My Year with the Houston Astros: Pt. 5 – Astros v. Children


Elimination Number: 6

Ron Kantowski, a sports writer who pens a column for a seemingly reputable news organization, wrote this recently in a piece about a 12-and-under baseball tournament:

A lot of those teams probably could take the Astros in a best-of-7 series. Especially the Wakefield Gorillas.

I’ll admit that I’m no Dave Cameron. I’m no Jeff Sullivan and I’m (thankfully) no Eno Sarris. I don’t fancy myself an analyst. I’m more of a big-picture guy. An idea man. I’m not saying I’m the Don Draper of the FanGraphs community, but if one were to be chosen, it would be a tie between me and Baumann and I have way more hair than he does. However, despite my lack of experience in the analysis field, the above quote does not seem accurate to me. Maybe it’s my stupid right-brained approach to things, but I would surmise that even the best Little League team in the west, the Eastlake team from Chula Vista — a representative in the LLWS — couldn’t beat the Astros in a best-of-seven series. But can we prove it? Can we objectively prove that a team of 12-year-olds could not beat a team constructed of adult men with Major-League experience? Well, let’s try.

Baumann’s research on catcher framing not withstanding, there isn’t a whole lot of stats to mine for these little league teams. Eastlake’s own web site provides no stats, most likely because it was made in Microsoft FrontPage 97. So I think the best way to come to judgment — to decipher if a group of children could beat men at a sport the men are paid at least six figures to play — is to just go down the roster for some good old-fashioned lineup comparison.

Eastlake – Patrick Archer

  • Compact swing
  • Good up-the-middle approach

Astros – Jason Castro

  • Actual MLB All-Star
  • Has logged hits against professional pitchers
  • A grown man

Advantage: Castro

First Base
Eastlake – Giancarlo Cortez

  • Strong lower half
  • Good contact skills
  • Plus footwork

Astros – Brett Wallace

  • Weighs 260 lbs.
  • Is not a child
  • A league-average hitter, but the league is the Major League

Advantage: Wallace

Second Base
Eastlake – Micah Pietila-Wiggs

  • Good lateral movement
  • Bat plays at the top of the lineup
  • Athletic build

Astros – Jose Altuve

  • Slight height advantage
  • Big muscles. Like muscles a man would have

Advantage: Altuve

Third Base
Eastlake – Rennard Williams

  • Can barrel the ball well
  • Large contact zone in the swing
  • Can also pitch

Astros – Matt Dominguez

  • Spends a lot of time at the gym — to which he can drive himself
  • Knows the loving caress of a woman
  • Hand fits in regulation glove

Advantage: Dominguez

Eastlake – Nick Mora

  • Power to all fields
  • Drives in runs

Astros – Jonathan Villar

  • Stole home in a Major-League game
  • Stole home in a Major-League game
  • Stole home in a Major-League game

Advantage: Villar

Left Field
Eastlake – Kevin Bateman II

  • Very good bat speed
  • Strong footwork
  • Fluid mechanics

Astros – Chris Carter

  • Could bench press the entire Eastlake team
  • Once won an arm-wresting contest to gain custody of his son
  • Can count above 1,000

Advantage: Carter

Center Field
Eastlake – Jake Espinoza

  • Line-drive power
  • Strong throwing arm
  • Good balance at plate

Astros – Robbie Grossman

  • Can easily buy cigarettes
  • Long legs, especially compared to a pre-teen
  • Has improved his left-handed swing that can now hit 400 ft. home runs

Advantage: Grossman

Right Field
Eastlake – Charly Peterson

  • Level swing
  • Good situational hitter
  • Can pitch in relief

Astros – L.J. Hoes

  • His mom doesn’t cut his hair
  • Once got a hit off Bartolo Colon
  • Can vote for President

Advantage: Hoes

Starting Pitcher
Eastlake – Grant Hollman

  • Smooth delivery
  • Pitches downhill
  • Deceptive speed

Astros – Jarred Cosart

  • Won a game in the Majors
  • Got a strikeout in the Majors
  • Throws over 90 MPH

Advantage: Cosart

So, as we can see, it wouldn’t be close, at least by my measurements. But again, I’m not a professional sports writer like Ron Kantowski, so what the frick do I know?

(h/t to @AstrosCounty for the link)


Print This Post

David G. Temple is the Managing Editor of TechGraphs and a contributor to FanGraphs, NotGraphs and The Hardball Times. He hosts the award-eligible podcast Stealing Home. Dayn Perry once called him a "Bible Made of Lasers." Follow him on Twitter @davidgtemple.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted

I love how you assume that Matt Dominguez, a 80 wRC+ hitter and bad defender, knows the loving caress of a woman. If natural selection can give the middle finger to John Gochner, I don’t think that its a stretch to say that Dominguez can’t get laid either.

the L.A Times

The next day, Matt’s girlfriend, Brittany, joined us in time to see Matt in the starting lineup, hitting seventh and playing third base.


I don’t see where that says she has lovingly caressed him. Just how closely have you been watching Dominguez?




I would like it proven that Carter can count to or above 1,000. In fact, I find the whole of your LF analysis unconvincing. The other positions I begrudgingly accept.


perhaps he has confused Chris Carter with Lincoln Hawk of “over the top” fame? because do i belive that those three statements are true facts about Lincoln Hawk and possibly even Hudson Hawk for that matter.

Antonio Bananas
Antonio Bananas

Lincoln Hawk can’t count over 1,000. That was a huge part of his character, that he was dumb. They pointed this out when his kid made fun of him for being a trucker, then Hawk said “if it’s so easy why don’t you do it” the. His kid drove the truck, kind of proving his point….

That said, if Carter were to start acquiring more Hawk character traits, such as turning his hat around to start a rally or when he’s down 0-2 at the plate, he’d become my new favorite player.


ah, so that’s why he turned down the $500,000 offer. it all makes sense now now that you mention it…

at least im still fairly certain that Cobra can count over 1,000, but as far as i know he wouldnt give a damn about the custody of his son.


Might be my favorite notgraphs post of all time.


Grant Hollman is a foot taller than Jose Altuve.


Much as if the Astros were to face the Gorillas – win.