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Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Houston Astros bullpen strong without big names Ken Rosenthal | FOX Sports

Hinch said the relievers have “general” roles — when the Astros lead, he mostly goes Harris-Neshek-Gregerson in the final three innings, mixing and matching with Qualls and his lefties, Sipp and Perez. But because none of the relievers is an established late-inning monster — this, for example, is Gregerson’s first year closing — Hinch said the roles are “in pencil.” In other words, he can manage however he wants, and the relievers are comfortable with it.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 25, 2015 at 02:10 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, bullpen usage, bullpens

Monday, August 24, 2015

Dallas Keuchel, Astros discuss contract extension - Ultimate Astros

Except he doesn’t get hurt all the time and allows a lot less hits.

“I’ve watched him throw a lot,” Kershaw said. “He reminds me a little bit of Brett (Anderson). … His sinker’s great. Gets so many ground balls. I feel like with anybody, it’s his ability to command. He just doesn’t miss it (on) the) outside corner. Changeup’s really good. People don’t really notice it but his slider, breaking ball, whatever he calls it, he gets a lot of swings and misses. Strikes out a lot of guys for a sinker baller. He’s having a great year. He kind of started to last year and progressed this year.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 24, 2015 at 12:36 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, clayton kershaw, dallas keuchel

Mike Fiers’ no-hitter shows Astros not driven solely by stats Ken Rosenthal notebook | FOX Sports

The analytics vs. scouts dichotomy is fiction.

Here’s to staying open-minded.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 24, 2015 at 10:46 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, mike fiers, sabermetrics

Mike Fiers of Houston Astros denies illegal substance on glove during no-hitter

One day after throwing a 134-pitch no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros right-hander Mike Fiers denied he had an illegal substance on his glove during the 3-0 win, shooting down speculation that began when photos on social media that zoomed in on the glove appeared to show a shiny substance.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 24, 2015 at 08:23 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, mike fiers

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Astros, Dodgers try to be smart, but mistakes more affordable for L.A. - Houston Chronicle

At the core, being better at player evaluation than your opponent is the most important attribute of any great organization. Having a lot of cash, though, let’s you wallpaper over mistakes, at least in the short-term.

When Boston was in town in July, Ben Cherington was still its GM. In a long session with reporters, he made an observation related to his own failures.

“Every team’s talent is more evenly distributed,” said Cherington, who has since left the Red Sox. “Every team has access to information. It’s a very sort of flat world, so you have to find ways to build advantages any way you can. Obviously, we haven’t done a good job of that the last two years.”

Friedman surveyed the landscape similarly.

“I do think that competitive balance is at its apex as you look back at least over the last 20 years,” he said. “I think things are at least becoming more efficient, and as things become efficient, it’s more difficult to find an advantage. What’s exciting about what we do on a daily basis: trying to figure out different advantages and different benefits, even on the margins.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 23, 2015 at 10:05 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew friedman, astros, dodgers, general managers, jeff luhnow

Craig Biggio honored at Minute Maid Park | MLB.com

Biggio gets his day in Houston.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 23, 2015 at 08:43 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, craig biggio

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Astros Catcher Discusses Fiers’ No Hitter Against Dodgers

“His fastball’s only about 90,” Castro said. “But he pitches up in the zone effectively. His curveball is such that it looks like his fastball, like an up-in-the-zone fastball. He gets a lot of swings on it and he’s got pretty good depth on his curveball. So, I think kind of the play on those two pitches — that tunnel effect that (pitching coach Brent) Strom talks about a lot — he does that really well, and his changeup’s one of his better pitches that he could throw to righties or lefties. So it’s a third pitch that guys have to take into account.”

GrumpyFan Posted: August 22, 2015 at 10:24 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

NY POST: Astro Survives Unreal Pitch Count For Thrilling No Hitter

[Mike] Fiers (6-9) struck out Justin Turner on his 134th pitch to end it and threw his glove high into the air for his first career complete game and the fifth no-hitter in the big leagues this season. Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma tossed a no-no on Aug 12.

bobm Posted: August 22, 2015 at 09:57 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, no hitter

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Astros’ George Springer cleared for baseball activities - Ultimate Astros

It seems like Springer last played in another season.

Astros right fielder George Springer, who has been out since suffering a fractured right wrist July 1, was cleared to resume some baseball activities Friday morning.

“I didn’t really know what to do, to be honest with you,” Springer said. “I prepared myself for no and yes. I got told yes and it was just kind of a relief. It’s obviously been hard these last six weeks to not be able to play out there with these guys. I’m almost there.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 15, 2015 at 08:25 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, george springer

Friday, July 31, 2015

Astros Acquire Acceptably Healthy Carlos Gomez | FanGraphs Baseball

Fangraph’s Jeff Sullivan’s take on the Astros deal.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 31, 2015 at 09:23 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, brewers, trades

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Jon Heyman on Twitter: “carlos gomez and mike fiers go to houston”

His hip is good in Houston.

