Houston Astros: Pitcher Edition of “Would You Rather”

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 06: Trevor Bauer #47 of the Cleveland Indians delivers a pitch in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros during Game Two of the American League Division Series at Minute Maid Park on October 6, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 06: Trevor Bauer #47 of the Cleveland Indians delivers a pitch in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros during Game Two of the American League Division Series at Minute Maid Park on October 6, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Let’s play a little game of “Would You Rather”. The Astros’ rumor mill is churning, the humid summer air is thick, and my heart can’t take it anymore.

Once upon a time, there was a sadistic soul that came up with a drinking game called “Would You Rather”. It’s a fun little game that can make you laugh and is a joyous time. Or make you look at people in a different light and end friendships.


I digress.

Lately, the rumor mills have been churning on the Astros finding some rotation help, and a plethora of names have been thrown out there. Marcus Stroman, Madison Bumgarner, Matthew Boyd, and now the two new sexy names: Tyler Trevor Bauer and Noah Syndergaard.

Let’s run down the two newest names.

Trevor Bauer: The Smartest Pitcher in Baseball

I understand the unpopularity of the man. Be it his on-going “friendly” twitter war with Alex Bregman,


or his constant badgering of fans. The fact that he is actually named Tyler or the attitude he gives off of knowing too much. Trust me, I’m one of the many fans that have been blocked by him. Which, come to think of it, will be really awkward if the Astros really do in fact trade for him.


Personality aside, you can’t deny his production when he steps on that field.

His four-seam fastball tops out at 97 MPH, spins at a fantastic 2,324 RPM and has a very solid exit velocity of only 88 MPH. His stamina? Don’t sweat that, he has proven to pitch deep into games. Averaging seven innings per start.

As it stands right now, he is at 132 IP through the first half of the season. That puts him on pace for the most innings of work through his very young career. In those 132 innings of work,  he has struck out 142 batters, which puts him on pace for 250+ K’s this year.

His K-per-9 innings rate is respectable too, coming in at 10.2, which is only fractions off of what Justin Verlander is doing this year.

Mix in the fact that he has a curve, changeup, and a slider to keep hitters off-balance, it’s no wonder he could be seen as an Ace on any other team.

With good, always comes the bad. His ability to give up the long ball is definitely something to be worried about. He already has 17 home runs against him this year. Which ties him with Gerrit Cole, however, is seven less than what Verlander has surrendered.

Lastly, and more importantly, everyone will want to know: “Is he worth it come October?”. Well, yes actually.

Through the three seasons the Indians have been in the playoffs, Bauer holds a 1-4 record with a 3.81 ERA and 32 strikeouts through 26 innings pitched. Ignore the record, as some of those losses were hard-luck losses. In 2017, against the Yankees, he went 8.1 innings pitched with 11 strikeouts and gave up 0 runs, yet factored into a loss.

His career post-season SO/9IP is 11.1. That’s fantastic quality.

In 2016, during the Indians run, Bauer started only two games but was pulled after four innings of work each game. That was the year that Bauer also started to heavily rely on sabermetrics to turn his game around.

Which brings me to my last point,  after the 2016 season, his overall ERA, SO/9, WHIP, and strikeouts took a boost. 2014-2016? His ERA was 4.34, WHIP was 1.33, SO/9IP was 8.3 and he only had 481 strikeouts through 519 innings. 2017-2019? The ERA has dropped to 3.31, WHIP down to 1.24, SO/9IP is up to 10.5, and he has seemingly flipped his strikeout numbers. Through 483 innings of work, he has struck out 566 batters.

Hard to debate those numbers.

Noah Syndergaard: The Mansfield-God of Baseball

The newest name in the long list of potential new Astro starting pitchers, local Texas product Noah Syndergaard has been making his rounds as early as this morning. According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the Astros have been low-key inquiring about Noah Syndergaard from the Mets.

In a trade that I normally make on my MLB The Show Franchise, Syndergaard to the Astros would be a dream come true. However, would it be a profitable investment for the Astros to pursue?

As previously mentioned, Morosi wrote up an article this morning on MLB.com, notating that

“Some within the Astros organization are intrigued by the possibility of acquiring Syndergaard, a hard-throwing Texan who could replace Gerrit Cole in future rotations if Cole leaves as a free agent this winter. Syndergaard is earning $6 million this season and is due to receive a raise in 2020, the first year he’ll be eligible for arbitration.” 

While the Mets are a lock to deal at the deadline, does this move make sense for both clubs?

The 2019 version of Syndergaard hasn’t been exactly par for the course. In 2019, the 26-year-old has registered a career-worst ERA at 4.68, SO/9 at 8.6 and WHIP at 1.278.

His four-seamer is still lightning fast though. Having not lost a beat, as it tops out at 100 and normally sits at 97-98 MPH. His spin rate is also on par at 2,178 and his average hit velocity is way below any of the current Astros crop, sitting at 86.5 MPH.

Syndergaard is also on a $6 million team-friendly contract that has two years of arbitration left on it.

One could make the observation that if the Astros make this deal now, they are thinking more of the future. Gerrit Cole, a Scott Boras client, is set for free agency this year, and Syndergaard could pose as his replacement.

That notion aside, the other negatives to Thor are his lack of consistency in the health department. In 2017 he tore his right lat muscle and was forced to sit out the rest of the season after only pitching 30 innings. In 2018 he missed more than two months of work due to a strained ligament in his throwing index finger.

The Mets, notably, are not advertising Syndergaard as a trade chip either. Meaning that the package to acquire such a talented, albeit fragile, pitcher would require a good bit of prospects to get. Some have speculated that a package closely mirroring Chris Archer‘s deal could be the case.

My speculation? I believe something more along the lines of the Gerrit Cole could be done. JB Bukauskas, Seth Beer and maybe two other lower-end prospects. However, again, is it worth it?

Next. Astros Pitching Notes: Peacock, Smith nearing return, Urquidy optioned. dark

The Game Continues: Would You Rather…

So I pose the question to you, dear reader, would you rather Trevor Bauer or Noah Syndergaard? Or is there someone completely different you would like? Let’s hear about it in the comments below.