Some things to talk about while that new brisket getting shipped into MMP gets some love...
1) Appel on Pitch F/X
Yeah, it's pretty, pretty, pretty good. Baseball Prospectus analyzed Mark Appel's time before the cameras during his exhibition game in Houston just before the season. Their takeaway?
This plot, which shows velocity as a function of Event ID (every pitch/pickoff play/etc. for either team is an event) shows that in the first inning (on the left side of the graph), Appel came in throwing nothing but 96-plus mph heat (and one slider). By the third inning, he had backed off considerably, sitting more at 94-95. Hard to say if the first-inning jump was because he was finally excited about getting PITCHf/x data and really wanted to impress us all, or if it was just because he was pumped to be pitching in a big-league stadium.
I'll admit to being more of the opinion Appel is a future middle-of-the-rotation guy. But, things like this are starting to sway me positively. He's got a mid-90's heater? And a good slider? And a change that's 10-12 mph different from that fastball?
Sign me up.
As a reference, Appel's repertoire is nearly what Mike Foltynewicz has right now. Appel doesn't have quite that velocity, but he's already got a changeup. I would be shocked if this dude spends more than a month in Lancaster. Too bad for Anthony, great for every one of us.
2) Ryan Zimmerman with an arthritic shoulder
This isn't Astros-related, but bear with me. Via HardBall Talk, we learn that Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is dealing with an arthritic shoulder:
But we have to look at Ryan, though, and say "Would I like Ryan to play third?" Yea, I would. For a long time? Yes. But the fact of the matter is, Ryan's got an arthritic shoulder. It gives him problems, and sometimes it's tough on him. So we've started to do some things at first base, with him, where we can give him a break sometimes. ...
This may not be the exact injury Jeff Bagwell went through, but it's close enough that I immediately feel bad for the Nationals. One of my favorite non-Astro players now has a chance to have his career curtailed prematurely, which is sad.
If you remember with Bagwell, he had the shoulder injury for a year or two before actually having it put him on the disabled list. I don't know that Zimmerman's case is that bad, or if it will progress in the same way Bagwell's done. I think there were structural problems in Bagwell's shoulder that Zimmerman isn't dealing with.
However, thinking back to what that injury did to Bagwell in his later years, I feel for Zimmerman and Nationals fans.
3) Name That Astro!
Because of my schedule this week, I don't know if I'll get to many of these posts for the rest of the week. So, let's get this one out of the way now. This week's Guess That Astros came from the 2000's. He only played one season in Houston, getting just 18 plate appearances.
This player wore No. 22 when he was in Houston and had a somewhat unusual name. He always reminded me of a guy who should be more famous or a better player than he was. Oh, and he was a waiver-wire pickup.
Any guesses to the mysterious Astro?
EDIT: I'm such an idiot and should never try to do two things at once. This Astro wore No. 22, NOT 35, which is what Ryan Thompson, the last Name That Astro player wore. Just inexcuseable. Sorry, all.