What Astros fans don’t want to hear

The Astros are definitely in the midst of rebuilding. Fans are screaming in agony, and begging for victories. People are consumed with signing free agents, making trades, and various other moves that are actually counter-productive to what the Astros are trying to do.

With all of that said, I’ll say this: I want them to lose. I want them to lose a lot.

Hate me yet? I know some who do for this philosophy, yet this is not a question of my fandom. I’m a season ticket holder, I’m a blogger, my work office and home are decorated in the new (old) blue and orange, and I own more Astros shirts, hats, and jackets than one should be allowed to.Okay, enough about my wardrobe.

Brandon Barnes can catch almost anything that stays in the park (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

Aside from fifteen victories and a position or two in the standings, what is the difference between a 65 win team and an 80 win team? Last I checked neither record gets you into the playoffs.

Secondly, what are one or two moves going to do? Let’s pretend the Astros in their current state traded for Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera, who are arguably the best pitcher and best hitter in the game. Verlander would only pitch every fifth day, so what would happen in the other four? Cabrera would have no protection in the lineup, therefore pitchers would pitch around him, giving him very little to hit, thus limiting his production.

These are about the two most drastic and impossible scenarios that could happen, and despite that, they’re still not a playoff team, much less a World Series contender.

Instead, we keep on the current plan. We lose games. We hoard draft picks. We focus on player development.

What is the end result of said actions? Think of some variation of the Cardinals, Braves, or Rangers organization. All three are now deep in pitching, deep in prospects, and perennial contenders. That is the end goal. That’s the path we’re on.

Just a few years ago, the Astros had the worst farm system in baseball. Through a series of trades and excellent drafts, it’s gradually progressing into one of the best. There is a whole generation of players in the various levels of the minor league system that you’ve never heard of yet, but in due time you will see them starting All Star games, winning Silver Sluggers, Gold Gloves or MVPs. They’ll be leading the organization deep into the playoffs and hopefully to the World Series.

We are on the cusp of Jonathan Singleton, George Springer, and Carlos Correa mashing home runs. We are going to be blown away by the unimaginable speed of DeLino DeShields, Jr. We are going to be amazed by the incredible pitching depth that we already have and are adding to.

It’s going to take a few years, but it’s going to be an exciting time to be an Astros fan in the future. However, to reap the benefits of the future, you must endure the present. I am confident enough in the plan of Mr. Luhnow that the long-term success will leave their current state as no more than a distant memory.

 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.bennett.756 Bill Bennett

    You’re dreaming!You’re putting all your eggs in one basket thinking the fram will give us all the great players we need and you should know thats dreaming.. No one said rebuilding won’t be hard, we knew that, We just hate the lies we were told. We hate being laughed at at every turn, being cheap at everything, fans treaded as dirt and YOu know thats the truth. 50 years I’ve seen this team grow and rebuild, but this is too much.

  • Jordan

    Yes, everyone is upset by the business side of the Astros. I think Reid Ryan will do a great job of repairing fan relations as long as Mr. Crane hands him the keys like he did for Luhnow.

    I’m very happy about the baseball side of operations. Luhnow is doing exactly what he said he would do. Focus on the draft, player development, and build a winning culture that starts at Low-A and filters all the way to the majors. Low-A won a championship last season and this season every minor league team has a winning record for a combined record of 91-63. There are a lot of prospects to be excited about and like you said, the second half of this year we will begin to see them at the big leagues and every year to follow!

    Not to mention I’m excited about the June draft!

  • http://twitter.com/gbroze George Broze

    I agree with rebuilding. I don’t want to go after high-end free agents. After that your logic escapes me.
    1. Their absolute worst area is pitching, but the prospects you list are hitters. “We are going to be amazed by the incredible pitching depth that we already have and are adding to.” Oh, please. Incredible depth? You are ridiculous. No depth is the actual case.
    2. The difference in 65 wins or 80 is Making progress. Learning to win. Showing continuous improvement. The difference in 40 and 65 wins is disaster vs. bad team. Do you think they are going to be a disaster for years and overnight become good? That, my friend, is wishful thinking.
    3. “Player development” means that players actually develop. What we have is Altuve, a few cast-offs (Carter, Pena, Cedeno, Ankiel), and a bunch of guys who have been drifting up and down from AAA to AAA+ for 2-3 years: Wallace, Paredes, Maxwell, Martinez. Those last guys show no signs of improvement. In fact, some are regressing. I see slivers of hope for Castro, Corporan, Laird and Dominguez. But I mostly see placeholders who will not amount to anything. To paraphrase the adage, “If you have wishes in one hand and crap in the other…”

    • astrosince1975

      Thanks for commenting George. Derrick has a job that requires him to work on weekends, so let me try to help him out a little here. I am the site’s editor and although my opinion will certainly be different than his, here’s what I think on the subject.

      I agree that pitching is the biggest problem on the team right now. While we don’t have many blockbuster names in the minors, Luhnow has added a considerable amount of depth to a system that was basically barren. Mike Foltynewicz and Jarred Cosart are a couple of guys that you may or may not be familiar with. Folty is only 21 and has already made major strides since being drafted in the first round straight out of high school. He throws 100 m.p.h.! Cosart has always been a highly touted prospect with a great arsenal of pitches. He seems to be finally putting it all together at AAA this season and should be in Houston by September. Asher Wojciechowski is another guy to be on the lookout for and Lance McCullers was a great pick in the last draft.

      The big league team is definitely a disaster at the moment and you’re right, that won’t change overnight. Of the guys you mention above, only Altuve & Dominguez (and possibly one of the catchers) should be in the long term plan. Robbie Grossman could turn into a nice player and Domingo Santana, currently at AA, could be a star.

      Right now the team is tough to watch and there’s no guarantee that the guys we have in the minors will solve the plethora of problems. All we have right now is hope.

      • http://twitter.com/gbroze George Broze

        I should make my screen name “I remember the Houston Buffs”. (barely) The Astros’ franchise came into existence in 1962. Our 1st 20-game winner was Dierker in 1969. Our 1st .300 hitters were Menke and Alou in 1970. Our 1st winning season was 1973. I honestly don’t want to wait that long again.
        I’m all about hope. I just can’t take a bunch of rah-rah cheerleading for a dreadful team. To sort of restate my position, I don’t want quick-fix free agents. I want signs that (a) the leadership is on the same page, (b) the manager is making good decisions, (c) the players we have are improving and (d) the minors/draft are going well. I think we have evidence of (d). The jury is out on (a-c).

    • http://www.facebook.com/derrick.brannon.9 Derrick Brannon

      George,

      My comments related to pitching had absolutely zero to do with the Major League roster. I was indeed referring to McCullers, Cosart, Folty, Wojo, and the pitchers to be drafted in June this year and the next. We have some power arms in the minors.

    • http://www.facebook.com/derrick.brannon.9 Derrick Brannon

      I also drew a comparison between 65 and 80 for a purpose. You taking it down to 45/60 was to the extreme. I didn’t go there. You did.