose Altuve underwent surgery to repair right knee injury

Hopefully he’ll make a full recovery.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 20, 2018 at 02:27 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jose altuve

Thursday, October 18, 2018

More questions after Astros get free pass on dugout spying

“We were playing defense,” Astros president of baseball operations Jeff Luhnow said. “We were not playing offense. We want to make sure it’s an even playing field.”

This is a bad look. It’s the league’s job to make sure it’s an even playing field.

The league offering Houston the free pass enraged executives around baseball, who reached out to Yahoo Sports trying to understand the rationale. If the Astros were allowed to monitor another team’s dugout in-game without penalty, one wondered, shouldn’t every team be allowed to do the same? If the Astros were so concerned with opponents’ nefariousness, another said, why did they send a kid in his early 20s whose role with the team is opaque and not simply request MLB send a security professional to examine the dugout from the same spot and ensure everything is above board? Most of all, taking at face value the Astros’ explanation for using McLaughlin, if there is a rule forbidding in-game technology to help steal signs, why is a team allowed to use in-game technology to investigate whether its opponent is illegally stealing signs?

 

Jim Furtado Posted: October 18, 2018 at 10:12 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Fan interference negates Jose Altuve home run

Good job by security blocking the best camera angle.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 18, 2018 at 06:30 AM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, red

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sources: Indians warned Red Sox about man stealing signs for Astros

A little more info.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 17, 2018 at 09:16 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, red sox

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Magic dust, spin rates and buy-in: How the Astros make good pitchers even better - The Washington Post

“Every team has an analytics department, and this is no knock on the Twins, but seeing the time [the Astros] put in and the scouting reports you’re given, it’s like, ‘Whoa.’ It’s a different level,” Pressly said. “You kind of see, ‘Wow, if I just pitch a little more to this percentage instead of that percentage I can have some better results.’ When I came over here, they were like, ‘Look, your curveball is your best pitch. Everyone tells you your best pitch should be your fastball. But with the amount of spin you have on the ball, you need to throw that more, and it will set up your fastball even more.’ ”

Luhnow described the acclimation process into the Astros’ philosophy as more of a two-way street: “It’s really, ‘Tell us about your repertoire, your experience.’ It starts with them telling us what they’re trying to accomplish every time they go in. And then it’s us: ‘Let’s start with the basics. This is what we love about you. Let’s keep doing this.’ Are there areas maybe we can try something? Sure. But they’ve got to want to do it.”

Added Manager A.J. Hinch: “The beauty of what we have going on right now is there’s an immediate buy-in when guys come over, because of some previous success stories. … Our analytics team, our front office does a great job of providing information, providing thoughts, ideas. But it circles back to the player. I always credit the player, because he has to be the guy — he is the guy with the ball in his hand.”

...

“The key principle,” Cole said, “was using a lot of the data and information they have to discern what is your strength. So you have a pitch that looks great on the charts, and then you have the [video]. … It’s not like they were reinventing the wheel. They were just showing me what I did well and then allowed me to just attack.”

“I don’t think it’s a secret,” Morton added. “It’s not something where they put you in a chamber, and they push a button and you come out a new pitcher. You’re the pitcher you are, with the tools you have, and they give you suggestions on how to utilize your stuff a little bit better. … For people to say, ‘Oh they must be doing something illegal or special — because why aren’t [other teams] doing it?’ Well, they haven’t caught up yet.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 16, 2018 at 10:33 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, astros

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Astros beat Red Sox to take a wild—in every way—Game 1 of ALCS

BOSTON – On the anniversary of Derek Jeter’s famous flip and David Ortiz’s famous home run that caused Torii Hunter to flip over a fence, no indelible moment seared itself into baseball’s memory Saturday. Instead, Game 1 of the 2018 American League Championship Series was wild in smaller ways, from the pitches to the umpires to the hit-by-pitch that may make an already-interesting series that much more intriguing.

What germinated from it all was a 7-2 victory for the Houston Astros over the Boston Red Sox and the instantaneous thievery of home-field advantage in front of 38,007 at Fenway Park. Even as the Astros didn’t capitalize early on the diminished stuff and inability to find the strike zone by Boston ace Chris Sale, they weathered an uncharacteristic wild inning from their own starter, Justin Verlander, to take the lead in the sixth inning – and then turned on the afterburners in the ninth inning to finish taking advantage of Boston’s troublesome bullpen.

