Houston native Lance Pendleton is in Astros camp for the second straight spring. Last season the Astros selected Pendleton from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft. The Rice University alum was ecstatic at the prospect of reaching the big leagues with his home town team. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The Astros felt Pendleton wasn’t ready to consistently contribute at the big league level and returned him to the Yankees. No harm, no foul. The Astros liked what they saw in the young right-hander but weren’t ready to commit to a full season on the roster (Rule 5 picks can’t be optioned to the minors.) Pendleton would however realize his dream of pitching for the Astros. After appearing in eleven games for New York, Lance was claimed off waivers by the Astros late in the season.
Pendleton was ineffective in four September relief appearances for the Astros, allowing one or more earned runs each time he took the mound. He was released during the off-season and later re-signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
Pendleton is not a power pitcher. His fastball peaks at about 90 mph. He does however possess a full arsenal of pitches and has been successful as a starter in the minors. But at age 28 his window of opportunity could be beginning to close and I’m not sure how he fits in with our staff. The rotation at AAA Oklahoma City will be hard to crack and Pendleton doesn’t appear to have the stuff required to succeed as a big league reliever.
It is refreshing to see a youngster who wants so badly to make it with his favorite team, regardless of their place in the standings. Although his chances don’t look good, I will be rooting for Lance.