Houston Astros | The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog | MLB, Fantasy, College & High School Baseball News

Golden Sombrero: J.D. Martinez (4/16/2012)

Date: April 16, 2012 vs. Washington Nationals

Top 1: J.D. Martinez struck out swinging against Stephen Strasburg (5 pitches)

Top 4: Martinez struck out swinging against Strasburg (3 pitches)

Top 6: Martinez walked against Strasburg (9 pitches)

Top 7: Martinez struck out swinging against Ryan Mattheus (4 pitches)

Top 9: Martinez struck out swinging against Henry Rodriguez (3 pitches)

Final Line: 0-for-4, 4 K, BB

RE24: -0.545

WPA: 0.001

Notes: I don’t know how, but Martinez finished the game with a non-negative WPA. I feel as though golden sombreros at the hands of the Nationals may be a common theme this season.

2012 Total Sombreros: 6

There’s Always Magic Happening

Dear Astros Fans,

I know it has been a while since we have heard any promising news for the upcoming season.   I know it has probably been as hard for you, as it has been for me.  With stories like this, this, or even this, it’s always a blessing to come across something, anything that can provide a glimmer of hope for the immediate future.  And because I know this feeling, because every day this spring has been filled with someone telling me to be miserable for the next five years, or someone reminding me about how great it used to be, I became an enlightened individual who realized something; THAT’S SOME BULLSHIT!  As devoted of a fan as I am, I have a hard time accepting that stigma.  And so should you, Astros Fans.  Enough is enough.  We don’t have to put up with believing that 2012 is not going to be an exciting, passion-filled, memorable season.  Due to disgust I have decided to do something about it.  I have decided to provide the light on the immediate future, and deliver some generally goodness in the process.  I know it has been a while since we have heard any promising news for the 2012 season.  So, this one, this one here is for ya’ll.  I present to you, at least five reasons (who knows, ya’ll might figure out even more) why it’s better to be an Astros Fan, than any other MLB fan this summer.

With love,



 At Least 5 Reasons Why It’s Better To Be An Astros Fan in 2012.

 5.       A chance at history

Let’s face it…there is no getting around the fact that 2012 might be rough.  If there were ever a silver lining, it would be this- getting in the record books.  Some might choose not to see it this way, but this really would be a great opportunity for the Houston Astros.  The record book is made to hold the names of people who were the best of the best.  No matter the craft, there is no room for second best.  Even if what you might have been best at is losing.  If you are going to be bad, then you might as well go out in record-setting fashion.  No matter what, if the 2012 Houston Astros were to set the all time single season loss record, this team could never die.  It will withstand the test of time for future generations to enjoy; albeit in a different way.  And that is all we truly want as a sports fan.   That one magical season where the stars align just right, and magic is made.  Who cares what kind of magic it is.

4. Sig Mejdal

Taking on the role of Director of Decision Sciences can’t help but to get us started.  He comes from the front office of the St. Louis Cardinals.  With Minute Maid Park as his new office, expect him to bring a fresh take on evaluating, and changing habits in, evaluating the decisions being made.  The draft this summer won’t be his first rodeo either.  He has been a key contributor on Cardinals draft day since 2005.  To help aide him in his efforst, Mejdal hired an assistant- Mike Fast of Baseball Prospectus.  Another fantastic direction it appears the Astros are heading down.

3. Jeff Luhnow

Thank you, Mr. Crane.  What a spectacular hire.  Not only did we steal him away from our (soon to be no more) division rival Cardinals, we scored big time.  With a history of strong drafts and embracing the numbers along with the talent to use as one universal scouting system, I’m really happy about the front office of the Astros.   From what I have read and heard, so are a lot of other people.  Bringing in this next man just adds to my giddiness.

2. Jim Crane

When we talk about a rebuilding process in Houston we ain’t messing around.  We start at the top.  New ownership truly does clear the slate.  No better time than the present.  Jim Crane brings with him an eye for the future- both as far as the team on the field, and the butts in the seats.  Slashing prices and allowing you to bring in your own food is a great start.  Plus, he understands that an analytic/scientific approach to the numbers of the game can help a franchise out.  That explains the Jeff Luhnow hiring.  And to top it off, he resisted the tyranny that is Bud Selig and got our guns back!  (If that ain’t some Texas shit ya’ll, I don’t know what is.)

1. First overall pick in the draft

We could not ask for much more.  Let’s be real with ourselves, Houston.  This is as good as it gets for right now.  We are allowed first dibs on a crop of great young talent.  Remember, this is a long-term plan we are dealing with here.  Everyone knows that to rebuild, you do it from with-in.  With any luck, we might even most certainly will have the same pick for the next two years.  This pick, followed by possibly a second number one pick and about five top five picks over the next  five seasons is a foundation to get you out of the cellar and heading in the right direction.  Aboard this gravy train of draft picks, along with the healthy market size of Houston, this franchise will be back at the top before you realize it.  But until then, it’s all about the draft picks.  So read up on prospects, and watch as they transform before our eyes, and remember- each pick is another potential for magic to happen.

