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Old 06-20-2019, 03:34 PM   #21
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As we head to the last week+ of the season, the Astros have a slim lead in the AL West and it's only getting more crazy after the Astros dropped BOTH games of a quick 2 game series at home to the Texas Rangers. Even a split would have given the Astros a 3 game lead with 9 to play. But instead this is what we have...

AL West Standings:

Houston Astros 78-75
Oakland A's 76-77 2 games back
LA Angels 75-78 3 games back
Texas Rangers 3 games back
Seattle Mariners 65-88 eliminated from playoff contention

The only realistic chance for any of the 4 contending AL West teams to make the playoffs is by winning the division. The Red Sox and Yankees continue to battle out for the AL East crown; whoever doesn't win that division will be the first wild card. The second wild card spot is a tight contest between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Minnesota Twins. Tampa is 2 games ahead with 9 games to play.

This will get really interesting since we (Astros) play 3 games at home against the Angels, then 2 on the road at Seattle and finish with 4 on the road at the Angels! Meanwhile, Oakland plays 3 at home against Texas, 2 on the road at the Angels and finishes with 4 at home against Seattle. Texas plays 3 at Oakland, then 3 at home against the Red Sox and finish with 3 at home against the Yankees.
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Old 06-20-2019, 04:04 PM   #22
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Current Standings

Here are the current division and league standings with only a few games left!
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:47 PM   #23
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Astros clinch the AL West!!!

The Astros have officially clinched the AL West division! And were fortunate enough to do it the day before heading to our final series of the season against the Angels!

The cluster that was the AL West all season long finally has a winner. While the Astros were in 1st place (or tied for it) for pretty much all of June & July, they hit a rough patch in the middle part of August (losing 5 in a row and 7 of 9) led to teams like the A's, Angels, and even Rangers, with an outside chance down the stretch. But a 22-11 record in their last 33 games following a 4 game sweep at Oakland back in the middle of August has propelled them to this point.

The Astros won 5 straight games against the Angels and Mariners to clinch the division. We still have a 4 game series at LA Angels to finish the regular season. We will give plenty of AB's to our September call ups and prospects. Our starting pitching rotation will all likely be on shorter pitch counts and will even give a day off to guys like Alex Reyes who have had some minor injuries throughout the year - but has been red hot of late. Justin Verlander is scheduled to pitch in the opening game of this 4 game series and has 19 wins on the season. We will let him pitch his regularly scheduled day and have his normal pitch count to allow him an attempt to get win #20 on the season.

We will still give a couple of regular at bats to our every day guys for at least the next 2 games - probably 2-3 AB's each game and pull them off the field for the last couple of innings; then for the final 2 games let them sit out entirely while we figure out the postseason roster. Speaking of...

The postseason roster will definitely have some tough choices to be made...both Will Harris and Joe Smith have pitched quite well since returning from injury. Will Smith, acquired from the Giants in a trade, has been pretty bad for the most part. Hector Rondon was very inconsistent for most of the season and has been solid down the stretch. Even Kimbrel was inconsistent down the stretch. So it will be challenging to see who gets the bullpen spots. We will probably carry 8 bullpen arms and 3 bench players for the first round series.

From the lineup side of things, Yuli Gurriel has had a very subpar season. First baseman need to have a good OBP or high Slugging % and he has neither. His average is in the .220's and has been since July. Michael Brantely and Yordan Alvarez can both play first base if needed, but neither are very good defensively there. Jake Bauers has been getting regular playing time since August...rotating between first base, left field, and occasionally DH. But his numbers this year against left handed pitching are worrisome. Catching prospect Andrew Knizer (acquired in trade with St. Louis for utility infielder Tony Kemp) has done an awesome job in September and has likely earned himself the backup catcher's spot for the playoffs, taking it from Max Stassi. Francisco Cervelli (acquired in Jake Marisnick trade with Pittsburgh Pirates) maintains the lead catching spot - though his bat has cooled off of late.

Should be a fun postseason run!

