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Thursday Morning Astros, etc Round Up

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Miguel Tejada has now been around long enough to have been a part of two golden ages of short stops.

As the August 17 signing deadline for draft picks approaches, Baseball Prospectus is featuring a two part installment on the draft and what can be done to fix it. As it stands, there are still 19 first round picks who are unsigned. The slotting system is partially to blame and the strength of the player's union stands in the way of any meaningful change. One interesting quote from an unnamed scout about the draft should hit home with Astros' fans

The good thing about baseball is that the system itself rewards preparation and intelligence and scouting, and punishes those who don't do a good job.

Joba Chamberlain is a tough guy to figure out:

In the Bizarro World that Joba Chamberlain inhabits, the better he pitches, the fewer times he'll get the ball, while the worse he pitches, the more starts he'll get between now and the finish line.

Come again?

TangoTiger looks at whether Pitcher Abuse Points actually work in determining the risk associated with pitch counts and starting pitchers. He basically shows that he can't prove that it does, and that people put too much stock into this theory.

I think it's safe to say that we have our fair share of free time on our hands. Do you ever think you'll have enough time to figure out the Astros' record based on the particular uniform worn? One guy did. It's amazing how little we wear our "primary" road unis: the grey uniform with black cap. I guess Drayton likes the red unis the most.

If Dustin Pedroia was the 2008 MVP, then Aaron Hill should be in the running this season. Oh, what's that? Pedroia plays for RedSawx Nation and Hill doesn't? Oh, well in that case. Yea, yea- I know Boston was a relevant team last season and the Jays are a middling club this season...but still.

***Trivia Question****:

I was listening to Mike and Mike in the Morning yesterday, and Jason Stark posed the following trivia question to the guys:

Can you name the six active major leaguers who have nine or more career seasons of 100+ RBI?

[**DQ Insert**]

Richard Justice checks in with Drayton McLane to see what this season's poor attendence holds for the 2010 Astros. What found isn't encouraging for anyone hoping for a splashy free agent signing:

Drayton won't say what his payroll will be in 2010, emphasizing only that the Astros likely will get younger and have a lower payroll. Carlos Lee, Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt are signed for a combined $48.5 million in 2010, and Hunter Pence and Wandy Rodriguez are going to get nice raises in arbitration. Jose Valverde and Miguel Tejada could be allowed to depart via free agency, and Bud Norris, Jason Castro, Chris Johnson and Tommy Manzella could be on the opening day roster

With Chris Johnson showing little to actually no improvement in plate discipline at AAA this year and my inherient skepticism at Manzella's defensive ability at SS, I'm a little worried.

Miguel Tejada is apparently a tough cookie to bench.  His argument is a valid one given that my inquiry into what an off day could do for Tejada at the plate revealed in December (that it really only helps his SLG); maybe he doesn't need one, provided the hits keep coming for Miggy.  The article also notes that he's on pace to become the first Astro to collect 200 hits since Craig Biggio did it in 1998.  There's also more explanation on Wesley Wright's trip to the DL. Note to Drayton: Please, please evaluate Coop's ability to manage his relief pitchers this year when considering whether or not to continue allowing him to manage the Astros.

Darin Erstad sings the praises of Michael Bourn's defense in this piece from Brian McTaggart.  I was struck by Erstad's note that:

[H]ow Bourn is able to catch balls that are hit over his head. "In my opinion, that's the hardest ball to make a play," Erstad said. "He's been doing it with ease. Probably the biggest thing is his ability to throw out runners at home. You don't see guys get thrown out from center field very often. That is not an easy throw, and there are very few guys that can do that. Jim Edmonds and Andruw Jones are two that could."

Erstad's evaluation of Bourn's defensive ability is consistent with what has previously been hashed out here at TCB. This discussion even took place over at BtB recently, where it was concluded that yes, Bourn is better than his 2009 UZR would indicate.

With one in the win column last night, Richard Justice concurs with my opinion that our Vitamin Puma deficiency was causing our skid and is starting the bandwagon back up again.  He's even going as far to assert his belief that the Astros could still hit the 90 win mark that Coop predicted.