I'm frustrated, you're frustrated, pretty much every Astros fan is frustrated.
Why is Harrell still in the rotation? What's the deal with Chris Carter? When is Springer coming up? How about Singleton? Stassi? Why didn't Correa and Appel start in AA?
As patient Astros fans we always want to see some kind of change that will bring optimism to watching these games. I'm thankful that I'm able to even watch Astros baseball, but believe me, at times it makes me want to throw my remote through the TV screen. So far, the pitching has been, for the most part, pretty impressive. I have no major complaints about the pitching staff. The defense has been solid, too. It's the hitting.. and this is what's sparking so much of the debate. If Carter, Grossman, and Fowler were each mashing over .300 and knocking home runs every other night, I don't think we'd be as worried about Singleton or Springer getting held down in AAA. We just want to see tomorrow's baseball today. So I'm going to approach these issues realistically and I'm going to ignore my desires as a fan and say what I think is actually going to happen regarding all of the players that have frustrated the fanbase.
Lucas Harrell is not going to get released after three starts. Hell, I don't think he's going to be released in May either. Tonight's game he didn't look too great, but the stat line was a little misleading. He didn't pitch as bad as it seemed. Don't get me wrong, he's struggling and I'm confused as to why he even made the rotation in the first place, but he's not going anywhere right now. The team will continue to give him chances. I think if he struggles for two or three more starts, he'll get a demotion to the bullpen and someone like Brad Peacock will take his spot in the rotation. If he struggles even further in the bullpen, he'll get released sometime in June or July much like Carlos Pena did last year.
Chris Carter is a strikeout machine, and a total rally killer. I kind of want to go on a rant about this guy... He has incredible talent as a power hitter. He has the ability to just flick his wrists and the ball goes 400 feet. I think that the reason he struggles so much is because he simply doesn't have the drive. Never have I seen him get frustrated at the plate. He always has that smug smile on his face that looks as if he's playing in a weekend softball league with his buddies. When he strikes out, this expression doesn't change at all... it just seems like he's unaffected by failure. It's almost as if he doesn't care that he's failing so badly. I had the opportunity to meet him and chat for a minute last year when the team was at Wrigley Field. He's a funny guy, super nice too.. wanted to shake my hand (probably because I was the only Astros fan in sight). But even then, right before gametime, he just didn't seem excited to play. When guys like Bud Norris, Paul Clemens, and even Harrell walked by and chatted, I could tell they were excited because they were going to play baseball that day. They wanted to get going! But Carter was just as chill as ever walking back to the dugout from taking batting practice as if he'd just woken up from a good nap. He has incredible potential as a hitter and I think if he could learn to swing at better pitches he'd be a player that could stick on this team, but I'm losing faith. Anyways, Carter will not get benched. He'll eventually start hitting home runs. But once prospects start coming up and they are performing, Carter could get pushed under the rug or maybe flipped at the trade deadline for some minor pieces.
As for Springer and Singleton, it's hard to say because I don't completely understand when the key dates are for the super two status stuff and things of that nature. I do think it's kind of ridiculous that Springer is being held back at AAA to save $$$ even though he is clearly ready to play at the major league level. It's really cheap and it does dishearten the fans a bit. I think Springer will get called up mid to late May, at the earliest. Singleton will be sometime in June. I want both these guys called up today, but it's just not realistic. If Springer didn't start the year in Houston, he won't be here until whenever the financial key dates are. Stassi, on the other hand, should be here before either of them. I think it's possible he's in Houston in the next couple weeks. But as for Springer and Singleton, we have to wait a little longer. But hey, this isn't as bad as it sounds, we're already halfway through April!
I don't have a lot to say for Correa and Appel other than.. soon. I think it was kind of smart to not let either of them skip Lancaster. Luhnow runs the minor leagues like an assembly line, and it would seem out of place to let someone completely skip a level, even Correa or Appel. Correa will be in AA in mid-May. Appel will be there sometime in June if he continues to at least pitch decent.
I guess all that's left to say is PATIENCE! I'm struggling with it myself, but the better times are coming! We're going to start seeing exciting things soon from this team and it's going to be worth the wait. Just hold on a little bit longer.