#TakeItBack #GoAstros
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Old 06-20-2019, 10:35 PM   #24
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Final Standings

Here are the final MLB standings for the 2019 season! The Braves and Mets played game #163 to see who would win the NL East and who would be a wild card team...the Mets won 7-3. The Astros won their final 9 games in a row to have some serious momentum heading in to the playoffs!
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Old 06-20-2019, 10:36 PM   #25
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League Leaders - Batting - 2019 Season

Here are the AL & NL league leaders for batting for the 2019 season. As you can see, Francisco Lindor had one HELL OF A YEAR...and did so in only 130 games! He's a heavy favorite for AL MVP. Vlad Guerrero Jr. also had some really good numbers for a rookie and should run away with the AL rookie of the year award.
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Old 06-20-2019, 10:40 PM   #26
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League Leaders - Pitching - 2019 Season

Here are the AL & NL league leaders for pitching for the 2019 season.
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Old 06-20-2019, 10:42 PM   #27
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Astros individual statistics & team statistic rankings - 2019 Season

Stat leaders & team rankings for the 2019 Astros
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Old 06-21-2019, 06:20 PM   #28
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The Astros season came to an unfortunate ending in the divisional round to the Cleveland Indians. The Indians ranked at or near the top in almost every offensive category and showed their lineup dominance in the first two games of the season against Astros aces Justin Verlander & Gerrit Cole to give the tribe a 2-0 series lead heading back to Houston. Game 1 was 8-5 Indians and game 2 was 13-1 Indians.

In game 3, the roles were reversed with the Astros getting off to a hot start in the early innings and chasing Cleveland starter Shane Bieber early in the game. The Astros continued to torch the Indians bullpen en route to a 10-1 win, which included 19 hits!

Game 4 shaped up to be a back and forth battle early with both teams scoring runs in the first two innings and the score being tied 4-4. In the bottom of the 5th the Astros scored a run to take a 5-4 lead and had Alex Bregman thrown out at the plate to end the inning that would have made it 6-4, which proved to be huge. The Astros got an ok start from top prospect Forrest Whitley who went 5 innings, including no hits or runs allowed in innings 3-5. The Astros had a 5-4 lead and their bullpen was set to do the rest of the work. Ideally we wanted to go Will Harris in the 6th, Kimbrel in the 7th, Pressly in the 8th, and Osuna to close it out in the 9th to force a decisive game 5.

The Indians had other plans. After a 1 out single, Jason Kipnis hit a blast of a 2 run homer into right center field off of Harris (who had really good stats against lefties!). Later in the inning, with 2 outs, lefty reliever Will Smith (whom the Astros acquired in a July trade) gave up a single to the 8 hole hitting catcher and then another 2 run bomb to right off the bat of Carlos Gonzalez. The Indians led 9-5 heading to the bottom of the 6th and never looked back.

The Astros had runners on 1st and 2nd with less than 2 outs in both the bottom of the 6th and 8th innings only to ground in to double plays to end both frames. The Astros were retired in order in the bottom of the 9th to end their season and watched the Indians celebrate on their home field.

It will be a sour taste in the offseason after having to watch that, but their is a lot to be proud of...the Astros won their 3rd straight AL West division title and made the playoffs in 4 of the last 5 years. We still have the core of the lineup in tact for next season. That lineup was able to stay healthy pretty much all of this season (*knocks on wood to not jinx anything*) and saw great performances from newcomers Michael Brantley, Jake Bauers, prospect Myles Straw, and September call up (and top hitting prospect) Yordan Alvarez. We were in the top 3 in every major offensive category except home runs (11th). One area of concern is the lack of production from 1st base, particularly from Yuli Gurriel. With Jake Bauers having a good season and prospect Yordan Alvarez making an impact in September and in the playoff series against Cleveland, it is likely his days as an every day player are numbered...at least on this team.

