The wind is blowing due Giolito this week, as the top high school pitcher's 100mph fastball made national headlines, pitching a one-hitter for Harvard-Westlake. At 6' 6'' Lucas Giolito still looks lanky, all flailing limbs but with a smooth action.
One of the selling points for Appel is that he could help the big-league club in a hurry, but OremLK said recently that Giolito could follow the sort of time Clayton Kershaw took to get to the majors. Kershaw, drafted in 2006 by the Dodgers out of high school, reached the majors less than two years later, making his debut on May 25 2008. And even though his minor league numbers were dominating, his full season in 2007 saw him hold a 12 K/9 and a 4.9 BB/9. Wild.
With three months to go, I'm content to sit back, not make any concrete predictions and let the madness unfold. Prompted by The Dream Shake's Patrick Harrel, prospect guru Kevin Goldstein said:
Close, but not as complete; Yes. RT @PatrickHarrel: @Kevin_Goldstein How does Giolito compare to Bundy. Is he good enough to go 1.1?
Dylan Bundy was taken fourth overall by the Orioles in 2011 and was rated the #10 prospect by Baseball America before this season. So not too bad a comparison.
Meanwhile a little closer to home one interesting tidbit from camp was that Jarred Cosart threw a minor hissie fit when he learned he would not be invited to major league camp. With no chance of making the team out of Spring Training, as guys on the TCB podcast suggested, management does not want him overthrowing in order to force his way on the team. Hence Bud Norris was deployed, either on his own recognizance or not, to soothe the young pitcher and explain things to the young pitcher.
Success over the next four or five years may hinge on how well Cosart and Jordan Lyles do in the Astros rotation along with Bud Norris. I was surprised to see John Sickels rate Cosart at 108 outside the top 100 in a recent prospect list, when most lists have Cosart ahead of Springer and Singleton. As Clack says in a piece of comment gold on TCB:
just to follow up on the GB effect on K rate: no ML pitcher had a K rate as high as 7 with a GB rate as high as 57%. The pitchers who were closest: Tim Hudson (6.61 K rate; 56.7% GB rate); J. Chacin (6.9 K rate; 56% GB rate); Trevor Cahill (6.37 K rate; 55.9% GB rate). A pitcher with a FB above 95 velocity who can also post a very high groundball rate is a force.
Good to bear in mind when looking at Cosart's numbers so far. Though it sure would be nice to see him dominate at Corpus in 2012.
Jordan Lyles, in camp, and slightly more likely to break camp with the major league team if Brett Myers is indeed going to the bullpen, is working on a new grip for his curveball, while he gets some lessons from Joe Matlack on adding a tick to his fastball without ruining his delivery. If Lyles does start the season at AAA Oklahoma City Matlack, the organisation's minor league pitching coordinator, will likely have more time to work with the 21-year-old.
He's young, and has a lot of time to improve. Mike Newman from Scouting the Sally said this on a FanGraphs chat:
I haven't seen Lyles personally, but he has age on his side and the stuff to develop into a mid-rotation starter in time. I wrote about Teheran's age a few months back for the now defunct Roto Hardball and was surprised to see Lyles debut at an age where many guys become legit #2 or better starters.
I read this to mean that anyone who debuts at 20 usually goes on to be a top of the rotation starter, but the wording of the final line is a little vague.
Could the Astros lead the majors in steals in 2012? Last year the Padres led with 170, the Rays with 172, 194 and 142 in the three years before. Jordan Schafer, Jason Bourgeois, Jose Altuve, Jimmy Paredes and Brian Bogusevic all have SB potential. Apart from Michael Bourn, speed and baserunning has not been one of the team's fortes.
In 2011 the Astros ranked 23rd in FanGraphs baserunning component with -4.6. All Carlos Lee's fault I guess.