A few years ago, I wrote about how Jason Kipnis and Jose Altuve were very comparable players. Or argued with someone on Twitter or Reddit about it. Or my brother. Whatever it was, i took that stance, and was firm in it. All Atuve had on Kip was age. Which, it appears, is a major factor. This whole conversation or text-based fight happened in probably 2015, a point where Altuve had earned 13.9 WAR for his career, Kipnis 15.6 in the same amount of years. I had a leg to stand on. That leg, like Kipnis’s excellence, withered away in a rash of injury (bodily for him, pride-based for me). It seems like age actually does matter. So it was a bad take. Nobody’s right all the time.
I thought from the beginning that Carlos Correa wasn’t as good as Francisco Lindor. I didn’t think he was bad - I’m not an idiot - but I’ve been on the Lindor train from the beginning. Was this firmly couched in fandom and getting to watch Lindor every day and being utterly infatuated? I won’t say. But it also looked like a pretty stupid thing to think after Correa turned into a routine 6 win, .900 OPS player the first few years. BUT WHO’S LAUGHING NOW?!?? Not me, not at players being injured. Especially not after my last paragraph. But Right now, this year, Lindor has placed himself firmly at the top of shortstop rankings. He already was better defensively than Correa, and now he’s hitting bombs like Correa does. If he sustains it, not only will he not be an Indian very long (sorry), he’ll leave Correa in the dust.
Max Stassi’s name sounds like a porn star. This is not a negative.
I never thought Alex Bregman could be better than Jose Ramirez, because honestly I never really thought about Alex Bregman until this year. He might be better. He has a cool name. He’s good. He has some incredible takes on Twitter and the way he upsets his Texas fanbase is just the best thing ever. I I think it’s a little amazing he put together a 2018 batting line that is so akin to Jose’s 2017. HE hit 51 doubles to lead baseball - Jose led the game with 56 last year - and knocked 31 homers to Jose’s 29. He didn’t quite match Jose’s OPS - .926 compared to .957 - though he did perform a smidge better in the 2018 hitting environment than Jose in 2017 as his 156 OPS+ topped Jose’s 149. I guess we’re only judged based on the company we keep. Bregman is good of course, probably my favorite Astro. But he’s got to work on the strut.
The only reason Brian McCann isn’t my least favorite Astro is because the team made a gross trade with Toronto.
I once saw the 107 loss Astros play the 103 loss Cubs in early October. It was the worst played game I’d ever seen. Even in little league I’ve never seen that many misplayed pop-ups to second base. That was Jose Altuve’s second year. He and Anthony Rizzo both went hitless. I was unimpressed and cold.
I really like the Astros pitching staff, they’re really good. Verlander has obviously been kind to the Indians over the years, Keuchel is the rare successful sinkerballer in an era that has killed that pitch, and guys like Cole and McCullers and Morton are fantastic starters for the modern day. They don’t go six and seven innings with regularity, not all of them, and they lean on the bullpen. It’s how the Astros have built their team. But the curmudgeon in the back of my mind hates that. He shakes his cane at them and constantly yells how back in his day, pitchers PITCHED, consarnit! They were excellent last year, but I can’t be the only one who prefers the Indians’ way of doing things. That thing being, get really good, strong, durable starting pitchers that any team would kill for. The Astros got two thirds of that with Morton and McCullers, and Cole has been a nice boost to that, but when Mike Clevinger, a 200 inning ace on most teams, is your fourth best, isn’t that a bit better than a 150 inning guy? Old Man Grumpo (the imaginary old man in my head) thinks so. Of course, it’d be nice to have one or two more good arms in the Tribe ‘pen
This is the best series of the playoffs. Both teams are unconscionably stacked, they match up beautifully. It’s just sad it’ll be over in just a couple days. This one deserves seven games. It’s a shame I actually care about one of the teams, because as an objective viewer it’s going to be wonderful to see.
Of course, I haven’t been that objective about the Astros for quite a while. So why start now?