Some things to talk about while we read this excellent expose on a Miami-based anti-aging clinic to the baseball stars...
1) Robbie Grossman, starting right fielder
Seems that the writers at Astros.com were on the same page as me, as there's a good little profile on Houston prospect Robbie Grossman up over there from a former scout. We talked about Grossman's chances to win a starting job this year, and that article only confirmed those chances for me.
I know Grossman isn't a sexy prospect. He doesn't have great tools, he's not going to wow or become a superstar overnight. But, he's got a couple of things going for him in the race to win a starting job. For starter's, he's got a good eye that should translate pretty easily to the majors, as he's done it at Double-A and in the Arizona Fall League.
He's decent defensively and probably profiles best as a left fielder. But, he's got enough arm to be in right next year, splitting time with Ankiel and JMaxx in a three-man rotation between those two spots. With a little pop and a good eye, he'd make a great two-hole hitter behind Jose Altuve.
Plus, he's got two intangibles that put him in good stead. He's from the Houston area, having gone to high school at Cy-Fair. Given how this Houston team figures to struggle next season, having a hometown guy in the lineup each day could be a nice boost. Secondly, as that profile suggests, Grossman has that grit which means he plays hard and maximizes more pedestrian tool with effort.
To me, that will make a very positive impression on new manager Bo Porter, who believes in the "Houston Astros Way" and probably would love to have some young guys like Grossman around who play like that.
It's a long shot, as there are a number of factors Houston would have to consider, including starting his service time clock, whether his bat would make up for his possible positional deficiencies, etc. Still, it's an intriguing option in an otherwise underwhelming outfield competition. At the very least, Grossman in right couldn't be any worse than F-Mart there, right?
2) Kevin Bass 'Stache interviews JRR
Great read over at the Whiskers on a Stache Tumblr run by Steve (aka KevinBassStache on Twitter), as he interviews J.R. Richard at a stop of the Astros CAREavan. It's a great interview that you should check out in its entirety, and here's a little taste.
3) A quick digression on writing
We haven't talked about it on here, because it's not about baseball, but I've been following the Manti Te'o saga closely for a lot of reasons. For one, it's unbelievable and just fascinating, from the Deadspin story breaking it to everything that has followed.
But, one thing that has caused me to think most is what Tim Layden wrote about in this SI article. Basically, it's all about whether there is time to research and verify stories any more in a market where Twitter is king for breaking news. If you're 10 minutes late on tweeting info, you've been scooped.
There are a lot of reasons why this is a good thing, but for situations like the Te'o mess, it's a license for sloppy work. Like Layden talk about in his piece, most of the time when you get an anecdote in an interview, you just run with it.
In those situations, though, I usually flash on Rob Neyer's book, The Big Book of Baseball Legends, where he tracks down all manner of baseball stories that players tell to figure out if they're true or not. As much as possible, i try to do the same thing. That's led to a few situations where I had to ignore a story because when I checked it out, there was nothing there or the details were significantly different. That being said, there have problem been many times in the last six or seven years when I've just run with a bit of information that couldn't be verified because it made the story better.
The reason I bring all this up here is because this site and the analytical work we do is a big part of that process. We shouldn't be just accepting the things baseball players say about their games. Look into it, see if it's true. We have many ways to verify statements, and I think TCB lives in a great situation to do just that. Verify and corroborate.
The job hasn't changed, just the timing. On here, I think we have a great chance to provide a checks and balances system for Astros baseball stories, as well as making dumb jokes, recording podcasts and following along with the minor leagues.