Brett Wallace’s Thighs: The Eighth Wonder of the World

Some little-known facts about Brett Wallace and his massive thighs:

  • With certain breeds of dogs, you can get an idea of how big they will be based upon the size of their paws as a puppy.  At two-years-old, Wallace’s thighs suggested a career as a corner infielder.
  • Brett Wallace’s thighs have thighs.
  • With those tree trunks, all of his baseball pants are naturally pro-flared.
  • In 2010, Wallace was traded twice due to his unsightliness in khakis.
  • Wallace has never sat in the middle seat on an airplane.
  • He once tried on a pair of skinny jeans.
  • He once got stuck in a pair of skinny jeans.
  • He’s never been considered top heavy.
  • His lower half was the inspiration behind EvoShield’s first products.
  • Brett Wallace can out-leg press Yoenis Cespedes in his sleep.


A Trade, A Fan, and A Story



Welcome to the big leagues Jeff Luhnow.  A mere six days into his inaugural tenure as a general manager of a Major League franchise Mr. Luhnow has already completed his first trade.  As a fan I’m stoked.  Sure, it might have cost us a cheap and controlled closer, but who cares when you’re only going to win 55-60 games.  We were able to bring back a shortstop that has a higher ceiling than any of the other options left via free agency, and we brought back a young arm that has the potential to be as good as a number 3 starter.  Sweet.

There was still one part of this trade that left me with my mouth just a bit open and my mind grasping at straws…we didn’t shed any of the large salaries we have trade Carlos, Wandy, or Brett.  As a matter of fact, the exact opposite occurred.  Whatever.  After being strong armed in to joining the American League, showing up to prom stag (RE: the Winter Meetings), and having David Stern defecate all over the Houston Rockets, it is nice to be able to say that something positive is happening in Houston sports.[1]  I can handle the fact that the rebuilding process will test my heart and drive for the team.  I can accept that.  What I would not have been able to handle was a blown move right out of the gate.  So it is nice to finally enjoy a victory as an Astros fan- no matter how small that victory may be.

I will be sad to see Mark Melancon leave, though.  Not because of any stats, or because he made one of my outlandish predictions come true, or because of any way he could possibly help the team between the lines.  Melancon will be just fine as a closer.  As he logs more innings his BB/9 will decrease and finally allow his 8K/9 to let him slam the door shut.[2]   No, this break-up is of a more personal shade.  Before Marky Mark was chuckin’ in The Show, he and I were teammates in Tucson.  We were both on the 2004 University of Arizona team that went to the CWS that year.  You can only imagine my excitement when he came to Houston as part of the deal that sent Berkman to the Yankees.  It was pretty cool to have a friend playing for your favorite team.  It was a unique lens from which to view.  But that is neither here nor there.  Honestly, I just wanted to share a quick story about Mark and myself from that 2004 trip to Omaha.  It goes like this…

It was the night after our first game of the tournament- a loss to Georgia- and Mark and I were back at the hotel.  Because I was medical redshirting and not playing I was obviously itching to go out and enjoy the local taverns and watering holes.  Mark tells me that he has some friends from high school in town and I should hang out with them.  One house party, and many sodas later, I find myself back at the hotel approximately 3:30 A.M.  Not quite sure which room was mine I began trying them all.  Then called my girlfriend at the time to find out why she wouldn’t open the door to her apartment.  She immediately realized how lost I was and called Mark, begged relentlessly, and convinced him to find me.  He finds me on the floor below and politely walks me back to the room.  Then Beelzebub reared his true colors.  His eyes locked with mine and I felt his tug on my soul as he yelled something at me about how, “…and If I blow a f—–g save tomorrow I’m going to f—–g kill you!”  Sure enough, the next day Mark, the true freshman, was out there in a win-or-go-home game at the College World Series.  And true to form Marky Mark shoved and made sure we saw another game that season.  It was tits.  Mark, if you ever read this, big ups man.  You deserve everything that comes your way.


[1] No, the Texans don’t count for me.  I grew up an Oilers fan and moved out of Houston before the Texans were a team.

[2] Don’t believe me?  Look at the splits for him pre and post All-Star break.  Match that trend with the fact that he is finally throwing his new cutter with much better control and I think you will agree with me.

