***** Official Houston Astros 2019 Season Thread *****

2,932,078 Views | 60926 Replies | Last: 6 sec ago by Beat40
Teddy Perkins
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I agree we'll still be contenders but when you have three legit aces and the stacked lineup we are trotting out right now it's hard to say this isn't the peak. The future is still bright but without Cole next year it will be hard to argue that next year's team is better than this one.
tjholley16
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Teddy Perkins said:

Quote:

With Greinke, Verlander, (Carlos) Correa and (Lance) McCullers all free after 2021, is it fair to say the team's window of title contention is two more years after this run?

I think it's fair to expect a dip in the team's performance following the 2021 season, if not earlier. But how significant a dip will depend on the moves Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow makes between now and even more so on the development of their prospects.
In 2022 and beyond, the Astros will still have Bregman, Altuve and Yordan Alvarez. Did they extend or re-sign Springer before 2021? Did Kyle Tucker pan out? How about Forrest Whitley? Did they develop any other legitimate major league starters? The answers to those sorts of questions will dictate how long the Astros can prolong their contention window. The state of the rest of the AL West obviously will factor in, too, and it will probably improve in coming seasons.

From Kaplan's mailbag in the Athletic this morning. Soak up these glory days, this team is close to reaching it's peak.


Verlander and Greinke will both be close to retirement or a decline by 2022. So it'll just be about replacing them with solid starters.

The key is keeping guys like LMJ, Springer, and building up Whitley/Tucker.
I assume Lunhow will address some of these needs this offseason or after the 2020 season. I see us as being the new Red Sox. Hadn't won anything until 2004... but now have won 4 titles in 15 years. Though I'm hoping we are the Giants from '10-'14
mazag08
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Nobody has any idea if this is the peak.

Here's where we are at right now..

1B - Yuli Gurriel has been on a tear, but he was bad for the first two months. Tyler White was total trash. For the year, 1B can be labeled as AVERAGE.
2B - Altuve started the season playing like crap and then got injured. Kemp produced at replacement level and Mayfield was garbage. 2B so far has been AVERAGE at best for the year.
SS - Correa took his yearly summer vacation but has been above average the rest of the team. Bregman and Straw filled in a bit. SS has been overall ABOVE AVERAGE.
3B - Bregman has been hot and cold, but overall playing at an extremely high level, though not even close to what might be his best. 3B has been VERY GOOD.
LF - Brantley has been a stud. LF has been as good or better than we've had in a long time.
CF - Springer was injured but has been playing overall pretty well all year. Marisnick has been himself. CF overall has been GOOD.
RF - Reddick has been extremely hot and extremely cold. RF has been AVERAGE at best.
C - Chirinos had a hot streak but has been nothing but average since. Stassi and Stubbs played below replacement level. Catcher has been BELOW AVERAGE all year.
DH - White was garbage. Yordan has been ELITE. Overall.. its probably settles to average but ill give it ABOVE AVERAGE because Yordan has been that good.

Verlander has been ELITE.
Cole has been ELITE.
Miley has been GREAT.
The other two spots have been below replacement level, though I would say going forward they look to be ELITE and ABOVE AVERAGE.

The bullpen has been overall GOOD, though there have been plenty of instances of inconsistency and bad.

Assume this reasonably likely scenario..

Springer is resigned to a long term deal.
Cole walks.
Whitley comes up.
Tucker comes up.
Reddick is gone.
McCullers comes back.
Correa walks.
Brantley is resigned to a 2-year deal.

You're going to tell me that Bregman plays at this level or worse in 3 years?
You're going to tell me that this is peak Yordan?
You're going to tell me that Springer can't play at least this well as a 32 year old?
You're going to tell me that Altuve will drop off from hitting .300 every year?
You're going to tell me that we won't add an elite arm or two by 2022?

There will be a lot of questions and a lot of moves. The 2022 and 2023 Astros will look a lot different. But it will still be a championship level team, and the best players will either be in their prime or getting close to their prime. And that's assuming we lose Correa.

This team will be chasing championships at least through 2024. Mark it down.

Deluxe
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Teddy Perkins said:

Quote:

With Greinke, Verlander, (Carlos) Correa and (Lance) McCullers all free after 2021, is it fair to say the team's window of title contention is two more years after this run?

