With the Houston Astros being swept by the Texas Rangers, it is evident that the bullpen has been struggling in the past two weeks. The bats were quiet in Sunday’s battle, and as we anticipate more returns in June, current pitchers will see minor league time including Bryan Abreu.
Although manager Dusty Baker has looked to Abreu more than any other reliever this season, only 11 relievers entering Sunday had faced 100 batters thus far. Abreu has faced 103, and for a pitcher who wasn’t anticipated of making the roster, the right-hander has been trusted and respected by Baker.
Although Bryan Abreu’s usage has been high, the right-hander will benefit from a minor league stint.
While being a starting pitcher in the minor leagues, Abreu is most likely in the same boat as Luis Garcia. Both right-handers have the stuff to go three plus innings but quality and effectiveness decreases after that hump with a rising pitch count.
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In 20 appearances (24.2 innings) this season, Abreu has posted a 4.38 ERA with an up and down season. While swording 22 hitters, the right-hander has surrendered 11 walks and 21 hits (three home runs). The strikeout rate is down compared to shorter stints in the majors in recent years, and at this point, the Abreu shouldn’t feel rushed to the show.
The 2020 season was rough for the bullpen, and while the Astros tried many routes with arms, Abreu didn’t seem ready physically. In the end, this was his problem to deal with, and although facing the most hitters on the team out of the ‘pen in 2021, Abreu will fare nicely in the minor leagues.
In an advanced metrics outlook, Abreu is getting beat up at the plate. His four pitch arsenal does spread the strike zone, but you can take that as a lack on consistency or change in direction.
The returns of Jake Odorizzi, Framber Valdez and Jose Urquidy will most likely bump Abreu down to Triple A with a shortage of seats in the bullpen. This isn’t a diss at his work on the mound, but he does stand as an odd man out, just like Kent Emanuel will when Blake Taylor returns.