Some things to talk about while Bud Selig becomes a villain...
1) Astros holding workout at Austin Meadows' High School
Semi-interesting news broken by Peter Gammons. It appears Houston will be holding one of it's three pre-draft workouts at the high school of one Austin Meadows.
Make of it what you will--The Astros are holding their pre-draft workout not in Houston butat Grayson HS in Georgiam Austin Meadows' HS— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) April 26, 2013
You may know Meadows as one of the guys in the running for the top overall pick. Another toolsy outfielder from Georgia, this workout gives Houston the chance to work out guys like Clint Frazier at the same time, just as they did last year.
Is it weird that they're holding this pre-draft workout at a high school? On the surface, maybe. But, I'll point out that we're not really sure where they held it last season. We just got that they held it in Atlanta. I'm assuming it was not at the Braves ballpark or any of the Braves' minor league affiliates parks. So, where does that leave them?
Gammons has been on an anti-Crane binge lately, too, so that might explain why he's trying to blow this out of proportion. I would expect him to have a better handle on the fact that Houston and Jeff Luhnow do these pre-draft workouts all over the place, though.
2) Jack Z running out of time
Yep, everyone's favorite Mariners GM may not have time left to see his rebuild there come to fruition. At least, that's according to this latest report from Ken Rosenthal (h/t to Hardball Talk). It's not surprising, since young stars that Jack Z hung his hat on like Justin Smoak, Jesus Montero and Dustin Ackley have terribly underperformed to this point.
However, it brings up two relevant points from the Astros' perspective. First, how much time will Jeff Luhnow get? If he's still struggling to bring up successful big leaguers in four years, will he get more time? What if guys like Carlos Correa or George Springer don't pan out?
The other thing it reminds me of is how much the M's seem to be this AL West division's new Pittsburgh Pirates. I don't mean with the futility and tons of losing seasons so much as the fun Houston has in beating up on them. For years, the Astros may have been bad, but they could at least beat up on one team in the NL Central. If the Mariners take Pittsburgh's place in that respect, I'll be sort of happy.
3) Houston's arch-nemesis
Another fun piece from Grant Brisbee, who uses the voodoo of advanced statistics to figure out each franchise's arch-nemesis. Who's Houston's?
Houston Astros (Full table)
OPS: Nomar Garciaparra (1.104)
tOPS+: John Boccabella (.867)
Just missing at #11: Jeff Francoeur, a career .320/.366/.586 hitter against the Astros.
Rk Player PA HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip tOPS+ ▾ 1 John Boccabella 158 6 19 .286 .353 .514 .867 .327 195 2 Eric Owens 110 2 11 .382 .427 .520 .947 .398 184 3 John Bateman 137 6 14 .341 .353 .530 .883 .348 182 4 Mark Whiten 145 9 32 .336 .441 .622 1.063 .365 179 5 Spike Owen 161 4 12 .305 .421 .496 .918 .319 175 6 Dick Bertell 139 3 10 .333 .391 .452 .844 .364 173 7 Chris Young 180 10 40 .333 .406 .609 1.015 .359 168 8 Mark Parent 140 8 22 .278 .333 .524 .857 .287 164 9 Duffy Dyer 146 1 9 .317 .404 .405 .809 .402 161 10 Ramon Hernandez 135 7 24 .333 .407 .558 .966 .340 158Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Boccabella's career OPS+ is 62. His career WAR is -0.3. Yet he demolished a team that played in the Astrodome.
Do you have any idea who Boccabella is? Is anyone else pretty shocked that Jim Edmonds isn't first on this list?