I think it's fair to expect a dip in the team's performance following the 2021 season, if not earlier. But how significant a dip will depend on the moves Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow makes between now and even more so on the development of their prospects.
In 2022 and beyond, the Astros will still have Bregman, Altuve and Yordan Alvarez. Did they extend or re-sign Springer before 2021? Did Kyle Tucker pan out? How about Forrest Whitley? Did they develop any other legitimate major league starters? The answers to those sorts of questions will dictate how long the Astros can prolong their contention window. The state of the rest of the AL West obviously will factor in, too, and it will probably improve in coming seasons.

From Kaplan's mailbag in the Athletic this morning. Soak up these glory days, this team is close to reaching it's peak.
I don't necessarily disagree that we are watching peak-Astros. I plan to savor the next 2-3 years regardless.

And I'm feeling pretty good about the organization if the worst thing that can be said is that our pitching staff looks questionable not this year, not next year, not the following year, but the year after that.

We have plenty of time to worry about 2022. JV/Greinke might be willing to sign team friendly veteran deals at that point. We might pay LMJ. We might revive Sanchez and extend him. We've have a track record of finding guys like Morton/Miley via free agency. We also have quite a few prospects that aren't ready now, but could very reasonably be expected to be ready by 2022.
CSWendt
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I think it's safe to say that an era of watching your team consistently win 100+ can be determined as peak. It doesn't mean we will suck in future years, it just means that it's really really hard to win 100+ games in one season, let alone on pace for our 3rd straight. If that's not peak then I don't know what is.
Prosperdick
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All I know is Yordan is putting up historic numbers and has been for long enough that whatever "book" has been established on him isn't working.

He just turned 22.

He could contribute at such a level to help pry that window open just enough to allow Luhnow to make further moves but why all the talk about 2022 and beyond...GRIENKE TONIGHT!!!!!
bearkatag15
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Didn't remember this or hearing about this happening at all.
mathguy86
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I'm watching MLBTV right now and they are talking about Greinke's stuff and they keep showing the dugout clip of JV talking to him and JVs hand action of a pitch. Something tells me that conservation was important.
mathguy86
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He's thrown 153 curveballs at 70 mph or less this season. We might get an eephus tonight.
redline248
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mathguy86 said:

I'm watching MLBTV right now and they are talking about Greinke's stuff and they keep showing the dugout clip of JV talking to him and JVs hand action of a pitch. Something tells me that conservation was important.
No hitter incoming?
Jackal99
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Well, not anymore...
Marvin
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redline248 said:

mathguy86 said:

I'm watching MLBTV right now and they are talking about Greinke's stuff and they keep showing the dugout clip of JV talking to him and JVs hand action of a pitch. Something tells me that conservation was important.
No hitter incoming?

WE HAVE RULES HERE, PEOPLE.

Marvin
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Jackal99 said:

Well, not anymore...

The end of society is upon us. I have no other rational explanation.
YNWA_AG
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We also don't know what no name prospects like Yordan and keuchel will come up through the system and surprise by 2022
redline248
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LMAO, can't even talk about them hours before first pitch. You guys are so silly
Teddy Perkins
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redline248 said:

mathguy86 said:

I'm watching MLBTV right now and they are talking about Greinke's stuff and they keep showing the dugout clip of JV talking to him and JVs hand action of a pitch. Something tells me that conservation was important.
No hitter incoming?
redline248
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Hey, in 4 years, there's gonna be a pitcher carrying a perfect game for some MLB team...but he's not gonna complete it b/c I'm talking about it being on the table right now!!!
Marvin
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redline248 said:

Hey, in 4 years, there's gonna be a pitcher carrying a perfect game for some MLB team...but he's not gonna complete it b/c I'm talking about it being on the table right now!!!

And you should be justifiably ashamed of your actions, too.
third coast..
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mazag08 said:

Nobody has any idea if this is the peak.

Here's where we are at right now..

