Aroldis Chapman allowed an earned run, but it didn't happen the way we expected it would.
Last night, Aroldis Chapman allowed an earned run, after 29 innings of allowing no earned runs and striking out almost every other batter he faced. This was a stimulus that caused at least three responses. First, and maybe most obviously, it made the Reds lose to a team only two games behind them.*
The two Davids conduct a humorous dialogue on all the hot stove happenings.
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
David Raposa writes about music for Pitchfork and other places. He used to write about baseball for the blog formerly known as Yard Work. He occasionally blogs for himself, and he also tweets way too much.
A look at the new-look Astros and the many unknowns currently inhabiting Minute Maid Park.
Since July 1, the Astros are 9-23 and have been outscored 109-163. At the trade deadline, they traded away their two most recognizable offensive stars, Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn. Even before the deadline, Jeff Keppinger was sent packing. The Astros were probably the worst team in baseball before the deadline and were certainly that after it. The obscurity of the Houston lineup caused Larry Granillo to ask how the team would stack up against the Peanuts gang. That may be a stretch, but it seems fair enough to ask how they would stack up against a middling Triple-A team. Given how long Baseball Prospectus authors and our fellow travelers have been calling for rebuilding in the Bayou City, however, it seems unfair to criticize their current futility. Instead, let us provide this introduction to the new-look(-away) Astros.
Could Houston's historically bad squad hold its own against Charlie Brown's band of lovable losers?
The Houston Astros awoke on Opening Day this year knowing they were the worst team in the National League Central. Even with some quality players in Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, and Wandy Rodriguez, the Houston squad was never going to match up against the Ryan Brauns or Albert Pujolses or Joey Vottos of the division. A hundred games later, as the July 31 trade deadline approached, General Manager Ed Wade and the rest of the front office acknowledged that weakness, trading away the club's two best players in Bourn and Pence for a handful of prospects from the Phillies and Braves. Fans already knew that the 35-73 club was out of contention for 2011, but the trades showed them beyond the shadow of a doubt that the team probably wouldn't be good in 2012 (or even 2013) either.
That's all well and good, but it doesn't wash away the fact that, with a .325 winning percentage heading into Monday, the Astros were on pace for the franchise’s worst record and a 110-loss season. Even before Pence and Bourn were traded, Houston was near the bottom of the league in runs per game, but remarkably, the team's offense was actually better than the team's pitching, as the staff sat dead last in runs allowed per game.
Craig looks at Felipe Paulino's surprising resurgence and whether he can continue through the rest of 2011.
It’s not stretching the truth to say that Felipe Paulino was an afterthought heading into the 2011 fantasy season. “Afterthought?” you say. Okay, he was so far off the radar, he was in another universe. After bouncing between the rotation and the bullpen for the Houston Astros the last couple of years, you could be forgiven if you paid scant attention to the right hander. Traded to Colorado last November for Clint Barmes (Clint Barmes! How low can you go?), the Rockies ticketed Paulino for the bullpen despite lacking depth in the rotation.
Justin Turner ships off the VP list almost as soon as he arrived (but for good reasons), but Michael finds a replacement for him in the mountains.
The Value Picks portfolio is an ever-changing one that has occasional graduations and demotions, with new faces coming in every week. This week, Value Picks graduates two members, one tenured and one fleeting in attendance, and brings in two more names you should be aware of in the upcoming weeks.
Bronson Arroyo gets caught kissing, Brad Lidge becomes the latest fallen Phillie, and MLB strikes a blow against concussions.
The time for the optimism of spring is reaching its end, as teams have finalized their rosters in time for Opening Day. This means that a number of clubs have had to accept that some of the injuries that their players have dealt with throughout the spring are not going to heal in time for the games that count. It also means that the disabled list, dormant throughout the spring for even the most injured of parties, is now in use.
Since health is a skill, we can't call the Astros completely untalented.
The Team Injury Projections are here, driven by our brand new injury forecasting system, the Comprehensive Health Index [of] Pitchers [and] Players [with] Evaluative Results—or, more succinctly, CHIPPER. Thanks to work by Colin Wyers and Dan Turkenkopf and a database loaded with injuries dating back to the 2002 season—that's nearly 4,600 players and well over 400,000 days lost to injury—we now have a system that produces injury-risk assessments to three different degrees. CHIPPER projects ratings for players based on their injury history—these ratings measure the probability of a player missing one or more games, 15 or more games, or 30 or more games. CHIPPER will have additional features added to it throughout the spring and early season that will enhance the accuracy of our injury coverage.
These ratings are also available in the Player Forecast Manager (pfm.baseballprospectus.com), where they'll be sortable by league or position—you won’t have to wait for us to finish writing this series in order to see the health ratings for all of the players.
The race to get shortstops while the getting's good could put the Rays in the catbird seat with Jason Bartlett.
The shortstop market is probably the most dynamic component of the Hot Stove position-player market. Lots of teams are looking for help, especially where dire need has sucked unlikely candidates like Jerry Hairston Jr. or Miguel Tejada into the breach on one club last season—a contender, no less! And then there's the perpetuation of players like Yuniesky Betancourt, Cesar Izturis, or Tommy Manzella, easy fodder for die-hard contractionistas dug into Bud's bunker, as well as those grognards terminally committed to bellyaching about something about the game itself—why not the shortage of shortstops as the latest evidence that 30 teams is simply too much of a good thing?
Disappointments about in all three instances, but is there any good news to be found?
Obvious Good Move: You want a good move from a team that is giving Mike Hampton a last chance? It used to be that this sort of desperate effort to hang on was the butt of jokes in venues as obvious as Tank McNamara, when it made light of Steve Carlton's unwillingness to give up 25 years ago. OK, let's see... how about cutting Bobby Crosby? I figure a few A's fans might get a contact high from that.