Talking about Jim Crane's baseball experiment in Houston, Spring Training stats and a decade of Bo Porter.
Some things to chew over while waiting to find out what happens to the Astrodome.
The Crane Experiment
Jim Crane made some interesting comments in this Wall Street Journal article by Brian Costa. The short version is that Crane is going to run the Astros the way he wants to run them which is sure to piss off Astros fans. What I found interesting were the comments from other team General Managers who essentially drooled over the idea of running the team the way Jeff Luhnow is getting to run the Astros.
This leads me to believe that Crane has begun one of the most important experiments in baseball history. Can an organization rebuild a team the most cost effective way without any concern for the fan base. If the experiment works and fans return to Minute Maid Park when the Astros are good again expect other team owners to adopt the same strategy in their rebuilding efforts. Reducing cost is something any sports owner would love to do.
If it doesn't work and fans don't return to Minute Maid Park when the team is good again then it's likely bad news for Crane.
Spring Training Stats Still Don't Matter
Just a friendly reminder that Spring Training games are glorified scrimmages that put a little extra money into the owners pockets. I don't read too much into Spring Training statistics because there are added variables that have to be considered when looking at Spring statistics: a pitcher is working on a specific pitch or command; competition is more diluted with minor league players in major league camp; position players could be learning a new positions or being given a shot to try out a different position; and on and on and on.
In the game Brooks and I saw last week, Jordan Lyles started the game and quickly gave up six runs in the first inning. The first inning would have been a lot shorter and much more productive for Lyles had a couple dropped balls in the outfield and a couple unsuccessful picks at first base been turned into outs. In the end no errors were given on some pretty shoddy defense and Lyles got six earned runs instead of two or three.
Spring Training is preparation for the season and ultimately the statistics don't count towards anything.
10 Years of BoBall
I don't know where this originated, as I've seen it on several different national media sites, but Jeff Luhnow thinks Bo Porter could be one of the managers who sticks around for a while, according to the Daily News:
"People know Bo is going to be here for a long time," Luhnow says. "He could be one of those guys who is an Astros manager for decades, not just years. The players knowing that this is the group that’s going to be here -- it begins to lay the foundation for stability, which is really what we’re looking for."
I've been doing research on this subject which I hope to have an article on shortly. In the meantime I'll share this little tidbit: the average amount of years a manager lasts after taking over for a 100 loss team is 3.5 years. That's not to say that a manager hasn't stuck around for a decade or more, two have, but it does mean that there's a good chance a different manager will be leading this club into it's glory years.