The fact is that the Houston Astros will open the season with the Tony Sipp as the only lefty in the bullpen.
Every Astros fan who pays attention knows that having Tony Sipp as the Astros LOOGY (left-handed one-out guy) is not ideal. In the past two years, he has struggled greatly. If his production does not drastically improve, I do not think he will last thirty days on the roster.
Sipp had a 4.95 ERA in 2016, and an even worse 5.79 ERA in 2017. That kind of STATS does not belong on a World Series Championship caliber roster.
The Astros have other pitchers cemented into the Astros roster who has proven to be able to get outs against lefties. Manager A.J. Hinch continued to display full confidence in Tony Sipp. In spring training Sipp has shown some flashes of regaining his 2015 productivity. But he mainly continued his struggles which he intended to leave behind.
Is Sipp safe?
In my opinion, April will be the most critical month of the regular season for Sipp. If Sipp plays as he did in the past two years, he will be released by the end of April or beginning of May. The Astros have better options for their “LOOGY” in their bullpen than Sipp. Chris Devenski last year kept left-handed hitters to a .111 batting average allowing only 14 runs the whole season.
Editor’s note: There are $6 million reasons why the Astros want Sipp to be the answer.
Will Harris also posted an impressive .233 BAA while facing lefties. While they are not the “L” in “LOOGY,” they sure can get that one out against any lefty more often than Tony Sipp did in 2016-17. While the Astros do not have many other options to have that last spot in the bullpen, there are still other ways to fill that spot.
Other lefty options.
Lefty Reymin Guduan is the only other healthy, and foreseeable option on the Astros 40-man roster. He appeared 22 times in the majors in 2017 posted a 7.88 ERA which is not so to speak “impressive.” However, he did post a 1.08 ERA in spring training over 8.1 innings. He also has a 100 mph fastball. If he continues to improve in the minors, he will likely see some major league action in 2018.
The Astros can always explore the trade market, and see what options are out there. Don’t forget, the Astros we very close in closing in on a deal with LHP Zach Britton before the trade deadline last year. However, Britton is on the DL until May. Don’t forget about Buddy Boshers or Cionel Perez. They could be options as well.
Whatever the case is, if need be, the front office will not shy away and ignore a big hole on the Astros roster. We will see in April what Sipp does. We all want to see him succeed and go back to his 2015 form. But if the LOOGY spot ends up being a significant problem, we will see changes made to be a back to back championship caliber team from top to bottom on the roster.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***