Happy Monday, everyone! Let's talk about the weekend a big, shall we?
1) Luhnow takes on drunken sailors, Rangers: I know the comments have largely been sluffed off since then, both by Jeff Luhnow and by the Rangers, but man, isn't it fun to see the front office needling our biggest rival...(whispers) What? The Rangers aren't really a rival? Then why are we mov...(whispers) CRAP...
Right. Anyways, Luhnow hit upon something that will be very important to the Astros long-term future while taking a backhanded swipe at that team up in Dallas, or Arlington, or wherever they play. The Rangers have spent an ungodly amount of money in the Latin American area recently. But, it's how they've spent that draws the most attention.
Instead of signing a ton of talent for less than a million a piece, they do things like drop $15 million on a guy who may never have 5-tools or be an impact player in their lineup. Sean brought that point up in the podcast on Sunday, and I think it's important, because it gets at what this new front office is thinking.
The Astros, under Jim Crane, George Postolos and Jeff Luhnow will not spend money like drunken sailors. They will spend money smartly. That means maybe spending on a Jorge Soler, who has a chance to be middle-of-the-order, impact-type bat but not spending on every prospect that strikes their fancy. Investing wisely is what got Crane far in the business world and could get the Astros just as far in the baseball world.
2) Carlos Lee gets pushed back again: Well, now we have to wait until Tuesday to see El Bufalo debut with your hometown Astros (in Kissimmee). That hamstring is still giving him problems, but I'm inclined not to worry as much with this as other injuries.
Part of that is Carlos' age. At 36, he's going to get some bumps and bruises, so better to rest him and let him come back completely healthy rather than rush it and have the problem linger. Plus, Carlos has been around the spring training block a few times, so reps right now aren't as important for evaluation as they might be for some of the younger guys.
The other part of this equation is that I've already chalked Lee up for a bad month of April, no matter how much time he gets in the next couple of weeks. That's what a career .251/.311/.451 line in that month will do. It's easily his worst monthly splits of his career, and after 13 seasons, suggests a pattern that we can somewhat rely upon.
Those kinds of splits aren't entirely predictive, but couple that with this hamstring issue and I think there's a fair chance Carlos starts out slowly and then rounds into form mid-May.
3) Weekend college rundown: Thanks for the suggestion on listing position and college. I meant to do that last time and got sidetracked. So, how did some of the prospective top picks do last weekend?
Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford: Though he did strike out 11 in a complete game Friday, Appel got hit pretty hard. He gave up seven runs and eight hits to Fresno State. It's still early, but his strikeout rate doesn't currently look like one of a top five pick, much less No. 1 overall. There were questions about him, too, at the end of last year, and you can bet those will pop up more and more if he continues to struggle.
Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU: The draft-eligible sophomore wasn't impressive against Dartmouth, but he did pick up his third victory by throwing 6 1/3 innings, striking out six while giving up 10 hits and four runs. This is what Gausman had to say about his performance in the Baton Rouge Advocate:
"I obviously didn’t have my best stuff," Gausman said. "My curveball was a little too down, so I was kind of living off my fastball and changeup. I wasn’t totally happy with my individual performance, but we came out of it with a win so I’m happy."
Mark Zunino, C, Florida: Still working through some issues with his hamstring, Zunino had one big game on Friday and then a lackluster end to the weekend. Zunino was 6 for 15 in three games, with five runs scored, four RBIs, one walk and two strikeouts. He also managed three doubles and a home run, but two of those doubles and that home run came on Friday, when Zunino went 4 for 5 against No. 8 Miami.
Deven Marrero, SS, Arizona State: Though I haven't seen any stories on it, Marrero may have suffered a slight injury this weekend. He hit well, going 5 for 9 in three games at the Coca Cola Classic in Surprise, Ariz., but left Saturday's game after one at-bat and did not play on Sunday. Still, Marrero scored four runs, drove in two more, walked once and hit a home run, so he acquitted himself nicely.