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Jim Furtado
Founder & Publisher
Editor - Baseball Primer


Astros Newsbeat

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Astros minor-leaguer apologizes for tweet criticizing Jessica Mendoza

What Marlow said was stupid. I don’t agree, however, with the idea that any non-specific criticism should be automatically painted as misogynistic. The writer’s decision to paint her detractors with a broad brush as a response undercuts his argument.

But Marlow’s criticism follows the same tired trend we always see with Mendoza. It’s never specific, and it’s more about the fact that she’s a woman than anything else. It’s never anything like, “I wish her hitting breakdowns were more ____,” or “she could really benefit from a partner who ____.” It’s mostly just general, “I don’t like her” complaints that hint at misogyny. In this case, there’s no hinting.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 06, 2016 at 08:41 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, broadcasting

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016

Evan Gattis fixed his ground ball problem - Beyond the Box Score

Early in the season it looked like Evan Gattis might have been finished as a productive hitter. A player who is limited to DH and doesn’t hit the ball in the air enough to maximize his power is simply not an appealing roster option for most teams. Thankfully for both Gattis and the Astros the early season struggles seem to be merely a blip on the radar. As it turns out, a move back behind the plate and an increase in launch angle was all that was needed to re-energize his career.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 26, 2016 at 12:07 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, evan gattis, statcast

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Astros’ Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman exit series finale against Rangers - Houston Chronicle

The Astros aren’t dead yet but they are hurt and limping toward the end.

Altuve left with right oblique discomfort. The American League’s leading hitter flied out in the third inning, with replays showing him grimacing after a swing during the plate appearance.
Bregman departed after pulling up in the sixth inning while running to third base. He walked gingerly to the Astros dugout before heading straight to the clubhouse.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 15, 2016 at 06:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Monday, September 12, 2016

Cubs back Arrieta to win series vs. Astros |

The Cubs magic number is five!

Jim Furtado Posted: September 12, 2016 at 07:06 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cubs

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Astros’ Dallas Keuchel shut down from throwing - Houston Chronicle

In addition to scratching him from his start that had been scheduled for Tuesday against the Indians, the Astros have already ruled out their ace from starting this weekend against the Cubs. With only 25 games remaining on the Astros’ schedule after Monday, the rest of the pitcher’s season is shrouded in doubt.

“I don’t know,” manager A.J. Hinch said when asked if he thought Keuchel would pitch again this season. “We’ll have to get back and see how all of these tests come back and how he continues to feel.
“We tried to give him some gaps in time in giving him some rest periods. That hasn’t solved it. He’s going to go see the doctors he needs to see and until he’s pain free he’s not throwing. Where we’re at in the calendar is going to bring the obvious questions but we just don’t know right now.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 06, 2016 at 07:09 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dallas keuchel

Friday, August 26, 2016

Astros analysis: Third baseman of the future has to be Alex Bregman - Houston Chronicle

But Bregman’s performance - after a 1-for-34 start, he has raised his batting average to .231 - already has begun to force the front office’s hand, first evident when Gurriel appeared in left field during a minor league stint in which he had been expected to play only third base and DH. A month after his celebrated debut, Bregman has yet to start a big league game in left field, appearing in the outfield only once as part of an in-game substitution.

The question, then, is where to play Gurriel, a 15-year veteran of professional baseball in Cuba and Japan who has played third and second base almost exclusively. There is no doubt DH will be a part of his future, but limiting him to that wastes his ability to play the field.

Perhaps a left field/DH combo will be Gurriel’s positional landing spot. First base is another option, but what then of A.J. Reed? Reed has struggled in the majors this season, but 101 at-bats is too small a sample size to write off a player who came into this season regarded as the industry’s best minor league prospect at his position.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 26, 2016 at 06:31 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, astros, yulieski gurriel

Monday, August 22, 2016

Yulieski Gurriel makes Astros, MLB debut |

Not ideal.

It was a dream more than 15 years—plus nearly five hours—in the making, but borders and politics always stood in the way. Yulieski Gurriel, at 32 years old, knew he was running short on time if he wanted to reach the pinnacle of the sport and play in the big leagues, which is why he took a chance and defected from Cuba with his brother earlier this year.