1B - Yuli Gurriel has been on a tear, but he was bad for the first two months. Tyler White was total trash. For the year, 1B can be labeled as AVERAGE.
2B - Altuve started the season playing like crap and then got injured. Kemp produced at replacement level and Mayfield was garbage. 2B so far has been AVERAGE at best for the year.
SS - Correa took his yearly summer vacation but has been above average the rest of the team. Bregman and Straw filled in a bit. SS has been overall ABOVE AVERAGE.
3B - Bregman has been hot and cold, but overall playing at an extremely high level, though not even close to what might be his best. 3B has been VERY GOOD.
LF - Brantley has been a stud. LF has been as good or better than we've had in a long time.
CF - Springer was injured but has been playing overall pretty well all year. Marisnick has been himself. CF overall has been GOOD.
RF - Reddick has been extremely hot and extremely cold. RF has been AVERAGE at best.
C - Chirinos had a hot streak but has been nothing but average since. Stassi and Stubbs played below replacement level. Catcher has been BELOW AVERAGE all year.
DH - White was garbage. Yordan has been ELITE. Overall.. its probably settles to average but ill give it ABOVE AVERAGE because Yordan has been that good.

Verlander has been ELITE.
Cole has been ELITE.
Miley has been GREAT.
The other two spots have been below replacement level, though I would say going forward they look to be ELITE and ABOVE AVERAGE.

The bullpen has been overall GOOD, though there have been plenty of instances of inconsistency and bad.

Assume this reasonably likely scenario..

Springer is resigned to a long term deal.
Cole walks.
Whitley comes up.
Tucker comes up.
Reddick is gone.
McCullers comes back.
Correa walks.
Brantley is resigned to a 2-year deal.

You're going to tell me that Bregman plays at this level or worse in 3 years?
You're going to tell me that this is peak Yordan?
You're going to tell me that Springer can't play at least this well as a 32 year old?
You're going to tell me that Altuve will drop off from hitting .300 every year?
You're going to tell me that we won't add an elite arm or two by 2022?

There will be a lot of questions and a lot of moves. The 2022 and 2023 Astros will look a lot different. But it will still be a championship level team, and the best players will either be in their prime or getting close to their prime. And that's assuming we lose Correa.

This team will be chasing championships at least through 2024. Mark it down.




This is like Astros viagra
Harry Dunne
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mazag08 said:

You're going to tell me that Altuve will drop off from hitting .300 every year?


I do think Altuve and Springer will keep producing at a great if not elite level - they're 29, not 36. At the same time I do think that PEDs extended the careers of guys in that era and now we are seeing more guys fall off a cliff in their 30s again, like humans not on steroids should naturally do. Especially guys like Altuve and Springer where they play balls to the wall, have become injury-prone, are free swingers and speed is a big part of their game. Guys like that tend to not age as well as guys like Brantley, who has zen master discipline and looks like his #1 goal is not making any sudden movements (I mean that in both the good and the bad way).

The main problem is that where when before we were paying a stable of studs paltry wages to put up MVP results, now we are going to be paying a stable of aging studs prime salaries that reflect services already rendered more than current output and we aren't going to have a farm system full of high draft picks coming in after them. Not to mention how fortunate we have been with injuries (see Yankees).

These are the golden years and I don't think it's realistic to think we are just going to reload and maintain this level for 5 more years. I don't think we will become trash as long as Luhnow is around, but I don't see any way we are going to keep having assets to trade for HOF pitchers and I'm not confident that we have replacements for the guys we are going to lose. If we pay our core their market value, then Luhnow is going to have to go out and get bargain guys to fill the gaps. I'm confident he can do that, but it's not realistic to expect this to keep up through 2024.

TL;DR - This is our 1927 Yankees. Enjoy it.
Forgiven_Ag
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mazag08
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Quote:

The main problem is that where when before we were paying a stable of studs paltry wages to put up MVP results, now we are going to be paying a stable of aging studs prime salaries that reflect services already rendered more than current output and we aren't going to have a farm system full of high draft picks coming in after them. Not to mention how fortunate we have been with injuries (see Yankees).

But we have never seen what Luhnow, a guy who wanted us to be the next St Louis, can do with a situation like that. All we have seen is the build. He has shown time and time and time again that his team can scout at an elite level. We will be just fine drafting, trading, and signing a constant replenishment of talent.

And my scenario above was not some kind of perfection scenario. It was simply saying that its highly likely and highly reasonable to expect our core group of players to continue to play at as high or higher level.

