KEEPING IT RAHEEL

Raheel Ramzanali: Some good follows on Twitter for Astros season

Astros fans have some must followers. Elsa/Getty Images

Twitter makes everything better. I know we all have our issues with Twitter and the negative crap it brings out in people, but to me it’s all about who you follow and who you engage with on a daily basis that can make your daily experience a blast. This rule is incredibly important when it comes to sports Twitter. Fans are passionate and will be unreasonable when it comes to their teams so finding the follows is key. That’s why I want to highlight some cool accounts I follow for discussions, info and more when it comes to our Houston Astros. I apologize if I left any out.

  • @JuliaMorales - Julia is the best in the business when it comes to reporting and she takes no breaks on Twitter before, during, and after games. Her Twitter game is even more impressive because she’s doing it while working on the AT&T Sports Net broadcast. Now most Astros fans are already following her, but in case you’re not, you need to ASAP.

  • @BrianMcTaggart - If you like Tids and Bits then you’ll love Brian’s Tidbits. Brian has been covering the team since 2004 and is a tremendous beat writer for MLB.com. Again, I know most Astros fans follow him, but just wanted to be sure to include the great McTags.

  • @LinkCalhoun - Calhoun is the king of gifs. If there’s something gif worthy from a game then this man will have it up and giffing within a minute. Calhoun isn’t just an Astros follow so get ready for gifs from across the sports world.

  • @pmclellan - Patrick McLellan LOVES the Houston Astros. He loves them so much that he joined forces with @AstrosCounty to host the wildly popular fan podcast Lima Time Time. Pat is super active during the games and will also work in some daily observations to breakup your timeline from the nonstop Texans content during the offseason.  Oh, he’s also a Clements High School alum so shout out to the Rangers fam out here making a difference in the world.

  • @AstrosCounty - Shout out to the Thickie Don for putting out great Astros content for years and years. He’s the other half of the above mentioned Lime Time Time podcast and also runs AstrosCounty.com. The Don is also writing for The Athletic now so that’s super cool.

  • @AstrosFuture - You love a good prospect? You love a good Astros prospect?! Well, this account is for you then. Jimmy Price keeps you up on everything happening in the farm system and what players are doing with daily updates. Want more than just tweets? His website has very thorough breakdowns of all the guys at AstrosFuture.com.

  • @HouCounterPlot - The Archbishop provides the perfect blend of humor and content during the games and is an institution on #AstrosTwitter. Bonus: click on his link in the bio.

  • @AstrosOptimism2 - He was once @AstrosOptimism, but after he forgot his password and got locked out of his account, he became @AstrosOptimism2.  Okay, I’m not sure if that’s the case, but that’s what I’m hoping it is. My man optimism sat through the dark years like everyone on this list and came out for the better.  

  • @DrewShirleyShow - Houstonians might remember Drew from his days on TV here, but he’s now one of the most active members of #AstrosTwitter. His blend of insight and snark makes for a great follow during games and while you need to pass some time on Twitter.

  • @AstrosGuy - When he's not dominating with beer tweets, AstrosGuy is providing leadership to the #RootRootDrink movement during games. Follow him for good Astros content and the latest brews. 

  • @ChivesMcGee - The only reason you shouldn't follow Chives is because of his endless love for Seattle based rapper Macklemore, but his Astros enthusiasm makes up for it. Chives is also up on the latest news so he adds way more than just Astros talk. 

  • @WillMoriarity86 - There was a time when I would see Will every day in person - Now I see him every day on Twitter. Will responds to every tweet you send his way and isn’t shy about voicing his opinion so get ready to interact with him during games. I know I missed a bunch of other good follows, so please send me your suggestions on Twitter! @The_Raheel.

 

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Willson Contreras could give the Astros some extra pop in the lineup. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

“The Hot Stove League” is the nickname given to Major League Baseball's offseason. In particular, the free agent signing period in late November/early December. Trades are also made during this period. Now that Astros' owner Jim Crane has ousted all opposition to his idea of how things should be run, he's free to do things the way he sees fit.

He opened it by not hiring a general manager to replace James Click. Instead, he opted for a committee of assistant GMs. Those guys are assisted by some special advisors, like former Astros great Jeff Bagwell. Crane likes and wants to take a big swing at things. He'd probably hit about .250 with 30-plus home runs every season. Can't leave out his guaranteed 80-100 strikeouts. Typical power hitter. It's all or nothing, except Crane has been making great contact and knocking some things out of the park.

Signing Jose Abreu was an example. Yuli Gurriel looked as if he was losing the battle with “Father Time” during the regular season. This was an insurance policy at first, and designated hitter. Another prime example is their reported interest in C/DH/LF Willson Contreras. His bat would be a major upgrade over past Astro catchers. Although Martin Maldonado may not be going anywhere, having a quality bat to relieve him is key. Add the fact that he plays some outfield, and he's almost a “two birds with one stone” type of signing.

Abreu may be 35 years old, but he's coming off a year hitting .304 with 15 home runs. Contreras may be the younger of the two at 30, but his .243 average hurts the fact that he hit 22 home runs. Both sport an OPS above .800 for their careers. Bagwell said he wants Yordan Alvarez to play left field 45% of the time. The other 55% can be Contreras, Chas McCormick (assuming Jake Meyers is still in the mix for center field), and whoever else they sign or bring up from Sugar Land. When Contreras isn't in left, he needs to be behind the plate or hitting DH. I'd really love the idea of him sitting under Maldonado's learning tree for a year and taking over catcher long-term. Not many can be the catcher "Machete" is, but hitting 50 points better than him has its advantages.

Then there's the reported interest other teams have in Justin Verlander. Supposedly, the Mets have met with him via Zoom. The Dodgers are interested and are seemingly the leaders in the clubhouse to sign him. However, I wouldn't count Crane and crew out. He may come to JV last minute and offer him something comparable in order to keep him around. He strikes me as the type of guy who'll keep his plays close to the vest, then make a Godfather type of offer. He negotiated Verlander's last deal with the team himself. Coming off a World Series win, Cy Young win, and opting out of said deal, Verlander is most likely looking to get one final payday that'll also land him on a contender.

Having a winner is one thing. Having a winner committed to winning long-term is another. Crane wants to strike while the iron is hot. Sure, he wants his franchise to be sustainable. But he also wants to keep the World Series window open as long as possible. Kyle Tucker's next deal will be one to watch. Having an embarrassment of riches on the pitching staff means you have trade bait. Keep an eye on old Jimmy Crane. I think he might be the best thing to hit Houston sports in quite some time.

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