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Astros Crawfish Boil: March 23, 2018

Houston Astros news and notes from around the league for March 23, 2018.

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MLB: Houston Astros at Detroit Tigers
Thanks to an injury to James Hoyt, Tony Sipp will make the Opening Day roster in 2018.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, it’s been a rough week for me trying to keep up. We’ll have a great big Crawfish Boil today to recap some of what’s been going on this week.

Not much in the way of tweets these last few days from Brian McTaggart - at least, not Astros baseball-related ones - but we’ll do our best. First, as always, go follow him on twitter!

Here’s what we DO have in the way of Astros tweets from Tags, with one or two thrown in from his able substitute, Oliver Macklin...

Tag’s Tweets

Astros News

A Curveball From the New Tax Law: It Makes Baseball Trades Harder

As President Trump congratulated the World Series champion Houston Astros at a White House ceremony last week, he also heaped praise on himself and congressional Republicans for passing a sweeping tax cut last year. He hailed Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the House’s chief tax writer and an Astros superfan, as “the king of those tax cuts.”

What he did not mention is that the new tax law Mr. Brady helped draft, and which Mr. Trump signed, levies a large new tax on the Astros, and similar franchises across professional sports. (New York Times piece, a must-read)

Sarris: The newest tech in baseball, and how it might finally be favoring the hitter

Athletic piece (paywall, subscription required and recommended) by the incomparable Eno Sarris.

General managers looking for next AJ Hinch

Astros skipper proving to be king of savvy, new-age managers

His star on the rise, Astros’ Alex Bregman is experiencing the dream

The last piece of the Core Four has established himself as one of baseball’s brightest young players.

Which of MLB’s expected contenders is most likely to disappoint in 2018?

From Ted Berg of For The Win: “It’s really, really, really hard imagining the Astros as a disappointment in 2018. They’re returning almost the entirety of a 2017 offense that ranks with the 1927 Yankees among the best of all time in the sport.”

First-round pick J.B. Bukauskas balancing baseball and school as he works toward his degree

Another from the Athletic.

Top 10 lineups entering this season

Yep, the Astros (not the Yankees) are projected to once again be the offensive class of the Major Leagues in 2018.

Prospect report: Astros camp

Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the upcoming season. Some compete for jobs in big league camp, while others vie for spots on Minor League affiliates. Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline will visit all 30 camps this spring, and here he checks in on the Astros.

Astros are now Houston’s model franchise

It is one thing to be the best in the business on the field, which they proved to be last season in winning the franchise’s first World Series, but it seems the Astros are intent on being the best at everything.

Estimating Team Surplus in Jose Altuve’s 2013 Deal

Speaking of the Astros as Houston’s model franchise, here’s a community research piece from FanGraphs looking at Altuve’s potential surplus value going forward in his extension.

Three Bats, Three Arms: Houston Astros

More ooey Jake Kaplan/The Athletic goodness about the Astros.

Astrodome to host one last party before construction to create parking lot

I’ve already got my tickets - hope you do too, because registration is officially closed.

The two key adjustments that led to J.D. Davis’ chance with the Astros

Eno Sarris takes a hard look at JD Davis’ adjustments.

Astros option first baseman A.J. Reed

Enough said about this garbage, but here’s the link if you want to read about this head-scratcher again for some reason.

Astros outfielder, MVP George Springer’s wife shows off more wedding photos on Instagram

A few months after helping the Astros bring home their first World Series win, outfielder George Springer tied the knot with fiancee Charlise Castro in a beautiful ceremony at The Resort at Pelican Hill in California.

Since the wedding, Castro has only shared a handful of photos showing the decorations, the cakes and the back of her dress.

Around The League

Congress’ ‘Save America’s Pastime Act’ would allow teams to pay minor-leaguers less than minimum wage

You read that right. A truly gross, embarrassing, horrible thing that MLB has been lobbying for for years is apparently coming to pass.

MLB Draft prospects to watch: Five high school infielders with standout tools

Yet another paywall piece from The Athletic - subscription required and heavily suggested.

Cobb, O’s reach 4-year agreement

Alex Cobb signed with the Orioles, if you missed it.

The answer on Lincecum depends on the question, but few doubts remain.

Another from The Athletic - it’s been a good week there.

Justin Turner’s fractured left wrist won’t need surgery

Justin Turner was injured on a HBP, but won’t miss too much time and won’t need surgery. The Dodgers will calmly replace from within until he’s healthy, and will maybe see a 1 or 2-win dip in production without him. Still, it’s a noteworthy injury and he deserves our well wishes in his recovery.

MLB Teams With the Most Dead Money in 2018

Fun piece from FanGraphs, check it out.

Sonne: Will minor league baseball’s pitch-clock rules do more harm than good?

More from the Athletic. I’m telling y’all, the subscription is killer value.

The Remaining Path Forward for Minor-League Players

A look from FanGraphs at Congress’ attempt to pass a bill that includes a section called “Save America’s Pastime Act”.

The Comebacker

How a line drive nearly ended the life of Indians pitcher Evan Marshall and changed him for the better (A feature piece at the Athletic)

Rob Refsnyder hit a hole-in-one into the outfield wall for a double

Video link within - a weird, fun play that happened.

A Rebuilding Year: My Way Back to Baseball

Another glorious piece from The Hardball Times.

Aaron Judge, Manny Machado, and the Law of Tampering

Sheryl Ring is a lawyer who writes for FanGraphs - and she hasn’t been well-received here by a certain subsect of the readership. Which is perfectly fine - but still, she writes from a major website and with a lawyer’s perspective on baseball issues, especially with regards to labor laws, and so we’re going to keep featuring her pieces when they’re worth talking about, and this one is. Hope y’all enjoy, and look forward to seeing you in the comments section.

On Caring for One Another

Meg Rowley addresses the self-same negative reaction to Sheryl Ring’s previous post that I mentioned directly above this. Seems a good thing for any baseball fan community to keep in mind - communities like our tight-knit little TCB family here, for example.