Astros Afternoon: Does Houston Have a Top-Ten Bullpen?


Here are some links and previews to news and notes that concern the Houston Astros. Featured in this week’s “Astros Afternoon” is an article about the MLB bullpen rankings, the commissioner pushing for a big change in the pre-draft process, and a note on uniforms.

Do the Astros Have a Top-10 Bullpen?

Nicholas Ian Allen of Fansided put together a top-ten ranking of MLB bullpens earlier today. Noting that strong overall bullpens have become more prominent in building an championship team, like Kansas City did in 2014, Allen states:

"Starting pitchers get most of the attention and a top notch closer can elevate the overall effectiveness of a pitching staff, but Major League Baseball teams rely heavily on the five or six guys that handle the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings over the course of the 162 game season, especially in today’s era of specialization."

As we’ve witnessed, it’s not just about the closer anymore in modern bullpens. The Astros rely on guys like Tony Sipp and Pat Neshek to shut the opponents down so that Luke Gregerson can come in and seal the victory.

So where does Houston rank in Allen’s listing? How about 4th, due to the pen’s 1.98 ERA and .158 batting average against in 50 innings of work.

Brady Aiken Draft Debacle Is Still Making Waves

We all remember last year’s disaster with Brady Aiken and the Houston Astros where the team had some concerns about the young pitcher’s elbow after a post-draft physical revealed some issues with his UCL. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is trying to remedy this embarrassing situation for the league, the teams, and the drafted players.

In an article written by Evan Drellich of, Drellich writes that Manfred is pushing for pre-draft physicals for high school players. Drellich explains:

"In MLB, there is no pre-draft combine as there is in the NFL, and MLB teams do not have a right to review extensive medical information, such as an MRI exam, ahead of the draft as NFL teams do. An amateur player (and his adviser or agent) can provide whatever medical information they wish to a club before the draft, but a player does not have to submit to an examination with a team doctor until after he is drafted."

This is a relatively long read, but it explains what led up to the commissioner’s move and how other players could be affected. Highly recommended for all baseball fans.

Baseball uniforms are ranked. Astros get some applause.

In the subjective world of aesthetics, everyone has an opinion and nobody is really right or wrong as it is a matter of taste. Unless they’re talking about your home team, of course.

Dayn Perry, a self-proclaimed fashion icon, of “courageously” takes a look at all 30 teams and ranks their home uniforms. The top four teams are the old-fashioned traditional teams: Cardinals, Tigers, Dodgers, and Yankees. The Astros come in at…number five! From Perry’s write up:

"Here we have the best of the post-expansion era franchises. When the Astros ditched their orange and blue, they wound up with some of the worst uniforms in baseball. Now, though, the franchise’s true colors are back, and they look terrific. A six-letter nickname makes for the perfect spacing on the jersey front, and the orange piping of course meets with my hearty approval."

There’s nothing to disagree with here. In fact, back in February, I wrote a rebuttal to a critic who ranked the Astros’ uniforms as one of the worst in baseball. Good to see that Mr. Perry has some sense unlike those other critics!

In case you missed it:

Eric Huysman looks at what it would take for the Astros to finish above .500 for the month of April.

Brandon Del Castillo provides an update on the AAA Fresno Grizzlies.

Jason Burke wonders if Preston Tucker has a future with Houston.

Next: Down on the Farm: Corpus Christi Hooks Update