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Astros: Assessing Brad Peacock’s future with team

Mar 17, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Brad Peacock (41) against the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park. The Astros won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Brad Peacock (41) against the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park. The Astros won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Taking a look at pitcher Brad Peacock’s chances of remaining with the Astros for the rest of 2017 and beyond

With Collin McHugh beginning the season on the disabled list, both Joe Musgrove and Mike Fiers will make the rotation. This allows Brad Peacock to crack the major league roster as the long reliever.

After spending most of 2016 at Triple-A Fresno, Peacock was a long shot to make the team out of spring training. A solid spring, combined with McHugh’s lack of readiness, gives him perhaps one more chance to stick. The question now is how long he’ll stay.

How he could remain with the squad.

September 30, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Brad Peacock (41) throws in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
September 30, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Brad Peacock (41) throws in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The basic assumption is that once McHugh is ready, Fiers will move to the bullpen. This leaves the out-of-options Peacock without a spot, likely forcing the Astros to expose him to waivers. If another team claims him, the Astros will lose him. Otherwise, he goes back to Fresno.

Whether Peacock is claimed on waivers largely depends on his performance to start the season. If he pitches poorly, it’s less likely another team will want to give him a roster spot. If he pitches well, he could be claimed by a pitching-starved club.

There is also a scenario in which Peacock remains on the Houston roster, however. If Musgrove struggles to open the season, it’s possible the team will option him to Fresno when McHugh returns. This allows them to keep Fiers in the rotation and Peacock in the bullpen. This is contingent, of course, on Peacock being effective in that role.

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Another injury to the pitching staff could also help Peacock’s case to stay in Houston. The bottom line in any scenario, however, is that he must justify his presence by pitching effectively. If he does not, this could be his last chance to stick in the big leagues.

Running out of chances

Peacock saw most of his prior MLB action in 2013 and 2014 with the Astros. He pitched to a 5.18 ERA in 83.1 innings in 2013 and a 4.72 ERA in 131.2 innings in 2014. He made just one appearance with the Stros in 2015 before posting a 3.69 ERA in 31.2 innings last year.

Peacock also struggled at Fresno in 2016, posting a 4.23 ERA in 117 innings. He averaged 4.4 walks allowed and 8.6 hits allowed per nine innings with the Astros, which is simply too many baserunners. He’s also been bitten by the long ball, allowing 1.5 per nine innings. His total WAR with the Astros is -0.1.

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At age 29 and out of options, Peacock has little room for error. He’ll likely need to improve on the 3.93 ERA he posted in Spring Training to stick with the big league club. If not, he could find himself back in the minors or with a different organization before the summer comes.

***Statistics courtesy of baseball-reference and astros.com***

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