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Astros Spring Training Notebook

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You know, it might be helpful to have one post each day during spring training that would function as sort of a notebook. I'm sure Peter Gammons would be proud, but the purpose here is to talk about any number of things that may not justify a whole post or would be too long for a FanShot AND you get it all in one place. At least, that's the idea. What's up in this first edition?

Three out of 100?: Baseball America released it's Top 100 list today and three of Houston's prospects made it. Care to guess who? Tanner Bushue, Brandon Wikoff and Jose Altuve...Nope, not them either. The Big Three of Jason Castro, Jiovanni Mier and Jordan Lyles clocked in at 41, 73 and 91 respectively. The interesting thing was Baseball America went a step further and provided a Best Skill & Grade feature on one of its lists. Jason Castro's best skill is his bat, which BA lists as a 60. A catcher with his defensive skills that can also hit? Yep, that works for me. Jio Mier's best skill is his defense, also listed as a 60. Jordan Lyles had his command praised, with a grade of 60.

I'm not sure what I think about all three of these guys grading out at 60, nor whether Castro's best skill should have been defense and higher than a 60. But, I don't want to quibble here, just reflect that both Lyles and Mier have advanced skill sets already and they're both just 19 years old. Just one more shard of hope to add to this burgeoning farm system Bobby Heck is building.

Here's a nice breakdown of who shows up on the list. The Astros have more players listed than the Dodgers, Pirates, Yankees, Cardinals and Diamondbacks. Ahh, progress!


Fulchino tweaks ankle: Bernardo Fallas tweeted yesterday about Jeff Fulchino spraining an ankle. Today, he updates that Fulchino has aggravated the injury and will be limited in drills for the next few days.

When we talked about different relievers (especially the minor league ones), I tried to say that while I don't think any of our current pitchers will disappoint in 2010, there is always the possibility of them not performing well. Injuries can be a big part of that. If this is the most severe injury Houston's relief corps suffers through this spring, consider us lucky. However, with Lyon already delayed because of that shoulder cyst, the Astros are now two relievers down. Luckily, games don't start for another week...


Astros FO wins award: The Astros front office has won an award for Best Overall Video Display for the fifth straight season. I've always enjoyed the game presentation at MMP, but it's nice to see them be nationally recognized. I've heard that the old video board in the Astrodome was a sight to behold, so this is a good legacy to uphold.


More affiliate talk: Clack had a very informed rundown of the two articles up at chron.com regarding the Astros affiliate issues that could crop up after the season. Zachary Levine was all over the Sugar Land story and actually thought to talk with people down there to get more of the story. What a reporter thing to do...

There were some very interesting things that came out of this, but I'll pose this question to you: would you rather go see independent baseball in Sugar Land or a Triple-A affiliate in San Antonio?


Broadcasting 101: I saw one of MLB Network's Prime 9 shows last night on broadcasters. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, through a bunch of talking heads with former players, coaches and journalists, the show tries to answer all sorts of baseball questions. Who had the most unique delivery? Which home run was most iconic? And so on and so forth. Milo Hamilton popped up on the list, which isn't surprising, since he was given the Ford C. Frick Award in 1992, which is housed at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

With broadcasters on my mind, I saw this guest article over at Baseball Prospectus on how to build a better broadcast. What I want to know from you is: do you like Milo's homer style or would you want someone who could talk about wOBA or first-pitch strikes? For that matter, how many of you listen to baseball on the radio any more?