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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Rockies trade Dexter Fowler to Astros for Jordan Lyles, Brandon Barnes

The Astros have acquired center fielder Dexter Fowler and a player to be named later from the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes, both teams announced.

Thanks to JJ.

Repoz Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:20 PM | 63 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, rockies, site news

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   1. The District Attorney Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4609900)
Dammit. What about Ike Davis?? You need a 1B!!
   2. JRVJ Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4609902)
Boy, this has been a fun hot stove.....
   3. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:27 PM (#4609904)
The Rockies have been bound and determined to get rid of Fowler for a while, but this surprises even a cynical fan like me. Surely they could have gotten more for him than two guys who aren't even good enough to play for the Astros.

I think I'm done being a Rockies fan. You just can't root for a team that's not trying to win.
   4. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:33 PM (#4609910)
Wow, that's just... words fail me.
   5. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4609913)
But why? Do they dislike his defense? To clear a spot for Dickerson? Is CarGo headed back to CF?
   6. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4609915)
aren't even good enough to play for the Astros.

Hey, Jordan Lyles may not be very good so far, but he's a former first round pick, he's 23, and he's been in the Astros rotation for 2 1/2 years.
   7. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4609916)
Good to see the most profitable franchise ever putting their piles of cash to good use.
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:42 PM (#4609923)
But why? Do they dislike his defense? To clear a spot for Dickerson? Is CarGo headed back to CF?


He strikes out too much, and the organization seems to think guys who walk a lot aren't trying hard enough. I am reminded of when they dumped Seth Smith and Chris Iannetta after the 2011 season.

I expect them to put Charlie Blackmon, the organization's current fair-haired boy, in centerfield, then they'll get excited when he hits .285 (with 27 walks). But they'll get all disappointed in Carlos Gonzalez when he drives in just 83 runs on the season, then trade him for someone more clutch.
   9. The District Attorney Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:43 PM (#4609924)
But why?
As #3 alludes to, Fowler lacked THE WILL TO WIN. O'Dowd:
Dexter’s a great kid and he knows that we all feel that way about him. But I think he’s got to get tougher. No doubt. He’s got to show up and play with an edge every day, not just when he thinks he has to. It’s got to be that edge that he brings every day. He’s got to be a passionate competitor in the game. He has to love the game. He’s got to compete because he loves the game and he loves his teammates and he wants to win. It can’t be for anything the game provides. It’s got to be for those reasons.
I guess the Rockies saw how well this emphasis is working for their divisionmates in Arizona.
   10. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:45 PM (#4609929)
Thanks, #8 and #9. Ug.
   11. KJOK Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:51 PM (#4609933)
Basically the Rockies think he has the 'talent' to be an every year all-star, and when it has turned out he wasn't quite THAT good (but he IS good) then they want to make it about getting 'tougher', etc. What a pathetic, dysfunctional organization.

   12. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:51 PM (#4609934)
He has to love the game. He’s got to compete because he loves the game and he loves his teammates and he wants to win.


The funny thing about that is, Dexter smiled at the ballpark more than anyone else on the Rockies. He obviously loved the game. But the team seems to prefer people like Ty Wigginton, who show how much they love the game by grimacing every time they strike out.
   13. Jim Wisinski Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:56 PM (#4609941)
Boy, this has been a fun hot stove.....


I was going to post that in this thread, this offseason has been fantastic so far. Moves all over the place, the notoriously free-agent shy Twins signed two starting pitchers, four of the five AL East teams just acquired new catchers, etc. We're barely over a month from the end of the World Series and a lot of rosters have been shaken up already.

Edit: Regarding this trade, when it was reported that the Mariners had signed Bloomquist I was thinking that they're a contender for worst run organization in baseball right now and was mulling over who else would be in the running for that title. The Rockies were one of them and this move fits right in.
   14. puck Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:58 PM (#4609942)
Jesus Christ. What is the possible upside for these two, are they about to get flipped for Doug Fister?
   15. Walt Davis Posted: December 03, 2013 at 07:00 PM (#4609943)
Sheesh, if they wanted to punish the guy, they could have just sent him to AAA. Houston seems a bit harsh.

FWIW, Barnes' defense was good enough that he produced at an average level in his playing time (by WAR), about the same as Fowler actually.

Lyles ... doesn't K guys, has a bad HR rate already but does keep the ball down OK ... still, can't see him being successful in Denver.

