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MLB News & notes: on-field and off-field news out of Houston

A trade, a retirement, a hired manager, and an amazing Astros trash-can tracker. 

MLB: Houston Astros-Dusty Baker Press Conference Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to ‘Marty’s Musings’, my weekly column of numbers summarizing the happenings in the baseball world. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the news and notes throughout the game, and highlighting this week’s key pitching matchups.

Last week Curtis Granderson announced his retirement, Kris Bryant lost a key grievance regarding service-time manipulation, and the Astros hired a new skipper. Oh, and an Astros fan released some amazing trashcan banging data.

News & Notes

16 - Seasons, and seven clubs that veteran journeyman Curtis Granderson played in Major League Baseball. Granderson announced his retirement via Twitter last week. With a reputation as a positive clubhouse presence, and often a fan favorite, Granderson finishes with a 47.6 fWAR, 1800 hits, and 344 home runs.

5 - Teams Dusty Baker has managed, now that he’s officially the manager of the recently disgraced Houston Astros. Baker is best-known for taking mediocre teams and turning-things-around, though the situation is quite different in Houston, where the Astros have been perennial contenders in recent years.

8200+ - Opponent pitches logged by Astros fan Tony Adams, with over 1100 of them having ‘bangs’ preceding the throws. Adams dove deeply into the data, painstakingly watching and listening to every pitch thrown to an Astros batter at Minute Maid Park throughout the entirety of the 2017 season. The impressive dataset can be found here, and breaks-down which players were ‘helped’ the most, and the results of those plate appearances.

20/20 - Player Starling Marte, who has a new home in Arizona, following the Pirates dealing him to the Diamondbacks for infielder Liover Peguero and right-handed pitcher Brennan Malone. Though neither Peguero nor Malone are top-of-the-class prospects, they help the Pirates build a thin farm system. The 31-year-old Marte is coming off a 23 homer, 25 steal season, where he posted a 119 wRC+.

2021 - The offseason when Kris Bryant will be a free agent, and the original time the Cubs expected him to become a free agent, following what looked like clear service time manipulation when he first arrived in MLB. After running over Double-A and Triple-A pitching in 2014, there was little doubt Bryant was ready for a big league promotion for Opening Day 2015. Chicago kept him in the minors for 19 days at the start of that season, which conveniently gave them another year of control over his service time. Sheryl Ring, our resident legal expert lambasted the decision last week, where you can find more information on the grievance process.

59 - Days until Opening Day.


Steven Martano is an Editor at Beyond the Box Score, a Contributing Prospect Writer for the Colorado Rockies at Purple Row, and a contributing writer for The Hardball Times. You can follow him on Twitter at @SMartano