Astros News

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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HOUSTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 30: Joe Smith #38 of the Houston Astros delivers the pitch against the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019, in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Joe Smith:  A

The Astros got bad news in December of 2018 when they learned that Joe Smith ruptured an Achilles tendon in his right leg during offseason workouts. After requiring surgery, Smith was looking at a long grueling rehab and Houston would be without one of their dependable relievers for the next six to eight months.

The 34-year-old battled back and returned to the mound almost 200 days later on July 14th. Smith never skipped a beat and was dependable as ever, actually, better than ever. Although he only got in 28 games and 25 innings for the Astros in the second half of the season, it was Smith’s best season of his 13-year career.

Smith ended the regular season with a 1.80 ERA, the second-lowest of any reliever in the Astros’ bullpen with at least 10 innings of work. He was also second among the same group of pitchers with a 1.80 BB/9IP ratio.

His 1.80 ERA, 0.960 WHIP, and 260 ERA+ were all career-best numbers and among the top in the bullpen. The Astros could really benefit by bringing back the dependable veteran to their pitching staff next season.

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