There must have been approximately 28 teams that could have beaten this offer. Still, Fowler is good but not a world beater and he's already 28 so we're likely seeing his peak. And he'll probably cost about $17 M over the next two years. So a nice get but not a great get .... and the Astros will probably get back at least this much value when they trade him 1-1.5 years from now.
   16. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: December 03, 2013 at 07:01 PM (#4609944)
I guess the Rockies saw how well this emphasis is working for their divisionmates in Arizona.
NL West? More like NL GRIT!
   17. Willie Mayspedes Posted: December 03, 2013 at 07:02 PM (#4609945)
Barnes looked good against the A's last year. Some good defense and a HR if I remember correctly. Looking at baseball-ref the stats don't match my memory.
   18. puck Posted: December 03, 2013 at 07:04 PM (#4609946)
Well, now they have more money to throw at Justin Morneau!

Barnes looked good against the A's last year. Some good defense and a HR if I remember correctly. Looking at baseball-ref the stats don't match my memory.


Barnes's D could be ok. Fowler looks good not great on D (legit centerfielder, but not a Carlos Gomez), but is always below average with the metrics. I suppose the big thing about Barnes is that he's pre-arb.
   19. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 07:08 PM (#4609950)
Apparently, the lesson this off-season is to never spend any money on any free agents, because you can trade absolute garbage to acquire above-average players.

I mean, Door #1, spend $32 million for Jason Vargas. Door #2, Robbie Ray & Steve Lombardozzi for Doug Fister.

Door #1, spend $16 million for Marlon Byrd. Door #2, trade Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes for Dexter Fowler.

Doesn't make any sense.
   20. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 03, 2013 at 07:19 PM (#4609956)
Fowler looks good not great on D (legit centerfielder, but not a Carlos Gomez), but is always below average with the metrics.


Coors Field outfielders never look good with the metrics.
   21. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 03, 2013 at 07:19 PM (#4609958)
Door #1, spend $16 million for Marlon Byrd. Door #2, trade Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes for Dexter Fowler.

Too bad the Phillies already traded Vance Worley, they could have been in on this.
   22. Sonic Youk Posted: December 03, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4609960)
For a terrible team, the Astros are pretty smart
   23. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 07:27 PM (#4609965)
For a terrible team, the Astros are pretty smart

They've turned all front office decisions over to the Lounge.
   24. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 07:40 PM (#4609976)
For a terrible team, the Astros are pretty smart


A lot of people are going to be very surprised by how good the Astros are two or three years from now.
   25. Perry Posted: December 03, 2013 at 07:41 PM (#4609978)
For a terrible team, the Astros are pretty smart


Their GM ran the Cardinals scouting/development system until 2 years ago, and brought a lot of the Cards' staff with him.
   26. asinwreck Posted: December 03, 2013 at 08:13 PM (#4609996)
A lot to like in the past year or so of Houston transactions.
   27. formerly dp Posted: December 03, 2013 at 08:16 PM (#4609999)
I was going to post that in this thread, this offseason has been fantastic so far. Moves all over the place, the notoriously free-agent shy Twins signed two starting pitchers, four of the five AL East teams just acquired new catchers, etc. We're barely over a month from the end of the World Series and a lot of rosters have been shaken up already.
I'll give this sentiment a third-- just a bunch of strange player movements, huge WTF trades, cuts, and signings, still with a lot of time left before spring.
   28. Esoteric Posted: December 03, 2013 at 08:23 PM (#4610005)
For a terrible team, the Astros are pretty smart
Jeff Luhnow is no dummy. Ex-Cards organizational guy, been making tons of smart drafting decisions, selling everything MLB-worthy to stock Houston's farm system whilst avoiding even a hint of budget encumbrance in future years. Sure it's led to a bunch of awful press recently, but I have no reason to believe the Astros have actually become the AL Marlins in terms of philosophy/ownership. When they emerge it may well be Nationals-like: suddenly and with a surprising amount of money to spend after a prior rep as skinflints.
   29. puck Posted: December 03, 2013 at 08:30 PM (#4610012)
A lot of people are going to be very surprised by how good the Astros are two or three years from now.

