The Astros’ bullpen is putting on the appearance to be set for next Thursday’s season opener in Arlington.
What can I say about the Astros’ 2018 bullpen?
Well, for one, Ken Giles is actually a pretty good reliever.
*This author ducks for cover*
Regardless of how one feels about Giles, the Houston bullpen should be a dependable lot. Over at FanGraphs, the site ranked the Astros second overall in the majors (5.5 fWAR), trailing only the super ‘pen that the Yankees (7.2 fWAR) have assembled. Believe it or not, but the Astros ‘pen is closer to the third place Indians (4.5 fWAR) than the first place Yankees. Yes, the New York of the American League’s bullpen is projected to be that good.
Hey, I’m allowed to admire other baseball teams when warranted!
But this post isn’t about the Yankees. It is about the defending champions, the Astros. Yes, I will love saying that all season long.
So, how does the bullpen look?
Yes, we do have a left-hander in our midst. Remember the talk of carrying an all right-handed bullpen? Of course, James Hoyt’s oblique injury is the primary reason why Sipp will likely make the Opening Day roster. For the record, Hoyt is a right-hander.
For the most part, the bullpen looks awfully familiar with a few changes. The most obvious difference is the inclusion of Rondon and Smith from free agency. Both relievers figure to play significant roles in 2018 in a broad range of situations. This is also the first time since 2015 that Luke Gregerson is not a part of the Astros’ bullpen. Of course, he is now a key cog for the Cardinals.
The other notable inclusion is McHugh, the long-time starting pitcher. Alas, there is simply not room for the age-30 right-hander in the Astros’ rotation as it is currently constructed. Like Peacock, McHugh will be asked to pitch in numerous situations in short- and long-relief. Again, like Peacock, he will also be asked to start when the need arises. Both swing pitchers figure to play a valuable role for the Astros in 2018.
This is where the bullpen current stands. Sipp is going to make the roster unless something sudden takes place. Barring an injury, the bullpen is set.
**Statistics and information courtesy of FanGraphs and MLB.com**