As of a month ago, Jose Cisnero was the best Astros reliever. After his July 10th outing against the Cardinals, Cisnero’s ERA sat at 2.87 and he was the one guy in the bullpen Bo Porter could count on.
When Cisnero was called up in April, it was almost because he was just the last man standing. A 1.17 ERA in 7.2 innings quickly earned him a spot in the bullpen going forward. After recording a 4.11 ERA over 15.1 May innings, Cisnero was just flat out dominating in June.
In June, the 24 year old pitched 11.2 innings and recorded a .77 ERA striking out 14 batters. On the season, Cisnero has a 4.12 ERA which is still respectable, but his WHIP is an unsightly 1.63. In 43.2 innings, the righty has 41 strikeouts which is a vital skill for late inning relievers.
And that June performance is what had him elevated to the 8th inning role. But more importantly, speculation began to swirl that Cisnero would be the one to replace Jose Veras when he was traded.
At the time, it seemed odd that Cisnero would not be replacing Veras, but after taking a closer look, it made sense.
In a month’s time, Cisnero’s ERA rose by close to 1.5 runs and his July ERA was 8.22. Between the recent struggles and his propensity for putting runners on base, Cisnero needs to regroup. That’s why sending him down to AAA Oklahoma City today was the right move. The reliever needs some time just to regain his recent success.
In his place, the Astros called up hard throwing Jorge De Leon to replace him in the bullpen.
Until 2010 De Leon was an infielder before converting to pitching. The 26 year old will be making his major league debut and prior to this season never pitched above High A ball.
So far this season De Leon had a 4.27 ERA over 52.2 innings in AA and did not give up an earned run in 7.1 AAA innings. Even though he throws in the mid to high 90′s, the reliever only strikes out about six batters through 9 innings which is simply not good enough.
I’m not sure how much I expect from De Leon, but he is a fresh arm and the move enables Cisnero to go down to AAA and work through his recent struggles.