Areas to address in the offseason include the Gerrit Cole debate. Arm talent isn't the debate, it's whether or not he is worth the $30-$35 million per year he is likely to demand, especially coming off an injury filled season in which he missed 3.5 months with a shoulder issue and definitely wasn't 100% when he came back. He's only 29 years old and still has 3-4 years in his prime left and should be productive for 5-6 years; but again, at what cost? The bullpen will be mostly in tact and still solid with Pressly and Osuna both still under contract. Relievers Will Harris, Joe Smith, Will Smith, and Hector Rondon are all free agents. Harris, Rondon, and Will Smith will both likely command decent salaries ($5-$9 million range?) while Joe Smith can probably be retained fairly cheap.

On a personal note, this was really fun (and addicting at times) to do for the first season. I played 90%+ of the games for the regular season and all 4 of the playoff ones. I learned a lot along the way. I will likely simulate more games in the coming seasons so it goes by a little faster. We accomplished some goals and kept our farm system stocked with talent that can be used to keep organizational depth or be used to acquire MLB ready pieces that can help the Astros keep their championship window open as long as possible. Time will tell.
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Old 06-21-2019, 07:50 PM   #29
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Talking Gerrit Cole signs team friendly extension!

In a rather shocking, but fortunate turn of events, Astros right hander Gerrit Cole has agreed to a 4 year contract worth around $75 million with an additional $1.0 million in bonuses for 200 innings pitched and an all star appearance each year. The 4th year is a player option. This will keep Cole with the Astros through 2022 and his age 32 season, with a player option for 2023 and age 33 season.

Earlier this year it was reported that Cole was looking for a contract for 6 years and in the $30+ million annual salary range. Cole did miss almost 4 months of time this season with shoulder issues, so this could be a possible reason why his demands dropped? Either way, the Astros are thrilled to have the Cole Train back, especially at a very reasonable price!
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Old 06-21-2019, 08:13 PM   #30
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Nationals win the World Series!

The Washington Nationals pulled off the ultimate surprise by defeating the Boston Red Sox in 7 games to win the 2019 World Series!

The Nationals didn't clinch the second and final wild card playoff spot in the National League until 2 days before the regular season ended. Meanwhile, the Red Sox won the AL East and had an MLB best 104 regular season wins this year and breezed through the ALDS & ALCS going a combined 7-1 in those two series. The Red Sox had a 2-1 series lead before losing 2 in a row to fall behind 3-2 then evened things at 3 game apiece before dropping game 7 in a 2-1 pitchers dual.

Despite losing superstar Bryce Harper in the offseason, the Nationals played with a chip on their shoulder all season long and culminated it with a championship effort in the playoffs. Congrats to the Nats.
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Old 06-22-2019, 11:40 AM   #31
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Exclamation Offseason - First big trade!

The Astros acquired left handed reliever Zack Britton along with backup catcher Austin Romine, minor league RHP Matt Frawley and cash from the New York Yankees in exchange for RF Josh Reddick, RHP Collin McHugh, and RHP Josh James.

Britton gives the Astros a strong left handed presence in the bullpen. He will act as a setup guy and occasional closer. He is under contract for 2 more seasons at $13 million each year, plus a team option for year 3 at $14 million. The Yankees are paying a little over $3.3 million of Britton's salary for the upcoming season.

Romine will provide quality at the backup catcher position. He is under contract for 2 more season at around $2.7 million each year. Both players are 31 years old. Frawley, 24, has played in A+ and AA leagues each of the past two season. He's had great numbers at A+ but has struggled in AA. He will likely start the spring with the Astros AA affiliate.

Trading 3 popular players in the Houston community like Reddick, McHugh, and James certainly won't go over well and will look a little lopsided in terms of talent exchanging between teams. Reddick is a free agent after this upcoming season. He had a solid year last year, hitting .288 w/ 17 HR and 92 RBI's. He was nearly an all star selection, but he cooled off significantly in the second half. His batting average in July was around .315. With the Astros having significant depth in the corner outfield positions, especially with top hitting prospect Kyle Tucker normally playing the same position as Reddick, the Astros needed to clear the log jam in the outfield.

