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Astros: Dana Takes Control- OPINION

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

Why sending Salazar down means more than you might think.

First, I want this to be clear this will be MY OPINION. I have given you all of data before, and I will give you some here but his is going to be more opinion than facts. Fair?

Today, we got word that Grae Kessinger would be called up from AAA. Why did the call up Kessinger and not someone else? Look at the table below.

He is hitting the best currently on the Space Cowboys.

Note- There is some misinformation spreading about Kessinger stating he has played first base. The truth is Kessinger has played a TOTAL of 2 games (14 innings) at 1B in his entire minor league career.

Who is coming off the 40-man roster to create the roster spot for Kessinger? The easy answer is Luis Garcia or Forrest Whitley will be moved to the 60-day IL and come off the 40-man.

Why is Salazar being send down? Again, notice this table below.

The two players at the bottom of this table are already in AAA or will be on 6/5/23. However, notice the cell in red. Fifty-nine games into season Salazar has gotten 15 PA. FIFTEEN! I looked at all the players with as few PA as Salazar. EVERY ONE of them has spent time at AAA or on the IL this year. Salazar has spent the entire season on the active roster.

NO TEAM puts a player on the active roster and only gives them 15 PA in 59 games. It is managerial malpractice.

There WAS a reason Salazar was put on this roster. It was to facilitate Yainer Diaz to DH often. Since Diaz is a catcher there would naturally be a hesitation to start Diaz at DH due to injury risk. So, you carry a third catcher, and you start Diaz at DH often, right?

Dusty has started at DH 3 times in 2023. Yainer Diaz who was this team's NUMBER ONE or TWO HITTING PROSPECT coming into this season and who is 24 years old has gotten THREE starts at DH. Corey Julks (27) who was the number 30 prospect by some scouts has been given EIGHT starts at DH. David Hensley (also 27) who is at best a utility role player and not a top prospect has been given NINE starts at DH.

Seventeen starts at DH for older lesser prospects while the TOP prospect gets THREE starts at DH is managerial malpractice.

Maybe Diaz was busy playing at 1B to share time with the struggling Abreu, right? No, 6/4/23 was only the second time Diaz started at 1B.

Dana Brown said this about Diaz. “I don’t think he’s losing development time. I think, at some point, he’ll get over the 300 at-bats that I think we need him to get. I don’t think his development will be hindered at all, but sooner he’ll get in more games, hopefully.”

We are over one-third of the way through the season. Diaz has 75 PA or 69 ABs. He is NOT close to pace to getting 300 ABs. So, Dusty plays Maldonado 70% of the time at catcher and rarely plays Diaz at Catcher, DH, and 1B. What is Dusty doing with Diaz?

I think this is ultimately the question that Dana Brown asked himself too. Perhaps watching Diaz hit another HR and getting his OPS over 0.700 and seeing Dusty playing Maldy with his 0.590 OPS playing all of the time, Dana has FINALLY hit the same frustration level I have been at all season because unlike Dana, I watched this same malpractice last year.

It is possible that Dana Brown decided that if Dusty is not going to play Diaz at DH, then I am not going to keep a third catcher for less than 50 Salazar PA's this season. Dana goes to AAA and gets the player that has been hitting the best. He is an IF and can backup 3B, SS, and 2B. It would seem like the Astros have a glut of IF.

What happens to Diaz now if DH isn't a viable option? Honestly, who knows? Maybe Diaz gets more starts at 1B. Maybe he gets a start in LF.

I do think Dana has signaled he is taking control of the Astros roster. He is not going to allow dumb PT allocations. I think this is the first sign of a much bigger discussion the Astros GM needs to have with his manager.

By the very nature of their roles and the likelihood of how long each will be with the Astros, Dana and Dusty have different priorities for the allocation of playing time. I implore them to get on the same page now.

I believe Diaz NEEDS to be playing a LOT more. I think Dana does too.

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