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Astros Newsbeat

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

This pitcher went full ‘Matrix’ to avoid line drive

 

Jim Furtado Posted: April 17, 2019 at 08:58 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, collin mchugh

Monday, April 15, 2019

MLB roundup: Astros sweep Mariners, run win streak to 9

Aledmys Diaz led off the seventh inning with a home run to break a tie as the Houston Astros rallied to defeat the host Seattle Mariners 3-2 on Sunday afternoon, extending their winning streak to nine games.

Jose Altuve’s homer streak ended at five consecutive games, but the Astros swept the three-game series at T-Mobile Park to pull within a game of the first-place Mariners in the American League West.

Right-hander Gerrit Cole (1-2) pitched six strong innings for his first victory of the season. He gave up two runs on four hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts.

Seattle’s Mitch Haniger led off the bottom of the first with a home run off Cole, hitting a 1-2 pitch into the bullpen in left field. That gave the Mariners homers in each of their first 18 games to begin the season, extending their major league record.

Well, this answers the question as for whether or not any of the teams dominant last year are having a good start this year….

 

QLE Posted: April 15, 2019 at 07:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, mariners, sweep

Saturday, April 13, 2019

MLB roundup: Astros continue power surge

Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel hit grand slams as the Houston Astros defeated the host Seattle Mariners 10-6 Friday night.

It was the fourth consecutive game in which Altuve has gone deep, and he has five home runs over that span.

George Springer also homered for the Astros, who extended their winning streak to seven games. The Mariners had their six-game winning streak snapped.

Tom Murphy hit a solo homer in the ninth inning to extend the Mariners’ major league record of consecutive games with a home run to start a season to 16.

I hope the Astros’ electronic equipment can survive this.

 

QLE Posted: April 13, 2019 at 07:02 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, grand slam

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Altuve Homers Twice as Astros Sweep Yankees for First Time

HOUSTON (AP) — Jose Altuve needed video review to confirm his first home run Wednesday night.

His second shot was a no-doubter — just like the Houston Astros’ status as a team to beat in the American League.

Altuve hit two homers, Carlos Correa homered with three RBIs and the Astros completed their first ever sweep of the New York Yankees with an 8-6 win Wednesday night.

Well, there’s always a first for everything….

 

QLE Posted: April 11, 2019 at 06:02 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jose altuve, sweep, yankees

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Source: Astros, Verlander reach $66M extension

The Houston Astros and ace Justin Verlander have agreed to a two-year, $66 million contract extension through the 2021 season, a league source with knowledge of the deal confirmed to ESPN on Saturday.

Astros owner Jim Crane on Friday had said there was mutual interest for an extension with the 36-year-old right-hander.

The news was first reported by KRIV-TV in Houston.

So, is this how long the Astros think their window will last, or just how long they think it will last with Verlander?

 

QLE Posted: March 24, 2019 at 07:05 AM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, contract extensions, justin verlander

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Astros set to contend for another title

HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros entered last season looking to defend the title after winning their first World Series in 2017.

Being eliminated in the ALCS by the Boston Red Sox has done nothing to shake their confidence as the 2019 season arrives.

“I don’t think the feeling’s any different,” manager AJ Hinch said. “I think the way people talk about things is a little different ... there’s an expectation of winning here and there should be. We have a good team.”

The Astros won their second AL West crown last year after setting a franchise record with 103 wins. They swept the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS before injuries to stars Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa contributed to a 4-1 series loss to the Red Sox in the next round.

And, if winning the World Series doesn’t work out, they could always contend for titles in various other fields….

 

QLE Posted: March 21, 2019 at 08:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, world series

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Report: Astros, Alex Bregman Agree to Five-Year, $100 Million Extension

The Houston Astros and third baseman Alex Bregman have agreed to a five-year, $100 million extension, according to Fox 26’s Mark Berman.

Overall, Bregman, 24, will be with the Astros for the next six years since he is already under contract with the club for the impending 2019 season. The extension buys out his next three arbitration-eligible years (2020-22) and the first two years of his free agency (2023-24) and comes after Bregman recently criticized the Astros’ spending.

Houston renewed Bregman’s contract for the 2019 season last week at $640,500, but the third baseman was upset that he and the club couldn’t reach a higher agreement.

 

 

QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, astros, contract extensions

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Top 39 Prospects: Houston Astros | FanGraphs Baseball

I’ve mentioned this before but keeping their farm system so productive will require them to continue to churn through their prospects. As they reach the 40-Man bottleneck they will need to trade some of their excess AAA-ish prospects for other teams’ lower level prospects. This effort will only get more difficult as their front office people move around the league and more teams start valuing players similarly. It will be interesting to watch things play out over the next 5-10 years. How long will they be able to keep their competitive window open?

This is a good farm system even though there are some clear potential long-term pitfalls from having narrow criteria for the players the org targets. For one, the types of pitchers Houston seems to like are becoming more sought after by other teams as a better understanding of how pitching works permeates baseball. Fewer pitchers of this type will be available to Houston as a result, but of course, Houston is likely also identifying players who can be altered to become this type of pitcher, even if they aren’t one yet. One day, there might be repercussions for having a staff full of very similar pitchers, but there’s no way of knowing that.

