1) Rockets about to add pressure to CSN Houston negotiations?
Many of you may not follow the NBA. If you do and you also enjoy the Rockets, go check out The Dream Shake. Come back here, though, and finish this post.
Now, I'm sure you're up to speed on the current free agent frenzy. If you didn't actually click the link and peruse our friendly neighborhood Rockets blog, you didn't see all the coverage of Dwight Howard possibly signing with Houston and Josh Smith joining him in a sign-and-trade.
That would give Houston two very solid pieces to pin next to James Hardin in a vastly improved team that could easily rival the Spurs and Thunder for supremacy in the Western Conference. Heck, that's a team that might even give LeBron and the Heat second thoughts.
The reason I bring this up on a baseball site is because the Rockets and Astros share a television provider. It's also one that isn't in 60 percent of the homes around Houston. If the Rockets pull off these very splashy moves, there will be plenty of pressure from both the teams and the fans to get this deal done.
That may mean nothing for this baseball season, but if they sign Dwight, I have a hard time believing the Rockets will let another season be blacked out in most of their media market again.
2) George Springer vs. Jorge Soler
Over at FanGraphs, they break down the hitters on the Futures Team rosters. Both DDJ and George Springer are analyzed. Here are the good parts. On DDJ:
DeShields' 100-plus stolen base season went almost unnoticed last year thanks to The Billy Hamilton Show. It was a huge accomplishment for the Astros prospect but he's stumbled out of the gate in 2013 with just 18 steals in 28 attempts. On the plus side, he's a little more well-rounded than his fellow speedster thanks to a better eye at the plate and more pop from his sturdy 5'9" frame.
And on Springer:
Springer has had a breakout 2013 season while playing at Double-A and recently moving up to Triple-A. He's hitting almost .300 while showing both power and speed, suggesting he could eventually develop into a 20-20 player at the big league level. That is, if he can get his strikeouts under control. Springer, 23, has struck out 96 times in 73 games.
Soler gets compared to Yasiel Puig in the next paragraph, so is there any question as to why Springer loses his matchup? Still, for Houston to go .500 in these is pretty good.
DDJ is a fine prospect in his own right, but I wonder how differently things would have changed for Houston if they had selected Chris Sale there instead of DDJ? Or even Michael Choice, who is raking with walks at Triple-A for Oakland?
3) Baseball pitching prospects and TINSTAAPP
Rob Neyer penned a nice, brief look at a concept we throw around on here a lot: There's No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect (TINSTAAP). He suggests just the opposite, though.
But TINSTAAPP is a meme rather than a rule. While young pitchers do get hurt and it's distressing for everyone involved, is Dylan Bundy typical of his type? Here are the best pitching prospects before the season, according to John Sickels:
There really are pitching prospects. But then again it's been three months. We'll have to check back in five or ten years.
The good stuff is in the middle, as Neyer breaks down all the pitching prospects in Sickels' top 10 from this year. Surprisingly, most of them are doing quite well.
What does that mean for Mike Foltynewicz? Hopefully only good things.