March 7, 2012; Clearwater FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (11) makes a diving catch to get Houston Astros second baseman Matt Downs (16) out at second in the fourth inning of the game at Bright House Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
While we wait for yet another spring training game to bless us with its presence, let's run through some of the main Astros stories of this morning...
1) Jason Bourgeois may end up in Washington? Wait a second...let me get this straight. Jason Bourgeois, he of the minor-league contract signed a couple of offseasons ago, is desired by the Washington Nationals to fill their hole in center field. Bourgeois, who is NOT the Astros current starter in center, was asked about multiple times, but Houston rebuffed the overtures every time.
I like Bourgeois as much as anyone, but I don't get this. Unless the Nationals were offering Livan Hernandez....(oh, wait)...I mean, unless they were offering table scraps for Bourgeois, I wonder why Houston decided to keep him. I like the depth he brings to the outfield, and I think he could be a sleeper candidate to win a job in this outfield, but I honestly think he'll fill a role as a fourth guy and the pinch runner during games.
If the Astros could have gotten a prospect for that guy, why shouldn't they have? Just a head-scratcher.
2) Thinking more about the 2012 draft - The more I read about him, the more I liked Lucas Giolito, the California high schooler who is arguably the top prep arm in the draft. Sort of reminds me of Dylan Bundy a little bit, but with his recent elbow injury, you can probably scrap the plan for Houston to set a precedent and take the first high school right-hander No. 1 overall.
Not that I think his injury is that severe, it's just that taking a chunk out of his scouting time as we get closer to the draft won't make all those cross-checkers happy. He'll still end up a top 10 pick, no doubt, but I think the injury probably hurt his chances of going at the top.
I'm starting to warm to the idea of drafting Kevin Gausman at the top over Mark Appel, but I'm still not sold on either one. I'd rather a position player at that spot.
You know what I could see happening? Something like the 2001 draft, where everyone decided that Mark Prior was the next big thing and would be the No. 1 pick, but the Twins went with a high school catcher who's turned out to be pretty good. Who's the high school catcher in this instance? Stryker Trahan, a Louisiana high schooler who lit up the workout circuit this winter with his power and could be an impact bat for the Astros. It's not as cut and dried as the MInnesota situation, since Trahan isn't from Houston. But, he's one of the few high school guys that still may have the juice for that spot.
3) Not every 20 pounds is alike - Why do I like the fact that J.D. Martinez has added 20 pounds this winter but dislike that Jordan Schafer did? Well, it may be because I view Schafer as a speed-first guy who would make a mistake trying to be a power hitter. Or, I could just irrationally dislike him because he was the centerpiece of that terrible Michael Bourn trade.
Either way, I do like that J.D. has added the weight for multiple reasons. I know it's easy to dream on that leading to more power production out of him, but I'm not going there right now. I still think he can get to 20 home runs this year, but the weight doesn't play into that as much.
No, I'm excited to see how it helps him hold up as the season wears on. Last year, Martinez had a solid debut month in August and then tanked in September. Talking to him at FanFest, he said his weight loss was a problem at the end of the year and he wanted to change that.
It's a nice goal and one that I hope helps him as this season wears on. Would be nice to see him take a step forward this year, wouldn't it?