Tal’s Mailbag: Castro, Catchers and Offense

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Welcome to Tal’s mailbag! Last week, we started an account on Ask.fm, where fans can ask us any questions related to the Astros, and we answer them. This go around there are only a few questions, but hopefully in the next installment there will be loads! So let’s get down to it.

Did Luhnow wait too long to deal one or two excess catchers? The need for backstops has seemed to have dropped to the point where a Castro or Corporan won’t bring as much in return.‎ -Jake

I think you’re right, but we are also assuming that Jason Castro was the main trade bait all along. If the Astros were looking to deal Carlos Corporan instead, then the Astros may be playing their cards perfectly. While many teams will want to have their starting catcher by now (and most do), a backup catcher can be added at any time really. A move may not happen soon, but come time for spring training, I think that a couple of teams could be looking for a solid backstop and Jeff Luhnow will be getting some calls. If a deal doesn’t get done before Opening Day, it will really make me question what the plan was.

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What are the chances that we see a position move by Jason Castro? Make a move to first base and allow for Singleton to get more work in at the AAA level. Singleton just makes me nervous be use I think that if the Astros are going to succeed a lot rides on him making major strides forward.

I’m going to say the chances are slim, but I could see one way an occasional switch could happen. That would be if the Astros don’t trade him (obviously) and Jon Singleton continues to struggle. Having him play first would keep his bat in the lineup, and would also keep his legs fresh from not being in the squat for nine innings. It makes sense to a degree, but only if a catcher doesn’t get traded before Opening Day, and if Singleton is struggling out of the gate.

As of right now, the only offensive piece that the Astros have added is Jed Lowrie, and over the past two seasons, he has struck in 15.38% of his at-bats. The combo of Marwin Gonzalez and Jonathan Villar struck out in 25.18% of their at-bats last season. The addition of Lowrie should limit the playing time that Villar (30.4%) sees, which should help the strikeout rate decrease a little. Singleton also K’d at a 43.22 percent clip in 310 at-bats. If he is going to improve in 2015, cutting that number in half would be a nice start. There is a lot of potential in the Astro lineup, with Altuve setting the table, and George Springer, Chris Carter and possibly Singleton bringing the lumber in the middle of the order. Strikeouts will occur, but there is the potential for a lot of runs to be put up in 2015 as well.

That’s it for the first installment of Tal’s mailbag! If you have a question you’d like answered, just go to ask.fm/climbingtalshill and ask away! We’ll pick some of our favorites for the articles, but will make every effort to answer all questions either via Twitter or on the site.

Next: Could Joe Sclafani be in the Mix for Houston in 2015?

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