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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


Astros Newsbeat

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Colby Rasmus accepts qualifying offer |

Somebody had to do it eventually.

Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus on Thursday became the first player to accept a qualifying offer, a baseball source told He’s the first Astros player to receive a qualifying offer and the first baseball player to accept one since the system came in place three years ago. The club has not confirmed the deal.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 12, 2015 at 08:17 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, colby rasmus

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Astros could strike a balance with offseason moves - Houston Chronicle

“Playoffs, everything is intensely scrutinized because every play matters so much more,” Luhnow said. “But if you’re good enough to get to the playoffs, you’re probably good enough to win in the playoffs. We certainly think about how our team would stack in a short series even as we’re constructing a team from right now.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 10, 2015 at 11:40 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Friday, November 06, 2015

MiLBY: Houston Astros grow into best farm system | News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball

The Astros are clearly doing something right.

“The most important measure of a system is, ‘How does it graduate its players?’” Luhnow said. “We were able to do that pretty well this year, especially in the case of Correa. The guys who came up were much accomplished, and we think that’s because they had the experience of winning in the Minor Leagues. We’re always walking the fine line between winning and development, though, and when we can do both, it’s a reflection on the scouts and coaches we have. We’re pretty happy with how everything’s shaken out.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 06, 2015 at 05:41 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, prospects

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Astros’ Prospect Reed Named MiLB Offensive Player of the Year

A.J. Reed, the No. 5 prospect in the Houston system and No. 91 in all of baseball, went on to win the Joe Bauman Award with 34 home runs, 113 runs scored and hit .340/.432/.612 across 135 games between Class A Advanced and Double-A ball. On top of his home run title, he led all Minor Leaguers with 127 RBIs and 320 total bases and all full-season players with the .612 slugging percentage and a 1.044 OPS. For all of these reasons, Reed was the unanimous staff choice for the Top Offensive Player MiLBY.

GrumpyFan Posted: October 29, 2015 at 07:17 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, prospects

Friday, October 16, 2015

Astros weigh options with free-agents-to-be - Ultimate Astros

Winning can be expensive.

A half hour after the Astros’ season ended Wednesday, reliever Tony Sipp, who pitched in every postseason game, said he hadn’t considered that when he walked out of the visiting clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium, he might not wear an Astros uniform again.

A 32-year-old lefty, Sipp wasn’t playing dumb. Just like outfielder Colby Rasmus and starter Scott Kazmir and veteran relievers Chad Qualls and Joe Thatcher, Sipp knew he was on his way to becoming a free agent at the end of this season.

In Sipp’s case and in almost every case, the free-market experience has been something to look forward to. He’s made seven-figure salaries the last two seasons, including $2.4 million this past season in his last year of arbitration eligibility. But with a career-best 1.99 ERA in the regular season — plus 5 1/3 innings of one-hit ball in the playoffs — he’s in for the first great payday of his career.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 16, 2015 at 10:49 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, free agency

Monday, October 12, 2015

Royals’ five-run inning beats Astros in Game 4 |

One crazy inning.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2015 at 09:45 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, playoffs, royals

Replay Is Turning Baseball Into Football And I Hate It

To be fair, Terrance Gore never made a “football move.”

Astros manager A.J. Hinch challenged the play, sending the umpiring crew to a replay review. They determined that after sliding in safely, Gore’s foot popped off the bag for a brief moment, and that he was therefore out because the third baseman’s wrist (which I guess is part of the glove?) was still pressed against Gore’s body. If you watch the GIF above enough times, you can see why the umpires reversed the call, and you can even understand that Gore was, technically, out.

This isn’t really the kind of mistake instant replay was meant to rectify. There are certainly moments in which replay is a very good thing to have—determining if a home run really cleared the top of the fence or whether a ball is fair or foul come to mind—but the game is not served well when it’s used as a tool to reverse plays based on a base runner’s momentum popping his foot off the bag for a fraction of a second. Bases are hard, and I bet that if you looked at every slide in super slo-mo, you’d see a lot of feet popping a few millimeters off the bag for a split second. When a guy who’s functionally safe—and would be called such in most circumstances—gets called out like this, it makes the game more arbitrary, not less.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 12, 2015 at 08:58 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: alds, astros, instant replay, royals, terrance gore

Longtime friends Dallas Keuchel, Jason Castro happy to see reversed fortune for this season’s Astros - Ultimate Astros

Success is a lot more sweet whenever you kind of go through hardships, like we did the first couple years that I was up here, and Castro,” Keuchel said. “A lot of (the noise Sunday) hinges on just the 10-year absence from the playoffs. You never want to lose in any season. Guys hate losing.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2015 at 07:46 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dallas keuchel, jason castro, royals

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Eric Hosmer shines as the Royals come from behind to beat Astros | The Kansas City Star

It certainly wasn’t pretty, except to Royals fans.