I really know nothing about them. Are they stocking their farm system? Or are there players on the 2013 team who will be good in a couple years as well?
   30. Jim Wisinski Posted: December 03, 2013 at 08:41 PM (#4610023)
For a terrible team, the Astros are pretty smart


They were essentially an expansion team when the current front office took over. Bad farm system, limited young talent in the majors, and a bad major league team with veterans that had no chance of bringing back huge returns in trade. Actually taking over an expansion team would probably have been a more favorable project, at least they would have had a couple years of their own amateur drafts before starting play and would have had the chance to make good upside picks in the expansion draft. I know there has been some debate over the exact process they've taken thus far in regards to potential opportunities to improve the current major league team but at best they might have been able to upgrade themselves to merely lousy instead of awful, it was an utterly hopeless short-term situation that Luhnow & co. inherited. Whether their moves will pan out and turn things around remains to be seen but so far they seem to be on the right track.
   31. oscarmadisox Posted: December 03, 2013 at 08:56 PM (#4610027)
Puck, the Astrs farm system is pretty loaded. They have 7 players currently listed on MLB.com's top 100 prospects (Correa, Springer, Singleton, Appel, McCullers, Foltynewicz and DeShields) and have the No. 1 pick (Rodon) in next year's draft. Many of the prospects are more than a year away, and anything can happen in the meantime, but yeah, comparing them to the Nationals sounds about right.

   32. zonk Posted: December 03, 2013 at 09:23 PM (#4610040)
I'm kind of upset that Thed wasn't in on this... The Cubs are probably still 2-3 years out from getting anything from the Soler/Almora combo, and still likely a year away from Bryant. Fowler isn't as valuable in a corner OF spot, but he's still a fine player to have on the roster - I wouldn't be averse to having him in LF in say, 2016 with Almora in CF.... or that matter, having him get 4-500 PAs as a part of some sort of rotation.

I suppose if the Astros were determined to get an SP back, the Cubs just don't have that to offer up... but I'd have been willing to part with other things... I mean, not Baez type of "other things", but I could probably come up with some sort of interestingish kids...

The Rox like kids who strike out, won't take a walk, but look like they "love the game" because they play out of control? Well... How about something like Junior Lake and a few lottery tickets?
   33. Walt Davis Posted: December 03, 2013 at 09:38 PM (#4610055)
Doesn't make any sense.

Agreed but, in fairness, the next two years of Fowler are probably gonna cost about $17 M then he's an FA. So it's $16 for Byrd vs. $17 plus Lyles and Barnes for Fowler. Now I don't trust Byrd farther than I can throw him and Lyles/Barnes don't look particularly valuable to me but that's a pretty close decision in the abstract.

And yes, all this offseason activity and have the Cubs made a single move of note? I agree with Zonk that I'd think they could have matched this offer. Heck, the Yanks look pretty silly with the whole Wells/Soriano/Ichiro fiasco scramble if they could have grabbed Fowler this offseason for a package like this at nearly the same money.

The Fister trade is even more of a head-scratcher. A darn good pitcher that. He's gonna cost at least $17 and maybe $20 over the next two years and Fister > Vargas plus the guys the Nats traded (it seems based on reactions here). Somebody suggested Det is mainly just clearing salary so ... OK, salary dumps almost always bring sucky return. But then the Tigers are about to spend good money on Nathan -- could Porcello or Fister or Smyly or Joe Borowski or somebody have filled the closer's role?

What do we hear but that cost-controlled players are the manna from heaven, nobody wants to trade them, everybody wants to acquire them, everybody is tying up their young players forever? And then you see trades like these.
   34. zonk Posted: December 03, 2013 at 09:51 PM (#4610072)

And yes, all this offseason activity and have the Cubs made a single move of note? I agree with Zonk that I'd think they could have matched this offer. Heck, the Yanks look pretty silly with the whole Wells/Soriano/Ichiro fiasco scramble if they could have grabbed Fowler this offseason for a package like this at nearly the same money.


What, you don't consider signing Aaron Cunningham something of note?

I do hope someone wakes up Thed.... I mean, I didn't particularly care to be on a Fister bidding war and none of the FA contracts so far are anything that excite me (maybe Hughes... maybe...) -- but if the trade market is this active, then there are at least a few things I wouldn't mind moving. Though - if the Fister deal is what's left of the SP market, then I've got ZERO desire to shop Samardzija unless the Yankees are interested in getting taken to the cleaners.
   35. puck Posted: December 03, 2013 at 09:56 PM (#4610077)
Well, now they have more money to throw at Justin Morneau!


Geezus,I was joking!

In a series of corresponding moves, the Rockies have begun shaping their everyday lineup for next season.

