Bud Norris has been the center of trade talks since last July. The rumors have swirled around the 28 year old right-hander for a year now. There was speculation he would be on the move this February. The July 31st trading deadline is quickly approaching and yet, Bud Norris is still a member of the Houston Astros. Right now, Norris is one of the best and most popular pitchers on the trading block. Bud is 6-8 with a very, very solid 3.63 ERA and 81 strikeouts with only 36 walks in 114 innings under his belt this season. Considering how bad the Astros currently are, Norris’ numbers are extremely attractive and could seriously help a contender down the stretch.
In the state of the Astros, trading Bud is the most sensible option. He is already 28 years old, and does not figure to be a part of a good (if not stellar) young rotation in the not so distant future. The Astros are still in a rebuilding phase, and if Jeff Luhnow gets the right deal, he will not hesitate to pull the trigger. The Astros have all of the leverage here, as they do not have to trade Norris. Norris is under team control for the next three years and is only making 3 million a year. (Insert jokes about how 12 MLBers make more than the whole Astros payroll here) Cheap and controllable with strikeout potential, he provides considerable long-term value for inquiring teams.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, should the Texas Rangers not land starting pitcher Matt Garza at the deadline, they are going after Norris. The other teams who are calling for Bud are the Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox and more. All of these teams are abundant with talented prospects, and Luhnow is poised to make a deal.
Since the Astros have all of the leverage, Luhnow will absolutely get the deal he wants. Some team will over pay for Norris, which is exactly what the Astros need in terms of long term success. I love Bud Norris as much as the next fan, but it just does not make sense to hold on to him. Tonight could mark his last start at Minute Maid Park as a member of the Houston Astros, so go watch him while you can. July 31st is just around the corner.
Hector Ambriz is the reason some fans don’t want to spend their money at Minute Maid Park this season. Hector Ambriz symbolizes losing. He symbolizes blown leads, saves, and homeruns. Hector Ambriz symbolizes everything that is wrong with the Houston Astros. Anytime Ambriz trots out of the bullpen, a feeling of hate runs through my body, and I get the hint that all Astros fans feel the same way.
Lets just look at the numbers. Ambriz is 2-4 with a whopping 5.40 ERA. That’s bad. Whats worse? He has pitched in 33.1 innings and has surrendered 46 hits! His hits per 9IP is a whopping crazy number of 12.42. For the traditional baseball fan who does not understand how bad that is, let me explain. H/9 is the average number of hits allowed by a pitcher in a 9 inning period. Ambriz’s is over 12. Horrendous.
Hector Ambriz was sent down to Triple A OKC two weeks ago due to his poor performance. In Triple A, Ambriz went 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA, but he only pitched in four games so it is an extremely small sample size. A move like recalling Hector Ambriz back to Houston is one that tests the fans patience. A true and loyal fan will stick by his or her team no matter what, but sometimes moves like this make is seem like the Astros are trying to lose. General Manager Jeff Luhnow has many options at his disposal. In AAA, he has Jarred Cosart (who dazzled in his MLB debut hurling 8.1 scorless innings), Brad Peacock, Asher Wojciechowski, Jason Stoffel, or Josh Zeid. Essentially, anybody but Hector Ambriz. I understand getting the number one overall pick again is great, but respect the fans a little bit.
If the Astros need a guy to come in and blow leads religiously and make millions doing it, I KNOW I can do that.
Last Sunday, starting pitcher Lucas Harrell was demoted to the bullpen due to wildly inconsistent numbers. What I was hoping for and most Astro fans were hoping for is happening. Top pitching prospect Jarred Cosart is getting the call.
This is a huge move. For those who do not know, Cosart is the first of many top prospects awaiting their call to Houston. This move symbolizes the beginning of the Astros way back to the top. The last Astros pitching prospect to have hype like Cosart does, was a guy named Roy Oswalt. Spoiler alert, that turned out to be pretty darn awesome. Here’s the better news. The Astros have five or six more prospects just like Cosart to have the hype that Roy Oswalt had. Those men go by the names of Mike Foltynewicz, Asher Wojciechowski, Mark Appel, Lance McCullers, and of course, Jarred Cosart. Can we speed up to next year or 2015 already?
Cosart, 23, went 7-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 18 games (17 starts) for the RedHawks this year.To make room for Cosart on the 25 man roster, the Astros have optioned 24 year old outfielder Jimmy Paredes back to Triple A Oklahoma City.
Jarred Cosart’s scouting video
This season has not gone particularly well for the Houston Astros, and it certainly has not gone well for a certain 28 year old right handed starting pitcher. That pitcher is Lucas Harrell. He was been wildly inconsistent to a tune of a 5-9 win loss record and a 5.04 ERA. There is no way around it, the guy has been absolutely miserable to watch. It would be one thing for him to struggle if he was just hit hard, but what irks me is that he gets hit hard AFTER walking guys. He has 53 (yes FIFTY THREE) walks in 103 innings pitched. That is atrocious.
