If you’re worried about the Astros’ bullpen depth this Christmas, well, don’t be any further.
When the news about right-hander Joe Smith’s ruptured left Achilles became public knowledge, there was early speculation whether the Astros would look at the free-agent market to help fill the void. However, it doesn’t appear likely as Houston’s front office feels comfortable with the arms in house.
General manager Jeff Luhnow’s comments are not out of the ordinary for a club with the Astros’ resources. For one, there are a few intriguing arms already at the threshold of entering the majors.
- RHP Rogelio Armenteros
- RHP Brady Rodgers
- LHP Cionel Perez
- RHP Josh James
- LHP Reymin Guduan
- LHP Framber Valdez
- RHP Dean Deetz
And there are others not listed to watch out for in 2019. Yes, these names aren’t proven at the major league level, but they’ll have to prove themselves sooner or later. With the already established veteran core on the staff, it doesn’t hurt to roll the dice with some of younger arms. Also, Smith is expected to pitch in 2019, especially by the season’s second half.
That said, the club’s relief depth will be tested to a certain degree next year. Collin McHugh is bound for the starting rotation following a stellar season in relief in 2018. Brad Peacock could see more starts like he did in 2017. Then there is the question of who’ll be the left-handed option in the bullpen. But the Astros are still in a relatively good spot all things considered.
If the 2019 season started today, Houston’s bullpen core would likely consist of Roberto Osuna, Ryan Pressly, Chris Devenski, Will Harris, and possibly Hector Rondon. Even if McHugh and/or Peacock are no longer relievers in 2019, the Astros aren’t hurting on the relief front this offseason.