Some things to talk about while we all go out and buy that super sweet batting practice jersey...
1) Farewell, Brian Bogusevic
We hardly knew ye. You were entirely too under-appreciated in Houston, even though you hit horribly this past season. Your defense never got the respect it should have and your career will always have a "what might have been" quality to it. If only the Astros had realized you weren't a pitcher and put you into the outfield after the draft, how differently things might have gone.
2) Diving into free agency again
I don't want to do this too often, as it becomes just a game of wild speculation at some point and a way to pass the time in a boring offseason. But, let's talk about a couple of different free agent fits.
I know I'm not the first to realize this, but if Jeff Luhnow is looking for a DH candidate who can also fill in on the corners of the infield, Mike Napoli may make sense, but doesn't Kevin Youkilis fit better there? Youk also fits the "big name" idea that Luhnow threw out before free agency began.
Maybe the Astros decided he'd be their main target, but have a number they want to spend on him and no more. That's why he's downplayed actually adding that big a name in recent interviews or spending huge money period. However, looking at this excellent list compiled by Jeff Passan, you can see that Youk is really the only third baseman who fits that profile on the market.
Speaking of that excellent list, here's a name I have as the next Travis Buck addition: Austin Kearns. The outfielder has bounced around for a while now, and isn't hugely regarded, but could provide some nice value on a minor league deal with a $1-$2 million contract.
Kearns' numbers are bad, but for the last two years, that's been a product of a super-high ground ball rate that is out of whack with his career norms. Maybe he's aged to the point where he can't square the ball up, but I feel it's probably just an abberation. If that number drops a bit and Kearns can start hitting more fly balls, I imagine he'll gain some more power, which makes him a real bargain and may be a good bet to be a fourth outfielder.
3) The AFL's Rising Stars Game
George Springer and Jarred Cosart looked okay in this mid-AFL classic, but it was Jonathan Singleton who got most of the press after going 1 for 2 with a single and working two counts pretty well. I didn't get to see the game, so I'm interested in any first-hand takes from people who did.
What I did want to highlight was this article by Jonathan Mayo, who asked all the players which one of them would be the biggest star. Both Singleton and Cosart got two votes apiece while Springer got one. I'm always surprised by the love Cosart gets in these things, going back to the Futures Game before he became an Astro.
Does that mean we're underrating him based on minor league stats? Or, is he one of those players who will be a better scouted player than he'll ever be in reality? That's the question we'll find out soon, I guess. Nice to see Springer and Singleton both get some love here from their teammates, as I have big hopes for both of them contributing soon.