The bombshell of the week was Jeff Luhnow's hiring of Kevin Goldstein, who was working for Baseball Prospectus. Along with a few others, Goldstein is in rarefied air when it comes to prospect evaluators out there who aren't paid by baseball organisations. He will join guys like Mike Fast, Sid Mejdal, Mike Elias and co. in making the decisions that will hopefully keep this franchise turning in the right direction.
Grant Brisbee does not go into an awful lot of information, but the jist of his recent article seems to be, while the Astros are hopeless at the major league level, and there is still not a lot of minor-league talent ready to make an impact in the numbers the franchise requires, at least they are getting the personnel at the top right.
The Astros claimed Brandon Laird from the Yankees as well as shelling Ben Francisco and Steve Pearce. Laird has been sitting at AAA for some time now. He plays third base with a sprinkling of the outfield. Overall solid bench bat with some power. Others returning to the Astros roster include Matt Dominguez, Matt Downs (who scored last night's winning run), Jose Valdez and Jordan Schafer.
Lexington Legends pitcher Chris Devenski tossed a no-hitter against Rome last night during a 10-0 rout, flaming his way though the game with 16 punch-outs. Devenski, as a few of you might briefly remember, was the PTBNL in the Brett Myers deal with the Chicago White Sox. At 20 he was drafted out of Cal Fullerton in 2011 in the 17th round. Luhnow strikes again.
Matt Duffy hit two home runs in the game and Nolan Fontana drew four, yes four, walks. Even with a .227 average it is hard to fault a player who has an OBP around .450.
The Astros, shambolic record and all, still hold a passable 28-39 record at home. That they've managed 13 wins on the road, has been one of their big problems. However, I was intrigued to see Bud Norris' home and road splits flashed up, 2,09 ERA in nine home starts, 7.27 in away games. Wandy's bizarre home-road splits I could start to explain away, but this has come out of nowhere. Yes, generally pitchers do better at home, as teams do, but 2009 he pitched marginally better on the road, in 2010 a run better at home, and last year 3.72 to 3.84.
Is it comforting that Norris is pitching a dream in nine home starts and is a total shambles on the road? Or does it infuriate you? As Clack pointed out, Lucas Harrell also has some mind-bending home-road splits. Overall he has a credible 3.81 ERA, 2.06 at home and 5.10 on the road.
Musing on the current position at shortstop, I looked over at how Clint Barmes was doing over in Pittsburgh. His shocking 54 OPS+ and a rather putrid 2.0 BB% is pretty laughable, even if his insane defense makes up for it to leave him with a 0.6 fWAR and 0.4 bWAR. And to think, if we'd have actually bid on Barmes, not only would we have got an average season or two out of him, we would not have been given a supplementary pick. I always said Ed Wade could pick them.