Nasty in a very good way as recent additions have turned the Stros’ bullpen into something intriguing and worth watching. Starting with the addition of Josh Fields, who throughout baseball was considered almost a lock to go number one in the Rule 5 Draft. Now, throw in the addition of Jose Veras who has been pretty good over the last three season, including very nice strikeout numbers, and you have potential. The one person who could turn this into an intriguing group is Jarred Cosart who has been speculated to be in the Stros bullpen plans. That trio could be pretty interesting and potentially lights out.
For a rule 5 addition, Josh Fields might be the closest thing to a lock to be in the Astros bullpen as can be expected. He could be the 7th or even 8th inning guy and given the expectations, could be exceptional in that role. His age and pedigree seem to fit the bill as a very good reliever, with the ability to get a strikeout when needed. The same could be said for Jose Veras, as the underrated reliever had his worst season in the last three in 2012. Yet, in 2012, Veras had a very nice 3.67 ERA and a nice strikeout ratio of 10.6 per 9 innings. Walks were an issue and have been throughout his career, that would be something to keep an eye out for. Those two should create at least a little buzz with some pretty electric stuff but a third member could make the Stros bullpen a difference maker.
When the Stros acquired Jarred Cosart, more than a few baseball experts thought that his eventual role would be as a dominant closer. The Stros are banking on using his incredible stuff to become a number one or at the very least good number two starter. So, while I’d be concerned about using him out of the pen, as a baseball move, it would set him up as a potential future closer and get him MLB innings. Cosart, whether as a closer, 8th inning or 7th inning guy, has the potential to have a Brad Lidge type climb.
While Fields, Veras and Cosart all have big question marks, if they are answered, it could get fun in the late innings. For a young team, defense and bullpen are incredibly important, so setting up a strong pen is the right way to go for Jeff Luhnow. While not flashy acquisitions, adding Fields and Veras could be moves that make Luhnow look like a genius in 2013. We will see about Cosart but the potential is there to be a scary good 7th, 8th and 9th inning trio.