McHugh has been both a full time starter and a full time reliever on different occasions in his years in Houston. He was likely to be moved back to a full time bullpen role for this coming season and would serve as the Astros emergency starter. He was not too happy about that projected role, especially after signing a 3 year extension with the team in the season prior. His departure will clear the Astros of that contract, but at a cost...Josh James.

James had to be included in the deal. He was ranked as a top 100 prospect in baseball last season and has shown flashes of brilliance the last two seasons. He struggled with his command early in the season, but got in a groove down the stretch. He can hit 100 MPH on the radar with ease and has a nice slider to go with that heat. At 26 (soon to be 27) though, he's not as young as normal top 100 prospects. The Astros have a bevvy of power arms in their minor leagues. While not all of them can reach 100 MPH with the ease that James does, the void left can be filled.

All in all, the Astros save remove close to $25.5 million in salaries and pick up around $12.4 million (including the $3M+ the Yankees are contributing to Britton's salary). That gives the Astros significant cap space to pursue a couple of options:

They've had their eye on the top free agent catcher, Yasmani Grandal since last offseason. They also have been linked to RF/3B Nick Castellanos - formerly of Detroit - who is also a free agent. Both players are likely to command salaries in the $14M+ range. The Astros have been hesitant to give out long term (and big money) contracts to players already established in the big leagues during free agency, will keep a close eye. They also may look to add bullpen depth.

One thing is for sure, they are still in prime position to be a championship contender for 2020!
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Old 06-22-2019, 06:59 PM   #32
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Notable Free Agent Acquisitions, Trades, and Retirements

Around the MLB:

SS Xander Bogaerts signs 4 year deal w/ Toronto
C Yasmani Grandal signs 5 year deal (3 years + 2 options) w/ Houston
RF/3B Nick Castellanos signs 6 year deal (4 years + 2 options) w/ Houston
2B Scooter Gennett signs 5 year deal w/ Cleveland
LHP Will Smith signs 6 year deal w/NY Yankees
RHP Arodys Vizcaino signs w/ NY Yankees
RHP Darren O'Day signs w/ NY Yankees
RHP Alex Colome signs w/ Atlanta
3B/SS Asdrubal Cabrera signs w/ Milwaukee
3B Josh Donaldson signs 5 year deal w/ LA Angels
RHP Luke Gregerson signs w/ LA Angels
RHP Mark Lowe signs w/ Boston
1B Jose Abreu signs w/ Washington
LHP Wade Leblanc signs w/ Washington
LF/DH Khris Davis signs w/ San Francisco
RHP Tanner Roark signs w/ NY Mets
RHP Brandon Morrow signs w/ Philadelphia
RF Yasiel Puig signs 5 year deal w/ Milwaukee
RHP Clay Buchholz signs 3 year deal w/ Washington
LF/DH J.D. Martinez signs 4 year deal w/ Cleveland
3B Mike Moustakas signs 5 year deal w/ Atlanta
LHP Alex Wood signs 4 year deal w/ LA Angels
SS Didi Gregorious signs 4 year deal w/ Boston Red Sox
RHP Will Harris signs 2 year deal w/ Milwaukee
RHP Hyun-jin Ryu signs 4 year deal w/ Washington
RHP Ken Giles signs 3 year deal w/ St. Louis
2B Brian Dozier signs 3 year deal w/ Miami
LF Matt Kemp signs 1 year deal w/ Oakland
RHP Trevor May signs 2 year deal w/ Houston

RHP Chris Archer traded from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee
RHP Mike Clevinger traded from Cleveland to Oakland
RHP Craig Kimbrel (1 year/$15M) traded from Houston to LA Dodgers
SS Marcus Semien traded from Oakland to Cincinnati
RHP Patrick Corbin traded from Washington to LA Dodgers for 2B Enrique Hernandez & 2 prospects

