Thursday Morning Astros, etc. Round Up

On the "this is good news" front, Brian McTaggart updates us on the progress of Wesley Wright's transition to starting.  The results are promising:

In 26 innings, Wright has yielded 17 hits, seven runs (five earned), no home runs, 12 walks while striking out 33. He's allowed two runs or fewer in all five of his starts, which have all been at least five innings.

That's an 11.42 K/9 and a 2.75 K:BB on top of a 1.73 ERA.  In truth, I would hope his control would be stronger than it is, 4.15 BB/9, but I'll just homeristically assume that Wright's struggling with control in later innings because he doesn't quite have the stamina.  Still, you can't complain too much about the start of this project.  Just think, if it goes well, the rotation could be Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris, Wesley Wright, and Felipe Paulino.  You have to assume it would be the single largest swing in average age for a starting rotation—ever (yes, I know this is wishful thinking).

Speaking of Paulino, in another McTaggart piece, he lets us know this:

Wade said Mills also visited early Tuesday with catcher Humberto Quintero and pitcher Felipe Paulino, who have been showing up at 7 a.m. at Minute Maid to work out.

That's just an encouraging thing to read.  At the very least, you have to admire the effort that both these guys are making to get themselves to a place where they don't have to worry about what their exact job title is.  Now, when can we get Arnsberg working with Paulino and get him in the realm of consistently-consistent with his consistency (God I miss FJM)?

In another McTaggart piece (he's the only legitimate, has access, writer that is writing about the Astros these days), we're brought up to speed on the important dates for the Astros—like tomorrow being the day they set the 40 man roster—but we also are informed that Wade is already aggressively contacting players.  Of course, McTaggart quickly cautions that this doesn't mean the Astros will be tendering offers, just that Wade knows how to work his cell phone. With as much discussion as we had yesterday about Wade's plans, I'm curious to know just who he has been in contact with; the glory of the hot stove season is upon us.

USA Today reports that Jose Valverde is going to end up being a Detroit Tiger next season.  For those keeping score, I'm adding this speculation to my "things I'd be more than OK with if they took place" list—if we offer arbitration. If we don't offer Valverde arbitration, I really think my head will explode.  That or I'll be out a laptop or a cell phone, which ever I learn the news of us declining arbitration to Valverde from.  I'll also be sending the bill for the replacement to the Astros front office should this take place.

JC Bradbury is starting of pissing contest of statistical jargon with his inquest into player aging and its impact on the free agent market.  You can find Bradbury's opening salvo here, and then his far snarkier retort here.  The comments are golden, in a "that I take so much delight in this statistical nerdery makes me question my priorities in life" kind of way.

We'll end today with Zack Greinke.  If you haven't already come across this piece from the NY Times, read it.  Greinke and Brian Bannister utilization of sabermetrics is pretty fascinating.  The thing I find most interesting is the dichotomy the two possess between believing fully in FIP-metrics, but also utilizing the knowledge of the things that impact their FIP (park size and factors, the ability of their defenses, etc.) and then using that knowledge to dictate the way they try and pitch in certain situation.  There's a disconnect there, but I think that maybe it just indicates a disconnect in our statistical measures of the relationship between the batter/pitcher matchup and defense.

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