The Astros are clearly ahead of other teams around the league in some other areas, too. In some ways, it’s becoming easier for those lagging behind to catch up because they can also look to Baltimore and Atlanta, both of which have former Houston employees in prominent roles, to spot trends. In other ways, it’s getting harder to learn about Houston from the outside, as paranoia and acrimony have begun to impact industry discourse about the Astros in a way that makes it difficult to know which rumors about them are true and which are BS. Some of the things that have been mentioned consistently, and which seem plausible and interesting, include experimentation with visual machine learning and work with topical substances to improve pitch spin/movement. Of course, all the Rapsodo and Motus sleeve stuff is already widely known or knowable with quick use of Google.

Expect the 40-man crunch to continue apace here as teams gobble up the overflow of Astros pitching that can’t quite crack their roster.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 14, 2019 at 11:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, prospects

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Houston Astros Still Have More Pitchers Than Your Favorite Team - The Ringer

The Astros front office has set themselves up for a sustained run. It’s not easy to stock your farm system while winning. As difficult as that is, the toughest thing to do, however, is being disciplined enough not to trade your top prospects to maximize your chances to win **this year**. Of course, getting your championship out the way early reduces the pressure. The Dodgers have a similar vision as the Astros. Without sealing the deal, though, the pressure for the Dodgers to “go for it this year” will keep on building.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 13, 2019 at 02:59 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Astros pitcher Francis Martes, recovering from Tommy John surgery, suspended 80 games for PEDs

Astros pitcher Francis Martes – currently recovering from Tommy John surgery – was given an 80-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy.

Martes tested positive for clomiphene, a performance-enhancing substance, Major League Baseball said in a release Tuesday.

The 23-year-old didn’t pitch in the majors in 2018, but made 32 appearances (four starts) for Houston in 2017. Martes underwent Tommy John surgery in August and wasn’t expected to return to game action until late in the year, if he returned at all this season.

He’s not trying to become pregnant, is he?

 

QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, francis martes, peds

Monday, March 11, 2019

Miley’s former coach helps him get back on track

After two years of frustration while he was a member of the Orioles – he posted a 5.75 ERA and 1.7 WHIP in 43 starts—veteran left-hander Wade Miley got a call from an old friend back home in the winter of 2017 offering to help him rejuvenate his career.

“I made it real simple,” Chris Westcott said. “You’ve got two options: You either work hard, or you’re going to milk cows. It’s up to you.”

Miley certainly isn’t against hard work, but throwing a baseball is all he had ever done, and he wasn’t up for a career change at 31 years old. Miley put his faith in Westcott, his pitching coach in Louisiana since he was 15 years old, to help get him into shape and back on track.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2019 at 11:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, pitchers, wade miley

Friday, March 08, 2019

Report: Astros have made one- and two-year contract offers to Dallas Keuchel

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Astros have made one- and two-year contract offers to free agent starter Dallas Keuchel. The offers, however, were not what the lefty is looking for. What Keuchel is looking for is not specifically known yet.

Keuchel, 31, finished with a 3.74 ERA and a 153/58 K/BB ratio in 204 2/3 innings last season with the Astros. He’s been mostly terrific over the last five years, including winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2015. However, his age and a shaky 2016 effort in which he posted a 4.55 ERA may have teams balking at committing to him beyond one or two years.

They have also given Mr. Keuchel his choice of the box, or whatever Carol Merrill has behind the curtain.

QLE Posted: March 08, 2019 at 03:57 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dallas keuchel, hot stove

Monday, March 04, 2019


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Astros’ Hinch: Early split squads ‘worst possible scenario’

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A quirk in Houston’s early spring training schedule will force manager A. J. Hinch to use veteran stars such as outfielders George Springer and Michael Brantley earlier than he’d like.

Hinch isn’t pleased that his Astros will play split-squad games — at the New York Mets, home vs. Atlanta — on Sunday, the second day of their Grapefruit League play.

“Tomorrow we have a split squad, which is probably the worst possible scenario for the beginning of camp because I don’t really love playing guys this early,” Hinch said. “As we push the season earlier — into March now — spring training games, now it feels like mid-February, and we’re revving guys up. The position players don’t need as long a time to get ready for a season.”

On the bright side, imagine how strong the Astros would be if splitting them led to their reproducing by budding.

 

QLE Posted: February 24, 2019 at 08:49 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: a.j. hinch, astros, spring training

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Gerrit Cole goes to arbitration with Astros

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Pitcher Gerrit Cole has gone to arbitration with the Houston Astros, asking to be given $13.5 million rather than the team’s offer of $11,425,000.

Cole made $6.75 million last year, when he earned his second All-Star selection and went 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA. He earned $6.75 million.

Arbitrators Gil Vernon, Steven Wolf and Walt De Treux heard the case Monday and are expected to decide later this week.

So, what comes first: the end of this year’s arbitration, the signing of this year’s free agents, or the World Series?

