News and Notes From August 14th
Not so fast on Yulieski Gurriel.
Yesterday I wrote about the potential lineups for when Gurriel makes his anticipated debut on Tuesday. The 16th was the date that many suspected that Jeff Luhnow had marked on the calendar for when Gurriel would make his big league debut. They signed him thinking that he was big league ready. We thought all he needed was to get his timing back after not playing since February.
However, looking at his stats with the Corpus Christi Hooks, he’s not ready. Last Monday, he said that he was at 70% ready at the press conference upon arriving at Corpus Christi. I have heard from some Hooks STH who stated that he looks off. One game, he let the bat go four times. The following game he did get a hit and had two runs batted in, but he hasn’t shown that he has dominated Double-A pitching.
Normally, when a player has mastered a level, that is the time to promote them. The Astros might have promoted A.J. Reed too soon, but he did show mastery when he went back down. Reed is swinging better now but has yet to break out in the big leagues. So many people saw that Gurriel was struggling, why were the Astros still insisting that he make his debut Tuesday?
Luhnow made it sound like Gurriel would make his debut Tuesday in a media session before Friday’s opening game versus the Blue Jays. Apparently, he changed his tune a little over the weekend. On Astros Radio on 790 AM, Luhnow said, “We’re going to wait until he feels like his timing is right.”
In other words, he’s not ready.
Astros extend partnerships with two minor league teams.
I had a feeling that the Houston Astros were trying to move their Triple-A team to Round Rock next season before the season. However, the Astros and Fresno Grizzlies have formed an excellent partnership together the past two seasons, winning the Triple-A National Championship last season.
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According to a press release, they have extended their Player Development Contract with the Fresno Grizzles through the 2018 season. The Astros will continue to have the Fresno Tacos as part of their farm system for two more years at least. The two paired up in 2015 after they were part of the Giants farm system. The Astros thought it would be beneficial to have a team in the west since they were in the AL West division.
The Astros also entered into another two-year PDC contract with the Quad Cities River Bandits to be their Low Class-A affiliate. They have been part of the Astros organization for a while and like the Grizzlies, they had a record breaking streak and season in 2015. They have come back to the pack in 2016 but look for more winning from the River Bandits the next two seasons.
Ken Giles will return versus the Cardinals.
Giles’ last day of paternity leave was yesterday, he gets a little extra time with the scheduled day off tomorrow for the team. However, on Tuesday, he has to be returned to the 25-man roster. Luke Gregerson has already returned, so the bullpen is nearing full health. The Astros will have to decide who goes down between Jandel Gustave and James Hoyt.
My guess is that Gustave would be going down to activate the closer in time for Tuesday’s game. After getting off to a terrible start, Giles has finally taken over as the closer for the Astros. If the playoffs are realistic this year, the team has to start playing better baseball against the better teams in the league. They face a tough team in the Cardinals for a two-game series starting Tuesday.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***