Astros: Brandon Bielak started fast, then disappeared

HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 25: Brandon Bielak #64 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels during game two of a doubleheader at Minute Maid Park on August 25, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 25: Brandon Bielak #64 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels during game two of a doubleheader at Minute Maid Park on August 25, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Brandon Bielak started hot for the Houston Astros and then quickly faded.

With the Houston Astros young arms, we have seen a lot of changes from rotation to bullpen in the 2020 season. A big move was Brandon Bielak.

Bielak was drafted in the 11th round of the 2017 MLB draft out of Notre Dame and then signed a month later with the organization. Before he was called up, Bielak was electric in his time in the minors. He posted a 2.94 ERA while striking out 292 batters in 272.1 innings in his time from rookie ball to AAA. He had the stuff, and with a shorthanded, inexperienced bullpen, he made the cut. Dusty Baker was very impressed by him in April.

The right-handed rookie started the season in the pen and was phenomenal. In July, we saw him hit the bump twice out of the pen. He posted a 1.69 ERA as a long reliever over 5.1 innings while striking out six batters. Bielak was seen as a key piece to this bullpen, while looking the most Major League ready out of all rookie pitchers.

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Entering August, a 2-0 Bielak was promoted to a starting role after Josh James struggled. After three great starts, we saw his ERA stay at 1.69 after two no decisions and a win (3-0). There was no stopping the rookie, until he came to San Diego. The Padres figured him out, and we knew at some time he would eventually slow down.

This was more than a slow down. His next two starts in August were a combined two innings. Bielak gave up 11 runs on eight hits, four of those being homers. He escaped August with a 5.40 ERA after being a standout in the first half of the month.

Next came the last month of regular season baseball. September wasn’t anything different for Bielak. He went back into the pen and went 8.2 innings, while posting a 10.38 ERA for the month. This made his season ERA 6.75.

Bielak wasn’t added to any of the postseason rosters and was added to the taxi squad at the end of the season, but this won’t be the last we see of him. He might start next season in the minors depending on the Astros’ pithing status, but he showed a lot of potential. Bielak could one day be a replacement for ground ball pitcher Zack Greinke.

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