The Houston Astros will send Brad Peacock to the mound to face Drew Pomeranz (5-4, 2.91) and the Oakland Athletics (77-54) tonight in the series finale at Minute Maid Park. This season, Peacock has been very inconsistent for the Astros. He is just 3-8 on the year with a 5.30 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 93 strikeouts, 55 walks, 114 hits, and 17 home runs in 19 starts (107.0 innings pitched.)
Meanwhile, one of the organization’s top pitching prospects, right-hander Asher Wojciechowski has started to throw very well for the Class AAA Oklahoma City Redhawks. On the season, Woj is 4-4 with a 4.56 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 53 strikeouts, 20 walks, 82 hits, and 10 home runs in 13 starts (71.0 innings pitched.) I know those numbers don’t look very impressive, but take a look at his last three games:
August 15th (W at Fresno): 7.0 innings, 3 hits, 0 ER, 1 walk, and 7 strikeouts (101 pitches)
August 20th (ND vs. El Paso): 6.0 innings, 5 hits, 1 ER, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts (95 pitches)
August 25th (W vs. Albuquerque): 7.1 innings, 6 hits, 0 ER, 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts (95 pitches)
Wojciechowski was selected in the first round, with the 41st overall selection, of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Blue Jays. He was acquired by the Astros in a trade with Toronto back in 2012. The deal included Houston sending pitchers J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, and David Carpenter to the Blue Jays in exchange for Woj, Ben Francisco, Francisco Cordero, David Rollins, Joe Musgrove, and Carlos Pérez.
Wojciechowski started the 2013 season with the Class AA Corpus Christi Hooks, but received a midseason promotion to the RedHawks. The 25-year-old from The Citadel throws a mid-90’s fastball, nasty slider and can mix in the changeup or curveball as well. If he does get called up this season, it would probably take a few games for Woj to adjust to the major leagues (just like it took time for him to adjust at Class AAA), but at this point I think that’s a much better time investment for the Astros than sending out Peacock.
This season, Peacock is 0-2 with a 7.90 ERA in three starts against Oakland. The right-hander is 0-3 with an 8.87 ERA in his last six outings and hasn’t pitched past the fifth inning in any of those games. It seems like every time Peacock pitches, Astros manager Bo Porter has to use up a lot of the bullpen (which owns a major league-worst 4.89 ERA) just to get through the game. If the 26-year-old right-hander is not a part of the Astros long-term plan, why should the team keep suffering through his starts?
Houston has plenty of talented arms throughout their organization. (by the way, Mark Appel was briillant last night for the Hooks.) With the team out of contention once again this season, I think it would be smart to see what they have in Wojciechowski for the next couple weeks. Dallas Keuchel, Brett Oberholtzer, Collin McHugh, and Scott Feldman have all done a nice job under pitching coach Brent Strom. Now, I think it’s time to give Woj a chance.
Lineup for the Astros tonight (56-77):