There is going to be quite the battle among Astros’ pitchers for the 5th spot in the rotation this Spring Training. Don’t discount Brad Peacock’s chances.
The widely accepted assumption is that Collin McHugh will come out of the bullpen to join Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in the Astros’ starting rotation. Wade Miley was recently acquired to possibly fill in at the fourth spot. This sets up for a fierce competition for the fifth and final spot. Although everyone will have their eyes on Josh James, Forrest Whitley and a few of the other prospects, don’t forget about Brad Peacock.
There’s at least one person that hasn’t counted out Peacock, and that person is Brad Peacock. He’s going to do everything in his power to gain back his spot in the rotation and that includes adding a new pitch to his repertoire.
"“It’s the same thing I’d do every spring, get a couple starts and hopefully run with it, make the rotation,” said Peacock, who moved to the bullpen full-time last season due to the Astros’ starting surplus. “We’ll see what happens.”"
Peacock has been spending a part of the offseason working on commanding the changeup. He found a video from Trevor Hoffman on Twitter that gives instructions on how to throw the pitch. “I ran with that one,” the 31-year-old right-hander said. He took advantage of living right down the road from Fitteam Ballpark, the Astros Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach. He was able to throw some sessions with the Astros’ bullpen coach Josh Miller.
He plans to continue to work on the new pitch throughout Spring Training hoping it might help his chances at that 5th rotation spot. Last season Peacock relied too much on his slider and feels that adding another weapon to his arsenal will help against left-handed batters and A. J. Hinch agrees.
"“It’ll help him against different style hitters,” manager A.J. Hinch said of Peacock’s changeup. “Peacock has been a starter in the past, so he’s had to deal with lefthanded hitters more so in the past than last year. But the changeup can always be effective, especially when you’re in this high velocity, high spin fastball that’s up. The changeup will be a good complement to him.”"
Peacock has success as a starter as recently as 2017 when he started 34 games and went 13-2 with an ERA of 3.00. He also had an excellent strikeout ration of 11.0 SO/9 and an ERA+ of 136. Those are pretty good numbers to have on his resume for a starting pitching job. So keep an eye on Brad Peacock this Spring, he might just surprise everyone.