After home plate umpire James Hoye ejected Red Sox manager Alex Cora following an argued called strike three, Houston went to work. Sale was out of the game, having gone four innings. Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly led off the inning by plunking Alex Bregman on a 1-2 pitch after Bregman called a late timeout. Bregman stared down Kelly before catcher Christian Vázquez intervened. Whether it was intentional or not, it proved costly when Carlos Correa feathered a single into left field later in the inning to score Bregman, who chirped toward Kelly as he headed toward home plate.

Tis a strange game indeed when it feels like the team that lost felt like it was in danger of giving up more HBPs than hits…..

QLE Posted: October 14, 2018 at 07:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alcs, astros, red sox

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Astros Blast Past Cleveland Into LCS

The Astros passed their first October test as the defending World Series champions with flying colors, burying the Indians with a relentless offense and solid pitching on Monday afternoon to earn a champagne celebration they hope won’t be their last.

My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 09, 2018 at 09:22 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, indians, postseason

Thursday, October 04, 2018

What Happened to the Houston Astros’ Hacker?

The Dogs went undefeated, consistently thrashing even the powerful All-Blacks. Something to put on my résumé, the Dogs’ coach thought to himself, mordantly. FPC Cumberland championship softball coach. His CV had once been impeccable. He had been Chris Correa, the former doctoral student who had steadily ascended through the front office of the Cardinals to become their scouting director, in charge of their amateur draft. No longer. Now he was Christopher J. Correa, federal inmate 04550-479.

Correa, 38, spent much of his time out on Cumberland’s softball field even when there were no games. He walked laps around its perimeter for one to two and a half hours each day, covering four to 10 miles. He began to shrink inside his prison-issued dark green uniform, losing 35 pounds off his 5’11” frame, and his wedding ring dangled from his slimmed finger.

As he walked, he listened to a transistor radio. The NPR affiliates served mostly as background for his thoughts, which always cycled back to one simple question.

Why am I here?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 04, 2018 at 02:34 PM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals

Monday, September 24, 2018

Ken Giles: ‘I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston’

Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”

So, what do we suppose this actually means, reading between the lines?

QLE Posted: September 24, 2018 at 05:09 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, blue jays, ken giles

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Yuli Gurriel has 7-RBI night as Astros clinch playoff berth

In a season with little doubt that the defending World Series champions would return to the playoffs, Yuli Gurriel and Gerrit Cole ensured on Friday night that the Astros will compete in October again.

Gurriel harassed pitchers with his two home runs and seven RBIs. Cole bullied batters with 12 strikeouts in seven innings. George Springer’s three-run homer in the eighth dealt a gratuitous blow.

The Astros overwhelmed the Los Angeles Angels 11-3 at Minute Maid Park for a win that clinched the 12th postseason appearance in franchise history.

So, any guesses for how the Astros may fare in the playoffs this time around?

QLE Posted: September 22, 2018 at 08:35 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, playoffs, yuli gurriel

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Lance McCullers Jr. likely out until September

The-24-year-old Astros starter was placed on the disabled list this weekend with right elbow discomfort. But, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Monday that McCullers has a muscle strain and he is unlikely to return before September (via the Houston Chronicle).

Well, that’s not great.

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: August 07, 2018 at 04:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, disabled list, lance mccullers

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Biggest Years by the Smallest Players

Just a lil’ sumpin’ sumpin.’

gehrig97 Posted: July 22, 2018 at 10:34 AM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, berra, jose altuve, morgan, puckett, yankees

Saturday, July 14, 2018

How the Houston Astros are winning through advanced analytics | McKinsey

I picked up Astroball the other day. It was OK, but not particularly informative. I actually learned more about the Astros process from this article.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 14, 2018 at 08:49 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jeff luhnow

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Ben Reiter’s “Astroball” & Carlos Beltran: The Next Great Manager

Astroball reveals Beltran’s significant role in shaping the Astros into a championship team. Indeed to my eye, the book seems to illustrate Beltran’s off-the-field contributions to the ball club even more than Hinch. As the elder statesman on the roster, the 40-year-old designated hitter took young players under his wing, presiding over the clubhouse kangaroo court, providing life advice to the team’s star shortstop, and analyzing Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish, poring over video to recognize tells in Darvish’s delivery and explaining his findings to each of his teammates.

djordan Posted: July 11, 2018 at 09:10 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, baseball books

Monday, June 25, 2018

CUT4: Alex Bregman shaved his mustache between at-bats because personal grooming is very important

Alex knows how to exploit the latest market inefficiency.

