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Astros Trade Rumors: Underrated left-handed bullpen options

colingay
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Aaron Loup
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Aaron Loup /
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Tony Sipp needs help.

SEATTLE, WA – JUNE 24: Reliever Tony Sipp #29 of the Houston Astros delivers a pitch during the seventh inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 24, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won 5-2. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA – JUNE 24: Reliever Tony Sipp #29 of the Houston Astros delivers a pitch during the seventh inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 24, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won 5-2. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /

The Astros are going into the trade deadline with the need of a left-handed pitcher the bullpen. With big names such as Justin Wilson, Sean Doolittle, and National League All-Star Brad Hand on their radar, it seems like those would be very expensive answers to a very fixable problem. Here are three under-the-radar names that could be able to fix the bullpen depth issue.

Aaron Loup

After putting up good numbers in his first three seasons as a part of the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen, Loup has seemed to regress since the 2015 season. His ERA has been over 4.40 over the last three seasons with a WHIP north of 1.25 as well.

This season is no different. In 40 outings, Loup has a 4.60 ERA with a 1.60 WHIP. Posting a respectable .268 batting average against, his lowest since 2014, he strikes out about a batter per inning, with 31 strikeouts in 31.1 innings pitched.

Even though these numbers may not be impressive, Loup has the stuff that the Astros like in a left-handed reliever. Throwing a 92 mph sinker 68.2 percent of the time, Loup is a ground ball pitcher, generating a ground ball percentage of 50 percent or more in five of his six career major league seasons.

What he can offer.

The part that the Astros should be more excited about Loup with is the lack of home runs that he has given up this season. He has only given up two home runs in his 31.1 innings of work. Right now, Loup only allows eight percent of his fly balls leave the yard, a career low for the 29-year-old left-hander. To compare, Tony Sipp, the Astros only current option as a left-handed reliever, is currently letting a career-low 13.6 percent of fly balls leave the yard.

Loup does have some control issues to address. Giving up an average of 4.88 walks per nine innings, he is walking opposing batters 11.4 percent of the time, the highest rate of his career.

Loup is not a flashy pitcher by any means. However, as a left-handed reliever in the middle of a one-year $1.1 million dollar contract with the last place Blue Jays team. He may be an option as an add-in for a trade for an ace-like starting pitcher, such as Marco Estrada or Marcus Stroman, or a smaller deal for some lower level prospects.

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