The pitch is a slider — another slider — and Hosmer is beat. Absolutely beat.

This pitch is way off the plate, but Hosmer is expecting a fastball, so by the time he recognizes the break it’s too late. He goes into what hitters call the emergency hack, with his rear end jutting back, shoulders lunging over the plate and those long arms throwing the head of the bat toward the ball. At the point of contact, Hosmer looks like he’s sitting on a toilet. It’s quite a scene.

“It was in our dugout,” Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas will say about Hosmer’s rear end.

Hosmer is fooled so badly on the pitch that the bat may never have even crossed the plate. But he does make contact, and the gods have kissed this baseball because it lands softly in the outfield away from any Astros fielders. A run scores. Kauffman Stadium explodes with joy.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2015 at 09:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, eric hosmer, royals

Even in loss, Colby Rasmus’ hot streak continues - Ultimate Astros

It’s the Colby series. Maybe it’s the hair.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2015 at 09:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, colby rasmus, playoffs, royals

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Cubs Edge toward Destiny as WS Fave Jays Open ALDS

Rational Pastime’s playoff simulator now projects the Cubs as 34% favorites to represent the Senior Circuit in the Fall Classic, and 5:1 to win it all… Among today’s American League contenders, the Toronto Blue Jays remain big favorites at 2:1…

Summary of projections:

TOR 3:1
CHC 5:1
HOU 5:1
LAD 8:1
KCR 11:1
NYM 12:1
STL 13:1
TEX 16:1

J-Doug Posted: October 08, 2015 at 01:41 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: alds, astros, blue jays, cardinals, cubs, dodgers, mets, nlds, playoffs, projections, rangers, royals, world series

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Dallas Keuchel efficient in Wild Card start |

Congrats to the Astros!

“Incredible pitcher,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “He showed a lot of resiliency. He wasn’t at his best, but six innings scoreless at Yankee Stadium, in the biggest moment. If that’s not his best, we can take anything he can give us.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 07, 2015 at 06:26 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, playoffs, wild card, yankees

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Toronto Blue Jays Big Favorites as 2015 MLB Postseason Begins

It begins again: Rational Pastime projections for the 2015 postseason. Tonight, the RP model has the Houston Astros as slight favorites over the New York Yankees. Were these teams evenly matched, the Yanks would be favored 54-46, thanks to home field advantage. However, my RP Score system believes that the Astros are a better team.

As for the rest of the playoffs, the model—which relies on the Log 5 equation and Matt Swarz’s numbers for home field advantage—picks the Toronto Blue Jays to win it all as nearly 2:1 favorites.

J-Doug Posted: October 06, 2015 at 04:19 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, blue jays, cardinals, cubs, dodgers, mets, pirates, playoffs, projections, rangers, royals, yankees

Alex Rodriguez embraces the underdog role, but Dallas Keuchel isn’t buying it | Newsday

It looks like Vegas has the Astros as favorites.

“We’re underdogs coming into this game,” A-Rod said Monday after the Yankees worked out at the Stadium in preparation for Tuesday night’s wild-card playoff game against the Astros.

But Keuchel, who hasn’t allowed a run in 16 innings against the Yankees this season and will start against them Tuesday night on three days’ rest, all but scoffed at the premise.

“I don’t believe so,” the lefthander said with a smile. “We’re at their home place, we’re at Yankee Stadium. I don’t think we’re favored, I really don’t. And that’s the way we’re going to continue to play, as the underdog.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 06, 2015 at 09:20 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, playoffs, wild card, yankees

Astros wild-card roster: Emphasis on matching up with Yankees - Ultimate Astros

It makes a lot of sense.