I will update as more info becomes available.

Updated: 7:55 PM

Updated: 7:50 PM

 

Jim Furtado Posted: July 30, 2015 at 07:35 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, brewers, trade rumors, trades

Friday, July 24, 2015

Acquiring Kazmir gives players a lift on and off field - Houston Chronicle

“I feel an obligation to support them in a situation where I can do something to help them win,” Luhnow said. “They care as much as anybody, because they’re on the team.

“I think when you don’t make a move, even though sometimes that’s the right thing to do, people can misinterpret it as they’re not being supported. Now I would never make a move … just to make them feel supported, but it’s the right move to make, and it’s in our domain to make it.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 24, 2015 at 06:59 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, athletics, trades

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Astros acquire Scott Kazmir from Oakland for two prospects

And so we begin…

The Astros made a trade Thursday, acquiring left-hander Scott Kazmir from the A’s for two minor leaguers, right-handed pitcher Daniel Mengden and catcher Jacob Nottingham…

The 31-year-old Kazmir, a 2002 Cy Falls graduate, will join the club in Kansas City on Friday. He is 5-5 with a 2.38 ERA this season 18 starts for the A’s this season. Among American League pitchers, Kazmir ranks fourth in opponent batting average (.213) and fifth in ERA. On the season, Kazmir has allowed just three earned runs or fewer in 17 of his 18 starts.

Mengden and Nottingham had been playing for Class A Advanced Lancaster after each began the 2015 season at Class A Quad Cities. Mengden was originally a fourth-round selection in the 2014 draft, while Nottingham was originally taken in the sixth round of the 2013 draft.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 23, 2015 at 01:52 PM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, athletics, scott kazmir, trades

Top 10 Fantasy Prospects: Conforto Coming? - BaseballAmerica.com

1. Michael Conforto, of, Mets

Update: Conforto raked at high Class A St. Lucie and has been even better since a promotion to Double-A Binghamton, slashing .317/.401/.518 in 43 games.

Prognosis: Drafted No. 10 overall just a year ago out of Oregon State, Conforto is forcing the Mets’ hand into considering a callup quicker than they would like. An inept offense and an injury to Michael Cuddyer have Conforto on the precipice of a major league stint and scouts believe his lefthanded bat and power to all fields will play.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 23, 2015 at 11:53 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, blue jays, dodgers, mets, prospects, rangers, yankees

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jeff Bagwell makes a great grab at the ballgame

Lars6788 Posted: July 22, 2015 at 11:23 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, great grab, hall of fame

Astros talk Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross as well as Cole Hamels - Ultimate Astros

Multiple sources said the Phillies are willing to eat money in a Hamels deal depending on the package received, while one noted the asking price in terms of prospects was high, both in quantity and quality of players.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 22, 2015 at 07:10 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, phillies, trade rumors

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Padres, Astros have held preliminary trade discussions on starting pitchers | SanDiegoUnionTribune.com

Sources told the Union-Tribune that the Padres and the Astros have held preliminary talks on starting pitchers, with right-handers Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner believed to be among those mentioned. There are no indications of anything imminent, and one source said the two sides had not spoken on the subject since early this month.

Reds ace Johnny Cueto is the top trade target for the Astros, the Houston Chronicle reported late last month, not least because his impending free agency could make the cost more palatable. Sources confirmed Cueto remains high on Houston’s wish list.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 19, 2015 at 07:06 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, padres, trade rumors

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

From fringe prospect to All-Star starter: Dallas Keuchel - Minor League Ball

John Sickels’ take.

If you look at Keuchel’s career going back to college there is a clear pattern: when he reaches a new level, he often struggles initially but makes some adjustments and ends up performing very well in the end. It happened in college; it happened when he reached Double-A; it happened when he reached Triple-A, and it happened in the majors.

Keuchel’s adaptability and intelligence maximize his physical tools, a key advantage in the Darwinian environment of professional baseball.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 15, 2015 at 12:22 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dallas keuchel, prospects

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Dallas Keuchel: ‘Sabermetric people have helped me out a lot’ - CBSSports.com

All you sabermetric people are some of the best people.

