No more having to hear about the “purity” and “innocence” of The Game Being Ruined By Steroids!!! because back in The Good Old Days those pweshuus widdow choirboys they was perfeck angelsss and wouldn’t Mickey and Willie NEVER use ANY chemical to enhance THEIR performances, nosirree.
And I got some beachfront property in Lubbock to sell all yall, too. Guaranteed to be hurricane-free!!!!!
Of course, I should have posted this on Valentine’s Day, but seeing as how it was our 9th anniversary and Husband wanted to go to Galveston Mardi Gras and celebrate, well, I’m a little late getting started. In case you’re curious, ain’t much left of Galveston. Sort of reminds me of the Pirates/Orioles franchises – used to be great, but it’s all ovah now.
(My parents took me and my brothers to the first Mardi Gras back in 84 or 85 – I’ve forgotten exactly when they revived the old tradition. I don’t really remember it, and only a couple of pictures survive – me on my oldest brother’s shoulders watching the meager floats and sparse crowds. And I still have the faded strand of gold beads some person on a float tossed to us. By the time I was 10, so many hundreds of thousands came that my parents wouldn’t let me go for fear I would be lost in the thick crowds, and I didn’t go back until I was 17. But that’s a whole nother story…)
Back to baseball.
First, catchers. This year, there are 4 guys fighting for 2 spots on the roster.
– Toby Hall, age 33,(NRI) Lifetime OPS of .671. Won’t walk and has no power.
– Lou Palmisano (Rule V) age 26. Had 100 unremarkable AB at RK and A+ ball last year, .787 OPS at AA in 07
– Humberto Quintero, age 29 – career .230/.271/.304/.567 (and youse guys complained about AUSMUS???)
– J.R. Towles, age 25 – sucked last year in the bigs after he lost his confidence, but has a .300/.390/.474/.864 line in the minors and hit just about that at AAA last year. But the club doesn’t like this guy??? Or is it just Cooper who doesn’t like him?
(They also invited Jason Castro, Brian Esposito and Lou Santangelo, but they aren’t going to make the team, so I don’t see the point in talking about them. Of course, they are going to give Jason Castro, Baseball Prospective’s 76th best prospect, a few ABs, but I doubt the other 2 guys will get much of anything, IF anything.)
This looks like a complete and total crapshoot because Palmissano has not played above AA and his numbers at AA weren’t impressive.And neither Hall nor Quintero can hit even as well as Brad Ausmus. However, reading between the lines fed to reporters, seems the Organization wants Quintero to be the starter and Palmissano to be the backup. Towles doesn’t really NEED any more time at AAA, but this being the Astros, they won’t trade him and try to get SOMEthing for a guy they don’t want and won’t use, and they won’t play him and basically, unless he hits .300 something and the other guys hit less than .200, he won’t be given a chance. It’s reality.
Pitchers: (40 man) I’ve written about all of these guys at sometime during the past few months, so I’m just going to give a few basic stats:
Alberto Arias, RHP, age 25 – walks too many guys – 373 IP in minors, 3.98 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
Brandon Backe, RHP, age 31 – now 2 years post TJ surgery. Acceptable 5th guy last year, 95 ERA+ until he completely ran out of steam at the end of August and stunk it up. Threw 166 IP, didn’t miss a start.
Doug Brocail, RHP, age 42. Dude is old and Coop can’t throw him every day. Had a great 1st half, then plumb wore out until Hawkins arrived at the trade deadline.
Tim Byrdak, LHP, age 35 – walks a few too many, but threw 55 IP, 3.90 ERA (105 ERA+) 1.34 WHIP
Gilbert De La Vara, LHP, age 24 (Rule V from the Royals) total of 59 IP at AA – reliever, 3.40 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 3 BB, 8.2 K/9 over 259 IP in minors over 4 years.
Jeff Fulchino, RHP, age 29 – 4.45 ERA/ 1.45 WHIP over 784 minor league innings and 14 suckulous innings in majors. Released from Royals.
Geoff Geary, RHP, age 32 – 64 IP with 2.53 ERA, 1.14 WHIP last year. Had offseason surgery to fix groin problem that had him on DL twice last year. Lifetime in majors, 331 IP, 3.34 ERA/1.34 WHIP.
Samuel Gervacio, RHP, age 24. Hurt most of last year – 278 IP – 2.78 ERA/1.11 WHIP in minors. Hopefully starts year at AAA, even though he’s only thrown 87 innings in AA.
Mike Hampton, LHP, age 36. Has spent most of last 4 years on DL for everything from TJ to shoulder to rib to back to little fingernail/whatever. Managed 78 IP last year with a 4.85 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and a .281 BAA. (At least he can hit.)
LaTroy Hawkins, RHP, age 36. Threw 22 consecutive scoreless inningsafter coming to the Astros before giving up his only earnie. Doubt he’s gonna do THAT again. Over the past 3 years, he has a 3.95 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.
Brad James, RHP, age 25. Finished AA last year, lifetime minor league numbers – 3.45 ERA, 1.32 WHIP over 444 IP. Doesn’t strike out a lot of guys as he is a sinkerballer.
Tyler Lumsden, LHP, age 26. The White Sox’ 1st rounder in 04. Released by KC after 2 years at AAA with icky numbers. You don’t want to know them. Trust me.
Brian Moehler, RHP, age 37. Was made emergency starter after 3 years of relieving, had a reasonable year – 4.43 ERA (as starter) 1.31 WHIP over 142 IP/26 starts. I’d be surprised if he was able to repeat those numbers, but youneverknow… Will be the 4th starter.
