The biggest reason I wanted to do a notebook so early in the day is that we had some exceptional articles this weekend that deserved a little more publicity. Yeah, if you don't check TCB over the weekend, you really should. Let me give you some examples why:
Subber10 takes down methylhexanamine and its implications for the three drug suspensions. This supplement, Jack3d, shows more of a problem between the enforcement strategies for baseball and football. I may not be remembering every football suspension, but it seems like they get popped for three reasons, PEDs, masking agents and dangerous weight loss tabs. NFL players use supplements like they are going out of style. In fact, one of the guys on NFL Network this weekend claimed that supplements were a big reason the size and speed of NFL players has taken off in recent years. Why is baseball so much harsher on PED culture? Some would argue that baseball is trying to rid the sport of PEDs while the NFL tolerates the subculture while paying lip service to enforcement. I think the bigger issue is that baseball has failed to adjust its thinking to the weight lifting culture. 25years ago, baseball players didn't lift weights heavily. In fact, it was discouraged. Then, guys started lifting and hitting home runs a mile. They were also using illegal steroids, but still. That bridge was crossed. Baseball players were going to be lifting weights and doing all the things that go along with it, including taking supplements. As long as baseball refuses to realize this, we will have bad decisions like these 50 game suspensions.
I'll be less verbose about the next two articles. Timmy did a great job of showing where this team is at after losing its 60th game while Orem broke down Hunter Pence's future. Both showed some great analysis of the future of the team and what we can expect for the rest of this season.
Wates in town: Austin Wates tweeted earlier this morning (h/t to @AstrosCounty) that he'll be in Houston for 12 hours to hammer out negotiations. Here's what he said:
Just landed in Houston! Let's pray for a productive next 12 hours!
If his nascent twitter account says anything, I really hope Wates signs. He could become my favorite young player, asking questions about science and religion's intersection and why there are no black people on shark week.
More importantly, let's talk about what Wates could want in negotiations. Blue Jays second-round pick Kellen Sweeney signed for $600,000 and was selected 21 picks ahead of Wates. Fourth-round pick Nick Kingham was selected 26 picks after Wates and got $480,000. So, if he's going to sign somewhere in that range, expect him to get somewhere between $500,000 and $550,000.
For reference, the 90th overall pick in 2009 got $391,000 to sign, which appears to be close to slot value.
Service time request: THE BOOK brings up a very good point, in response to a Murray Chass blog entry. Why don't teams come out and admit that they're playing service time hijinx with rookies to maximize club control?
I think there are a couple reasons why they can't say that. First, it would create tension with the MLBPA. While there isn't a new collective bargaining agreement coming up quickly, they don't want players banking statements like that for later.
Second, a player's agent will remember that kind of thing and try to hold the team over a barrel come arbitration time. It's never happened, so we don't know if it'd affect an arbiter's decision, but if the player argued that the team knowingly messed with his service time and he's performed like Tim Lincecum did, he'd have a very convincing case for making more money than the club offers.
ValleyCats like Quevedo: Lastly, here's a note from a notebook chock full of useful tidbits (including some faint praise for yours truly...see how easy it is to get mentioned?). The guys over at 'Cats Corner seem to be very impressed with Carlos Quevedo. We talked about him earlier this season when they did a prospect smackdown with him on one side of the argument.
Now, he's been snubbed from the New York/Penn All-Star Game and they're mad as hell. Well, maybe just mad, but they do make a compelling case. Let me leave the explanation up to them:
The righty has walked only three batters in 56.2 innings - roughly half the rate of the next-best starter - and has 35 strikeouts to go along with it, for an insande 12.7 K/BB ratio. Quevedo has the fifth-best WHIP in the league at 0.99 and has thrown more innings than all but two other pitchers. He tossed six consecutive quality starts early in the year and has allowed more than two earned runs exactly once. He has a solid 3.34 ERA despite being a flyball pitcher in an extreme home run park. If that's not an All-Star, I don't know what is.
That's pretty convincing. Three walks in 56 2/3 innings? Only one appearance where he allowed more than two runs? Sounds like an All-Star to me. A bigger question for you TCBers is how do you view Quevedo long-term? Do you see some decent upside there?