The Astros are probably going to carry just two starting pitchers for Tuesday’s wild card game with the Yankees: the man on the hill to begin the game, Dallas Keuchel, and Mike Fiers, who will be long-relief insurance.

Now that the postseason is here, the 40-man expanded roster is gone and teams are back to 25 players. But because the Astros don’t need to carry multiple starting pitchers as they would in a later round of the playoffs, they can still carry a deep bench and ‘pen.

“You also want to line up against not only their starting pitcher, but the relievers that they might bring in and they’ve got a strong bullpen,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 06, 2015 at 09:18 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, playoffs, wild card

Astros’ farm system’s director has a hazy future with the organization - Ultimate Astros

He’s “putting forth a new vision”? A vision for what?

With the Astros in the playoffs and Luhnow’s attention focused on the big league team, details have yet to be finalized on the player development side.

Luhnow’s putting forth a new vision and how that fits with both men is to be seen. Both could remain in the organization with varied responsibilities compared to their previous roles, or someone could leave. Indications are McCracken would be more likely to depart than Rowin.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 06, 2015 at 09:17 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, general manager, jeff luhnow

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Rangers win sixth AL West; Angels’ season over |

Congrats to the Rangers and Astros.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 04, 2015 at 06:52 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, astros, playoffs, rangers

Saturday, October 03, 2015

So, Uh, What Happened to the Astros? «

They didn’t play well in September.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 03, 2015 at 09:36 AM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tracy Ringolsby: Hinch finds home with Astros |

It will be a happier home if the Astros can make the playoffs.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 30, 2015 at 06:59 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: a.j. hinch, astros

Monday, September 21, 2015

Astros assistant GM David Stearns headed to Brewers - Ultimate Astros

More info about David Stearns.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 21, 2015 at 05:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, brewers, david stearns, general managers

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Valencia’s 2 Homers Lead A’s Over Fading Astros 4-3 - The New York Times

The Twins are one game back of the Astros. The Angels are two games. The Indians are three back. It’s pucker time in Houston.

Oakland’s Sonny Gray (13-7, 2.56) opposes former Athletic Scott Kazmir (7-10, 2.63) when the series continues Saturday. Gray is 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA in six career starts against the Astros. Kazmir, who was traded to Houston in July, allowed seven hits and four runs in a loss to Oakland on Sept. 8.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 19, 2015 at 07:03 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, athletics

Friday, September 18, 2015

Rangers complete four-game sweep of Astros |

This was not a pretty series for the Astros.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 18, 2015 at 08:12 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, rangers

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

This land is Moreland: Texas overtakes Astros in West |

It’s a Texas-sized pennant race.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 16, 2015 at 06:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, rangers

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

West Palm Approves Site Plan for NatStros Spring Training Complex

Tom McNicholas, a representative for the teams, told the city commission the teams could not accept the conditions that city staff wanted. He said it will cost the teams $20 million to clear and prepare the 160-acre site, a former landfill south of 45th Street between Haverhill Road and Military Trail. “When we tell you we are having budget issues and we are running into problems, we really mean it,’’ he said.

Poor little rich kid. But it was unanimous vote so the teams have spent well up to this point.

Bote Man sez $/yr not yr/$$ Posted: September 15, 2015 at 08:29 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, nationals, spring training, stadium financing

Wild West shows why it’s time for radical MLB realignment

The world should be ready, 18 years after Bud Selig put the idea forward, for baseball to have geographic realignment. Interleague play demystified the concept of every team playing against every other team, the game would benefit from adding intensity to the rivalries it has generated and, as a bonus, it would allow MLB to once and for all settle the designated hitter debate — if the majors are split into regions, there would be no more hand-wringing about ruining the sanctity of National League baseball. Further, if baseball stuck with an unbalanced schedule, geographic realignment could further reduce the travel burden for teams, helping players stay healthier and the on-field product to be stronger than ever.

Imagine this year’s races with the Astros-Rangers race joined by Mets-Yankees and Cardinals-Royals races, or last year with Angels-Dodgers and Orioles-Nationals. Last year, Baltimore and Washington both went 96-66 – they could have had the Beltway’s answer to the 1951 Dodgers-Giants playoff, which is only one of the hallmark moments in baseball history.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 15, 2015 at 02:43 PM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, rangers, realignment, rivalries, schedule

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