1B Albert Pujols retired at age 39
3B Ryan Zimmerman retired at age 35

Notable Free Agents still available as of (2/3/2020):
Francisco Cervelli, Edwin Encarnacion, Marcell Ozuna, Mitch Moreland, Adam Jones, Jason Kipnis, David Freese, Kendrys Morales, Hanley Ramirez, Brett Gardner, Troy Tulowitzki, Travis D'Arnaud, Todd Frazier, Michael Wacha

Last edited by SirGreatWhite; 06-23-2019 at 03:23 PM. Reason: Updated signings, trades, and available players
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Old 06-23-2019, 02:23 PM   #33
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On the day before spring training starts, the Astros have agreed to a couple of trades to sure up their bullpen and keep financial flexibility moving forward.

The first one was tough, as fan favorite (and speed demon on the base paths) Myles Straw was traded to San Francisco for LHP Travis Bergen. Houston also included 2B/3B Michael Wielansky while San Francisco included catching prospect Joey Bart and OF Heliot Ramos. This is a huge win for the Astros as left handed bullpen help had been a problem the past couple of years. Last year's trade rental that brought in LHP Will Smith was less than stellar after his performance down the stretch. Bergen has team control left in his contract before hitting arbitration and will be a reliable left hander for a few more years! He also has closer experience with the Giants so he will have no problem in big moments. The addition of Catcher Joey Bart was very surprising as he has very high potential. But the Giants drafted Catcher Shea Langeliers with the 10th overall pick in last year's draft. Straw was blocked in the every day lineup as Springer, Brantley, and newly signed Castellanos occupied the every day spots in the outfield. Straw has the ability to play some shortstop as a backup, but Aledmys Diaz is the primary infield utilityman for the Astros. Straw will get a chance to crack the every day lineup in San Francisco.

The second trade was very unusual. Back in November before the Winter Meeting's, the Astros acquired LHP Zack Britton from the Yankees. Britton and newly acquired LHP Travis Bergen would serve in similar roles, so the Astros shopped Britton (and his $13M salary over the next 2 years - plus team option for year 3)...and received an offer from the Dodgers for RHP Craig Kimbrel!! The Astros issued a $15M qualifying offer to Kimbrel in the offseason, which he accepted and then was traded (along w/ RHP Jayson Schroeder) to the Dodgers for LHP Caleb Ferguson & RHP Marshall Kasowski. So the Astros swapped Britton for Kimbrel and free themselves of Britton's 2 (or 3 w/ option) year salary and keep financial flexibility for the future...which will likely be spent on a George Springer contract extension.
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:23 PM   #34
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Exclamation Big Time Acquisition!

Breaking News:

The Astros have completed a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for 2018 AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell!! In return the Astros had to send RHP Corbin Martin (Astros #2 pitching prospect), LHP Cionel Perez (Astros #3 pitching prospect), and cash to the Rays.

Snell gives the Astros the proven left hander in their rotation, along with as good of a 1-2-3 top of the rotation in recent memory with Verlander, Cole, and now Snell. With the return of Lance McCullers Jr. from Tommy John surgery the Astros have a star studded rotation that is capable of leading this team to a championship. It also helps that they have a potentially great lineup to support them.

All of this is in theory as health will play a huge factor - especially for McCullers and Cole who have recent injury histories.

Martin was #10 overall on last season's BNN prospect list and Perez was #51 overall. Perez was slotted to be the Astros 5th starter to start this season while Martin was most likely going to start the year at the top of the rotation in AAA or be the Astros long reliever and emergency starter out of the bullpen.

Snell is under contract through the 2023 season with salaries of $7M, $10.5M, $12.5M, and $16M the next 4 seasons. He will be 30 years old when his contract runs out.
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Old 06-23-2019, 07:48 PM   #35
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Exclamation Bringing back a familiar (psychotic) face!

The Astros have traded RHP Brad Peacock to the St. Louis Cardinals for reliever, and former Astro, Ken Giles.

