A heavy dose of minor league stuff today, which is appropriate, because Wednesday's are kind of MiLB day around these parts...
1) Welcome to a new face - Later today, we'll have another new author join the team here at TCB. Jayne Hansen from What the Heck, Bobby? will be writing periodically for our Minor League Spotlight feature and we're pretty excited to have her hanging around these parts.
Brooks does a great job with the minor league recaps, but I know many of you dear TCB readers would like more minor league content around here. This weekly piece is a way to get that. it'll be something different, hopefully, and provide some more depth to our coverage.
Personally, I like the addition of Jayne to the site because it reminds me of how I first came to TCB. Back in April of 2009, I started writing about the Astros minor league system on a site I set up through Blogger. I think I had about 50 people read it for the first few months, with things picking up around the draft. Then, I started talking to the guys who ran things at this particular Astros site and, lo and behold, they gave me a chance to write over here about the minors and the major league team.
Since then, you've had to put up with me quite a bit, but I'll always be fond of the way I came to the site in the first place: the minor leagues. I'd wish Jayne luck on the same path, but I don't particularly want to get bumped off by her any time soon. Let's let her do that to Jonathan Mayo over at MLB.com (where she also writes...go check it out. Right now).2) Speaking of the minors... - It's getting brutal down there, you guys. Not a good time to be part of the old regime, it seems, as many, many former top picks or organizational mainstays are being tossed by the wayside.
It's an interesting process, especially when you couple it with the Astros new data systems and projections that they're developing for minor league careers. Are they trying to open up spots for certain guys by getting rid of some of the organizational fluff? Or are they really just cleaning house on all of Ed Wade's old guys?
One of the reasons that's such an interesting question is there are still a number of front office types in this organization who were part of the picking and developing of these guys. How are they taking this heavy-handedness with the releases?
I was sad to see Collin DeLome get the axe. I had started following him after he was drafted, since he came out of Lamar. That's where my dad went to school, so I always kept an eye on guys from there, even before i started working at a place that covers the Cards. DeLome may catch on somewhere else and may be able to play, but I do wish he'd gotten a chance with the Astros.
Ultimately, though, I think his downfall was not being able to make contact. Whether it was a problem with breaking balls or pitch recognition, he struck out too much and didn't put the bat on the ball enough to make it any higher than the Triple-A bench. It's not an uncommon story, but I'm still sad to see him go.
3) All these one-run games add up - Another loss, I know, but it's another one-run loss. Those are also known as some of the easiest games for the outcome to change quickly. Teams losing by a run can alter their luck easily. Teams losing by five or six runs? Not so much.
So far, Houston is 2-3 in one-run games through 11 games. That means the Astros have had almost half their schedule so far decided by the smallest of margins. Right now, their run differential is also at -2 runs, meaning their very close to being an average team.
The one bad sign? They are just 1-4 on the road and are being outscored 16-21 away from the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park. That's not unusual for young teams, and the last two losses have come against some very tough starting pitching.