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Wednesday's Three Astros Things

Talking about Obie's new cutter, Dave Hudgen's excellent quote and headless teddy bears...

Some things to talk about while David Temple updates baseball history for the Selfie Generation...

1) Obiehockey adds a cutter

I'll be honest. I thought about changing the name of today's entry to "Three Spring Training Things," because we're deep diving into spring training news today. Evan Drellich brings us this first one about Brett Oberholtzer, Breakout Candidate. Seems Obie has added a new pitch over the offseason:

"I threw a bullpen (Sunday), I threw about 35 pitches," Oberholtzer said. "Two cutters that were where I wanted ‘em for strikes to righties. Been working on that. I had it in Triple A and it was one of my better pitches, but like anybody, if you're a jack of all trades, you're a master of none. So sometimes, if I spent a lot of time on my changeup, I'd lose my cutter or whatever pitch it may be. So I'm trying to keep it up.

The article has more on why Obie wants to bring the pitch back and how he's working with Brent Strom to be more effective with it.

It also brings back a good point about pitchers "learning" new pitches. Most of them already had pitches. There's not many pitches a guy who's in the big leagues doesn't know how to throw. The reason he doesn't is that it's tough to be consistent with all of them.

That's a great point Oberholtzer made about wanting to streamline his repertoire in the minors and why he's bringing this pitch out of retirement now.

2) Hudgens gets to know the team

Round two of Spring Training Stories is one on the new hitting coach. Evan Drellich checks in with Dave Hudgens on his new job.

"Overall, my first impression of the guys is really positive," Hudgens said. "Take a look at the athletes that we have here with (George) Springer, Jake (Marisnick). (Robbie) Grossman's a good looking hitter. Good looking swing, good looking hitter. (Alex) Presley is impressive. (Carlos) Correa's been in camp for a couple days, very impressive young player. (Jason) Castro's good looking, he's had an all star year. He's capable of a lot of things.

"I think we've got a pretty good lineup. We've got a lineup up and down the order that can do some damage. We haven't even mentioned Altuve."

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that one quote just won Hudgens a ton of supporters. One, he says good things about Bob Grossman. Two, he talks about Captain Correa in glowing terms. Three, he calls Castro "good looking," winning Terri and others over for eternity.

Pretty much exactly what you want out of an early camp story on the hitting coach, before hitters even reported.

3) New team meetings a little creepy

The Astros aren't playing game shows with players and reporters this year. They're just cutting the heads off teddy bears and talking about it.

Well, to be fair, Doug Brocail cut the head off the teddy bear. It was just hung in a locker this spring.

Evan Drellich continues our Spring Three Things with a look at A.J. Hinch's chemistry lab:

"It's been good," catcher Jason Castro said. "Picked on a few people and they had to stand up and kind of answer some questions, some rapidfire questions, about themselves. A.J. has usually done his homework a little bit, and has something prepared he's kind of dug up on him. And they have to either explain themselves or kind of take the hot seat a little bit.

"So it's been fun, getting to know some guys (from whom) you probably otherwise wouldn't hear like the same stories that we're hearing."

This continues the impression of Hinch as a thoughtful guy who's putting some real work into building this team. It's not clear how successful all this will be. After all, we thought Bo Porter's stuff would work. It did not.

Interesting that Hinch singled out both Roberto Pena and Jordan Jankowski, two guys who don't get a ton of love on prospect lists (outside of Pena's defense), but who the organization seems to like.