In a move that surprised many, the Houston Astros traded center fielder Myles Straw to Cleveland for righty Phil Maton and catching prospect Yainer Diaz. This is the fourth right-handed reliever the Astros have added this week to a beleaguered bullpen as James Click has clearly seen what we have all seen. The 28-year-old comes to Houston with 182 major league appearances, all but one in relief.
Click was quoted as saying that Maton has gotten a lot of swing and miss and big outs while pounding the zone and that’s definitely a need for the Astros. This year Maton’s ERA+ sits at the league average of 100 and over his career slightly below average at 91.
That said for the Astros, Phil Maton is here to fill a role, not be a savior.
Maton throws four pitches: 4-Seam Fastball (51.6%), curve (19.9%), slider (18.1%) and a cutter (10.3%). The curve and fastball are his putaway pitches at 29.3% and 24.4% respectively.
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While the fastball velocity ranks in the bottom fifth of MLB at 91.7 MPH, there are several good traits to Maton’s percentile profile: xBA – 88, K% – 94, Whiff% – 98, Fastball Spin – 91, Curve Spin – 94.
Click had previously mentioned the need for someone to get right handed batters out and that’s a role Maton could potentially fill, but it should be noted that while he’s struck out 39 right handers in 23 innings of work (that swing and miss stuff Click spoke of), he’s also walked 12 and has a 1.39 WHIP.
So, yes the swing and miss stuff is there, but so is the propensity to walk batters which is a large part of the reason there was a need to improve the bullpen in the first place.
It’ll be interesting to follow Maton’s contributions to the Astros down the stretch and see if he successfully fills the role for which he was acquired. Maton is scheduled to join the Astros on Saturday.