With Collin McHugh possibly starting on the DL, Brad Peacock likely to make the Astros.
Sometimes when you get disappointing news, it helps when you are ready for it. Since the beginning of spring training, I have tried to warn you that Brad Peacock may make the opening day roster. The responses that I received were not pro-Peacock. One of the responses was a person who said he could not live in a world where Peacock is on the team. Hate to break it to you, but Peacock may be on the Houston Astros opening day roster.
After battling all spring for the fifth starter, Joe Musgrove and Mike Fiers will most likely be the fourth and fifth starters. With Collin McHugh not quite ready after dealing with a dead arm, he most likely will start the season on the DL. This opens the door for Peacock on the roster, at least for the fifteen days that McHugh is on the DL.
McHugh did throw 41 pitches in a minor league game on Wednesday, but he was not going all out. Brian McTaggart tweeted that he maxed out at 88 mph, which is below his career 90 mph fastball. At this point of the spring, pitchers should be going deeper into the games. McHugh is healthy now, just not ready to pitch 5-6 innings the second game of the season. Kaplan believes that he will miss one or two turns in the rotation.
Enter the Peacock.
In comes Peacock, who is out of options. The Astros are worried about Peacock being placed on waivers because a division rival could pick him up. You might wonder why that is a big deal? Remember Dan Straily? Astros fans did not want him last year, so he was traded to the Padres before settling with the Reds.
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Last year with the Reds, Straily went 14-8 with a 3.76 ERA and 162 strikeouts. All the Astros got was Erik Kratz, who was just a position filler until Evan Gattis was ready. The Rangers have had some early injuries to some of their veteran pitchers they brought in. Mike Hauschild is having a great spring for the Rangers after being claimed as a Rule 5 pick in December.
This gives the Astros time to evaluate Peacock’s role on this team. We saw his upside during spurts last season. Mostly pitching in September, Peacock started some games with a 0-1 record and a 3.69 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings. His loss was his final start of the season where he gave up seven runs, five earned, in 4 2/3 innings. If Peacock fails, he might be able to clear waivers at that time.
The battle for the bullpen.
"“He’s making a strong push and he’s capable of extending out of the bullpen. You need guys like that to protect your rotation.” – Hinch on the broadcast."
During today’s broadcast, A.J. Hinch said that there is a battle for the bullpen between Jandel Gustave, James Hoyt, Peacock, and Dayan Diaz. Peacock will get the chance at the beginning, but the main battle will be between Hoyt and Gustave. Gustave had better success in 2016, but Hoyt pitches well versus left-handed hitters. About ten days away Astros fans!
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***