Top 50 Prospects: #29 – Jonathan Singleton

#29 Jonathan Singleton

Houston Astros

DOB: 9/18/1991

Previous Rank: 37

ETA: 2014

Singleton was the centerpiece of the deal that sent Hunter Pence to the Philadelphia.  Prior to the trade, Singleton spent time at both first and left.  This ranking is based on the premise that Singleton, despite possessing a grading of 30-40 in the speed tool and a 40-50 arm, ends up playing at least several seasons in the outfield.  Houston seems to prefer him at first, but with new ownership there is some hope that the Astros begin to make better decisions in how they handle their player development.

His bat is outstanding, and he already gets 60s in terms of discipline and hit tool.  The power grade is still just average, but there is enough loft in his cut that he will grow into more bombs as he matures.  As just a 19-year-old, Singleton slashed .298/.392/.441 with 13 dingers and 70 walks in around 520 plate appearances across two stops, finishing up the year in the California League.  He had pretty noticeable splits in favor of his appearances against right-handers as should be expected, but he hangs on well against secondary stuff and is almost always down with his front early enough to stay back with his legs.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BA
2009 17 Phillies GULF Rk PHI 31 119 100 12 9 0 2 12 1 0 .290
2010 18 Lakewood SALL A PHI 104 450 376 64 25 2 14 77 9 7 .290
2011 19 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+ PHI,HOU 128 530 449 68 23 1 13 63 3 3 .298
2011 19 Clearwater FLOR A+ PHI 93 382 320 48 14 0 9 47 3 3 .284
2011 19 Lancaster CALL A+ HOU 35 148 129 20 9 1 4 16 0 0 .333
3 Seasons 263 1099 925 144 57 3 29 152 13 10 .294
A+ (1 season) A+ 128 530 449 68 23 1 13 63 3 3 .298
A (1 season) A 104 450 376 64 25 2 14 77 9 7 .290
Rk (1 season) Rk 31 119 100 12 9 0 2 12 1 0 .290
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/9/2011.
2009 17 Phillies GULF Rk PHI 31 119 100 2 12 18 13 .290 .395 .440 .835 44
2010 18 Lakewood SALL A PHI 104 450 376 14 77 62 74 .290 .393 .479 .872 180
2011 19 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+ PHI,HOU 128 530 449 13 63 70 123 .298 .392 .441 .833 198
2011 19 Clearwater FLOR A+ PHI 93 382 320 9 47 56 83 .284 .387 .413 .800 132
2011 19 Lancaster CALL A+ HOU 35 148 129 4 16 14 40 .333 .405 .512 .917 66
3 Seasons 263 1099 925 29 152 150 210 .294 .393 .456 .849 422
A+ (1 season) A+ 128 530 449 13 63 70 123 .298 .392 .441 .833 198
A (1 season) A 104 450 376 14 77 62 74 .290 .393 .479 .872 180
Rk (1 season) Rk 31 119 100 2 12 18 13 .290 .395 .440 .835 44
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/9/2011.
Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G Ch PO A E DP Fld% RF/G
2009 17 Phillies GULF Rk PHI 1B 25 233 214 17 2 17 .991 9.24
2010 18 Lakewood SALL A PHI 1B 95 885 816 65 4 63 .995 9.27
2011 19 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+ PHI,HOU 1B 79 637 578 48 11 57 .983 7.92
2011 19 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+ PHI,HOU DH 18 0.00
2011 19 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+ PHI,HOU OF 31 52 46 3 3 0 .942 1.58
2011 19 Lancaster CALL A+ HOU 1B 33 268 241 22 5 30 .981 7.97
2011 19 Clearwater FLOR A+ PHI 1B 46 369 337 26 6 27 .984 7.89
2011 19 Clearwater FLOR A+ PHI LF 30 52 46 3 3 0 .942 1.63
2011 19 Lancaster CALL A+ HOU RF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
2011 19 Lancaster CALL A+ HOU DH 2 0.00
2011 19 Clearwater FLOR A+ PHI DH 16 0.00
2011 19 Lancaster CALL A+ HOU OF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
2011 19 Clearwater FLOR A+ PHI OF 30 52 46 3 3 0 .942 1.63
3 Seasons 248 1807 1654 133 20 137 .989 7.21
1B (3 seasons) 1B 199 1755 1608 130 17 137 .990 8.73
DH (1 season) DH 18 0.00
OF (1 season) OF 31 52 46 3 3 0 .942 1.58
RF (1 season) RF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
LF (1 season) LF 30 52 46 3 3 0 .942 1.63
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/9/2011.

He takes a direct approach to contact and generates terrific carry with good thump.  Singleton should begin the year in Double-A since his numbers improved in the California League.  A full season there could probably do him some good especially if used in the outfield, but he has the bat and maturity to earn a promotion if his numbers at the dish justify it.  It is highly possible that Singleton reaches Houston by 2013, and he even has an outside shot at a cup this September.  We think Opening Day in 2014 sounds best, though.