Apr 19, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Houston Astros manager Brad Mills talks with tarting pitcher Bud Norris (20) during the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. The Astros defeated the Nationals 11 - 4. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE
After seeing him a bunch this year, I'm really glad Houston didn't try harder to sign Aroldis Chapman #sarcasm...
1) I'm done - Not with the team itself, but definitely with Brad Mills. In the past, I've taken an approach that complaining about him is less important on a team this bad. But, lately, his approach to the bullpen has just driven me batty.
The latest episode with Francisco Cordero takes the cake. I know he's thinking about taking him out of the closer's role now, but I'd argue that he never should have been there in the first place.
On multiple occasions, Jeff Luhnow and even Brad Mills have talked about how Wilton Lopez is maybe the best reliever on the team. Now that Lyon and Myers are gone, he's definitely got claim to that title. Cordero, on the other hand? The only thing he has going for him is veteranyness. That's what kept getting Jason Michaels starts in previous seasons and why Brett Wallace found himself jerked around last year.
Some of that has been fixed, but here's another situation where Mills chose the veteran who had "experience" in the closer's role over putting his best reliever (and an actual veteran of this team) in the role.
I know Mills is using the info Luhnow and Team are giving him on bullpen usage, because that explains all his crazy moves later in games. But, he hasn't embraced the sabermetric concept of using his best reliever in the highest leverage situation regardless of role. Maybe they're worried about the injury and overuse.
Whatever the case, it was a baffling decision and I'm tired of just accepting it. So, I'm out on MIlls.
2) Minor league promotions - As Subber touched on this morning in the Minor League Recap, there were a flurry of moves last night, with Jarred Cosart, Jake Buchanan and Jose Cisnero getting called up to Oklahoma City. Part of that is due to the latest moves at the major league level, with both Dallas Keuchel and Armando Galarraga (possibly) getting a shot with the big league team. But, does that explain why Houston just put four starters on the Triple-A team, when you add in Rudy Owens.
Let's hope Cosart rises to the challenge and continues the progress he's made with his strikeout rate this year at Corpus. Buchanan is also a nice surprise. He's not flashy and probably won't show up on any top prospect list, but he strikes out about 6 batters a game and has a very good ground ball rate. He's got some superficial comparsions to a Cards success story under Luhnow, Jaime Garcia. Both have very good ground ball rates, with Garcia holding an edge in strikeout rate and Buchanan having the edge in walk rate.
In Buchanan, we have a great example of an under-the-radar guy that could make an impact at the major league level soon. That's what the front office was hoping to do with all these pitchers picked up in trades. Hopefully a couple of them will also hit.
3) Trey Williams goes to JUCO - Again, Subber is out in front on this one, pointing out last night on Twitter how huge this story is. Highly touted high school third baseman Trey Williams chose to go to junior college instead of taking a scholarship with Pepperdine.
In doing so, he's made himself eligible for the 2013 draft. If he hits as well as he might next year, there's a chance he could become a first round pick. I think he'd have to work pretty hard to move up into the Top 5, but there's a chance.
At any rate, I'm surprised more prospects this year didn't choose this route, especially the guys like Hunter Virant who fell. Maybe it makes sense for them to go to great college programs, but coming back a year later to the draft also could maximize value.
It's an interesting decision and will be fascinating to see how it affects prospects next year. If Williams breaks out and raises his draft stock? We could see a lot more of this next year.