Peacock was in his last season of arbitration and will be a free agent at season's end. He has been bouncing back and forth as the Astros #4 or #5 starter and a bullpen role over the last couple of seasons. He had a solid year last year with a 3.42 ERA in 14 starts before injuries shortened his season in June (rotator cuff strain) and then ended his season in August (surgery to remove scar tissue in shoulder).

Giles has electric stuff at times when his control is on. When he's off, he gets rocked. But his potential for being a shutdown reliever is well documented. His seasons in 2014 & 2015 with Philadelphia and the 2017 regular season with the Astros were all star caliber. He's most likely best known for his earl 2018 outburst in which he punched himself in the face walking off the field at Minute Maid Park after being pulled from a relief appearance.

Giles was not tendered a qualifying offer from Toronto and was a free agent this offseason. The Astros made a late push for him before signing Trevor May. Giles went with the Cardinals offer of 3 years and $7M (total). The Astros offered more money (around $10M) for 2 years but were spurned because they didn't promise him the closer's role.

Time will tell whether this will be worth the risk.
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Old 06-24-2019, 12:19 AM   #36
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Post End of Spring Training & Team Injury Updates

The end of spring training has come. There were some great performances by several young guys that got a full spring training with the every day MLB guys. The camaraderie and chemistry was terrific. The future looks bright and owner Jim Crane is very excited for this particular group. The expectation is that the Astros make the playoffs.

Unfortunately there were some injuries to our big league pitching staff that occurred: newly acquired prize LHP Blake Snell left his second spring training outing with a strained forearm and will miss about 2 months based on the early prognosis. Fortunately the Astros have depth and experience with the arms in their organization, but we were definitely looking forward to a healthy start to the season.

In addition to Snell, RHP Joe Smith, the submarine specialist, will start his second consecutive season with the Astros on the 60-day IL. In 2019 he missed the first few months recovering from achilles surgery. He will miss 2-3 months to start the 2020 season with a partially torn labrum.

OF Michael Brantley will miss the first month and change of the season (5 weeks) with shoulder bursitis. Brantley was the Astros clean up hitter for most of the season and led the majors with 60 doubles (tied for 6th most in MLB history - and most since 2000 when Todd Helton did it w/ the Rockies). He hit .328 and had 113 RBI's last season. The improvement made by both top hitting prospects Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez, plus the offseason signing of Nick Castellanos should be able to hold the fort down while Brantely recovers from injury. The new MLB rule allowing 26 on the active roster for the 2020 season (up from 25 previously) will also allow added depth to be carried, if necessary.

The plan for the Astros to start the season is to carry 13 pitchers (8 relievers) and 13 position players (2 catchers).
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Old 06-24-2019, 02:02 AM   #37
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Opening Day & Opening Series 2020!

Opening Day has arrived! The 2020 season starts the Astros off on the road with a 4 game division series against in-state rival - the Texas Rangers.

Preseason predictions have the Astros winning the AL West for the third time in a row and making the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. Those same predictions have the Astros winning what would be 109 games! If the pitching staff stays relatively healthy - especially the starters - then the Astros have a chance to be a great team. There is depth at all levels of the organization.

If the opening series is any indication of things to come, this lineup has the potential to be absolutely LETHAL! But also showed that having nothing but power arms w/ occasional control problems in the bullpen may not be the best strategy.

The Astros scored 15, 20, 2, and 12 runs respectively in the 4 games against the Rangers. The eye test says they should have won at least 3 of those games...but they went 2-2. Won 15-5 (19 hits), won 20-5 (19 hits), lost 5-2 (8 hits), and lost 13-12 (14 hits) in 10 innings (had an 11-3 lead after 5 innings!).
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Old 06-24-2019, 05:46 PM   #38
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10-5 after 15 games!

The Astros have a 10-5 record and have won 8 of their last 10 games after a 2-3 start. The hitting or Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker has been nothing short of impressive! Derek Fisher has been filling in pretty regularly in the starting lineup as Michael Brantley is still about 2 weeks away from returning from his injury, and he has been terrific as well. The signings of Nick Castellanos and Yasmani Grandal have paid dividends so far. Both are hitting above .300 and Grandal recently hit a walk-off 3 run home run in a 5-3 come from behind victory to start a recent homestand. The offense is rolling despite Jose Altuve in a bit of a sluggish start to begin this season. Alex Bregman has picked up right where he left off last year in MVP type form.