Fernando Nieve, RHP, age 27. Sigh. had TJ surgery over 2 years ago and simply hasn’t been able to really come back in either minors or majors. Fast Eddie has basically said that if he doesn’t make the ML team, he’s gone.
Roy Oswalt, RHP, age 31. Ace. Will be pitching in the WBC, unfortunately. He had all sorts of naggin injuries last year, was on DL twice and I am not real too happy about this.
Felipe Paulino, RHP, age 25. Someone needs to explain to me why this guy gets so much face. The guy hasn’t thrown a pitch in AAA, didn’t throw even ONE pitch last year, and yet people talking about him making the ML roster based on minor league career numbers of 4.28 ERA/1.38 WHIP over 351 IP with 8.1 H/9, 4.3 BB/9 and 8.5 K/9. Like I always say, this guy has piss poor control and ML hitters will simply NOT swing at the crap that minor leaguers will. I SAW the guy pitch in 07 – threw 19 innings.
Wandy Rodriguez, LHP, age 30. Amazing how many Astros fans simply HATE this guy – he had the same ERA as Roy Oswalt and struck out more guys/9 (8.6) than Roy (7.4) but he is sneered at as a weakling because he spent 6 weeks on the DL. He WAS a #5 guy when he came up on 05, but he has gotten better and too many people simply will NOT recognise that. He’s gpoing to be either the #2 or #3 guy, depending on what they do with Hampton.
Chris Sampson, RHP, age 31. Good pitcher with heavy sinker. Club never wanted him to start and first opportunity they got to make him relieve, they did. He threw 61 innings with a 2.62 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.
Polin Trinidad, LHP, age 24 – GOOD starter, just finished AA, hopefully will start in AAA. 3.49 ERA/1.15 WHIP over 461 IP – 1.9 BB/9, 7.4 K/9. Wonder why we hear Paulino’s name and not Trinidad’s…
Jose Valverde, RHP, age 30. Will close. Is NOT going to the WBC, thank GAWD. (remember what happened to Brad Lidge and Dan Wheeler in 06? It wasn’t pretty…)
Wesley Wright, LHP, age 24. A rule V guy last year who made the roster and pitched decently as a LOOGY. He pitched 55 innings with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP – gave up very few hits, but too many walks and 8 too many homers after walks. But not bad for coming to the majors straight from AA.
Jose Capellan, RHP, age 28- an undistinguished AAA lifer who was a Braves pitcheing prospect who Cox?JS decided to trade away (WARNING SIGN!!!!) ML stats: 123 IP – 4.89 ERA, 1.45 WHIP as a reliever. 3.6 BB/9, 7.2 K/9, 1.5 HR/9. Blech.
Danny Graves, RHP, age 35. Who has not pitched in th majors since 06 (and that was not a good year) and threw 85 innings in AAA last year with a 6.30 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP.
Clay Hensley, RHP, age 29 – who has been injured off and on since he threw 187 excellent innings for the Padres in 06. Of course, Petco is an extreme pitchers’ park, and he had a 4.34 ERA away from Petco. Last year, he threw 48 innings at AAA with an ERA 3.94/1.29 ERA and he threw 39 innings in the majors with a 5.31 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP
Bud Norris, RHP, age 24 – hurt last year, only threw 80 innings at AA with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP.
Russ Ortiz, RHP, age 35. Ate his way off the Diamondbacks TEAM 1 1/4 way into a 4 year contract back in 06. He pitched 49 lousy innings as a reliever in 07 , didn’t pitch at all last year. He supposedly has had surgery, lost weight, had a change of attitude, and people think he might could pitch like he did at Pac Bell from 01-03. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Chad Paronto, RHP, age 34. Another guy the Braves didn’t want. Pitched his way off the ML team last year, although he pitched acceptably in AAA – 3.08 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 9.6 H/9.
Sergio Perez, RHP, age 24. Injured most of last year (broke a finger) and only threw 27 (good) innings at AA. Never thrown at AAA. Still projected as a starter and I hope he doesn’t waste his time on a ML bench.
OK, let’s rearrange this a bit – I’ll make a list of the guys who WILL make the club and their roles:
Setup: LaTroy Hawkins
Closer: Jose Valverde
Fighting for the starting role: (well, actually, I have got it on good authority from an anonymous commenter right here on this very blog that Sergio Perez is gonna be the 5th man – after only 27 innings at AA and none at AAA. Which isn’t so bad seeing as how he looks to be a heck of a lot better than Felipe Freaking Paulino (who reminds me of Ezekiel Astacio, only worse…)
– my guess – if Backe pitches great, he’ll get his starting gig back. If he doesn’t, I would guess that either Clay Hensley or Russ Ortiz would be next in line. Paulino isn’t a good pitcher and I sincerely hope he doesn’t do well in ST and we don’t waste 10 starts on him before realizing that he doesn’t belong in the bigs. The other guys don’t look like ML starters, and actually, I think that Sammy Gervacio, who is a forgotten guy, has the best stats and hopefully will be ready next year after AAA this year.)
Fighting for the last relief role: (I have it on good authority from an anonymous poster on this here blog that Danny Graves is The Last Piece Of The Puzzle and he is going to come in and pitch lights out and his Veteran Presence is going to lead the Stros to the WS. So be it and shall it remain…)
Gilbert De La Vara
Well, your guess here is as good as mine and I have absolutely NO idea how the chips are gonna fall. It might could be that some other guy gets the 5th spot and Backe gets the last middle relief spot as his contract has clearly made allowances for that. (I am assuming that the Organization isn’t looking to waste Sergio Perez or Brad James as a bench guy, but youneverknow)