Gurriel, who defected following the Caribbean Series in February and signed with the Astros in July for $47.5 million, finally stepped onto a Major League field Sunday and made an immediate impact. He singled in his first at-bat and finished 1-for-2 with a walk before leaving with a strained right hamstring in the Astros’ 5-3 win over the Orioles. He’s day to day.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 22, 2016 at 06:40 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Yulieski Gurriel being called up to Astros |

A new addition in Houston.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 21, 2016 at 07:57 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, yulieski gurriel

Friday, August 19, 2016

After steady rebuild, Astros on verge of taking a step back

They are six games behind the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox in the wild card race entering Wednesday night.

But, oh, how everything could have been different if Cole Hamels didn’t exercise his no-trade rights when the Philadelphia Phillies were traded to the Astros a year ago, and Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy wouldn’t have vetoed a deal two weeks ago to the Cleveland Indians.

“It changed,’’ Luhnow said, “everything.’’

Jim Furtado Posted: August 19, 2016 at 08:26 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jeff luhnow

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Affidavit shows Hooks outfielder attacks girlfriend at Whataburger Field

Inside a Whataburger Field stairwell, a Hooks player backhanded his girlfriend three times, according to an arrest affidavit.

Footage of the attack, captured on video surveillance, prompted Hooks officials to contact police the next day.

The affidavit into what led to the arrest of outfielder Danry Vasquez was released to the Caller-Times on Tuesday.

Police arrested Vasquez on a warrant Aug. 4 on suspicion of assault family violence, a misdemeanor. The Venezuelan national remains free on $10,000 bail.

Hooks President Ken Schrom said Major League Baseball placed Vasquez on administrative leave and the league is handling “all aspects from the investigation to the discipline that will take place.”

In a Tuesday statement, Astros officials said they are cooperating with police and expressed their support for the league’s domestic violence policy.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2016 at 06:49 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, domestic violence, minor leagues

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tipsheet: Luhnow’s blunders stunt Astros’ growth | Jeff Gordon |

Blunders. That’s the headline. Let’s not forget that the Astros exceeded expectations last year. Although they have played poorly, they are still on the cusp of the playoffs. They have another crop of prospects just about ready. So, although the team isn’t quite the finished product some fans and writers may have expected this year, the team is still on the right track.

“The play on the field was not what we expected,” Luhnow said, according to “I don’t know if anybody could have forecasted a change like that. We didn’t. We expected him to continue to produce at a high level. From that standpoint, it’s disappointing, but you can’t win them all. Some trades are going to work out and some aren’t. We did the trade for the right reason, to get us in the playoffs last year and help us win the playoffs and we did accomplish that to a certain extent. This year it hasn’t worked out.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 11, 2016 at 08:59 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jeff luhnow

Monday, August 08, 2016

MLB Rookie Report: Joe Musgrove, RHP, Houston Astros - Minor League Ball

His initial MLB innings confirm the minor league scouting reports: fastball between 88 and 95 MPH, averaging around 92; curveballs, sliders, and change-ups ranging from the upper-70s to mid-80s, plus excellent command and control that helps everything play up. There’s nothing left for him to prove in the minors and he is ready for a full trial.

Given his history and some funk in his delivery, I’m not certain that he’ll be durable long-term, but you can say that about most young pitchers. Aside from that, I love Musgrove as a prospect and would rate him as a Grade A- right now. He hasn’t received as much attention as he deserves, but in my view he is an elite prospect.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 08, 2016 at 11:45 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, joe musgrove, prospects

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Astros won’t rush Yulieski Gurriel to Majors |

“We don’t bring guys up unless our coaches and scouts and evaluators tell us their approach is good enough to work at this level, and I think obviously some adjustments have to be made,” Luhnow said. “There’s been a little bit of bad luck, a little bit of anxiousness. Those players are going to be very good Major Leaguers and it’s going to start happening soon. I have no doubt about it. Hopefully it’s this weekend.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 07, 2016 at 08:14 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, yulieski gurriel

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Work visa approved, Astros’ Yulieski Gurriel plays for GCL affiliate - Houston Chronicle

With his work visa approved, Yulieski Gurriel made his organizational and stateside professional debut Saturday afternoon with the Astros’ Gulf Coast League affiliate in Kissimmee, Fla.

