With the Houston Astros in the midst of a very long season, there is a lot to talk about.
Every Friday, I will be counting down aspects of all parts of the Astros as a whole, from the players on the roster, the players on the way and some other surprises along the way. Today, I start with the top five individual pitches currently on the Astros active roster.
5. Will Harris Cutter
When it is all said and done, RHP Will Harris may be the steal of Jeff Luhnow’s tenure as general manager of the Houston Astros. He spent three seasons bouncing around between the major and minor league systems of the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Harris, in his three seasons in an Astros uniform, has a 2.03 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP.
So far this season, Harris has continued being a consistent force out of the Astros bullpen. He has a 1.59 ERA with nine strikeouts with and a 0.97 WHIP in 11 appearances this season. With only the small sample size of 11 innings of work, Harris’ groundball percentage has decreased to 45.5 percent so far this season.
It’s all about the groundball.
The groundball is what brings Harris success, averaging over 50 percent in his first two seasons in Houston. The pitch that enforces the ground ball most in Harris’ repertoire is his cutter.
In his first two seasons, Harris has relied heavily on his cutter, throwing it to batters over 60 percent of the time. The pitch tops out just over 91 mph. But he throws the pitch with an average extension of 6.33 feet, 0.4 feet better than the average pitcher that throws a cutter. When hit, his cutter is hit 4.41 mph more softly than the average cutter at 81.56 mph.
Harris will not overpower opposing hitters. He will only throw in the low to mid-nineties. However, Harris has shown that if he stays true to who he is as a pitcher, his cutter is a weapon that generates weak contact and can get much-needed outs at the end of the ballgame.