It looks as though the final piece of the puzzle has been set in place in the deal that has been speculated about all day. That piece is James Hoyt, a 28-year old right-handed reliever.
Last season Hoyt pitched in both double and Triple-A for a combined 3.17 ERA in 59 2/3 innings, along with seven saves. The worry with Hoyt comes from his splits between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. In Mississippi Hoyt was dominant with a 1.14 ERA and struck out 12.2 per nine innings. That’s a great mark. In Gwinnett, his ERA ballooned to 5.46, saw his WHIP double (0.916 to 1.857), his walks increased and his strikeout rate went down (still a respectable 10.9).
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In 2012, James Hoyt was pitching in the Mexican League. According to Tomahawk Take, the Braves site on the FanSided Network, “…mostly a two-pitch pitcher: Mid-90’s fastball that can reach the upper-90’s with lots of movement and a devastating slider that he uses as his out pitch. At 28 years old, his time in Atlanta may be now. Through 8 appearances in the Winter Leagues, Hoyt has a 1.23 ERA striking out 6.”
Brian McTaggart has just tweeted that Hoyt will be invited to Astros spring training as a non-roster invitee. He has the potential to be the first guy called up if a reliever goes down due to injury, if he doesn’t make the team before camp breaks.
Was Hoyt added to this deal because Luhnow just wanted another player, or was he added because this is someone that the Astros’ scouting team really likes, and Luhnow worked tooth and nail to acquire him? It’s not certain just yet, but we should find out soon enough with spring training around the corner.