Gurriel went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts, two weeks to the day from when the Cuban infielder was introduced in a press conference at Minute Maid Park. The Astros’ $47.5-million man is scheduled to be off Sunday and play again for the GCL club on Monday in the early stages of his tune up for a likely mid-August major league debut.

“I think it’s realistic to expect,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said of a mid-August time frame for Gurriel’s debut. “No earlier than mid-August.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 31, 2016 at 10:40 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, yulieski gurriel

Monday, July 25, 2016

What To Expect: Alex Bregman -

The Astros looking for more offense.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2016 at 06:35 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, astros, prospects

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Top Houston Astros prospect Alex Bregman makes first start in left field, notches three hits for Fresno Grizzlies | News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball

Bregman sees time in left field.

Alex Bregman can hit. He can play shortstop. He can play third base. On Wednesday night, he added another line to his defensive resume and kept swinging the same bat that has Houston abuzz.

With rumors flying about an imminent promotion to the Major Leagues, the Astros’ top prospect made his first professional start in left field—where he contributed two putouts—and went 3-for-5 at the plate with a run scored as Triple-A Fresno topped Round Rock, 8-5.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 21, 2016 at 07:05 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, astros, prospects

Monday, July 18, 2016

Former Cardinals Exec Sentenced to Prison for Hacking Astros

Wow.From prank to almost 4 years in prison.

Brian Posted: July 18, 2016 at 03:41 PM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Astros sign Cuban star Yulieski Gurriel |

The Astros and Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel have agreed to a 5-year deal worth $47.5 million, according to industry sources, pending a physical.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 16, 2016 at 08:38 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, yulieski gurriel

Monday, July 11, 2016

Getting Jose Altuve out a daily dilemma for pitchers - Houston Chronicle

He’s a freak.

“The No. 1 thing is you can’t really strike him out, so that eliminates a lot of outs,” Greinke said. “And he can kind of hit anything.

“It’s weird. It’s not like he has some super strength where if you make a mistake he crushes it. It’s just no matter what you do, he’s probably going to bat close to .300. And if you leave it over the middle, it would probably be closer to .350.”

The latter is roughly where Altuve’s batting average will sit entering this week’s All-Star break. The four-time All-Star is batting an American League-best .343. His multi-hit games (35) nearly double his hitless ones (20).

Jim Furtado Posted: July 11, 2016 at 07:50 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jose altuve

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Houston Astros battle back to reach .500 |

The reporting of their death looks premature.

“If you had told me we’d be .500 on this date, I would have said we should be better,” Hinch said. “I want to keep it in proper perspective.”

The Astros are 36-36, which won’t blow you away when you consider they were a consensus pick to win the American League West.

And then the wheels came off. Tuesday night was the first time they’d been .500 since they were 1-1 on April 6. They were 7-17 in April and 17-28 on May 22. At times, it looked like the hole might get so deep they could never climb out.

But they kept chopping wood.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 22, 2016 at 10:14 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Friday, June 10, 2016

Beyond the Boxscore: The AL West doesn’t look like we thought it would.

With the AL West comes the payoff for this whole exercise, and, in a broader sense, this whole baseball thing: a division in chaos, and unlike the other divisions in chaos, chaos that looks nothing like we expected it to. On Opening Day, the Rangers and A’s had nearly identical playoff odds of about 19 percent; today, the Rangers are sitting atop the division, just over 60 percent, while the A’s sit at a measly five percent. The only team below Oakland is the team that began the season just above them, the Angels, but the loss of Garrett Richards and Andrelton Simmons have sent their playoff odds tumbling from 26 percent to three percent.

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: June 10, 2016 at 02:04 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, astros, athletics, mariners, rangers

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Astros beat D-backs in 11 for 5th straight win |

Astros walk off!  They are now 25-29 and 6 1/2 back in the West with 2/3 of the season left.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 02, 2016 at 07:30 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, george springer

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.

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