After the game, Bregman’s teammate Gerrit Cole had some thoughts, as passed along by MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart:

“After the game? During? I had no idea. I don’t pay attention to Alex’s shaving habits in the middle of the game. I did like the mustache, I thought it played. It was Jeff Kent-esque. It was on top of his lip when he stabbed that soft liner in the first inning, which got us out of a jam. Personally, I’m a fan of the ‘stache, but I guess it’s been sent down. It’s been DFA’d. We’ll wait until it comes back.”

Stormy JE Posted: June 25, 2018 at 11:43 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, astros, market inefficiency, shaving

Friday, January 20, 2012

WSJ: Houston Astros Owner Mucked Up in JeffCo Bankruptcy

We release things drip by drip…and when I have my sewer bonds settlement statements ready for this year, I’ll release them!

Stuck at the unfortunate end of the debt-clogged sewer system of Jefferson County, Ala., you’ll find Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

Fresh into his takeover of the Texas baseball team, Crane has been ordered by a bankruptcy judge to reveal details of his settlement with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. over $35 million worth of sewer bonds that he bought from the investment bank four years ago—a personal investment that quickly turned to, er, garbage.

Those dirty details, which are not public, are what Jefferson County attorney are seeking amid their own fight with the bank over the complicated series of dealings that, with a little help from a corruption scheme that ensnared the county’s top elected leaders, left the county swimming in a pool of toxic debt.

Ultimately, the county—Alabama’s most populous with roughly 658,000 residents—filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, marking the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Crane said he got stuck with a bum deal, too, according to court documents filed in Texas state court.

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 04:48 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business, media

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MLB: Astros reach one-year deal with Cust

CustomInk: Compare prices!

Jack Cust, who has hit 105 home runs in a 10-year Major League career that has spanned six teams, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Astros that includes an option for 2013, according to a baseball source.

The deal is pending a physical and could be announced as soon as Wednesday. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow declined to comment.

Cust, 33, appeared in 67 games before being cut loose last July by the Mariners, for whom he batted .213 with three homers and 23 RBIs. He spent the previous four seasons with the Oakland A’s, hitting 97 homers and driving in 281 runs in that span. He’s played primarily left field, right field and designated hitter in his career.

The addition of Cust likely puts him in the mix to start in right field in an increasingly crowded group that includes Brian Bogusevic, Jason Bourgeois, J.B. Shuck and Fernando Martinez, the former top prospect of the Mets who was claimed off waivers last week.

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2012 at 05:57 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

RLYW: Salvaging a Sunken cost

Burnett projects to have an RA of 5.03 in CAIRO.  The following possible starting pitchers project better than that.

CC Sabathia (3.57)
Michael Pineda (4.37)
Freddy Garcia (4.55)
Brad Meyers (4.56)
Hiroki Kuroda (4.57)
Phil Hughes (4.63)
Ivan Nova (4.93)
...

If that’s true, then every start that goes to Burnett is a start that should be going to one of the above.

...

Unfortunately, since Burnett is owed $33 million over the next two years, the Yankees probably feel obligated to try and get some value out of him.

I don’t think they can do that by pitching him…. trading Burnett’s bad contract to another team for their bad contract might be a way to recoup some of that value.

Mr Dashwood Posted: January 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cubs, mets, projections, white sox, yankees

Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: Bartolo Colon Agrees to Sign With Unknown Team

Bartolo Colon has agreed to a deal with an unknown club reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The right-hander wouldn’t divulge the team because he has not yet passed his physical.

Pretty sure it’s either the All-Stars or the Champs.


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