Some things to talk about while Lance Berkman does a Q&A with FanGraphs...
1) Jordan Lyles and early debuts
Over at Beyond the Box Score, James Gentile discussed what it means for a player to be called up at a young age. He goes through the arguments we've had about Jordan Lyles, and how he was called up too soon and it may have hurt his development.
What I'm interested in was the chart he made detailing the age of a callup and how much career fWAR those players averaged after that. Here's the part relative to Jordan Lyles:
Out of the 180 pitchers who were called up at age 20, they averaged 12.4 fWAR in their careers. Lyles has totaled 1.3 fWAR so far and appears on pace to top 2.0 by the end of this season. He's also got about four more years of Astros service time before he becomes a free agent.
Let's say he puts up 2 fWAR for the next two seasons and then tops out with a 3 WAR season before hitting free agency. That will give him 9 fWAR with the Astros, needing only 3.4 more to become the average player to debut at a young age.
That surprised me somewhat. If you take Lyles as a disappointment because he hasn't been the "ace" we thought he might be when he was a precocious young starter, it's jarring to see that he's on pace to put up comparable numbers to most 20 year old pitchers.
2) Reid Ryan meets with San Antonio
How many of you might go to something like this given the chance? Is this more exciting than seeing the Cubs or Indians hit town for a couple of games before the season? Would any of you in Houston trek to San Antonio for these?
3) John Sickels on the draft
Minor League Ball's guru John Sickels is in the midst of breaking down the draft classes for each and every team across the majors. He recently broke down the AL West. Here's what he had to say about the Astros:
The Astros made the obvious and logical choice at the top of the draft by selecting Appel. After that, they filled in mostly with college players, which is logical given the amount of money it could take to sign Appel. More goes into this than going just for pure upside; you have to look at the money, too; the Astros know what it will take to get Appel signed and had to run their draft accordingly. Thurman and Emanuel are possible fourth starters who might not need long in the minors. The Astros picked a lot of college players in middle and later rounds, which is a strategy that the Cardinals have used to great effect in building system depth. One exception is power-hitting Jake Nottingham, possibly a steal in the sixth round if everything comes together.
Pretty much dead on with what everyone is saying. Houston grabbed the best player out there in Appel, then got solid depth with college players in the middle rounds who should progress rapidly. Nice to see him picking up on the love for Nottingham, too, since he's easily our draft crew's favorite pick in the early parts of the draft.