Astros acquire pitcher Hector Velazquez from Orioles

TORONTO, ON - JULY 04: Hector Velazquez #76 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch in the first inning during a MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on July 04, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JULY 04: Hector Velazquez #76 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch in the first inning during a MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on July 04, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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The Houston Astros have acquired pitcher Hector Velazquez from the Orioles.

With pitching depth becoming an increasing concern for the Houston Astros, the front office has been making moves to try and add additional depth. After agreeing to a deal with Fernando Rodney earlier this week, GM James Click has acquired Orioles pitcher Hector Velazquez in a trade for a player to be named later.

Velazquez, a 31-year-old right-hander, broke into the big leagues with the Red Sox in 2017. He put up decent numbers in 2017 and 2018, pitching mostly in relief, but struggled in 2019. The Orioles picked him up off waivers in the offseason but he did not make the team’s active roster. Overall, Velazquez owns a 3.90 ERA and 1.428 WHIP in 166 major league innings.

He relies primarily on four pitches — a sinker, changeup, four-seam fastball and slider, with an occasional curveball mixed in. His fastballs sit in the low 90s, and his spin rates are well below the major league average. His slider and changeup tend to be the more effective pitches.

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For now, Velazquez will report to Corpus Christi and train at the team’s alternate site. He’s not being placed on the Astros 40-man roster at this time, so we probably won’t see him right away. But he’ll provide some additional depth and major league experience if the team needs further pitching reinforcements at some point.

Reinforcements Needed

The Astros are rolling with a plethora of rookies in their bullpen. With Ryan Pressly and Chris Devenski ailing, Roberto Osuna is the only healthy reliever they have who has even a year of major league service time. Pitchers are getting injured right and left so far this season, not just in Houston. Things could get worse before they get better.

For now, Houston is getting a good look at their young arms and should have a good idea of who has a future in this league and who doesn’t. This will serve them well as they head into the 2021 season and decide what reinforcements they’ll need.

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