The Houston Astros lost another pitcher on Friday, with former reliever Cy Sneed signing with the NPB Yakult Swallows, according to a report.
On Friday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that former Houston Astros relief pitcher Cy Sneed will play for the NPB’s Yakult Swallows in 2021. The Astros are sending him to the Japanese Central team, which implies he will be released in the upcoming days. The agreement was announced by the team’s general manager to nikkansports.com.
Sneed has pitched the last two seasons in the major leagues for the Astros. After acquiring him from the Milwaukee Brewers for Jonathan Villar in 2015, Sneed bounced around in the minors with and split time between Corpus Christi and Fresno. Although a relief pitcher for the Astros, Sneed was a key starter in the minor leagues, and this is where we could see him in the NPB.
Through 18 appearances in 2020, Sneed went 17.1 innings which was significantly lower than his innings in appearances in 2019. Along with stamina issues, the right-hander was struggling to punch out batters as his strikeout rate decreased while his walk rate skyrocketed. His strikeout per walk dropped from 4.6 to 2.1 and his ERA sat toward five in his two seasons in the majors, but Japan could come as a blessing for Sneed. He comes with an arsenal of a cutter, curve and slider, but his recent issue has been the breaking ball, which bat hitters have teed off on.
It was a tough season for Sneed. As he made the postseason rosters, he did not have an opportunity to pitch in a single playoff game. Japan will give Sneed time to work on himself, as he struggled in the US. With the loss of Rogelio Armenteros, Robert Osuna and now Cy Sneed, the Astros will be in the market for another arm or two in the bullpen. With the soon departure of Sneed, the Astros’ 40-man roster will be at 38, which opens opportunities to sign free agents.