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Richard Justice's Sign and Bud Norris' Health

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The first chance Richard Justice had after the NFL season officially ended, Richard Justice jumped all over the Road to Spring Traning motif. Can't say I blame him on the one hand: baseball, despite the cold weather, fills the void that the NFL has created, and does so ably.

What I can blame Richard for is his ability to jump back and forth between deconstructing everything the Astros' organization has ever done wrong, to praising players like Chris Johnson and Tommy Manzella like they're the next Mike Schmidt and...whoever played shortstop for the Phillies with Jack Schmidt. It's tiresome. Dickie does well with the whole, "home spun, aw-shucks, West Texas galoot" bit, but it's almost compulsive how he can't make up his mind about the Astros. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, until I had an epiphany of sorts.

I know one thing about astrology: Geminis are hot and cold, can't make up their minds sorta people. Richard Justice has to be a Gemini. Just has to be!

Unfortunately, I couldn't find his birthday anywhere on the internet. Not on the Chronicle's website, not on Wikipedia, nowhere.

So I ask you, readers of The Crawfish Boxes, go forth and find the birthday of our good friend Richard Justice. Is he in fact a Gemini? First person to find his birthday wins the esteem of his or her fellow reader. If RJ sees this post today, don't hesitate to comment with your DOB, we're nice people here. Despite the fact that we all live in our mom's basements or something.

Forget going to this place for predicting what the future holds. If it's accuracy in predictions and projections that you want, it's all about one of the old standards: The Sporting News. The Book Blog reviewed the accuracy of 2009 projections from the various sources out there (ZIPS, CHONE, Marcel, etc), and determined that Marcel topped the more new school projections, but The Sporting News fared quite well. Wouldn't have expected that, but ya learn something new every day.

At least one Astro should be happy to hear this news...On the whole, Brett Myers, Bud Norris and Felipe Paulino aren't expected by Marcel to throw that many innings for the Astros in 2010. What's more- since none of those three have a solid amount of big league innings under the belts the past three seasons, Marcel isn't confident in their projections either- with reliability scores below .71 for the trio (.71 on a scale of "1" being absolute, sure thing, permanent ink these stats in for 2010, and "0" being we have no clue).

I'd like to touch on a couple of articles/trains of thought that we've had going on here the past few days. On Sunday, both baggs and I wrote about pitching mechanics (baggs much more ably than I). With pitcher abuse points and innings limits discussed with great regularity in both the mainstream baseball media and in bloggerdom, it was especially cool for baggs to sort of clue us in to the detail and minutae that is pitching mechanics.

One player that caught my eye in his article was Bud Norris. He is a new, fresh face for the Astros and a lot of our optimism is pinned on his right arm. That being said, it was alarming to me to see one specific comment when I went back and re-read a post on Norris that John Sickles did over at Minorleagueball. That comment in full reads:

Not sure what you’re seeing when you watch him, John. But when I watch him, he reminds me so much of Jeremy Bonderman . . .same size, same sort of build, very similar repertoires and pitch selection. He does struggle with commanding the fastball just as Bonderman does as well, though, and unless/until he finds a happy medium, he’s probably doomed to the same erratic track record.

I do like him an awful lot, the fastball/slider combination is certainly impressive. And obviously if he matches Bonderman, that means some pretty decent years along the way. As a reliever, he’d be top notch.

His point that Norris may be better left to the bullpen notwithstanding, I got worried when Bonderman's name came up because he is one the worst abusers of the "Inverted W" pitching motion that Chris O'Leary and baggs both decry. Having similar builds and repertoires makes the comparison even more haunting. Hopefully the good pitching coach Brad Arnsberg brought out in other pitchers can follow him to Houston.

Last, Nike's geographical representation of the various MLB's fan bases. Can we really lay claim to all of Louisiana? Also- can the Rangers' honestly boast that broad a fan base?