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Houston Astros Roster In 2014 Part 1: How All Of The Hitters Were Acquired

The Astros decided to rebuild a few years ago  In doing so they traded away Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, Carlos Lee, at first, and then have since also traded Bud Norris, Jed Lowrie, Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes.  Many of the transactions have given the team many of its current roster today, with many of the players also with the organization - while hardly any of the departing guys are with the team that dealt for them.  Today is the 1st part of a 2 parter seeing how the current club was assembled by the Astros.

The Astros decided to rebuild a few years ago In doing so they traded away Lance Berkman, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, Carlos Lee, at first, and then have since also traded Bud Norris, Jed Lowrie, Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes. Many of the transactions have given the team many of its current roster today, with many of the players also with the organization – while hardly any of the departing guys are with the team that dealt for them. Today is the 1st part of a 2 parter seeing how the current club was assembled by the Astros.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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At the MLB Reports, we intend to show you the Roster Tree for the Houston Astros – and how they assembled their current roster for hitting and Pitching. 

It will work in a six degrees of separation like format.

Once we figure out the origin of how many trades going back in time it takes to see where the tree started, it will be time to dissect how the team fared on the deals.

If a player has never left the organization at all, the tree will be easy – as it will just be the year they were drafted or signed.

Sometimes pitchers will be in the hitters part of the write-up and vice versa.  This is simply done when one side of hitter or pitcher is dealt for each other.  Read the rest of this entry

Top Ten Stat of the Week: Active Saves Leaders in the MLB (A Closers Role)

Monday August.13/2012

Mariano Rivera holds the ALL-Time Record for any closer (active or retired) with 608 Saves. Will he come back in 2013 to add to his totals?

Chuck Booth: (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-  To be a closer in today’s baseball game takes quite the mental fortitude.  There is a lot of psychological warfare one could do to himself in preventing a successful run at saving games.  While I am of the mindset that the relief pitchers of yesteryear seemed to be relied on more for lengthier durations, this does not diminish this stat in any way.  It is hard to acquire the 90-100% save rate that most teams are striving for in a pitching staff.  In any given seasons the average save opportunities average from 45-65 chances to lock a game down.  A lot of this also depends on what team you play for.  There have been several phenomenal stretches put forth by closers of the game in recent vintage.  Who could forget Canadian born Erig Gagne?  This man once saved 85 straight games from 2002-2004.  He is the all-time leader in that category and beat out John Franco’s previous record by an astounding 30 games. Another incredible run was Brad Lidge‘s incredible 2008 season where he did not blow a save opportunity out of 48 games both in the regular season and playoffs.

Sure these guys don’t log 120 innings anymore, or throw for 3 inning saves like Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage did for many years.  By the way, we can all thank Tony La Russa for the invention of specialists pitchers (Rick Honeycutt, Jesse Orosco anyone?) and the one inning save closers.  La Russa perfected this scenario with former starter Dennis Eckersley coming out of the pen for the Oakland A’s during their powerhouse days in the late 80’s.  Eckersley was so dominant every team tried to duplicate their own bullpens to mock the A’s. 

Before this time had come, relief pitchers were all mostly comprised of young pitchers trying to acclimatize themselves into the Major Leagues first, before earning a spot as a Starting Pitcher.  For example, David Wells was once a relief pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays first and then was promoted to a starting pitcher after he proved he could pitch in the Major Leagues.   In today’s baseball world, relief pitchers are now being drafted out of college and high school as relievers whereas they used to all come from the position of starting pitcher.  It also used to be that relief pitchers were players that graduated to a starter and then could not find success as starters and were sent back to the bullpen once again to stay.  When it came down to it, you had only a couple of chances to perform as a starter.  Maybe it was because there were bigger than life characters like Gossage that make remember these pitchers in such favorable terms.  Maybe it was because we never saw them interviewed on a social media platform like today’s athlete is and the mystery surrounded them made them more feared, or maybe it is because we tend to admire things more when they happened in the past.  I still love the closers role in today’s game and nothing has more drama in a baseball game than trying to nail down the last 3 outs!

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MLB Closer Report: Where Does Your Team Stand?

Sunday May 6, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (Baseball Writer): Seeing Mariano Rivera go down with a torn ACL is like driving by a car accident and reflecting on how easily it could have been you in that accident, or in this case- how it could have been your team’s closer cringing in pain on the warning track. And this is the year of the injured closer: from Boston’s Andrew Bailey to San Francisco’s Brian Wilson, closers across the league have been dropping like flies. Other closers, like the Angels’ Jordan Walden, have stayed healthy but haven’t played well enough to keep their coveted ninth inning role. Even though there has only been a month of baseball so far, much has changed for some clubs.