 

QLE Posted: February 12, 2019 at 05:29 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: arbitration, astros, gerrit cole

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Astros aren’t ruling out another addition before spring training - Houston Chronicle

“We’re starting from a pretty good spot where we have a lot of good options for our roster and a lot of good options who aren’t even going to make our team,” Luhnow said Wednesday. “Whoever we get, if you sign them to a guaranteed contract, they have to be certainly better than what your internal options are.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 07, 2019 at 05:37 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Astros owner: ‘I don’t know that you’ll see many 10-year deals in this business anymore’

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane confirms what everyone around the game has known for the past couple offseasons: Free agency has changed.

Crane spoke about this year’s slow free-agent market, saying he doesn’t believe 10-year deals are going to happen in baseball anymore.

Crane referenced both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado while making that comment to MLB.com’s Alyson Footer.

The bright side concerning a long, drawn-out strike: it might be what it takes for FOX to stop bidding on MLB and let someone who will treat the sport with dignity broadcast the World Series.

 

QLE Posted: January 27, 2019 at 08:25 AM | 86 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, free agency, jim crane

NY Post: MLB owner: The long-term free-agency deal is dead

Speaking Friday at a team event, Astros owner Jim Crane told reporters the numbers don’t support the kind of lengthy deals superstars are looking for.

“I think that teams are very focused on value, and some of the deals that have been thrown out with Harper and Machado I think are long-term deals,” Crane said. “I don’t think that you’ll see too many more 10-year deals in this business anymore because the analytics are so good and a lot of those deals never work.”

 

bobm Posted: January 27, 2019 at 08:25 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, free agents, owners, strikes

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Reid Ryan announces plans for Astros HOF

Whither Terry Puhl?

The Astros on Tuesday will unveil plans for the Astros Hall of Fame presented by Houston Methodist, with construction to begin in March. Hall of Fame Alley will replace the current Home Run Alley that runs along the concourse beyond left field and will provide a physical space to honor the greatest players in club history with their own plaques.

The inaugural Hall of Fame class will be large and will include Astros players who have had their numbers retired—Nolan Ryan, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Jimmy Wynn, Jose Cruz, Mike Scott, Larry Dierker, Don Wilson and Jim Umbricht—and those who have been honored on the Walk of Fame along Texas Ave.—former players Joe Morgan, Bob Aspromonte, Joe Niekro, J.R. Richard and Shane Reynolds and broadcasters Gene Elston and Milo Hamilton.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2019 at 07:55 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Astros’ Alex Bregman undergoes elbow surgery

Astros third baseman Alex Bregman underwent arthroscopic surgery on Friday to remove loose bodies in his right elbow, the team announced.

Bregman will be “limited” at the start of spring training, according to a statement disseminated Friday morning, but the Astros expect their reigning All-Star infielder to be ready to play prior to opening day against the Rays on March 28.

Bregman approached the team around New Year’s Day to complain of discomfort, general manager Jeff Luhnow said. The loose bodies were discovered in a doctor visit “a couple days ago,” leading Bregman and the club to make a mutual decision for an operation.

So, which is the bigger euphemism, “loose bodies” or “limited”?

 

QLE Posted: January 12, 2019 at 08:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex bregman, astros, elbow surgery

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Houston Astros Scouting And Player Development Is Extending Team’s Contention Window

Houston won’t be getting a lot of high draft picks while they keep winning. Being able to churn their current prospect depth (which is greatly enhanced by their player development success) will be a huge factor in how long they can keep their window open. Trades like this show they understand how important churning will be for their future.

Houston’s scouting and player development has allowed the Astros to produce a large number of big league caliber players. They have produced large numbers of useful outfielders as well as plenty of intriguing pitching prospects. Many of them do not fit for them, but they have enough value to bring back either solid prospects or big league help in return.

Since the 2016 offseason began, the Astros have traded away 16 prospects. Some of those are very solid prospects and a few have already turned into useful big leaguers. Ramon Laureano, Colin Moran, Teoscar Hernandez and Joe Musgrove have all spent time in the majors so far. Davis, Franklin Perez, Trent Thornton, Patrick Sandoval, Jake Rogers and Daz Cameron could all play in the majors in 2019.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 10, 2019 at 10:56 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Move over Red Sox: Astros the best team in baseball in 2019, according to one oddsmaker

The Boston Red Sox may have won the World Series in 2018, but the Houston Astros will be better in 2019. If you have a problem with that statement, take it up with the oddsmakers.

Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas believes the Astros will win the most games during the 2019 Major League Baseball regular season. Yes, that’s right, it’s barely January and MLB win totals have already been released.

Is this really the sort of thing we want an organization so closely tied to MLB management to be releasing?

 

QLE Posted: January 09, 2019 at 08:15 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, gambling, odds

Friday, December 21, 2018

Astros reliever Joe Smith out 6-8 months after rupturing Achilles tendon

The Astros could be missing a veteran bullpen piece for the first half of the 2019 season.

Reliever Joe Smith ruptured his Achilles tendon last week and is expected to miss six to eight months after undergoing surgery Tuesday, the team announced.

For those wanting another demonstration of the fungibility of relievers….

 

QLE Posted: December 21, 2018 at 08:03 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, injury, joe smith

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

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