Some of you still don't understand that we have maybe 3 positions in the field that have been played semi consistently all year. A truly "peak" year would be one of our guys in the MVP race, and two more not far behind, 2-3 stud pitchers ALL YEAR.

This year has been phenomenal because of what we've been able to do with the cards stacked against us..

1. Injuries
2. Giving heavy playing time to unproductive players at key positions
3. Heavy schedule of .500 or above teams.

This might look like peak on paper. But the results have actually been overperforming based on the hand we were dealt. There is no way we should have won as many games as we did with Altuve, Springer, Correa, McHugh, Peacock, and Diaz all injured.
Harry Dunne
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That's certainly the optimistic way to look at it and I hope you're right. There is definitely a higher peak than this possible if everything aligns correctly,

It's just not realistic to expect everything to align correctly. The amount of injuries we have had this year is standard for a baseball team. The Yankees have had bad injury luck. We are not doing too badly. We have been fully healthy at 6 of 9 position player spots and the top 3 guys in the rotation haven't missed a start.

JV, Cole and Miley (and now Grienke) are the most important guys on the team, because are the only players for which we have absolutely no decent replacements. You can probably throw Chirinos in there as well. He has stayed healthy despite a groundbreaking amount of playing time. For all those games we were one injury away from Stassi every night.

Obviously I hope I'm wrong and I often am. Either way we are in great shape.
BMX Bandit
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Quote:

what no name prospects like Yordan
not sure if serious.
Ag_07
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Quote:

The main problem is that where when before we were paying a stable of studs paltry wages to put up MVP results, now we are going to be paying a stable of aging studs prime salaries that reflect services already rendered more than current output and we aren't going to have a farm system full of high draft picks coming in after them. Not to mention how fortunate we have been with injuries (see Yankees).

I'll respectfully disagree

Luhnow isn't one to sign bad contracts. Altuve, Bregman, JV were all signed to fair contracts locking them up but not extending so far as to be Pujols like where we're paying these guys when they're old and useless.

And fortunate on injuries? Fortunate that we were able to overcome Correa, Altuve, and George all being out for extended periods. Plus McHugh, Peacock, Pressly. We've had a pretty impressive injury bug this season.
Harry Dunne
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Ag_07 said:

Quote:

The main problem is that where when before we were paying a stable of studs paltry wages to put up MVP results, now we are going to be paying a stable of aging studs prime salaries that reflect services already rendered more than current output and we aren't going to have a farm system full of high draft picks coming in after them. Not to mention how fortunate we have been with injuries (see Yankees).

I'll respectfully disagree

Luhnow isn't one to sign bad contracts. Altuve, Bregman, JV were all signed to fair contracts locking them up but not extending so far as to be Pujols like where we're paying these guys when they're old and useless.

And fortunate on injuries? Fortunate that we were able to overcome Correa, Altuve, and George all being out for extended periods. Plus McHugh, Peacock, Pressly. We've had a pretty impressive injury bug this season.
Re: Contracts, yes fair but huge nonetheless. I'm not saying they are bad contracts, they are just fair contracts for star players. Every star player is underpaid while under team control and overpaid thereafter. We just had the unique post-tank stable of underpaid studs for a nice while.

Injuries: Seems like a lot of injuries because it happened to great players, but nearly every player on this team is great so it makes it seem more dramatic. Our injury situation as far as games missed by starting players is standard for most baseball teams in most seasons. The Yankees have the same record with far more games missed. It happens.

I wrote it above, but if we can stay healthy the rest of the year we will have had fully healthy seasons from 6 of our 9 position player spots and 2/3 to 3/4 of a season from the others.Top 3 starters haven't missed a start and Peacock could still come back and make 25+ starts this season, if that is the plan.

Just go back and look at prior years' stats - you'll see. BTW Correa and George are out the same amount just about every year, so I don't think you can even count that as anything but standard. At least they have a shot to be 100% for the playoffs.


