Wednesday's Three Astros Things

June 5, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) hits a double against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

Hey, wasn't that cool when Houston beat the Cardinals' Triple-A team last night...

1) Signing updates - The big news is that it sounds like Carlos Correa will be signed by Thursday, sent to extended spring training and then sent to the GCL Astros. So, anyone near Kissimmee can do us a solid and go get a look at him.

Meanwhile, sounds like both Lance McCullers and Brett Phillips (can I take back the ill-advised Scott comp? He's Vlad Guerrero...is that better?) have a chance to sign. Phillips, in case you didn't see, was only faking signability concerns because the Astros told him they'd take him in the sixth. And, he's good buddies with McCullers and sounds like they both want to come play for Houston.

I have no idea how accurate that info really is, but it's something.

Meanwhile, reports have come out that Houston could sign Correa for as little as $5 million, which would be save about $2.2 million off their bonus pool to sign McCullers, Phillips and Rio Ruiz. Some reports have that number dropping as low as $4 million, which obviously is a huge savings for Houston's bonus pool.

On Tuesday night, Bobby Heck talked about the bonus pool (you can hear the audio on this very site!) and said that there are plenty of smart people in the draft room who can be "creative" with the money in that pool. That suggests Houston had a strategy similar to what we're talking about in the draft threads the past few days.

Which is awesome. I quite like having smart, creative people in charge of the team.

2) Maxwell deserves more PT - I'm going to break some rules now, by making an argument based on small sample size. Bear with me.

Justin Maxwell should be starting more in place of Jordan Schafer.

I don't dislike Schafer as much as I did before the season (double-negative much?), but I like Maxwell much, much better.

So, you argue, why would you give up Schafer's defensive ability? I'd counter that Maxwell is just as good in center, with the Defensive Metrics on FanGraphs to back it up. Yes, I know that defensive stats take a very long time to regress. But, have you seen Maxwell out there? Per the eye test, he's close enough to Schafer.

But, Schafer is better on the basepaths. Well, I'm glad you brought that up. Did you know that, while Schafer has 14 steals and is cast as the leadoff hitter, he's actually got a negative Baserunning Factor on FanGraphs? And that Maxwell has a positive one?

But, Maxwell's average is so low, and he strikes out a ton. Yeah, so does Schafer. Plus, Maxwell walks about 2-3 percent more than Schafer, which is significant. And they strike out at about the same rate. And Maxwell has lots more power. And they hit for about the same average.

So, Maxwell is close defensively, a better baserunner, walks more and hits for more power. Other than that, why should Schafer be starting over him?

I realize the defensive factor is significant. In a park as big as MMP, you need a great defensive CF. We've seen flashes that Schafer has the raw speed to deal with it, which Maxwell can't match. But, I'd argue that Maxwell has better instincts than Schafer.

So, just play Maxwell already.

3) A big thanks to everyone - Draft day is like Christmas, but it's made so much better by all you fans and our great writing team here. We've had an oustanding two day stretch, with great comments and lots of outstanding content.

Oh, and we managed to profile three guys who turned up after the first pick, which is the most we've had in the past three seasons.

I've told them this already, but kudos to all the writers who have contributed this week. You guys make us look great to all the people clicking in lately and for those who have followed the Astros for a while.

Finally, again, thanks to all our commenters and users who this site so great. The passion, humor and all-around fun atmosphere here is because of you and make it a pleasure to write for this site. Those Day 2 draft threads are some of my favorite of the entire season.

So, thanks everyone.

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