“I think the sabermetric people have helped me out a lot, just based on my exit velocity and all of those stats. Because everybody in their dog keeps asking me in how I’m leading me in weak contact (and) ground-ball ratio and all of that stuff. With all of that talk, it helps me out as well just to know that other people appreciate the work that ‘non-strikeout’ pitchers are doing in the league. I think Zack [Greinke] would say the same thing.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 14, 2015 at 06:52 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dallas keuchel

Monday, July 06, 2015

Nationals, Astros WPB Spring Training Site Approved

Monday morning, Scott made the change officially official with a bill-signing ceremony held with Nationals and Astros representatives on hand, an acknowledgement of the return of Spring Training baseball to West Palm Beach for the first time since the Braves and Expos left decades ago. That the Astros and Nationals will move to Palm Beach County — if all stays on schedule — means there will be five teams within a 30-minute drive of one another on the east coast of Florida, a good sign for the health of the Grapefruit League, which requires more travel than the Cactus League in Arizona


Saturday, July 04, 2015

Charges pending in alleged St. Louis Cardinals computer intrusion of Houston Astros - CNNPolitics.com

Correa’s attorney, Nicholas Williams, said: “Mr. Correa denies any illegal conduct. The relevant inquiry should be what information did former St. Louis Cardinals employees steal from the St. Louis Cardinals organization prior to joining the Houston Astros, and who in the Houston Astros organization authorized, consented to, or benefited from that roguish behavior.”

The probe by investigators at the FBI’s Houston office is complete, according to officials briefed on the matter, but is awaiting action by the Houston U.S. attorney’s office. A U.S. attorney spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

A spokeswoman for the Houston U.S. attorney’s office said “no charges have been filed and we obviously cannot provide any information that is not contained in our public court record nor confirm or deny the existence or non-existence of an investigation.”

FBI spokeswoman Shauna Dunlap said the agency “aggressively investigates all potential threats to public and private sector systems.”

“Once our investigations are complete, we pursue all appropriate avenues to hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace,” she said.

The intrusion isn’t considered computer hacking. Instead, investigators believe Cardinals employees used an old password belonging to a former employee who went to work for the Astros in order to gain access to the Astros database.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 04, 2015 at 08:48 AM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Cardinals fire Scouting Director for hacking Astros

Correa has admitted hacking into a Houston Astros database but said it was only to verify whether the Astros had stolen proprietary data, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

Correa did not leak any Astros data, and is not responsible for additional hacks that the FBI has alleged occurred or leaking any data, said the source.

Dan The Mediocre Posted: July 02, 2015 at 05:36 PM | 70 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals, hacking, scouting

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

In Venezuela, the difficult search for the next José Altuve

In 1998, around 20 Venezuelans were playing in the MLB. In 2014, they numbered almost 100.

In those 16 years, Santana and Félix Hernández won three Cy Young Awards between them; Cabrera won the Triple Crown and was twice named MVP; Ordóñez, Altuve, Cabrera and Carlos González won six batting titles; García, Santana, Hernández and Aníbal Sánchez had the lowest ERA during seven different seasons; and Francisco Rodríguez smashed Bobby Thigpen’s saves record.

Ordóñez, Altuve, Valbuena and many others would never have even signed if it weren’t for the academies.

But the boom of the schools has dwindled in the past 15 years. Less than a quarter of the original teams still have a presence in the country. The Venezuelan Summer League is down to just four teams: the Phillies, Tigers, Cubs and Rays. A fifth team, the Twins, still has an academy but doesn’t participate in the league.

“We are left vulnerable to what’s happening in Venezuela, like everyone else,” said a member of one of those teams who asked to remain anonymous. “We are also affected by insecurity and scarcity.”

The land of Luis Aparicio suffers from the highest inflation rate in the world, at about 100 percent, according to independent economists (the Central Bank of Venezuela hasn’t delivered its monthly figures since the end of 2014). The crime rate, especially murders in low-income areas, is among the highest on the planet.

 


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

As trade season approaches, Astros have hole in rotation - Houston Chronicle

McCullers high point is 104.2 innings heading into this season.

Collin McHugh and the rehabbing Scott Feldman remain quality rotation pieces, but there’s a need beyond them that young pitchers Lance McCullers and Vince Velasquez probably can’t fill because of developmental innings limits.

“(I’m hopeful for a trade based on) what we’re doing right now and the position that we’re in,” Keuchel said before Saturday’s 9-6 loss to the Yankees. “Fully intend for the front office to make a move. And that’s not like something that’s a given; it’s just that, I know that they want to win and it’s a shared interest between the players and the front office.

“I just would assume we’ll probably get a pitcher based on the fact that we’re not going to run the young guns out for 200 innings. We’re going to need somebody to kind of help fill that void. Whether it’s Kazmir, Samardzija, Hamels, Cueto, whoever, we’re going to expect them to come in and help us out.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 30, 2015 at 06:44 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

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