Buck Compton
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Not to take one side or the other, but you guys are also making a lot of contract assumptions about the outcomes of the next round of collective bargaining.... No one has any idea what contracts are going to look like after the 2021 season, because this will be the toughest round of negotiations in quite awhile.
Frok
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In 4 years Trout will be tired of losing and demand a trade. In comes Luhnow to complete the deal. Window still open.
Ag_07
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Fair enough

Yes they're big contracts (JV, Bregs, Altuve) but I don't think they're to the point where it's based on past production and they'll be playing them while not being productive.

I think their next contracts will be the ones where JL is going to have to decide to pay for 5-6 years when they may only have 2-3 more productive ones left. Kinda like what we saw in Charlie Morton. That's when it's important to avoid signing contracts based on past production.
ChAg1799
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Harry Dunne said:

mazag08 said:

You're going to tell me that Altuve will drop off from hitting .300 every year?



These are the golden years and I don't think it's realistic to think we are just going to reload and maintain this level for 5 more years. I don't think we will become trash as long as Luhnow is around, but I don't see any way we are going to keep having assets to trade for HOF pitchers and I'm not confident that we have replacements for the guys we are going to lose. If we pay our core their market value, then Luhnow is going to have to go out and get bargain guys to fill the gaps. I'm confident he can do that, but it's not realistic to expect this to keep up through 2024.

TL;DR - This is our 1927 Yankees. Enjoy it.
Lunhow only does things like bring in guys like Morton and Miley and the coaches tweek a few things then "boom!" you have CY Young quality pitchers... Charlie Morton was contemplating retirement prior to signing with the Astros. Now he is a Cy Young level pitcher. It may be a strech to call Miley a Cy Young Pitcher, but he is much better than I would have expected Dallas to be. I predict we'll keep Miley for another year... Watch what they do with Sanchez. We have Whitley, Bielak (sp), Ivey, Urquidy, Solis, Paredes, Javier, Josh James, and Armentaros in the minors which could be enough to staff the rotation and bullpen for new runs in 2021,22,23.

We have Tucker along with Yordan to be our "young guys" for the next two years. Correa and Cole may leave, but we'll be compensated for them leaving (Lance McCullers was a comp pick)... NOW is the time, but we'll be good for a long while...
jkag89
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The Astros Seem to Know Something About Pitching No One Else Does (MLB Nine Innings)
By Jon Tayler | SI.com

Quote:

Welcome back to Nine Innings, SI's weekly look at what's fun, cool, and somewhat stupid around the league. Today's topics include: the Astros' magic pitcher factory. . .

<snip>

What can't the Astros fix? It's a legitimate question after the latest magic trick they pulled, taking a starter with a 6.07 ERA and turning him into the first piece of a combined no-hitter in his very first start with the team. Granted, Aaron Sanchez isat least talent-wiseno slouch: He was a Cy Young contender in 2016. And that debut came against a Mariners team that long ago hung up a "CLOSED" sign on its season. But Sanchez's immediate revitalization is yet more proof that Houston is ridiculously good at pitcher developmentor maybe a sign of just how bad everyone else is at it.

The key to Sanchez's success is, unsurprisingly, using his worst pitch less. His sinker has been clobbered all year: a .370 batting average and .558 slugging percentage against. Despite that, while on the Blue Jays, he threw that pitch more than any other in his arsenalnearly 30% of the time. Moved to Houston at the deadline, the Astros had him ditch the sinker and throw his four-seam fastball and high-spin curve more. The result: six hitless frames and a new repertoire that may unlock Sanchez's previously disappeared dominance.

It shouldn't be that simple. Major League Baseball is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. Teams have front offices full of smart, forward-thinking people, and most have sunk tons of resources into research and development teams, not to mention machines that can capture even the most infinitesimal data about every last thing a player does. Nothing is beneath notice, and the amount of information availableand the analytics that exist to make sense of itis virtually endless.

Yet somehow, Toronto couldn't figure out that Sanchez should throw his worst pitch less and maybe try something else. Then again, the Jays aren't alone in that regard. The Astros have pulled similar tricks with Gerrit Cole (languishing on the Pirates) and Ryan Pressley (underappreciated on the Twins). In both cases, each player came to Houston, which had already identified a plan for improvement involving tweaks, sequencing, pitch selection, and other factors, and rapidly implemented them. The result: Cole is one of the majors' top starters; Pressley is one of the league's best setup men.

