In the regular podcast we discuss Hector Ambriz, the future of the Astros at shortstop and third base, building blocks, chopping blocks, chewing gum and trading for Dylan Bundy. On the AMP podcast we discuss Oklahoma City RedHawks and Greeneville Astros impressions and the international free agent market.
Have you been pondering why Bo Porter continues to go to Hector Ambriz in crucial game situations? You're not alone, in fact Twitter has begun the hashtag #Ambrizd for all the times Ambriz has single-handedly lost the game for the Astros. The problem is that Porter doesn't have many other options in the bullpen. If we look at the statistic shutdowns (SD) and meltdowns (MD), guess who is second on the team? Ambriz. He also leads the team in MD with 9, which brings us back around to the hashtag. Jose Cisnero has emerged as the number two bullpen arm for the Astros but he can't pitch everyday, which means Porter has Travis Blackley, Paul Clemens, Wesley Wright, Josh Fields and Ambriz to work with. Fields is another reliever that may be on the rise for the Astros in the pen but he's untested and recently returned from the disabled list.
Another factor to consider is that Ambriz's numbers aren't horribly out of whack. He has a 6.96 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) and a 2.78 walks per nine (BB/9). He's also got a 48.6% ground ball rate (GB%) which is one of the better ground ball rates out of the bullpen. What is out of whack is his batting average on balls in play (BABIP), at .340, and as a result of that a 66.7% left on-base percentage (LOB%).* If his BABIP were to regress he would become a pretty decent reliever for the Astros. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen but at least we can see why the Astros may be using Ambriz more than maybe even they would like to.
* All stats prior to Monday night's game
The Astros Future Shortstop and Third Base Situation
Small Sample Size Warning: Brett Wallace has hit well since his call up and he's more comfortable.
We've heard that before and until we see him do this for a few months consider us skeptical.
Building Block, Chopping Block or Chewing Gum
That's the game we played with Brett Wallace, Brandon Barnes, JD Martinez and Chris Carter. Give me Brandon Barnes and I'll trade the rest.
What would it take to acquire Dylan Bundy from the Baltimore Orioles?
In case you hadn't heard Dylan Bundy came down with a case of the Tommy John's, which knocks him out of the Orioles system for the next year give or take several months. Could Bud Norris and Chris Carter be enough to acquire him from the Orioles? I think it would take those two plus Jose Altuve to get a prospect like Bundy. The Orioles would probably have to add a prospect or two (the other guys said Kevin Gausman) or the Astros would have to subtract Norris or Carter.
The Astros and Orioles are rumored to be in discussions.
TCB AMP 7: The New Kids On The Block In Greeneville Tennessee
In this episode Brooks Parker, myself and special guest Steve Duer of Appy Astros discuss:
Impressions of the Oklahoma City RedHawks from Nashville, Tennessee
Impressions of the Greeneville Astros courtesy of Steve Duer
July 2 International free agency signing period
A big thanks again to Steve Duer for coming on and giving us his impressions of some of the play that has transpired thus far at Greeneville for the Astros rookie affiliate. He gave us several interesting names to follow:
Jandel Gustave - 11IP, 12 SO, 3BB, 5H
Wallace Gonzalez - 1.226 OPS
Ryan Connolly - submarine pitcher
Tyler Brunnemann - 5 IP, 9 SO, 2 BB
Oklahoma City Impressions
The Oklahoma City RedHawks are an interesting bunch and I think watching them play the Nashville Sounds put things into perspective for me. As we discussed on the podcasts the Nashville Sounds are a team filled with a lot of AAAA type of players, which is exactly what the RedHawks and Round Rock Express used to be. I joked that I've seen half of the current RedHawks team in the majors already so observations weren't exactly ground breaking on anyone. The two guys I primarily focused on where Jon Singleton and George Springer, two of the Astros top prospects. I was also very interested in Jonathan Villar's polarizing defense.
Springer came as advertised, Singleton was a bit of a disappointment on both sides of the ball and Villar wasn't challenged a whole lot at shortstop until the end of the game Saturday. He missed making a spectacular play to end the game but was given another shot later in the inning and took advantage:
International Free Agents
At midnight last night the International Free Agency period began and the Astros look to be heavily involved with $4.9 million, which is the most any team has available to them. I wouldn't expect any big flashy signings but smaller more efficient signings by the Astros and a spread it around strategy.
If you have an feedback for the show you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And a big thank you to those of you that have given feedback in the comments, via email or by iTunes ratings. We really appreciate it.
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