Coming into the 2013 season, Harrell was supposed to be a bright spot in the rotation coming off a career year in 2012. Last year, he went 11-11 with a 3.76 ERA. He had 78 walks but he had way more innings under his belt. He is well on pace to break that single season high this year, and its not even close. This season Harrell has not taken the high road when it comes to addressing his struggles. Blaming everything from defensive shifts, teammates errors, lack of run production, and even the pitching mound. Heck, hes even blamed the weather. When asked to comment on his recent demotion, he said, “I don’t want to talk about it.” What he should of said was something along the lines of, “I’m going to go to the bullpen and work on my mechanics and hopefully be back in the rotation soon and help my team out anyway possible.” Or something like that.
The club has not decided who will take his place yet, but I’m hoping for a Jarred Cosart sighting. One can only hope, I guess. I’m also hoping Harrell gets traded, but there is no value there anymore. Till next time, shut your mouth and do your job, Lucas.
The Houston Astros, as I mentioned in my last post, are a team that is going absolutely nowhere this season. This past week, they lost three of four games in a four game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. They were shut out the first two games of the series an lost in dramatic fashion again on Thursday, July 4th. Sure, the Rays are playoff contenders and are far and away better than our local 9. However, the Astros are a Major League Baseball team and did not put up any fight the first two games of the series. Monday, July 1, the Astros lost to the Rays to a whopping score of 12-0. Tuesday they didn’t fare much better, losing 8-0. Tuesdays game I don’t feel as bad about losing to Cy Young Award winner David Price. I think we all knew the outcome of this game heading into it. The third game on July 3rd, actually went the Stros way, as they went on to beat Tampa Bay 4-1, with Leftfielder/First Baseman Chris Carter slamming two homeruns, including a massive 3 run tie breaking homerun in the 7th inning. Lastly, Thursdays contest on July 4th provided plenty of fireworks. Unfortunately for the Astros, They lost in eleven innings. They tied the score at 1 in the 4th inning when Brett Wallace smashed his 2nd homerun of the season into the Landrys Crawford Boxes in left field. Later on in the 6th, They took the lead with Jake Elmore’s sacrifice fly to deep right field to score Brandon Bsrnes. Unfortunately on this play, the Astros youth caught up to them, as Jimmy Paredes, who was on second base, did not tag up and advance on the play. Luckily for him, the Astros couldn’t muster anymore offense in the inning so no harm no foul. Late in the game, the Rays took a 5-2 lead with a Yunel Escobar double to seep centerfield. With the game already being the 8th inning, the punchless Astros are usually very unlikely to make a comeback. Not so fast says Brett Wallace, as he slammed his 2nd homerun of the day to tie the game at five a piece. That would be in for the Astros offensively as the Rays took the lead once again in the 11th inning. The Astros lost the series, and aside from the first two games of the series, they provided some good baseball against one of baseball’s better teams. Unfortunately, the schedule does not gat any easier, as they travel to Arlington to take on the Texas Rangers Friday through Sunday. We’ll have a weekend recap coming on monday. Baseball is a funny game. Who knows, maybe they will surprise us all and themselves and take the series vs the Rangers. We shall see.
The Astros have had two straight years of futility losing 106 games in 2011 and 107 in 2012. Will they lose 100 games for the third straight year? Well, they currently are on pace to do so, having the second worst record in Major League Baseball (30-52) only one game better than the lowly Miami Marlins. For Astros fans across Texas who are glass half full people, this could be a not so bad thing. For glass half empty fans, well, this is a train wreck. The good news here is that general manager Jeff Luhnow is constantly improving the minor league system, which in now 4th best in baseball. They have had the number one overall pick the last two years and if things go according to plan, they will have the number one pick for the third straight year. Having this not so great record of three straight number one overall picks ensures that the future is bright for this young club. And who is to say this team will for sure lose 100 and have the worst over all record? I am not ready to dub this team with that honor just yet. Three of their top ten prospects will make their way to Houston this year, barring injury.
Lets start with George Springer. This guy is incredible. He currently leads all minor leagues in homeruns (21) and is in the top 5 in RBIs. He just got promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City. He could be the next Torii Hunter if he is what they say he can be. After this brief stay in OKC, he should be roaming centerfield in Houston for the ladder part of the 2013 season. The next man we will discuss is Jonathan Singleton. At the beginning of the season, Singleton was dubbed as the number one first base prospect in all of baseball. Unfortunately for him, he could not stay off the pipe and was suspended for the first 50 games of the season for testing positive for marijuana. He is back now in Triple-A OKC and doing what Jonathan Singleton likes to do, which is hit massive homeruns. Could this be the second coming of Jeff Bagwell? Time will tell. As of right now, all signs point to yes, if not better than the great Baggy. The last prospect on the list to make debuts in Houston is starting pitcher Jarred Cosart. The Houston born hometown kid is living out a dream. Born in Houston, grew up going to Astros games the Astrodome and is now on the cusp of pitching in an Astros uniform. This kid nails 100 miles per hour on the radar gun and is dominating Triple-A hitting. He is making it look easy, posting a 7-4 win loss record along with a 3.05 earned run average. Expect big numbers from the young 22 year old when he hits Houston this summer.
With the emergence of these young guns, I cannot necessarily say that this team will be last place with 100 losses on the season. Time will tell. For those loyal Astro fans following every pitch, like myself, my advice is to enjoy the ride. In a few years, this team will be going places. Take that to the bank.