Brad Peacock has been one of the best stories of the 2017 season. Coming into Spring Training without any minor league options left, the 29-year-old pitcher had to pitch his way onto the Astros active roster. Since then, he has been lights out in both the bullpen and in the starting rotation.
Starting as a long reliever in the bullpen, Peacock had a 1.10 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP in 16.1 innings of work. With a remarkable .127 batting average against in 12 appearances, he was a strikeout machine, with 22 strikeouts.
When Keuchel, Lance McCullers Jr. and Charlie Morton all went on the disabled list in a three-week span at the end of May and the beginning of June, Peacock was asked to come into the starting rotation. He did not miss a beat. In nine starts, he had a 5-1 record with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. The strikeout numbers got even higher, with 62 strikeouts in 45.1 innings of work. Now, striking out a career high 32.1 percent of all batters faced, Peacock averages 12.26 strikeouts per nine innings.
The secret to his success has been an increased use of his slider.
Peacock is throwing a career-high 36.2 percent sliders with a career-low 35.9 percent fastballs.
With Keuchel and Collin McHugh on their way back and Morton and McCullers pitching remarkably well in the starting rotation, it is unclear of what Peacock’s role will be out of the All Star break. However, no matter where it is, he has shown he will be effective.