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Before Astros spring game #3, Check out some linky goodness

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Have you always wanted to combine your love of both sabermetrics and school? Well, here's your chance to meld the two together. Looking at the class intro, I realized that I hadn't seen VORP utilized in quite some time. It's times like this that I miss Fire Joe Morgan.

ESPN's Rob Neyer has an interesting take on Tim Marchman's article which ranks MLB's GMs. Neyer makes a decent point about why we're forced to sometimes read articles like this:

But for a nuanced take, you would literally have to make dozens and dozens of phone calls to figure out which of the stupid things were done because (among other possible reasons) the owner demanded it. Everyone inside baseball can tell you about a stupid move ordered by the owner, or a smart move vetoed by the owner. Or vetoed by a layer of administration between the owner and the general manager....

I'm talking about a book ... and by the time the book is published, three or four of the general managers will have retired or been promoted or been fired....

So what we get instead are lists on the fly, like Marchman's. And that's okay.

Honestly, I had never thought of it this way. Ranking a GM isn't like ranking MVP candidates or draft picks. There is much, much more to analyze and research when it comes to everything that a GM does and does not do.

Nothing is done in a vacuum, and to be honest, nobody, not Tim Marchman, Keith Law or the FanGraphs boys, know every detail that goes on in a major league front office. Sure, guys like Law have held jobs in baseball, and writers have ties to the various clubs, but as Neyer notes, owners and front office personnel can give the thumbs up to a brilliant idea overriding what a GM may think, or quash a superb idea that a GM may have had. We just don't know a lot of what happens, and its foolhardy to think otherwise.

Bernardo Fallas keys us in to a few important positional battles happening in Florida. As we've touched on before, there aren't a whole lot of opportunities for turnover this spring, but with a month to go before real baseball begins a lot can certainly happen.

What would be amusing to me (or really frustrating), is if Chris Johnson, Edwin Maysonet and Jason Bourgeois absolutely tore the cover off the ball but had to head back to Round Rock so the Astros could play Pedro Feliz, Kaz Matsui and Jason Michaels. I can't envision a situation where one of the millionaire veterans was told to step aside because a younger player outperformed them in the Grapefruit League. Even if there is little change with how we believe the roster will be constructed, it's worth noting that our AAA affiliate will boast usable pieces for the first time in recent memory.

Offensively,  all of the starting outfield spots for Round Rock (Yordany Ramirez, Brian Bogusevic and Jason Bourgeois), Chris Johnson, Edwin Maysonet, and Jason Castro could conceivably play a role on the 2010 or 2011 Houston Astros. It's not saying much, and it's not as if these players are the most talented in the world, but at least it will enable Ed Wade to look inward rather than outward (Chris Coste, 2009) when seeking help mid season.

It's only been two games, but which non pitchers are having the best start?

  • J.R. Towles, is 4/5 out of the gate, which is probably a good thing for someone who's in competition with arguably the organization's top prospect. I wonder how much defense figures into the decision that Brad Mills and co. will have to make concerning catcher? Jason Castro is supposedly a fine defender already behind the plate, for what it's worth. Jason is 3/7 so far if you were interested.
  • Chris Johnson hates singles. Just hates 'em, apparently.
  • Yordany Ramirez is perfect so far at the plate.

Yea, yea. I know we can't take anything away from two games, but baseball is here and I want to read too much into the boxscores and dream about Chris Johnson putting it all together!

Last, if you have nothing else to do this weekend, you can read up on the top 2000 prospects in baseball. Seriously though, what's the difference between the 1,678th best prospect and the 1,890th? It would have been fitting for someone in our organization to be ranked last, but we lucked out- one of ours (Jarrod Holloway) is only second to last. It is a little suspicious how three of the last seven prospects are in fact property of the Astros. I mean, we're bad, but this is ridiculous!