On Tuesday, they traded center fielder Dexter Fowler to Houston to clear payroll to sign free agent first baseman Justin Morneau. The Rockies were ironing out the final details Tuesday evening on a two-year contract for Morneau that would pay him between $12-14 million, according to a major league source.

..."Part of this is to (free up) money for another deal," Geivett said.


http://www.denverpost.com/rockies/ci_24647289/dexter-fowler-traded-from-colorado-rockies-houston-astros

Which is cool, because according to beat writer Troy Renck, Morneau can still be a platoon 1B:

But the last three seasons have shown him to be a credible force against righties. He has hit .282 with a .355 on-base percentage, while averaging an extra-base hit every 8.9 at-bats.


Maybe the Rockies are trying to get the 2009-2010 Twins back together?
   36. puck Posted: December 03, 2013 at 11:07 PM (#4610145)
I expect them to put Charlie Blackmon, the organization's current fair-haired boy, in centerfield, then they'll get excited when he hits .285 (with 27 walks).


Troy Renck:

Troy Renck ?@TroyRenck

One thing l like about deal is that frees playing time for Dickerson and Blackmon. I d try them in leadoff spot


Is the Rockies' beat writer or their PR guy now?
   37. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 03, 2013 at 11:17 PM (#4610154)
Maybe the Rockies are trying to get the 2009-2010 Twins back together?

Carl Pavano is available.
   38. zachtoma Posted: December 03, 2013 at 11:26 PM (#4610160)
For a few years running now, I've been saying "I think this is the year the Rockies surprise people, I think this is the year they make the playoffs" in the spring. But no more. The way this franchise continues to squander its remarkably talented, young core is endlessly maddening. Fowler is one of my favorite players in MLB and I hope he succeeds in Houston.
   39. Spahn Insane Posted: December 03, 2013 at 11:37 PM (#4610171)
What, you don't consider signing Aaron Cunningham something of note?

So you're saying you can't tell me where you were when the Cubs traded for George Kottaras?
   40. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 03, 2013 at 11:43 PM (#4610178)
Troy Renck ?@TroyRenck

One thing l like about deal is that frees playing time for Dickerson and Blackmon. I d try them in leadoff spot


That's a pretty crowded leadoff spot, isn't it? And they're both lefthanded, so it's not like you can platoon them.

Dickerson is a much better prospect than Blackmon. It's kind of sad that no one in Denver seems able to tell the difference.
   41. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 11:46 PM (#4610182)

I expect them to put Charlie Blackmon, the organization's current fair-haired boy


Blackmon is white? What a country!
   42. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4610240)
I'm surprised the Red Sox didn't try to trade for him to cover the loss of Ellsbury. He'd be nice insurance to stick in either CF or RF when Bradley struggles or Victorino gets injured. $17 mil for the next 2 years is bargain basement rates for the Red Sox.
   43. Astroenteritis (tom) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 10:10 AM (#4610308)
I've always liked Fowler and, as an earlier post points out, given how truly horrible the Astros OF situation was last year, he can only be an upgrade. Wonder if Springer will be in RF now?

Lyles was called up way too soon and I think it hurt his development. I still think he can improve and be a decent starter, but I hope the Coors Field thing doesn't get to him first.
Barnes is certainly a useful 4th OF, if nothing else. Rockies fans don't seem to like the trade, but Colorado never seemed to value Fowler very highly, and Lyles might yet turn it around, so it might work out for both teams.

   44. stanmvp48 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4610313)
"Is the Rockies' beat writer or their PR guy now?


Always was: the PR guy that is.
   45. base ball chick Posted: December 04, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4610615)
this was a really stuipid trade. barnes is an EXCELLENT defensive CF, and he nad fowler have the same OPS outside of coors. barnes is also a good baserunner. and he got that White Boy grit the rox apparently treasure. was my favorite astro.

fowler just costs 7 mill a year more. and for what? and so much for george springer, i see. unless luhnow plans to flip him, this was not a very good trade

youse guys have a hard on luhnow for reasons i do not get.

and lyles, at least so far, is not very good. has lousy control and i wouldn't be surprised if he gets his ass handed to him at coors.
   46. JJ1986 Posted: December 04, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4610625)
he nad fowler have the same OPS outside of coors


Barnes career OPS is .612. Fowler on the road is .694, closer to .720 over the last 3 years.
   47. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: December 04, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4610646)
From the article:
"Barnes, 27, hit .240/.289/.346 (76 OPS+) in 136 games this past season, his first extended taste of the big leagues. He can play all three outfield spots and grades out as solid with the glove. Barnes joins a crowded outfield picture (even after the trade of Fowler) in Colorado that includes Michael Cuddyer, Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez."