One of the best decisions in the offseason was a rejection of a trade offer from the New York Mets for Kyle Tucker. They offered Noah Syndergaard. We were really close to accepting it because "Thor" is a dominant right arm and would have a couple of years left of team control before hitting free agency. In the end we felt like our starting pitching was solid enough with the return of Lance McCullers Jr. this year and the resigning of Gerrit Cole. Syndergaard recently signed a 7 year extension with the Mets for over $180 million!

The Astros have the #1 ranked farm system in baseball as well, barely passing up the Padres in the preseason farm system rankings. The Padres and Blue Jays certainly had several guys each ranked in the top 100 last year that have since moved up to the MLB, so it's understandable why they aren't #1 again.
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Old 06-24-2019, 09:25 PM   #39
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Thumbs up Terrific Start Continues!

The Astros continue their terrific start, now sitting atop the AL West division with a 15-5 record. The Astros have won 7 in a row - two straight sweeps against AL West foes Texas & Seattle - and have won 13 of their last 15 games and have a 3 game lead over the LA Angels in the AL West division.

The Astros are not the only team off to a hot start either! The Indians were 9-0 to start the season and are currently 15-3 with a 7.5 game lead already established in the AL Central division! The Orioles, yes those Orioles, sit atop the AL East with a 14-5 record. In the National League, the Mets are 15-4 and on top of the AL East. The Cubs and Dodgers have 13 wins each and are leading their respective divisions.
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Old 06-25-2019, 03:43 PM   #40
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End of April Update

It's the end of the first month of the season and the best teams in baseball are proving to be just that. There isn't a division race closer than 3 games in all of baseball! It's only May 1st! Tampa Bay (17-11) leads the Yankees by 3 in the AL East, Cleveland (20-5) leads the Twins by 8.5 in the AL Central. The Astros (20-6) lead the Angels by 4 in the AL West. Over in the National League the Mets (18-7) lead the Phillies by 5.5 games, the Cubs (17-8) lead the NL Central by 4.5 games over the Pirates; and in the NL West, the Dodgers (17-7) have a 4 game lead over the Padres.

Astros rookie sensationals (yes, plural) Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez each took home some monthly recognition. Tucker was named AL batter of the month and Alvarez was named AL rookie of the month (even though Tucker is also a rookie?).

Closer Roberto Osuna - last year's MLB reliever of the year - went on the IL with a hurt wrist and will miss 4-5 weeks; in a corresponding move, the Astros brought up Derbin Feltman (acquired last season in a trade with the Red Sox for Chris Devenski). We will move Craig Kimbrel to the closer's role while Osuna is out.

More injury updates: LF Michael Brantley is rehabbing at AAA Round Rock for the first weekend of May. He will rejoin the Astros for Monday's series against the Yankees in Houston. It is likely that 1B/LF Jake Bauers will be optioned to AAA for Brantley to take a roster spot. Statistically, it should be Yuli Gurriel that gets waived and DFA'd but he does over some versatility and clubhouse leadership and veteran experience. So he will remain with the Astros for now, unless a trade partner can be found for his $8,000,000 salary. In saying that, he actually has been hitting left handers decent this year (unlike previous years) but has struggled more than usual vs. right handers.

Justin Verlander has been sensational as he enters his age 37 season. He is 4-0 in 6 starts with a 2.59 ERA and a 44/5 K/BB ratio! Lance McCullers Jr. has looked extremely sharp in his first season back since Tommy John surgery in December, 2018. He is 3-0 in 5 starts with a 1.85 ERA. The Astros are limiting McCullers' pitch count to 95 for the month of April and will likely increase to 105 for the month of May and then have no restrictions from there.
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