Jeff Luhnow’s first significant acquisition as the Astros’ GM brought over Jed Lowrie to help fill out the shortstop position but it also brought along another interesting piece to the puzzle, Kyle Weiland. The 25 year old righthander was acquired to help bring quality depth to a young rotation and create competition. Luhnow has promised competition at many different positions during Spring Training and acquiring Weiland is a clear example of that philosophy. Kyle will have a very big opportunity to nail down a spot that he wouldn’t have had in Boston.
Weiland was the 108th selection in the 2008 draft by the Boston Red Sox and would remain in the Red Sox system throughout his professional career. Kyle would have a steady minor league career amassing a 3.51 era and a nice 8.5/9 innings strikeout ratio. While never being considered as one of the Red Sox top prospects, primarily due to his average raw stuff, he put up the type of numbers that couldn’t be ignored forever. Primarily out of necessity but also impressed with his development, the Red Sox would call him up to the Major Leagues last September. Unfortunately, Weiland would struggle in part due to his own doing but the Sox would not help him at all during their collapse. He would show glimpses of promise that, no doubt, would help make him become an interesting player to Jeff Luhnow.
The Astros would be in desperate need of an everyday shortstop after losing Clint Barmes to the Pirates and that need would get addressed with the acquisition of Jed Lowrie. In that trade, the Astros would also acquire Weiland to help create valuable competition. You can look at Weiland as something of a bonus because most believed the Astros would acquire a veteran SS but the deal would allow the Astros to add a young starter who could also assist in the bullpen. In fact, most experts predict Weiland’s floor could be a great late inning option. Come spring training, the Astros will have a number of different options for the back end of the rotation. Depending on what happens with Wandy Rodriguez and Brett Myers, Weiland could become one of the favorites to take a spot in a very young group. What Kyle becomes will depend on himself and what the Astros might need but the makeup is there. Without the pressure of a Boston pennant race and meltdown, Weiland will have a chance to thrive for the Astros starting in 2012.