Joe Musgrove has been going through some growing pains as a starter for the Astros this season. However, with Keuchel and Collin McHugh back in the starting rotation, Musgrove may have found a new home as a long man in the bullpen.
Musgrove has the stuff to be successful in baseball. He has a mid-nineties fastball and a low-eighties slider that he throws the majority of the time. As a starter, it did not work for him. He had a 6.12 ERA and a .306 batting average against in 15 starts.
However, one tiny change may have changed Musgrove’s season. When he came out of the bullpen on July 22nd against the Baltimore Orioles, Musgrove pitched exclusively out of the stretch position. As an Astros reliever since then, he has not given up an earned run and has given up only two hits and has struck out four in four innings pitched.
It will be interesting to see what the Astros long-term plan is with Musgrove. The Astros should be thinking about keeping him with Francis Martes and Brad Peacock as innings eaters in the bullpen at least for the remainder of the season. His breaking ball and mid-nineties fastball fit perfectly there.
***Stats provided by MLB.com, Baseball Reference and Fan Graphs***