Some things to talk about while Colby Rasmus celebrates with his shirt off again...
1) Carlos Correa, awesome
FanGraphs' Chris Mitchell broke down just how good he was by comparing him to other rookie performances over time. It could make you pretty giddy.
Correa had one heck of a rookie campaign, and was a big part of the Astros' unanticipated run to the playoffs. But most remarkable of all, he did almost all of it as just a 20-year-old. He's still a baby by baseball standards — and by many non-baseball standards, for that matter. Still, in spite of his youth, he very well might be the most talented player on the field in tonight's wild card game. He's already that good; and hitters who are that good at 20 are often great in just a few years' time.
I know I'm supposed to be a big sabermetric proponent. I shouldn't care about things like clutchiness or heart or grit or bunting a runner over. But, Correa makes me wonder if there's something to this intangible thing.
Why does it seem like every team Correa is on wins and wins big? Throughout his minor league career, Correa led his team to the postseason. He won a ring in his first full season. He just seems to make the players around him better.
Now, this could be misleading, since his callup to this Astros team happened after Altuve had developed, after Springer was here and a host of other things.
Still, I wonder if he's got some intangible quality to just make this team better. To lead them to the promised land. To be the hero we need.
And then I think how great it's going to be to watch him develop over the next few years. If he's already making me irrational and he just turned 21, what will he be like in his prime?
2) What is this team's weakness?
The question in that headline is misleading. This team has weaknesses. Every team does. It's just impossible to build a team that has no flaws. Every team has a weak bottom of the order, or a fielder who can't field, or a pitching staff held together with chewing gum and Edinson Volquez.
But, as I look at the Royals, I can identify one big, glaring weakness right off the bat. Their pitching staff is pretty bad. It's been bad for a while. That's why they got Johnny Cueto, and he's been bad as a Royal. To win this series against the Astros, he'll need to do better.
With the Astros, though, a glaring weakness doesn't stand out as much. Is it the bullpen? Well, maybe, except they were pretty good for most of the season and the only real "weakness" is the lack of a big-name, dominant guy at the back. Is it the strikeouts? Yeah, they're bad. But I don't think of those as a weakness. They're more of a feature of this roster. It's what gets you all those home runs.
So, what is it? The catcher position? The bench? What will Royals fans point to as the reason they can win this series?
3) Nicknames, glorious nicknames
I love this particular Astros team for a lot of reasons, but a big one is all the nicknames. I love El Oso Blanco. I love Panda Crusher. I love Trogdor.
But, as I haven't been around for many months, we haven't really had a nickname beat reporter on the site for a while. So, let's hash some things out. Go with me.
- I really like Keuchelangelo. It needs to catch on, even though it's long and harder to type that Beardo's real name.
- Hank Conger called Correa "The Franchise" last night. I like it slightly more than "Captain Correa." Thoughts?
- Colby Rasmus feels like he needs an epic nickname, especially after that home run. I'm sort of scared to think about what it might be though. His shirtless celebration pictures and lotion in the hair could lead to some dark places.
- Can we get a ruling on #HustleTown? Do we like it? Is it worth using? I mean, it's not Clutch City. Maybe we let that one breath.
- Are we all settled on "GoGo" for Carlos Gomez. It's a lot of fun and really fits his personality, I think.
- Anyone else need a nickname? Valbuena? Lowrie? Hinch?