Astros: Grading rookie pitchers so far in 2020 season

Houston Astros, Blake Taylor (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Houston Astros, Blake Taylor (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Here’s how the Houston Astros rookies have done so far in the 2020 season.

It’s been an interesting season thus far for the Houston Astros, due in no small part to the fact that they have had 16 rookies appear in games this season. Of those, 12 are pitchers, which underscores just how many injuries and departures they’ve faced over the past few months.

Some of these pitchers have been forgettable, but some have really impressed everyone and are carving out more permanent roles for themselves. There’s still nearly two-thirds of the season left, so these grades could look markedly different when the season is over. For now, though, here’s how they have done thus far.

The Ones Who’ve Impressed

Blake Taylor (A+) — It’s hard to earn an A-plus, but Taylor has been a much-needed source of reliability and tough outs for this team. He has a 1.54 ERA in ten appearances with a strong 1.03 WHIP and 9.26 strikeouts per nine and picked up his first save on Monday with Ryan Pressly unavailable. He looks to have a good future in this bullpen.

Brandon Bielak (A+) — Bielak didn’t even begin the season on the active roster, but he was called up quickly and took the place of the struggling Josh James in the rotation and hasn’t looked back. After his latest gem against the Rockies, he’s 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in three starts and two relief appearances.

Cristian Javier (A) — Aside from one poor outing, Javier has been a revelation after stepping in to fill Justin Verlander’s rotation spot. He’s 2-1 with a 2.91 ERA and a Verlander-esque 0.831 WHIP in 21.2 innings. This kid is the real deal.

Enoli Paredes (A-) — Paredes has many fans thinking he’s the closer of the future. He’s shown flashes of being just plain unhittable, though he’ll need to cut down on the free passes. A WHIP of 1.667 isn’t a recipe for sustained success, but he’s shown he belongs.

Andre Scrubb (A-) — Acquired for Tyler White last season, Scrubb has yet to allow a run in his major league career. But there’s a reason he didn’t get an A-plus — he’s walked 10 batters in nine innings of work. He’s kept the hits to a relative minimum, but he’ll have to cut down on those walks if he’s going to have a long career.

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Brandon Bailey (B+) — It’s a shame that Bailey and his 2.45 ERA got sent down when Joe Biagini returned from the Injured List. In five relief appearances, he gave up two runs in 7.1 innings with solid peripheral stats. He certainly deserves to be the first man up if the team needs another pitcher on the roster.

Brooks Raley (B+) — It seems odd that Raley, a 32-year-old who played the last five seasons in Korea, is still a rookie, but he technically is. He’s allowed only one hit (a solo homer) in his first 4.1 innings after the Astros acquired him from the Reds. The sample size is small which prevents him from earning a higher grade, but he’s looked pretty good so far.

Humberto Castellanos (B) — It’s unfortunate that the most memorable moment from Castellanos’ time in the majors thus far is the time he hit Ramon Laureano with a pitch that sparked a brawl. In three innings, he’s given up one run on one hit and one walk, though he also hit two batters. Still, in a very limited sample, he’s looked solid.

The Ones Who Haven’t

Cy Sneed (D+) — After a good first two outings, it’s been a rough go of it for Sneed, who’s been tagged with three losses already this season, all of them coming in extra innings. He’s given up nine runs in 7.2 frames, but only five of those runs are earned. Still, that 2.217 WHIP is pretty ghastly.

Carlos Sanabria (D) — Sanabria only pitched two innings before being sent back down, but he gave up two runs on three hits and three walks in that span. He’d never pitched above Double-A prior to this season, so it’s tough to judge him based on such a small sample. But he didn’t do himself any favors.

Nivaldo Rodriguez (D) — We got a bit more of a look at Rodriguez, but he gave up five runs (four earned) in 4.2 innings. He allowed 10 hits in that span and walked three, for a dreadful 2.786 WHIP. He had yet to even reach Double-A before this, so in truth he probably just wasn’t ready.

Bryan Abreu (F) — Don’t let his 2.70 ERA fool you. Abreu walked seven batters in 3.1 innings and hit two more, so his control was all over the place. Couple that with the fact that he showed up to summer camp out of shape, and you have the makings of a bad showing. He has gobs of potential, but this simply wasn’t an acceptable effort.