Some things to talk about while the Astros put up for auction some pretty great stuff for a pretty great cause...
1) Getting to know Tom Koch-Weser
Hey, remember when the Astros announced they'd hired that guy none of us had really heard of earlier this week? No, not Scott Feldman. I'm talking about Tom Koch-Weser, who will be helping out in the analytics department. Turns out Koch-Weser used to write for STATS, Inc.'s blog back in the day. Thanks to Tim, we were able to recover two of his articles here and here.
What's super interesting about them is they both have to do with strikeouts. Uh-oh. Luckily, both articles are on the pitcher's side of the strikeout, not arguing that Ks are the new market inefficiency and Houston should collect as many strikeout hitters as they can.
2) Finding jobs and technology
One of my favorite parts of Zachary Levine's tenure on the Astros beat is never knowing what kind of story might pop up. Some day, out of nowhere, a gem would just appear that was unlike anything you had seen that month. He's still doing over at Baseball Prospectus, but his old haunt has conspicuously lacked that flourish.
Evan Drellich surprised me today, providing a great story on the Winter Meetings that felt fresh. These were not the same, old, tired Winter Meeting angles we've seen for so many years beat into the dirt. This is a new take and it was great.
Take this passage, from the end on how Houston is approaching new tech at the Trade Show:
The Astros typically wouldn't sign a contract for any new service on the spot. But if there were something that appealed to them, they'd discuss it and try to find room in the budget.
The cutting edge doesn't come cheaply.
"It depends on what you think of expensive," Mejdal said. "Compared to a Robinson Cano contract, no. Compared to our salary, yes. The hardware, some of this radar technology, video camera set-ups: these guys are smart, trying to make a living. They have skills that can earn money in other fields. Sometimes, it's expensive."
How many times have we read about Houston's interest in new tech? We know they try to mine as much unique information as they can for different reasons, but do we know how they're doing it?
There's a lot more in here and it's worth you clicking over and reading the whole thing. Drellich has been doing a fine job on his Winter Meetings duty so far, but this pushed things to a new level.
3) Ranking MLB managers by handsomeness?
That's exactly what Craig Calcaterra did. You know who ended up No. 1. We all know who's No. 1. I just hope no one posts that cursed surfboard photo in the comments to this post.
Where did our own Bo Porter end up?
7: Bo Porter: Best mustache/goatee combination in all of baseball. Not just among managers. All baseball people. It's usually an unfortunate look, but Porter makes it work, mostly because he understands that less is more. And he has fantastic eyes. Go on, tell me he doesn't have fantastic eyes. Pfft, you're just wrong, dude.
I can appreciate a man with good facial hair, but I can't honestly say I've ever even considered whether Porter has "fantastic" eyes. Anyone want to weigh in here?