Friday's Three Astros Things

August 15, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Bud Norris (20) is attended by the Houston Astros trainer after being hit by a line drive against the Chicago Cubs in the fourth inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

Some things to talk about as we catch up on this backlog of posts today...

1) Thoughts on Blue Jays trade - By itself, the addition of Kevin Comer isn't a game-changer for this Astros system. He's a good prospect, but as many people said yesterday, he reminds a lot of Jordan Lyles and Tanner Bushue early on in their careers.

But, adding everything up, Luhnow once again has added some top-level talent. And, he's gone back to the well of adding talent he scouted recently. How many guys have been added from the 2011 draft? Those players are both young and may provide more value down the road by getting developed in Houston's system rather than someone else's.

The other interesting side to this is how Blue Jays fans feel so disappointed with Alex Anthopoulos over it. He's been a darling for a while now, moving the contracts of Vernon Wells and Alex Rios, but trading all those players for J.A. Happ and two semi-mediocre relievers? Blasphemy!

I wonder if Houston fans will continue this path with Jeff Luhnow. He's done a great job, flipping some contracts and players we may have thought couldn't be moved. But, the team still hasn't won and he didn't exactly add impact prospects. He bought a bunch of lottery tickets. What if none of them hit?

That point is still a while off, though. For now, Luhnow continues to add good talent and put Houston in position to be good soon, even if the big league team has struggled mightily so far.

2) Uniform talk - Soon and very soon, we will see the new uniforms. At least, that seems to be the case after Jim Crane and Co. have talked about them multiple times in recent days. We don't know exactly what they're going to look like, but it seems they will feature orange and incorporate more traditional designs from Houston's past.

Here's the quote in a David Barron piece on Crane:

Crane also said the Astros have submitted their redesigned uniforms to MLB for approval. He said the design includes "traditional" elements from past Astros uniforms and "incorporates them in a very modest way. They’re very classy."

He also said the Astros are soliciting fans’ opinions on the future of Tal’s Hill in center field and that fans have said "they don’t see a lot of sense in having that 436(-foot fence) in center. We’re looking at a design that would incorporate some other things out there. We could use that space for a lot of different things."

I left the part in about Tal's Hill, because it seems they're going to change things up out there too. I'm not sure what I'm more interested in seeing, the unis or the new plans for Tal's Hill. Maybe we'll get a picnic area out there after all...

3) Run differential - Okay, so it appears the Astros may be playing slightly better baseball in the past 12 games than they did in the previous two months. We have a good way to measure that, by looking at run differential. If you remember back that far, when Houston was blowing and going early in the season, they were actually doing really well in run differential, outscoring opponents even when they had an under-.500 record.

Since then, that run differential has plummeted. They outscored opponents in April, were outscored by 20 runs in May, 40 runs in June and almost 80 runs in July. So far in August, they've been outscored by 26 runs, which seems to suggest things may be swinging back in the right direction.

In their last 12 games, when they've gone 4-8 (and won as many games as they did in the previous six weeks), Houston scored 39 runs and gave up 53. That's a run differential of -14 and by putting that through the Pythagorean Record predictor, we get that Houston should have won... 4 games over that stretch.

That's a winning percentage of around .350, so it's not like this team is going to win 30 games down the stretch. And, it also appears they're about as good and bad as they've looked in June. Maybe they'll finish 10-17 this month too.

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