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

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HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Roberto Osuna #54 of the Houston Astros is introduced prior to Game One of the 2019 World Series against the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park on October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Roberto Osuna #54 of the Houston Astros is introduced prior to Game One of the 2019 World Series against the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park on October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Astros - Roberto Osuna
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 17: Roberto Osuna #54 of the Houston Astros celebrates after retiring the side against the New York Yankees during the eighth inning in game four of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 17, 2019, in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The Astros had one of the top bullpens last season, so let’s dive right into Part II of the 2019 relief pitcher’s Report Card in this Report Card 5th installment.

Roberto Osuna:  A+

The Astros‘ primary closer, Roberto Osuna, was having a successful year on the mound in his first full season in Houston. His past troubles and controversies that surrounded him seemed to be behind him. Then in a postseason celebration, assistant GM Brandon Taubman made an apparent inappropriate statement about the acquisition of Osuna that resulted in Taubman getting fired and it all resurfaced.

But we can’t let that overshadow the outstanding campaign that he had in 2019 and hopefully, by the beginning of next season it will all be behind him, and he can continue closing out games as he did this season.

Osuna had a start to the season that many pitchers don’t experience. In the first 22 games, he surrendered just two runs and issued only two walks in his 22.1 innings of work. In that time frame, he had a record of 2-0, a 0.81 ERA, and accumulated 13 saves in 13 opportunities, not one blown save.

In the next two games, he showed that he was human and gave up two earned runs in each appearance and got his first blown save of the year. But he went on to have a very productive season and one of the best in his five-year career.

Osuna ended the season with 2.63 ERA and led the American League with 38 saves. He had the most finished games (56) in the entire Major League. His 0.877 WHIP was the lowest in his career and good for fourth-best among fangraphs.com qualified pitchers in the American League.

He is in the final season of his contract with the Astros and will be in an arbitration year in 2020. Houston does have control over him through the 2021 season and then he’ll be eligible for free agency in 2022.

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