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Astros Report Card: Grading the 2019 relief pitchers; Part I

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: Will Harris #36 of the Houston Astros celebrates after retiring the side in the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals in Game Four of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park on October 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: Will Harris #36 of the Houston Astros celebrates after retiring the side in the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals in Game Four of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park on October 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ON – AUGUST 30: Collin McHugh #31 of the Houston Astros delivers a pitch in the fourth inning during a MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on August 30, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Collin McHugh:  B-

Beginning the season as one of the members of the Astros starting rotation, Collin McHugh started the first eight games of his 2019 season. He went 3-4 in those starts and had an ERA of 6.37 in 41 innings of work. As a result, McHugh was moved to the bullpen for the remainder of the season. He fared much better as a reliever, a role in which he had much success in 2018.

McHugh appeared in 27 games out of the pen totaling 33.2 innings. His ERA as a reliever was 2.67, quite the contrast from his results as a starter. He was credited with five holds and one win and was tagged for only one loss. He kept his opponents BA down to .208 as a reliever versus .232 during his starts. McHugh’s SO/9IP was also better when relieving (10.7) over starting (9.2).

There were some injury issues this year with McHugh missing a month early in the season with elbow discomfort and it resurfaced again in late August when he was finally shut down for the season.

After six seasons with the Astros, McHugh is on the market as a free agent. It will be interesting to see what kind of draw he’ll get from other teams this offseason and will the Astros entertain bringing him back for the 2020 season. Also, will teams pursue him as a starter, a role he played most of his career, or as a reliever, given his recent success out of the pen?

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