As the record continues to break, the Houston Astros‘ pitching staff has taken the most blows on the team this season. Jake Odorizzi, who joined the team late due to an extended spring training, is looking for a return in the coming month after a few rehabilitation starts with the Sugar Land Skeeters .
While general manager James Click had anticipated the right-hander to not need these rehab starts, he later announced that Odorizzi will require this stint before returning to the team in the coming month. Odorizzi has only three starts thus far with a 10.31 ERA and 11 strikeouts through eight innings pitched.
While Jake Odorizzi’s return is nearing, who will be optioned for him?
With Odorizzi returning, it is evident that he will be back on the roster once his rehab assignment is over. The right-hander isn’t among the group of arms with minor league options, and while having a hefty contract compared to other players, they want him back sooner rather than later.
Odorizzi has thrown 40 pitches in two simulated innings after throwing a series of bullpens, and while he will need to face some live batting, the right-hander will then move on to his rehab assignment as reported by Brian McTaggart. With his return nearing, let’s look at a few names that could be optioned.
While totaling the most innings (18) for an Astros’ reliever thus far, Bryan Abreu will eventually have some minor league time this season, as his ERA sits at 4.00. The question is always ‘when,’ as the right-hander has been used in all sorts of leverage with Dusty Baker as the manager.
Abreu was a pitcher that many projected to start in the minor leagues when the roster was fully healthy, but with players returning, it makes sense to get him more experience while building up his pitches and arm against weaker hitters. With the three players listed, Abreu should be the last person thought of when optioning, but as long as he has them, might as well use them rather than designating some else for assignment.
As Brandon Bielak had a hot start to his 2020 campaign, the right-hander fell quick and hasn’t found himself consistently since. While adjusting quickly to MLB at 23-years-old, the right-hander is now 24 and looking for more long inning relief appearances.
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Through 14.2 innings of relief thus far, Bielak has been up and down in his six appearances, and with an ERA north of 4.00, the right-hander could benefit from from more time in AAA or AA. As he has pitched in both of these systems, Bielak still has options like every other choice and will most likely finish the season in the minors with a roster at full strength.
If it hadn’t been for Odorizzi’s in-game injury, we wouldn’t have fallen in love with an impressive performance from Kent Emanuel. The left-hander hit the stage with a great act, as he went 8.2 innings in his first major league appearance. Since then, the left-hander hasn’t been used in longer outings and is currently the second left-hander in the bullpen.
While having less major league experience than Abreu and Bielak, Emanuel could stay on the roster, as Baker has been known to carry two left-handers in his bullpen. Blake Taylor is still on the injured list, and with no timetable in place, Bielak could be the go-to option once Odorizzi is ready.
Fans have shown their displeasure with players like Kyle Tucker and Myles Straw thus far in comment sections on Twitter and Facebook. Some have called for them to be optioned as well, but in reality, they would have to clear waivers and the Astros would never make this move. All of the positions players currently in place aren’t going to be optioned, but at some point throughout the season, there is room for trading contracts or looking to prospects to fill the voids.