Today, I’ll be taking a look at every team’s closer situation, and breaking down how it got to be the way it is: Read the rest of this entry

Marshall and Chapman to Solidify the Reds Pen


Thursday April 12th, 2012

Ryan Ritchey:  The Reds went out and got two relievers this year to help out in the back-end of their bullpen, with Francisco Cordero leaving. Those two pitchers were Ryan Madson and Sean Marshall. As I wrote in a previous article, Madson has gone down with Tommy John Surgery and now Sean Marshall will have to take over the closing duties. This puts a lot of pressure on Marshall to succeed because the Reds will likely play in many close games throughout the season.

With the injury to Madson, it changes a lot around in the rotation. In Spring Training Aroldis Chapman was getting his arm in shape to be a starter, since their was enough bullpen to shut down teams in late innings. That all went out the window with the Madson injury. Chapman is 2-0 and has 10 k’s in 5 innings pitched this first week of the season in the bullpen. So far…so good. (more…)

The Aroldis Effect: What’s In Store for the Game’s Hardest Throwing Pitcher?

Thursday February 16th, 2012

Sam Evans: In the history of baseball, no pitcher has ever thrown a baseball faster than Aroldis Chapman. In 1876, when the National League was founded, Alexander Graham Bell made the first ever telephone call. The athleticism of baseball players and overall talent in the league has improved significantly since then, but it is amazing that we now have over four hundred Major League pitchers that have an average fastball speed that’s at least 90 MPH. Aroldis Chapman is a phenomenal talent, who with the right coaching, has a chance to make more than a few All-Star teams. Read the rest of this entry

Ryan Madson: A Free Agent Closer with no Job?

Thursday December 8, 2011

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  With the Winter Meetings at an end, players/teams/agents are left standing to look over the game of musical chairs and who is left standing.  A particularly interesting position was closer- with more eligible players than open positions.  In the past few weeks, we have seen many signings and trades in this area.  Jonathan Papelbon to the Phillies.  Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays.  Huston Street to the Padres.  Francisco Rodriguez accepted arbitration from the Brewers.  Heath Bell to the Marlins.  Joe Nathan to the Rangers.  Andrew Bailey is openly being discussed in the trade market as leaving the A’s.  Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch joined the Mets.  As a result, one big name is left standing with no dance partner.  Ryan Madson is still on the open market with few promising prospects ahead.

As the story goes, Madson was supposed to re-sign with the Phillies.  A reported 4-year, estimated $44 million contract was put on the table by the Phillies early in free agency.  Player and agent (Scott Boras) happily accepted and a Philadelphia return was in order.  Not so fast.  There are conflicting stories on what transpired.  Needless to say, there was never a firm deal in place and the Phillies moved quickly to sign the top closer on the free agent market, Jonathan Papelbon.  Since then, there has been little discussion on Madson.  There have been reports throughout the process linking him to the Jays, Marlins and Red Sox.  Well…the first 2 teams have filled their vacancies.  The Red Sox have Daniel Bard as the incumbent set-up man who could get a look at the closing position- although he may end up in the rotation.  Other than that, there seems to be little hope for Madson.

Last night, Madson chose not to the K-Rod route and accept salary arbitration.  As a result, he remains out in the market waiting for his next contract offer.  Francisco Cordero is in the same boat, although he is still likely to go back to the Reds on a 1-2 year contract from the whispers around the league.  But even if the Reds do not retain Cordero, it is unlikely that they will sign Madson- especially given the young players they still need to lock-up to extensions.  So what other options exist for Madson?  Perhaps the Orioles.  Maybe the Rays.  The options are getting bleak.

This is one of the few times that you will see Scott Boras caught “with his pants down” so to speak.  For an agent that is well known to be able to create and stimulate markets and demands for his clients, Boras has come up short for Madson.  The perception is that the Phillies did what was best for them in signing Papelbon, which left Boras outraged and in a bind.  With little to no teams looking for closers, Boras essentially only has the Red Sox to work with.  At this point, he may need to take a 1-2 year deal for Madson, in the $7-10 million range to rebuild his value and try again on the open market in the future.  A risky proposition, but with few options- Madson may have no other choice.

I was actually quite surprised that Madson didn’t take the Phillies offer of arbitration.  Based on his stellar 2011 numbers, he could have expected a strong 1-year contract at least.  Now Boras and Madson are left to take their chances on the open market.  For a closer with only 1 full year on the job, time is not on Madson’s side.  A proven closer like Francisco Cordero knows that he find a contract soon.  Heck, even K-Rod knows that he just needs another solid season under his belt and his next deal will follow shortly after.  Madson was in line for his first and only big payday this offseason.  If he gets hurt or becomes ineffective in 2012, that dream vanishes. Scott Boras better work overtime to get the Red Sox biting on his closer client.  Otherwise, it may not turn out to be a very Merry Christmas in the Madson household this year.


Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

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