Posted: 12:00 p.m. Monday, Sept. 2, 2013
By David Coleman
Some things to talk about while I labor on Labor Day...
Basically, if there's a power/speed threat in the minors, then George Springer has been compared to him. If it's not the Daryl Strawberry mentions as the last guy to go 40/40, then it's a catcher mentioning Wil Myers in the same breath as Springer.
That'd be Myers, one of the best prospects in baseball last season, btw.
He's got unbelievable ability. I played this game a long time...and I haven't really seen that ability. The only guy I could maybe compare him to was Wil Myers, who was with us last year. Very similar players. Springer can run better than Wil. As far as power and the way they swing the bat, those two guys are better than everybody else I've seen.
The Myers Plan is an interesting tact Houston could take. Sure, Tampa Bay seems like they're trying first and foremost to maximize Myers' service time so they can get more years out of him. But, they also seem to have brought him up at the optimal moment where he can have an impact right away in the majors, instead of that rookie bounce where he struggles, Bob Grossman-style, for months.
I still don't like the fact that George Springer isn't in the majors, but I'll take more of these lofty comparisons every day of the week.
In case you missed it, Brett Oberholtzer pitched the first complete game shutout for Houston this season. It was also the first by an Astros rookie since Taylor Buchholtz was spinning pitches to home plate in Houston. Oh, and he also pitched with a scoreless tie until the bottom of the ninth, so the difficulty level was sky high.
I loved this exchange between Obiehockey and Altuve that David Barron related in the game story:
Altuve did, indeed, get him one and the Astros would go on to win, thanks to a nifty play by L.J. Hoes in foul territory. It's one more improbably successful start for Oberholtzer, as he continues to throw one pitch and still be effective. He's also single-handedly turning that Michael Bourn trade into a win for Houston, amirite?
Seattle's lineup won't be confused with the '27 Yankees any time soon, but it's nice to see both a pitcher stepping up like this, throwing a slightly elevated number of pitches and still get the complete game. With Houston's bullpen, everyone was probably hoping for Obie to stay in there as long as possible.
That anecdote above from the game story is also a great, little thing. It's all about this team growing and coming together. Eventually, this team of disparate minor league parts needs to jell into something better. The players need to know they can rely on each other and have confidence the guys out there will come through. Sunday may have been the first parts of that shining through, which is about as much encouragement as we can hope for in this final month of the season.
Wendy Thurm has a great article with pretty graphs for those of us who prefer not to actually read anything. She's talking about the Forbes articles again. Even though we said on the podcast that we'd all prefer that story go away, Thurm does some great work to show exactly when other teams that have had massive drops in salary actually spent again.
The good news? They almost all returned to previous levels. The bad news? It didn't always happen quickly.
Again, the Astros' payroll cuts have been far deeper than any of these teams, so it's not an entirely fair comparison to ask whether Houston's rebuilding will look more like one of these teams than another. The Astros had unique problems and are approaching them in a unique way. Still, these teams provide a marker by which we can judge Houston as its rebuilding process continues to unfold.
Go check out the charts in Thurm's article. I'm surprised that even the Royals spent money pretty consistently even after gutting the roster. The Marlins, too, saw their payroll grow despite all the periodic rebuilds. So, I guess there is a trend of even the cheapest major league owners spending money after a tear-down.
That won't pacify those of you who are convinced Crane doesn't have any money and won't ever spend money on the major league team, but I feel better about the trends than I did before reading her article.