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Astros Crawfish Boil: March 1, 2018

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Houston Astros news and notes from around the league for March 1, 2018.

New York Yankees v Houston Astros
The Spring Training Train waits for no man.
Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Astros World Series legend Charlie Morton will take the mound today for the first time since recording the final out of the seventh game of the World Series in November.

Let’s get right to the action, starting off by continuing our shiny new “Tag’s Tweets” mini segment, shall we? Go follow Brian McTaggart on Twitter, if you don’t already, by clicking this blue button:

Tag’s Tweets

Astros News

No trademark curves for McCullers in debut

Righty used only fastballs, changeups in 2 scoreless innings...and his movement on both pitches were markedly improved over previous years. His offerings look almost impossibly good so far this year.

Gurriel out up to 6 weeks after surgery on hand

Astros first baseman will begin regular season on disabled list; opportunity comes knocking for one of AJ Reed, Tyler White, or J.D. Davis.

For Justin Verlander, spring is for refining his curveball and changeup

This is a paywall article from the Athletic, but again, the site is becoming pretty close to a must-subscribe...even accounting for the presence of writers like Bowden and Rosenthal and Gammons. Jake Kaplan and Tyler Stafford are killing it over there.

Astros dynamo Altuve looks to build off MVP season

After winning American League MVP last season with another great performance in a stellar young career, many wonder what Jose Altuve will do for an encore.

MLB odds 2018: Season win totals betting props highlighted by Dodgers and Astros

The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers will try to return to the World Series in 2018, and they headline the list of MLB season win totals at the sportsbooks.

Astros’ Justin Verlander, Mets ace Noah Syndergaard big fans of each other

Big boys, show ponies, grinders - or any other nickname that sets them apart from nearly all other human beings - Justin Verlander and Noah Syndergaard are of a rare breed of starting pitchers who go deep into games with closer-level velocity.

Game against Astros a reminder for Red Sox

When manager Alex Cora made up the travel squad, it included Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers, Rick Porcello, Hanley Ramirez, and Christian Vazquez.

Cora isn’t being subtle. He wants the Red Sox to remember who eliminated them from the playoffs last season. The Astros knocked the Sox out of the Division Series in four games. Houston then went on to win the World Series with Cora as their bench coach.

Around The League

Sarris: The Padres’ revamped infield offers cascading returns

From Eno Sarris: “Other than at catcher, not a single infielder atop the Padres’ current depth chart was in the same position on opening day last season. That’s good news, because no team in baseball last year was as bad, defensively, on the infield.” (Paywall: The Athletic. Come on, just subscribe.)

Royals Sign Lucas Duda

The Royals have officially struck a deal with free agent first baseman Lucas Duda.

Here Are the 25-and-Under Rankings

Every team in baseball, ranked based on all their players 25 and younger. This is something of an experiment, but I’m still satisfied with the results. An experiment by Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs.

A sabermetric primer: Understanding advanced baseball metrics

The Athletic - Philadelphia posits a primer on SABR stats. Paywall article.

Clayton Kershaw’s Next Contract

Jay Jaffe takes a look at a potential Clayton Kershaw contract in his latest piece over at his new home, FanGraphs.

Banister has high expectations for Lincecum

Right-hander agreed to contract with Rangers on Tuesday.

What the MLBPA’s Grievance Means

Sheryl Ring at FanGraphs takes a look at the MLBPA’s grievance.

Nats monitor Arrieta, but may look elsewhere

The latest on Jake Arrieta rumors, from MLB.com.

We Might Be Observing the Decline of the Windup

Another great piece from Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs.