At 24-11, the Astros are the best team in baseball through the season’s first five and a half weeks — a blistering start that, according to GM Jeff Luhnow, will allow the team to remain patient on the summer trade market. As Luhnow explains to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, he doesn’t feel any urgency pushing him to rush into the summer trade market. “We jumped on Scott Kazmir two years ago early in the trade season, and there’s pros and cons to that,” said Luhnow. “…but other pitchers came available — namely, David Price — that had not really been available early, and so if you really want to know what the landscape looks like completely, you kind of have to wait until the end.” Luhnow tells McTaggart that he still plans to be highly active in trade talks from now through the non-waiver deadline, but the GM doesn’t sound anxious to augment his club, especially with Collin McHugh and pitching prospect David Paulino on the mend from injury. “As long as we continue to play well, there’s no urgency to solve a problem right now.”
A bit more on the Astros…
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports takes an excellent look at Astros powerhouse Chris Devenski — one of the game’s most quietly dominant relievers. Devenski, nicknamed “The Dragon” by his manager in Double-A (Houston will give away bobbleheads of Devenski riding a dragon later this season), Devenski has followed an unlikely path to his current status as one of Major League Baseball’s best bullpen weapons. The right-hander was a 25th-round pick by the White Sox back in 2011 before being dealt to Houston as a player to be named later in the 2012 trade that sent right-hander Brett Myers to Chicago. Devenski wasn’t protected from the Rule 5 Draft by the Astros following a solid-but-not-dominant 2015 season in Double-A, which Luhnow describes to Rosenthal as “a bad decision with an OK outcome.” Luhnow concedes that Houston took “too much of a risk” in leaving Devenski unprotected, though he’s surely thankful for how it worked out. In 131 1/3 MLB innings since Opening Day 2016, Devenski has a 2.12 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9. Teammates Brian McCann, Josh Reddick, Will Harris, George Springer and others all rave about Devenski’s talent and work ethic, and Rosenthal’s column (which I’d highly recommend reading in full), is stuffed with quotes effusing praise for “The Dragon.”
- Top prospect David Paulino (mentioned by Luhnow as an “important piece” in the McTaggart interview above) made his 2017 debut at Triple-A Fresno after missing five weeks with a bone bruise in his elbow, as Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle writes. Paulino finished the 2016 season in the Majors and opened the season on the Major League disabled list, so he’s technically pitching on a rehab assignment. Based on Kaplan’s writing, it doesn’t sound as if Paulino will be an immediate option for the team once his rehab clock is up; Kaplan notes that he’ll eventually be activated and formally optioned to Fresno. In the meantime, Paulino will continue accruing MLB service time.
- In light of Rosenthal’s Devenski column and Paulino’s return to the mound, I’ll also point out that Paulino was acquired as a player to be named later in a trade for a reliever; Houston nabbed Paulino, who entered the season as a consensus top 100 prospect, as a PTBNL in the 2013 trade that sent Jose Veras to the Tigers. At the time, Paulino was a 19-year-old GCL prospect that was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He’s very clearly elevated his stock, having tossed 90 innings with a flat 2.00 ERA, 10.6 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 across two minor league levels in 2016 (plus five more shutout innings in the Arizona Fall League).
Can we make Chris “The Dragon” Devenski the new Rave Reviews guy due to reports of his “rave work ethic”?
i wanna kill myself
Many factors go into this.
First, we need to know how his defense is at catcher and in the outfield. The more reviews, the clearer the picture will be. Second, we need to know if enough people think Pete O’Brien is a candidate to play in Korea. Third, we need to know whether Christian Bethancourt has finally cleared waivers. Fourth, we need to know Yoenis Cespedes’s handicap. Finally, we need to run it all by Matt Harvey to screen out any miscommunications.
Don’t you think we should run it by Syndergaard too? He’s pretty in tune with everything.
I feel like we’re gonna hear more about obrien though bc he gets DFAd all the time. We should stick with him
Wonder if Devenski gets another chance to start this year or if he is in the pen permanently.
Rosenthal/Luhnow basically seem to suggest that they like being able to use him for anywhere from one to four innings at any given time. I could see it if they need rotation help due to injuries, but they already have three guys performing well, a fourth with a decent MLB track record (Fiers) and a fifth with plenty of upside (Musgrove). Plus, McHugh is on the mend and Paulino is getting going in AAA.
Keeping Devenski available for that two to three inning role in the postseason, with the built-in off-days allowing Houston to maximize his use, has to be pretty appealing.
I completely agree, but even in case of an emergency I’m not so sure Houston would even then turn to Devenski.
Houston has plenty of options at their disposal, in terms of starting pitchers. They have Keuchel, McCullers, McHugh, Musgrove, Fiers, Morton, and Paulino. All seven of those starters Houston would turn to before even considering a change of plans for Devenski.
Right now, by all accounts, Houston and Devenski are both happy with his role as a dominant and versatile force out of the pen. As Steve Adams noted above, Devenski’s versatility will pay huge dividends come time for the post-season.
Houston has quietly put together a solid bullpen with a couple of guys that have completely flown under the radar, despite having pitched extremely well. Devenski and Hoyt both have the ability to pitch more than the “normal” inning, and both have been nothing short of brilliant this year.
As currently constructed, with a solid and versatile pen, and with a steady performance from their starters, Houston has all the pieces to make a long and successful run in the post-season.
It will definitely be interesting to see what pieces they do end up acquiring later on this season. I just hope Houston is able to avoid the injury bug, and they can stay healthy as they make a run towards the post-season.
Just Another Fan
Does Sonny Gray for Derek Fisher straight up make sense?
Sure, from Houston’s side. Gray is still under control for 2 more years. OAK would be selling low at this point. Fisher isn’t even remotely close to a top prospect….let alone Houston’s top prospect. He’s on the low end of MLB’s top 100 prospects. It makes no sense for OAK to consider that trade at the moment. If Gray turns it around his trade value will skyrocket.
If a bullfrog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his butt every time he hopped.
Grays stock has plummeted. Yes, Oakland would be selling very low, and yes, he should command a Fisher type prospect with another lower level guy and a PTBNL kinda guy. There’s a lot of risk to hold on to him hoping for a rebound, as it doesn’t look very promising. Maybe best to get what you can while you can.
Just Another Fan
As an A’s-focussed poster, it’s always better to lowball your own team in trade proposals, to prevent homerism, doing this you get a more legit proposal that both teams would like instead of getting booed out of the building by trying to rob a team.
I also don’t think Gray will come back to his previous high level.
You could low ball sure, but there’s no real incentive to trade Gray within a division for a prospect with Fisher’s pedigree. I think it’s more prudent to wait on Gray to get right before fielding offers. Either aim higher or trade outside the division.
to Fishers credit though, he is one of the top minor league players so far this year. Obviously stats can change, but it he might of finally put it all together
Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB AVGOBP SLG OPS
FRE 31 126 20 41 9 0 7 20 13 35 3 .325 .390 .563 .954
Like Bigkempin said that’s only favorable for Houston. Yes, Fisher is a top 5 prospect in the Astros system but that would be an early sell on the Beane/Frost front office.
IF the Mets fold- would Houston want Harvey?
no, they need a pitcher who would give them quality innings and a chance to win, like what Charlie Morton is doing for them, they don’t need an ace with Keuchel looking great so far, astros don’t need to give up any prospects
Disagree. When it comes time for the playoffs (Way too early, I admit), you need 3 dominant pitchers to carry the workload. Right now the Astros have Keuchel and McCullers.
McCullers doesn’t have the innings built up to make me think he’ll be reliable in October, and if Keuchel gets hurt (Very real possibility with the amount he’s pitching so far), then the team is relying on who, McHugh and Morton?
Astros need at least another #2 starter.
I could see Marco Estrada in an Astro uniform if the Jays are still out of it in July. He’d slot in behind McCullers and it would be incredibly hard to hit his change up after facing McCullers heat. He’s also proven to be one of the leagues best playoff performers these past two seasons.
Harvey would fit well in Houston because the rotation is deep enough they do not have to rely on him as much as the Mets tried to this season. He could pitch less innings and still help dramatically.
It still may not be worth it to Houston to give up a prospect for him when there will probably be more durable pitchers available later
I remember when someone said they should have a fire sale not even 3 months ago on this very website
No no no…you must have mis-read “Fiers…sell!”
They should jump on Scott Kazmir again. He is available Luhnow
Oh please I insist you may keep him lol