Some things to talk about as we wait for the trade deadline to expire...
1) The rise and fall of the Regulators - I saw a comment on Twitter last night, criticizing Houston's PR department or the media for pushing a nickname on this particular Astros bullpen before they'd even gotten through an entire season.
It got me thinking about how this unique phenomenon started and how it melted down so spectacularly, so I thought we should run through things here real quick.
The season started with Brett Myers in the bullpen, trying to turn around a disappointing unit from the 2011 season. Houston opened the season with a 3.36 ERA in April from its bullpen. In May, that ERA dropped to 3.06.
It was around the first of May that the Regulators nickname started. The first time I've found mention of it was in this article by M.K. Bower over at Fox Sports Houston. Four days later, Brian McTaggart wrote about it in a notebook at astros.com.
On May 16, the first home game since the nickname came out, Rhiner Cruz and Wesley Wright entered the game to Warren G's smooth sounds. After the game, Myers again reiterated the Regulators nickname in his comments. That was also the first time relievers broke out their Regulators t-shirts.
On May 26, Wesley Wright and Wilton Lopez lost a game late to the Dodgers on what shaped up to be a disastrous road trip for Houston. Two days later, Brett Myers and Fernando Rodriguez each lost one end of a doubleheader in Colorado.
Four days after that, Fernando Rodriguez was charged with another loss, his sixth of the season. By the end of the month, things had fallen apart, but it got much worse in July. So far this month, Houston has blown eight saves and lost eight games while winning one from the bullpen.
In June, they had an ERA of 7.03 with a 6.48 ERA in July. By July 21, Myers was headed to the White Sox a day after two more Regulators were shipped up to Toronto. By last night, it's safe to say the nickname was finished.
2) Trade deadline thoughts - Not to throw more praise at Jeff Luhnow for setting this team up to lose 100 or more games this season, but his move to trade Brett Myers before the trade deadline was pretty inspired.
Why? Just look at the the returns for Brandon League and Brad Lincoln. Both were paid less than Myers, both were younger (slightly) and both were more effective.
You could argue that Travis Snider by himself is more value than any of the three players included in the Myers deal, but combined, Houston has more of a chance of getting one solid regular out of those three than by betting everything on a player already in the majors and about to get more expensive.
As for the Dodgers deal for League, you could argue that those two prospects are better than what Houston got, but neither profile as regulars. I don't think you can call a deal without a big league regular in it a better deal than what Houston got.
By striking first, though, Luhnow was able to set his own price for Myers and get it before the market sorted itself out. If Myers were still with the team now, and Houston were trying to move him, his value would be downgraded some by these deals, right? If Seattle took that package for League, wouldn't a team argue that Myers, who was owed more money and wasn't as good a closer, should go for less than that? Would Luhnow have gotten his PTBNL if he had waited until today?
Just a nice move, setting the market instead of waiting for the market to dictate his price.
3) Some Cape analysis - If you're wanting some 2013 draft talk, check out this analysis by Beyond the Box Score on the prospects from the Cape Cod League.
The standouts here are Samford's Phillip Ervin, who put up a great season at the plate and on the basepaths. He had the highest wOBA of any player on the Cape and stole nine bases. It's too early to talk about where his draft stock will be, but that's an awful impressive start. He could find himself in the first round if he performs well next year.
The other impressive performance is Austin Wilson, who's making a case for himself in the top half of the first round next year. He had a wOBA of .462 with six home runs and the second-highest OPS+ on the Cape. He could be the rare Stanford player who transcends the "batting approach" negative hung on Cardinal prospects and improves his stock from high school through college.
Anyone else stand out to you?