Joe Musgrove Makes an Impression in his Astros Debut
While the anticipation for Lance McCullers to make his Houston Astros debut, last season was big. He was promoted sooner than most people expected. It would be safe to say that the anticipation for the 2015 Astros minor league pitcher of the year, Joe Musgrove, has been the highest since Roy Oswalt. There were not people clamoring for Dallas Keuchel to make his debut like they have with Musgrove.
Most teams would have had Musgrove up sooner in the season, but the Astros rotation has been relatively consistent this season with Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Mike Fiers, and Doug Fister have been stable in the rotation, whether they have struggled or not.
Musgrove made a case for promotion last year with his breakout season that started in Quad Cities and finished with the Double-A Hooks. The former first round compensation pick for the Toronto Blue Jays began the season in Double-A in 2016, which was surprising to most die-hard Astros fans who thought he already demonstrated mastery of Double-A hitters.
He started off the season with the Double-A Hooks, pitching in six games, four of them as the starter. The other two games were most likely as part of the tandem starters that the Astros sometimes do in the minor leagues. He had a 2-1 record with a .34 ERA while striking out 30 hitters in 24 1/3 innings.
I interviewed Alex Bregman following Musgrove’s promotion. Bregman said that he was a stud, and when runners reached second base after he was promoted, they would tell him that they were glad that they didn’t have to face Joe anymore.
When he reached Triple-A, he got off to a hot start with the Fresno Grizzlies. He had a few bad games, but overall he was a dominating pitcher. He was 5-3 with a 3.81 ERA while striking out 57 hitters in 59 innings pitched. The PCL is one of the hitter friendly leagues out there, so it shows how much success Brady Rodgers has had in 2016. This is all a part of history. Musgrove is no longer a minor league player but still is a prospect.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
Musgrove will be joining the Astros rotation for the foreseeable future, as he is filling in for McCullers. Starting Sunday, Musgrove will be making his first MLB start, but he has already put his name in the record books. Via Bill Bishop, Musgrove tied a record for most strikeouts by a reliever in his major league debut in 100 years. He also set the Astros record for strikeouts for most strikeouts in a game by a reliever.
With that strikeout ability, this guy is a starter and should be part of the Astros’ rotation until 2023 at least. I was able to watch Musgrove pitch in that 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays at MMP. When my son is old enough to get his drivers license, he will possibly be an Astro. Musgrove’s mother was unable to travel to Houston because of the uncertainty, will be there Sunday for his first start.
Next time you see Joe, ask him what his sock of the day is? He is part of the future but has already made some history. Get used to watching him pitch.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***