Posts Tagged ‘New Astros Rotation Is Tall in the Saddle’

New Astros Rotation Is Tall in the Saddle

January 15, 2018



Projected Starting Rotation: 2018 Houston Astros

1 JUSTIN VERLANDER BR/TR 6’5” 225 15 8 .653
2 DALLAS KEUCHEL BL/TL 6’3” 205 14 5 .737
3 GERRIT COLE BR/TR 6’4” 225 12 12 .500
4 LANCE McCULLERS BL/TR 6’1” 205 7 4 .636
5 CHARLIE MORTON BR/TR 6’5” 235 14 7 .667
  2017 TOTALS       62 36 .633
  PROJECTED 2018 @       103 59 .633

Reminiscences of the Tall – and Getting Hit by the Ball

We never dreamed we’d be moving only one year later to an Astros 5-man starting pitcher rotation in which Dallas Keuchel would be the second shortest guy on the bill, but, if this one holds, that’s exactly what is about to happen. Now, if the short 6’1″ Lance McCullers can’t go – for any reason – and the Astros were to move a guy like the 6’7″ James Hoyt into cast as a venture move, Keuchel would immediately inherit the Eddie Gaedel spot on the card.

There wasn’t much I hated worse than a lanky tall guy pitcher long ago in kid baseball. The only thing that’s made them worse were (1) side arm deliveries (2) that they couldn’t control. It felt a though they were trying to pin the ball in your ear – just for going to bat against them. And, damn it, sometimes – if not every time – that’s exactly what they were trying to do. And that was especially bad in our times. There were no helmets back in the day. We wore felt caps. And they absorbed sunlight, but no impact shocks.

I remember my 1953 freshman year at St. Thomas. A select team from our STHS freshman league was playing a freshman team from Smiley High School. I was pitching and teammate Jack Earthman was catching.

In direct imitation of what I always had seen my favorite Buff pitchers do, I mad my last warm up pitch and then turned around on the mound to pound my empty glove as I awaited my infielders to toss the ball around after my catcher made his routine toss to second base, just to get things started.

That’s the last memory I had for a while. The next thing I recall was being helped from the ground. Jack had made his throw to second base, all right, but it never got there. I’m told it hit me square in the back of the head and knocked me down and out. Fortunately, I was able to pass the one question “concussion test” that was used back in the day. Our coach, a wonderful teaching priest-t0-be fellow named “Mr. Klem” asked me:

“Hey, Bill, are you good to go out there today?”

“Yep,” I said, and that was good enough to seal the deal and put all concerns to rest.

In case you’re wondering. Yes, our Mr. Klem was either a nephew or grand-nephew of the famous MLB umpire, Bill Klem.

Sorry to go tangential on you here this morning. This same story might have boiled over had I been writing about Ryne Duren this morning, but the thought of tall, long-armed pitchers was enough to do the job this time.

The Humble, Unscientific Stat Projections in the Above Featured Table

As most of you know, I am not a seeker of SABR-level honor for statistical research – or for coming up with improvements to batting and earned run averages. Those items told me a lot about players when I was a kid and I find them still good enough to meet my personal needs of these later years. As for measures like WAR, I ask, as the old rock song so pleadingly still cries out to this day: “War! ~ What is it good for?” Or, more fittingly, let me just state the problem here: Some of us may be unteachable in newer math languages. If I’m hitchhiking across Death Valley, I’m probably the last guy in the world who’s going to pull into any kind of improbable human contact and ask, “How far is it from here to LA – and can you please give me the answer in metric terms?”

No. Our win projections in the table are based solely upon the aggregate W% for all five of these starters over 162 games in 2017. They disregard the performance possibilities of the bull pen and the fact that two of the projected guys shown here spent most to all of their time with other clubs in 2017.

That being said, I look at the 2018 club that is shaping up and say: “That 103-59 record sounds pretty good to me!”



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle