I have nothing to say after a 1-10 start to July. I'm tapped...
1) Injures, injuies and not a Wallace to promote - Still no updates on Jed Lowrie, although it was nice to hear Brooks talk about the injury a bit on the podcast. Sounds like Lowrie will be back this season, but it's unclear when.
Not only that, but Jason Castro is also headed to the DL with fluid building up on his knee. As Brooks said again, this is expected to happen in surgeries like this, but it's not exactly the best news to have a hot hitter like Castro out of this lineup.
So, lots of moves and no Brett Wallace. I know he won't change the whole offense, but it can't hurt to add him over a guy like Scott Moore, can it? If Houston is making more trades, then yes, waiting does make sense. Houston doesn't want to just lose Moore if they're going to need him after a potential CJ trade.
Anyways, as I said last night, it's a disappointing way to start the second half, with injuries on top of losing games. Let's hope the rest of the month goes better than this.
2) Klaw's draft thoughts - Even though only one player didn't sign in the first round, Keith Law has some thought-provoking things to say about the Mark Appel situation:
The real problem here is that the new system, allegedly designed to funnel the best players to the teams most in need of those players, failed. Teams repeatedly called players prior to the draft and gave them take-it-or-leave-it offers: Agree to sign for this dollar figure or we'll draft someone else....when a player like Appel is returning to school, it's a sign that the system did not work as planned.
Technically, what Houston did also was the system not working as planned. The Astros were able to shortchange the top pick to sign a couple other high-profile guys later on. It helped the organization quite a bit, but it also changed the system a bit.
The Appel situation certainly didn't help the Pirates, but Lucas Giolito did sign and he was considered a tougher fit for the Nats. The real question is whether Appel's non-signing will affect next year's draft. Till we get there, we can't say for sure. Just like we can't know whether Houston's deal-making will also affect how teams handle top picks next year.
3) Terry Ryan and Tanner Bushue - Consider this a deleted scene from an already long podcast. One of the things we talked about leading up to the podcast last night but didn't actually get to in the recording was Tanner Bushue and what happened to him. Well, it just so happened that a comment in a Q&A over at FanGraphs with Terry Ryan, GM of the Minnesota Twins caught my eye. Here's the Q and the A:
DL: Another thing you mentioned at the SABR conference is that you’re not a big fan of drafting pitchers because of their changeups and curveballs.
TR: If he doesn’t have a fastball to go with it — there are players up here in the big leagues who live and die on a changeup. Trevor Hoffman was one of them, but he also — back in the day — threw pretty hard. People might disagree with me on that, but if you’re going to push a guy that’s got a great curveball, or a great changeup, I’m going to want to hear a lot more about him before I’m going to start getting excited. It’s nice to have a great curveball, but if you don’t have a fastball that you can locate, or keep hitters honest with — those guys usually don’t come up here and become dominant starting pitchers.
Now, I think that on the balance, Bobby Heck hasn't just drafted guys on their breaking pitches. However, it seems like Bushue may have been drafted on that curve alone, hoping that his fastball would catch up.
If you remember, this was the second year Heck was drafting in Houston and it was the second year Houston used the private workouts for a good idea of projectability on these pitchers. Bushue may have impressed there and may have thrown hard enough to look like he might develop nice velocity later on.
However, that never happened. The first problem showed up when guys like Mike Newman over at Scouting the Sally did not have the most complimentary things to say about him. Specifically, it was his velocity that worried Newman, which should also worry us.
Bushue has taken some big steps backwards, and it may be that Terry Ryan was right. If his fastball can't locate and can't keep hitters honest, a great curve simply doesn't play at the higher levels. I'm not saying this is the only explanation for Bushue, but it's a compelling one for me.