HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 12: Marwin Gonzalez #9 of the Houston Astros scores in the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Minute Maid Park on August 12, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Milwaukee beats the Astros 5-3. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
I'm going to avoid doing the grumpy blogger thing today, so here are some thing to talk about...
1) Did Jeff Luhnow have to apologize? - You could also ask whether the Astros organization needed to apologize for the horrible baseball going on in Houston right now?
Overwhelmingly, I think the answer to that is no. On the surface, it makes sense. There's been some bad baseball going on in Houston and people who plunked down good money to watch it have a right to be disappointed, to question whether they should do it again. Heck, they're fighting right now just to keep people tuning into their games on TV, much less paying good money to watch them.
All that's to say I understand why they'd do it and why some fans may feel dissatisfied with the situation right now. Rebuilding isn't easy and it sure as heck isn't pretty. But, from a practical perspective, fans can do quite a few things to keep feeling good about this team while still handling the losses.
That's a big reason why I think Luhnow chose to focus on the draftees and prospects in the trades. It's so much easier to follow the minor leagues now, fans can dream about Jimmy Paredes, Jonathan Singleton, Robbie Grossman, Mike Foltynewicz and all the rest pretty easily, including watching them on MiLB TV.
Fact is, the Astros fielded a competitive team coming out of spring training, made the decision to pick up prospects in the middle of the season and got substantially worse without adding MLB-ready pieces. That led to a massive drop in talent and a terrible record. But, all signs point to Houston doing all it can to once again field a competitive team for the start of next season too.
Again, that's why I don't think they need to apologize. But, I may not be nearly riled up enough about the losing to need an apology. Did this help anyone else? Are you glad they at least acknowledged how putrid this team has been at times recently?
2) SMH - Not gonna do much with this one, since Astros County already pointed out (quite well) how ridiculous this column by Derrick Goold was. I usually like Goold, too, but AC deservedly took him down for this one. Go check it out.
3) PG All-Star Game - Okay, so the second of the two premier showcase events this summer went on in San Diego last weekend. Whatever you want to call it at Petco Park saw a bunch of prospects from around the country play in front of scouts.
Lots of people impressed, but our great and linkable friend John Klima has the goods one one guy in particular, Kohl Stewart, who's from St. Pius X high school in Houston.
As for the pitching, this was not the year for the big name, big-armed pitcher. Really the only guy with 94-95 gas who pitched in this game was Kohl Stewart, who saved the better gas for this look than the velocity he showed at the Area Codes. Stewart has a very loose arm and a lot of fastball life that shows up in run, sink and some occasional giddy-up high in the zone. His slider should get more consistent in time, though he throws it hard at 87-88. Change is average at 81-82. I would want to see how this guy progresses over the next few months. He’s a bit gangly and growing into his body and has a lot of moving parts and needs better coordination and strength in the coming months and years. Now he needs to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself in the meantime. Scouts do not like seeing white elbow sleeves on the throwing arms of teenage pitchers.
Stewart is also a pretty highly touted quarterback recruit set on going to Texas A&M, so I'm torn on him lighting things up. But, there seems to be a lot to like here. He's officially made my list of guys to watch for the 2013 draft. Notice, too, that native_astro's boy, Austin Meadows, got some love there.