Thursday's Three Astros Things

Talking about team valuations, top prospect lists and George Springer...

Some things to talk about while a Texas team changes its name amid controversy...

1) Astros team valuation

Bloomberg released its team valuations for all 30 Major League Baseball franchises. The Houston Astros came in at No. 16 overall at a cool $800 million.

To get there, Bloomberg valued the Astros franchise at $556 million, CSN Houston's value at $139 million and the money from MLB Advanced Media at $100 million.

You know what comes next, right?

The fact that there is no way CSN Houston is worth that much to the franchise. In fact, I bet it's worth much closer to the $34 million the Padres get from their RSN setup. Lop off $100 million from that valuation and Houston drops to a 19th-place tie with the Twins.

Now, since CSN Houston is involved in involuntary bankruptcy, is it safe to say there may not be much value at all in that RSN? If we lop all that $139 million off Houston's evaluation, they drop to 21st, just behind the Reds but ahead of the Brewers.

I'm just playing with numbers here, but I think it's folly to assume the Astros are worth as much as they are right now based on imaginary value from its problem-riddled RSN. The team will receive something from its media rights deal, but how much is unclear.

So, what can we take away from that cool infographic? How about that the Astros are valued at $556 million, which isn't much different than what Crane paid for them two years ago. At the time, it was an overpay of about $150 million, meaning the franchise's value has risen about $100 million since Crane's purchase, despite hemorrhaging fans and losing 100 or more games both years.

2) MLB.com's updated prospect list

Getting around to stuff I should have posted about earlier in the week, MLB.com updated its prospect list for the Astros and for the top 100. Here are some notes on the new list:

  • The top 10 is essentially the same, with only the addition of Mark Appel at No. 4.
  • The second 10 has four new names on it acquired in the past year. Three are from trades and another was in the draft. He was the Anteater.
  • Three position players at the top, though Springer still remains third behind Correa and Singleton. I understand why prospect types do this, as Singleton is significantly younger than Springer. However, at this point, it appears Springer could make a much bigger impact in the majors than Singleton will. Just a hunch.
  • Is it surprising that Nolan Fontana is in the Top 10? I really like him, many of our minor league writers really like him, but should national guys like him this much? Can I start to get my hopes up yet?
  • Oh, I totally forgot to mention that Correa jumped up to the No. 8 prospect overall. Well-deserved, isn't it?

Any other thoughts on the list? Guys you were surprised were on there? Anyone who should be on it but isn't?

3) George Springer wins MLB.com award

Houston's most successful minor leaguer stat-wise last season, outfielder George Springer, won the MiLB Offensive Player of the Year award this morning.

Springer was very good this year. I don't need to tell you how good he was. We all know. In this story about his season, though, we find out just why his season went so well.

"It was one of those things where I have to become a great mistake hitter," Springer said. "That's one thing at Triple-A I was able to do more of, was not miss mistakes. Not necessarily try to drive the ball out of the park, but continue to try to do my kind of damage.

"I don't have to chase a pitcher's pitch. One of the things is I'm extremely comfortable hitting with two strikes. I was able to slow my strikeouts down, but at the same time, I didn't take away from the type of hitter I want to be. I just slowed myself down and didn't chase pitches. If he makes a mistake, I have to get it."

It's within that approach that Springer's game can be found. He's capable of being that "great mistake hitter." If his pitch comes, fantastic. As he said, "One of the things I know is that the home runs will come." If his pitch never comes, a strikeout isn't much different from any other out. It's a game of risk and reward, and Springer's gamble is that the punishment he levies on misplaced fastballs and flattened curveballs will outweigh his losses.

That's a longer clip than I usually like to take, but there's a lot to parse here. First up, his adjustment to becoming a "mistake" hitter is great and explains how he had such success at Triple-A, where there are a lot of pitchers without great stuff, but who can throw lots of junk.

This also should temper our expectations for him somewhat next year. Well, yours were probably in line, but mine had gotten a little high. This tells me he won't be able to immediately hit major league pitching. What he can do is adjust and hit what he's given, which is an offensive approach many of the Astros will take.

Unfortunately, with that last part, we also know he's going to strike out a ton. Just like the other strikeout machines in the lineup. Because a strikeout is no different than another out for the most part, he's okay with sometimes whiffing. That's okay, but it could be maddening next year.

All in all, it's a great read about Springer's season. Check the whole thing out.

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