Astros: Could Lance McCullers Return as a Reliever?

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 23: Lance McCullers Jr.
BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 23: Lance McCullers Jr. /

I’ve always believed Lance McCullers would be a great fit in the Astros’ bullpen. So, with this latest DL visit, what makes that possible?

Astros‘ right-hander Lance McCullers has return to the disabled list with back discomfort. This is the same issue that sent him to the DL back in June.

With a large lead, the Astros can play it safe with his health. McCullers is also struggling with mechanical issues.

So, there’s a lot to keep in mind about his return this season.

History of Ailments

We all know McCullers has electric stuff. He throws hard, and has one of the best curve balls in the game. However, these two pitches tend to stress his body often. He went on the disabled list twice in 2016, and twice in this current season. Although the injuries are not the same, this year for back discomfort and in 2016 for elbow discomfort. With this in mind, preserving his body is more important. We all know what it takes for McCullers to throw at his best, and that has translated to injury.

Thinking Differently

McCullers has the ability to shut down hitters with authority. He thrives in adversity and wants the ball. This has the makings of a great relief pitcher. When a game is on the line, a strong reliever wants it. He goes out and keep his team in it. Lance has both the ability and the want to do that. With a bullpen that has issues, perhaps this is a great way to give them an edge once again. We have seen the success Joe Musgrove is having, what’s to say he cannot do the same?

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Let the “Peacock” Fly

It is an understatement to say Brad Peacock has been terrific this season. Better yet, it is not enough to merely consider him another pitcher. He has been like an ace in the absence of Dallas Keuchel. He has taken on the role and made the most of his opportunities. He’s 10-1, with a 3.20 ERA, and a 1.26 WHIP. So, with Peacock being as great as he is, why not let McCullers throw in relief?

***Statistics and information courtesy of ESPN and Baseball Reference***