Is 27 still the age for career years?

And, wouldn't it be better to say: Barnes joins a crowded centerfield picture (even after the trade of Fowler) in Colorado that includes Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon.
   48. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 04, 2013 at 03:40 PM (#4610648)
and he got that White Boy grit the rox apparently treasure

They sure do. The Rangers on the other hand, have shed all their white boy grit. This offseason is madness! Is there no longer universal demand for white boy grit? It's my only major league skill and I don't want to play in Colorado!
   49. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:05 PM (#4610679)
fowler just costs 7 mill a year more. and for what? and so much for george springer, i see. unless luhnow plans to flip him, this was not a very good trade


Most teams play three guys in the outfield. So even with Fowler and Springer, that'd still leave room for one more in Houston (presumably Grossman or Hoes).

youse guys have a hard on luhnow for reasons i do not get.


He's doing basically the same things right now that Huntington did when he took over the Pirates. If anything, he's doing a better job of it than Huntington did.
   50. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:15 PM (#4610687)
<i>He's doing basically the same things right now that Huntington did when he took over the Pirates. If anything, he's doing a better job of it than Huntington did.<I>

If you assume that the Pirates choosing to have four players making more than the minimum salary instead of zero players making more than the minimum salary really prevented them from saving money to spend on future payrolls.
   51. Gaelan Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:19 PM (#4610689)
Dexter’s a great kid and he knows that we all feel that way about him. But I think he’s got to get tougher. No doubt. He’s got to show up and play with an edge every day, not just when he thinks he has to. It’s got to be that edge that he brings every day. He’s got to be a passionate competitor in the game. He has to love the game. He’s got to compete because he loves the game and he loves his teammates and he wants to win. It can’t be for anything the game provides. It’s got to be for those reasons.


This is a great quote. Gibberish from start to finish and yet entirely genuine. There isn't a writer alive who could satirize this. If someone wanted to satirize baseball men they just have to quote them honestly.
   52. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4610692)
he nad fowler have the same OPS outside of coors


Hasn't it been shown that you can't simply take a Rockies road OPS and extrapolate that as their OPS for a new team? Matt Holliday, for example, has hit pretty well, despite some extreme splits when he was in Colorado.

I don't know much abuot Lyles, but if he's as crummy as you say he is, this looks like a steal for the Astros. Barnes may be a terrific defender (I question your stance on his baserunning, he was 11-22 in stolen bases this year), but he looks like a lousy hitter and he's not young. Fowler can draw some walks, hit for some pop, run a bit, basically do lots of things well without excelling at anything. That's a nice versatile player to have when you have as many holes as the Astros do.
   53. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:30 PM (#4610697)
barnes is a pretty terrific defender - this deal is fairer than the cognoscenti thinks (and i like fowler and don't like barnes).
   54. Randy Jones Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:30 PM (#4610698)
Hasn't it been shown that you can't simply take a Rockies road OPS and extrapolate that as their OPS for a new team?

Yeah, their home/road splits go back to what would normally be expected when they leave the Rockies. There appears to be some sort of altitude hangover effect for Rockies players on the road.
   55. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4610700)
If you assume that the Pirates choosing to have four players making more than the minimum salary instead of zero players making more than the minimum salary really prevented them from saving money to spend on future payrolls.


The Astros didn't have many players worth keeping when Luhnow took over, and free agents are going to be justifiably reluctant to sign with a shitty team if they have other options.

Even if the Astros are being unreasonably cheap (and I'm not convinced of that), Luhnow isn't the one setting the level of that budget, so it's not fair to blame him for it.
   56. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4610701)
barnes is a pretty terrific defender - this deal is fairer than the cognoscenti thinks (and i like fowler and don't like barnes).


What do you make of Lyles? He seems.... young. That seems to be his best attribute.
   57. jmurph Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:53 PM (#4610712)
A lot of people are going to be very surprised by how good the Astros are two or three years from now.


I can't imagine there is a realistic scenario in which the Astros are good two years from now. Three also seems like a stretch.
   58. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: December 04, 2013 at 05:05 PM (#4610720)
Lyles: Lottery ticket / not a fan. Maybe a new setting will help? I've no particular insight here.

