There's a lot of news on the Astro injury front. Roy O will make his return to the rotation today after experiencing no pain in his bullpen session on Sunday. Which is awesome because another starting pitcher, Mike Hampton, has suffered a pretty significant injury. A meniscus tear isn't like an ACL tear, but it is painful, and for someone who was struggling when he was healthy, this could set Mike back even more. Yorman Bazardo will pitch in Hampton's stead on Thursday if he can't make a go of it. On the opposite end of the injury spectrum, both Lance Berkman and LaTroy Hawkins expect to be activated from the DL before the Florida series is over.
On a semi-miraculous note, Aaron Boone has begun making his rehab starts in Corpus Christi, and thinks he should be ready to roll by September 1. Forget baseball- this is tremendous news for a man who had open heart surgery just four months ago. Congratulations on the speedy recovery, Aaron.
Richard Justice points out that the Astros have to go 35-16 the rest of the way to reach Cecil Cooper's predicted 90 wins. I'm gonna go out on a short limb and say it's not gonna happen. On a more frustrating side of things, Drayton McLane has apparently gone mad:
On Friday, Drayton McLane even mentioned the possibility of bringing Pudge back for the 2010 season.
Why, oh why, oh why? Even if Jason Castro isn't ready (and he probably won't be), there has to be a better option. Pudge has been rode hard and been put up wet too many times. I was at Friday night's game, and his bat speed has visibly slowed, and he doesn't move around well at all defensively. I'm no scout, but this obvious to anyone who's watching.
UZR be damned, says Michael Bourn. The opening paragraph from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Monday morning recap says it all:
The Milwaukee Brewers checked the box score after their game Sunday afternoon against Houston to make sure there was only one Michael Bourn playing center field for the Astros.
The Astros have the good fortune of missing Florida starting pitcher Josh Johnson this time around. He's been under the radar, but FanGraphs is of the option that he's a top ten starter in the NL.
On the minor league front, props to Drew Locke for surpassing the 100 RBI mark for the season. I realize that RBI isn't the stat of choice for saber-heads, but it's still a cool number to achieve for any middle of the order hitter. His career path has shown that progress for him has been slow in coming, due to injury and the inability to hit for power. As a 26 year old AA outfielder this was his best, and possibly, last chance to show something. The question is- has he ever played infield, because our major league OF seems set.
Catcher Jason Castro – the club’s 2008 first-round pick – should be the next significant contributor after surpassing J.R. Towles as the club’s backstop of the future. Castro, 22, began the 2009 season in high-A and hit .309/.399/.517 with seven homers in 207 at-bats. The left-handed hitter was then moved up to double-A where he is currently hitting .304/.358/.405 with two homers in 148 at-bats. His power numbers were probably exaggerated a bit in high-A ball due to the fact he was playing in Lancaster (one of the best offensive parks in minor league ball) and his ISO has dropped from .208 in high-A to .101 in double-A. Regardless, he’s still an above-average offensive catcher who has really improved defensively behind the dish.
The blurb also notes how the Astros have seen solid contributions from farm hands like Hunter Pence and Bud Norris as well the past few seasons. The day we climb out of the cellar in the minor league system rankings, there will be much celebration around these parts.
[DQ Insert so these don't get lost forever]
Brian McTaggart notes that Miguel Tejada needs an off day and that Coop is trying to find the time to do it. It fits pretty well with what I noted in Decemeber, but Coop seems to be showing his tendency to not be able to execute part of his job description (managing players):
"I've been thinking about it," Cooper said. "I really need to do it. I'm sure he wants to play here because he lives down in this area. Maybe on Friday or something like that in Milwaukee we'll give him a break. I've got to find time for him, though, because he definitely needs time off."
An interesting read about regression to the mean, confirmation bias, and the mistakes fantasy owners make. I link it not to discuss fantasy, but to opine that I imagine that MLB GMs also, probably, fall prey to these exact same errors in judgement.