If you weren't around on Sunday...or yesterday for that matter, you may have missed that the AMP (Astros Minors Podcast) made it's return. It had it's bumps and bruises as we limped through our opening show for the season. But, we think the content is still solid. Join us on Sunday evenings following the Astros Baseball Podcast on Sunday nights in our live thread and drop your questions there. Or, you can drop you questions here.
This week, our mailbag question comes from Trace Baker,
Kevin Comer now a lost cause? Back to extended spring training is not a good sign.
You know, that move was really surprising. I was surprised he didn't get an assignment to Quad Cities. He wasn't bad in Tri-City. His ERA was ugly but it was almost two who runs higher than his FIP and over one run higher than his SIERA. The advanced statistics painted a much better picture for his performance last season.
So, in my mind he had earned a shot at Quad Cities this season. But, as we know, Jandel Gustave and Chris Lee leap frogged him from into the QC rotation after pitching in Greeneville last year. It's not as if he's simply younger than the others, he's the same age as Lee and Gustave. He's older than Adrian Houser. But, he's younger than Andrew Thurman, and a few months younger than Evan Grills. So, I don't think age is a factor.
I was happy to see he was the one to replace Andrew Thurman when he went down for a small injury. But, that turned out to be short lived as his stint lasted just five days and two appearances. He didn't do anything to earn a demotion, statistically. He threw six scoreless innings over two games. He limited walks but didn't strike many out. He induced ground balls and limited hard hit line drives.
What does it mean? All I can gather is that this is a product of depth. You can't make a real case that any of the guys who have been in the piggy-back rotation didn't deserve to be so. All have something about them that have garnered attention at one point or another. The fact he left to make room for a guy who had already been there tells me he didn't earn a demotion. It's simply a factor of depth.
I don't think it's a lost cause. He is really on track/slightly behind many of the college picks from last season that were juniors. Nothing wrong with that. Had he gone to college, he would have been a Junior this year. There is still time for him. I wouldn't say getting sent down to make room for an original rotation arm is a bad sign. It's obviously not a good sign. But, not quite a bad sign either.
How is the entire Blue Jays trade looking now?
Astros receive: Joe Musgrove, Kevin Comer, Carlos Perez, David Rollins, Asher Wojciechowski, Ben Francisco, and Francisco Cordero
Blue Jays receive: J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, and David Carpenter
Well they received a back of the rotation/reliever in Happ who is still with them. Lyon finished the season with them and that was it. Same with Carpenter who was with the Braves the next season.
Astros flipped Ben Francisco to the Tampa Bay for Theron Geith who was recently released. Cordero...let's not even talk about that.
But, Wojo has made it to Triple-A but hasn't pitched this season due to a lat. strain. The Astros appear to have factored him into the future as he's on the 40-man roster.
Carlos Perez is in Triple-A Oklahoma City. He is very well regarded defensively but has struggled at the plate this season as well as after his promotion to OkC last season. So, the struggles aren't new. He hit well enough in the lower levels. He wasn't added to the 40-man in the off-season which exposed him to the Rule Five draft but wasn't picked. The questions with the bat are real. But, he could be a defensive minded backup catcher.
Rollins has pitched better than most expected. He posted a FIP in the 3's in both Lancaster and Corpus last year. He has a good walk rate and a good strikeout rate. He's a lefty which allows him more opportunities than most. The issue is that he's not a heavy ground ball guy and he's 24. Not a good year to make a trip to the DL early in the season. However, he's coming back soon.
Musgrove is the least likely at this point to provide value, which is sad to say. He's struggled with a shoulder injury that caused a pretty significant drop in velocity last season. He's a big bodied pitcher with well above-average control and if his velocity comes back, could be a real guy. The shoulder issue is a true concern, but make no mistake, the talent is there.
The Blue Jays are currently ahead in value since they are getting something out of Happ, but with three guys in the upper minors, the Astros still have a solid chance of getting a lot of good value out of the trade.