More broadly, the difference in $ (this year and going forward) b/w Barnes and Fowler isn't that much smaller than the difference in expected performance, if you believe that outfield defense is important and that Fowler is average or a bit below.
I do this deal if I'm Houston for sure, mind you.
   59. zonk Posted: December 04, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4610745)

I can't imagine there is a realistic scenario in which the Astros are good two years from now. Three also seems like a stretch.


Sure you can.... it just involves an insanely good success rate with prospects hitting their ceiling; i.e. --

All of these things certainly will not happen because that would be insanely good luck, but individually, these are all possibilities:

Jonathon Singleton and Carlos Correa both should arrive by 2015, if not next year for Singleton at least. Both have legit all-star upsides. Chris Carter K's a ton, but he's still sort of Carlos Pena valuable, so he becomes a trade chit perhaps along with Villar. Matt Domninquez and Jose Altuve both held their own pretty nicely and both are just 23.... so -- let's give Singleton and Correa both their ceilings. Suddenly -- you've got an IF of 25 yos, all of whom have all-star potential.

They just added Fowler to CF -- let's give Domingo Santana his upside as say... a nice little Henry Rodriquez for a few years... and pencil one of the failed prospects like Hoes or Bochering in to at least be league average in the other corner OF spot (or alternately - some of the lesser placeholders like Villar, Carter, or whomever gets shipped out for something reasonable).

Max Stassi has recovered some prospectdom shine, so let's say he turns into, I don't know, Jody Davis for a few seasons (not unreasonable).

Suddenly, you're looking at a pretty nice lineup -- all of it really damn cheap.

On the mound? Well, FonteEYECHART, Springer, and Appel could all arrive as soon as 2014 -- and all 3 are legitimate mid rotation or better prospects. Just a class behind them, you've got McCullers, maybe Tropeano, Velasquez, and a hanful of others. It's easy to see where the 2015 Astros rotation featues 2-3 pretty good SPs and maybe even another one or two that can give you a quality 175 IP.

Again - ALL of these things certainly will not happen together.... prospects just don't pan out that way... but I don't think it's wholly unrealistic to see the Astros surprise a lot of people in 2015 and end up doing something like those 90s Indians teams where a ton of prospects just happen to all pan out and land in the big leagues at the same time.
   60. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:21 PM (#4610762)
Some of those prospects will likely be dealt for established MLBers. I like the odds of the Astros management being able to identify good players in other organizations.
   61. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:53 PM (#4610822)
I like the odds of Astros management being able to identify good players in other organizations better today than I did yesterday
   62. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 04, 2013 at 09:46 PM (#4610867)
A lot of people are going to be very surprised by how good the Astros are two or three years from now.
As an Angels fan, I thought they were already really good this past season.
   63. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 05, 2013 at 01:25 AM (#4610935)

Yeah, their home/road splits go back to what would normally be expected when they leave the Rockies. There appears to be some sort of altitude hangover effect for Rockies players on the road.


It's not an altitude hangover, it's the law. A mathematical law.

Rockies hitters hit in the toughest road parks in the majors, because their road games never include the best hitting park in the majors, their own.

Non-rockies hitters hit in significantly easier road parks, because their road games include the best hitting park in the majors, Coors field.

For example, look just at the NL West parks multi-year park factors for hitters.

Dodgers Stadium - 99
Chase Field - 102
Petco Park - 91
AT&T Park - 90
Coors Field - 117

League wide, batters hit for a 103 OPS+ at home and a 97 OPS+ on the road.

An average MLB hitter (100 OPS+ in an average park) playing for the Rockies would be expected to hit for roughly a 120 OPS+ at home. In the NL West, the remaining parks combined are 4.5% worse than the NL average park to hit in. So they would also be expected to hit for roughly 93 OPS+ on the road.

Using just these parks and similar rough (by hand) translations for a league average hitter's expected home and road OPS+ playing for each of these teams.

Team Home/Road
Dodgers 102/97
DBacks 105/96
Padres 94/99
Giants 93/100
Rockies 120/93

Fowler should hit worse than he hit for the Rockies. The benefit of Coors Field outweighs the negatives of the other parks. But he should hit significantly better than his road numbers overall. My guess he's around a true talent .720 OPS+ hitter, and league average for CF was .730 last year, and .720 would have been good for 14th/15th among qualifying MLB centerfielders.

Edit: And Barnes has a career .620 OPS in a neutral park. Sample sizes are too small to read much into his splits at this point, but yea, he sure appears to be a far worse hitter than Fowler so far.

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