Some things to talk about while John Royal takes the Astros lawyers to task...
1) A thought on Correa's two-homer game
You might have noticed the Astros internet got a little hot Thursday afternoon, when 2012 No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa hit two home runs in a spring training game. Of course, that means Correa is a lock to become the best player ever and win 15 World Series titles for the Astros.
But, once the rhetoric died down a bit this morning, I wondered what it would actually mean for Correa if he impossibly made the Opening Day roster or played in Houston in April. Of course, it would mean he forced his way onto the team by proving he was ready. And that's saying a whole, whole lot, too. Most would say he's still pretty raw and needs at least a year in the minors at a minimum.
History alos shows it's highly rare for a teenager to see significant time in the majors in April. Since 1914, only eight players Age 19 or younger have debuted in April with at least 20 plate apperances. That's a lot of caveats, but it basically limits us to rookies who get called up and see immediate playing time.
Of those eight, three are in the Hall of Fame (Robin Yount, Mickey Mantle, Bobby Doerr), one is a future Hall of Famer (Ken Griffey Jr.) and three more had multiple All-Star appearances (Rusty Staub, Tony Conigliaro, Vada Pinson).
Only Griffey, Doerr and Staub really had success right off the bat, but if Correa does force himself up, it's a great sign for his future.
Now for another reminder: there is virtually no way Correa gets 20 plate appearances with the Astros this April. His big day Thursday just made me curious as to how rare it was for a teenager to play significantly in April.
2) Laser cats...or pitchers
Sad news as Asher Wojciechowski got shut down for the time being and will likely begin the season on the disabled list. In the story about the move in the Chronicle, we get an unusual quote about his therapy:
"I'm just getting laser treatment and then doing shoulder exercises and trying to do some resistance exercises and trying to see how I feel," he said. "I've felt good a few times and tried to throw and it randomly it just comes back and I can't throw anymore. Then I can't do anything.
"I got to wait around for it to feel good for it to be healthy. Otherwise it's just going to keep on reoccurring."
New nickname for Wojo is Admiral Spaceship. Okay? Okay.
On a more serious note, this is disappointing news for a young guy on the verge of the majors. Hopefully, it all works out for Wojo and we'll see him pitching for the Astros later this summer.
3) Ruminations of a rookie writer
Eno Sarris has done a great job lately at The Hardball Times of writing about what it's like to be a baseball writer. He tackled what it's like to be a beat writer and Thursday took on what it's like to try and talk to baseball players about nerdy things. The entire piece is worth your time, but here's the part I want to discuss:
But there was that moment, when three baseball players announced that I was the worst at my job they'd ever seen, and walked out of the clubhouse shaking their heads in tandem in agreement at how terrible I was, there was that moment burned into my memory. In that moment I relived all the moments in which I had felt small and unwelcome, all rolled into a ball and highly concentrated. It might be a credit to my parents that all I did was blink a couple times and stammer to Billy Butler that I was "just a little rattled."
Fear can be devastating. It can control a person, it can lock them up and force them down a dark hole. I'm acutely aware of how fear can affect social situations. Being a generally awkward person, I'm constantly afraid of messing up some mundane detail or drawing the kind of ridicule Sarris faced here.
Well, that's not entirely true. That fear only exists when I think about it, when I let it in. For the past two years, it's been in the back of my mind every time I step into the Astros clubhouse. The main reason is I never felt like I belonged. I was there for my paper, but it wasn't my beat. I was there for TCB, but I wasn't credentialed for that outlet. Basically, I felt like I didn't belong, so trepidation controlled my actions.
I did manage to talk to players on my own, bringing up shifts with Jed Lowrie and engaging Lucas Harrell on whether he's throwing a new pitch. Both guys were quite nice and helpful, but mostly because I used the language Sarris talks about. I'd been around enough high school coaches to know how to talk to them in general, even if I had little experience interacting in person.
The fact that Sarris has soldiered on and continued to push out great work is inspiring and a testament to how professional Sarris is. Eventually, people get to that level or they stop doing the job. You either conquer fear of embarrassment or you get out.