It makes you wonder what the missing ingredient iswhat the Astros are doing that other teams can't despite evidence as to what needs to be fixed. Is it a matter of communication? Has Houston mastered the art of presentation? Whatever it is, that's the edge for the Astros right now: Give them a pitcher, and they'll make him better, in some cases literally overnight.

That's a scary reality for the rest of baseball, and one that should give pause to front offices when the Astros come calling about particular pitchers. But I want to see this taken to the nth degree. The 2020 Houston rotation should only be comprised of the worst pitchers in baseball, just to see how good the Astros truly are at this: Rick Porcello, Matt Harvey, Ivan Nova, Andrew Cashner, and a rotating Oriole of choice, every single week. For most teams, that's a recipe for 120 losses. For the Astros, that's probably a championship starting five. Aaron Sanchez is proof enough that no pitcher is apparently too big a task.

n_touch
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So we can end up with a Pujols type deal?
bearkatag15
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AG


Thought PEDs were supposed to make you better?
Bregxit
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jkag89 said:

The Astros Seem to Know Something About Pitching No One Else Does (MLB Nine Innings)
By Jon Tayler | SI.com

Quote:

Welcome back to Nine Innings, SI's weekly look at what's fun, cool, and somewhat stupid around the league. Today's topics include: the Astros' magic pitcher factory. . .

<snip>

What can't the Astros fix? It's a legitimate question after the latest magic trick they pulled, taking a starter with a 6.07 ERA and turning him into the first piece of a combined no-hitter in his very first start with the team. Granted, Aaron Sanchez isat least talent-wiseno slouch: He was a Cy Young contender in 2016. And that debut came against a Mariners team that long ago hung up a "CLOSED" sign on its season. But Sanchez's immediate revitalization is yet more proof that Houston is ridiculously good at pitcher developmentor maybe a sign of just how bad everyone else is at it.

The key to Sanchez's success is, unsurprisingly, using his worst pitch less. His sinker has been clobbered all year: a .370 batting average and .558 slugging percentage against. Despite that, while on the Blue Jays, he threw that pitch more than any other in his arsenalnearly 30% of the time. Moved to Houston at the deadline, the Astros had him ditch the sinker and throw his four-seam fastball and high-spin curve more. The result: six hitless frames and a new repertoire that may unlock Sanchez's previously disappeared dominance.

It shouldn't be that simple. Major League Baseball is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. Teams have front offices full of smart, forward-thinking people, and most have sunk tons of resources into research and development teams, not to mention machines that can capture even the most infinitesimal data about every last thing a player does. Nothing is beneath notice, and the amount of information availableand the analytics that exist to make sense of itis virtually endless.

Yet somehow, Toronto couldn't figure out that Sanchez should throw his worst pitch less and maybe try something else. Then again, the Jays aren't alone in that regard. The Astros have pulled similar tricks with Gerrit Cole (languishing on the Pirates) and Ryan Pressley (underappreciated on the Twins). In both cases, each player came to Houston, which had already identified a plan for improvement involving tweaks, sequencing, pitch selection, and other factors, and rapidly implemented them. The result: Cole is one of the majors' top starters; Pressley is one of the league's best setup men.

It makes you wonder what the missing ingredient iswhat the Astros are doing that other teams can't despite evidence as to what needs to be fixed. Is it a matter of communication? Has Houston mastered the art of presentation? Whatever it is, that's the edge for the Astros right now: Give them a pitcher, and they'll make him better, in some cases literally overnight.

That's a scary reality for the rest of baseball, and one that should give pause to front offices when the Astros come calling about particular pitchers. But I want to see this taken to the nth degree. The 2020 Houston rotation should only be comprised of the worst pitchers in baseball, just to see how good the Astros truly are at this: Rick Porcello, Matt Harvey, Ivan Nova, Andrew Cashner, and a rotating Oriole of choice, every single week. For most teams, that's a recipe for 120 losses. For the Astros, that's probably a championship starting five. Aaron Sanchez is proof enough that no pitcher is apparently too big a task.


I'm going to give it a few starts before I start tooting the Sanchez horn too hard. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while...see Fiers no-hitter 2015.
n_touch
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Quote:

see both of Fiers no-hitters


fify