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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Astros - Will Harris
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) /

Will Harris:  A+

Another one of the relievers that the Astros should make every effort to bring back to Houston. With two of the top free-agent relief pitchers, Will Smith and Chris Martin, both signing with the Atlanta Braves, Will Harris will be highly sought after by many teams this offseason.

Harris unequivocally had the best season of his eight-year career and was one of the Astros’ most reliable pitchers out of the bullpen. His 68 appearances led all relief pitchers on the team and his 60 innings of work tied for third.

His 1.50 ERA was not only the lowest on the team among qualified pitchers per fangraphs.com but was also the best in the American League. Harris was in the top ten in the AL in WHIP (0.930), Holds (26), LOB% (88.2), and xFIP (3.04). The 35-year-old reliever had career-best numbers across the board.

His league adjusted ERA+ of 309 was off the charts and is the 37th highest in the history of baseball among pitchers with at least 60 innings of work in a single season. Only some of the best all-time greats like John SmoltzDennis EckersleyRollie FingersBruce SutterEric Gagne, and Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera have done better.

Harris simply had a spectacular year, and if the Astros can only re-sign one of our four relievers that are on the free-agent market, Will Harris has got to be priority number one.

Next. Astros: Free agent Yasmani Grandal signed, Robinson Chirinos next?. dark

Today I looked at five of the Astros relief pitchers and graded out their 2019 seasons. Stay tuned for Part II of the Report Card on the bullpen when five more relievers get their grades. In the meantime, be sure to check out the Report Cards on the Astros starting pitchers, outfielders, and infielders.

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