Houston Astros AM: Dan Straily Working on the Curve

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Houston Astros camp is really starting to heat up, and now that we’re a couple of weeks into the games we can get a better sense of which players will be on the Astros opening day roster.

One player that’s working to make the starting rotation is Dan Straily, who is aiming to become the Astros number five starter to begin the 2015 campaign. Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle wrote about how Straily is working on his curveball, a pitch that he threw 4.7 percent of the time in 2014, according to FanGraphs. Over his career, Straily has primarily used the mix of his fastball, slider and changeup, while sprinkling in the hook on rare occasions. Houston Astros pitching coach Brent Strom started working with the righties’ curve with him about a week ago.

In the piece by Ortiz, Straily says, “I threw it three times [on Thursday], finally dropped it in for a strike,” he said. “That was good. That’s something Strom and I have worked on for about a week now, so it was good to feel confident enough to trust that in a game.” Fun fact from the article: Pedro Alvarez (according to Straily) is the only player that has struck out due to his Uncle Charlie.

A couple of days ago, Matt Snyder of CBS Sports released his Houston Astros team preview, and he has the team improving on last season by ten games, bringing them up to 80 wins. He also has Dan Straily as the fifth starter to begin the season, but does mention that Brad Peacock and Roberto Hernandez are available for the role, too. He says of the Houston Astros chances of competing in 2015, “…Still, with Altuve and the power, this team will be very fun to watch on offense and hanging in contention for a while isn’t out of the question — which is a nice contrast from the past four seasons…Get excited, Houston.”

We were already excited, but this just added fuel to our fire!

Finally, Jeff Bagwell spoke to reporters on Tuesday, as Ted Berg of USA Today reports, and said of the Hall of Fame, “I don’t expect to get in. I’m just glad that Craig got in.” Bagwell continued later in the article by saying, “I keep telling people this and people don’t understand it: That’s not what defines me as a person,” he said. “Baseball does not define me as a person. It’s what I do with my kids, and as a husband, that’s going to define me. It’d be an honor, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve got other things to do in my life too.”

Jeff Bagwell is a classy guy, and we’re still holding out hope that he’ll make it into the Hall of Fame!

If you have missed any recent articles here on Climbing Tal’s Hill, here are some good reads:

Has Singleton Secured a Roster Spot With His Hot Start? – Jason Burke

Josh Hader Interview -Eric Huysman

AstroChat: The Lack of Astros Radio Love – Andy Pondillo

Next: Hader: Prospect Profile

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