Thursday's Three Astros Things

Talking about the non-tender market, Dexter Fowler reaction and Jason Castro's writing career...

Some things to talk about while I take this HOF voting quiz...

1) Non-tender market

While we got excited about all those new free agents hitting the market after Monday's non-tender deadline, Eno Sarris over at FanGraphs brings us right back down. Seriously, he's a bummer with this good article on just how much value non-tendered guys provide.

There's another way to tell that teams are generally pretty good at knowing which guys to let go. If you look at the non-tender list as a whole, 41% were above replacement the year they were non-tendered, and 27% were the next season. Not only did they pick players that didn't get better, it looks like they were mostly right about which way those players were headed. Players normally get worse, this isn't a group of 30-year-olds for the most part. In order to be non-tendered, you have to be under team control in the first place.

His conclusion, though, is sort of positive. He identifies one of the relievers clack did as being a great bet, former Marlins hurler Ryan Webb, who posts some great ground ball rates and could be had for fairly cheap. Still, asking for much out of this market seems like a bad move.

2) More Fowler reaction

Because I can't stop writing about Houston's only big move this winter, here's more reaction from The Hardball Times on the Dexter Fowler trade. PS - Can we start calling him Dex? The Rockies guys seem to use that a lot. I like it. Can we agree to use that from now on?

I'm a pretty big Fowler fan, so I liked this one for the Astros. Fowler, 28 in March, hit .263/.369/.407 (106 wRC+) in 2013 after having a career 2012 (122 wRC+). He's a good defender based on the multiple-year sample that UZR gives us, and he draws his fair share of walks.

Moving away from Coors Field should be taken into account, but his career wRC+ on the road is 92, which isn't that bad. I also think it's worth noting that Fowler has played many road games against the Dodgers, Padres, and Giants, who all have big pitchers' parks.

As for the return, Lyles has to be seen as a starter, though he hasn't found success at the big-league level due to not missing enough bats. Barnes is a good defensive outfielder, but that's kind of it. He posted some very good numbers in the minors, but in the year-plus that he's been called up, he's struggled mightily on offense, and he's only two months younger than Fowler.

First thing that jumped out at me here is the defensive comment. I was under the impression his defensive numbers were bad, but okay. Having other people confirm he's probably going to be a decent outfielder in Houston is reassuring.

3) Congrats to Castro

The man is getting a degree from Stanford, which is more than that Chuck yahoo can say. Congrats to the Astros catcher on finishing his degree! We'd also like to extend a cordial invitation to Jason to come to TCB if he ever feels the need to write more.

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