Astros’ Deadline Deals Pay Early Dividends, Grading Moves

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 23: Kendall Graveman #49 of the Seattle Mariners reacts to striking out the the last Oakland Athletics batter to win the game in the ninth inning at T-Mobile Park on July 23, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Mariners won 4-3. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JULY 23: Kendall Graveman #49 of the Seattle Mariners reacts to striking out the the last Oakland Athletics batter to win the game in the ninth inning at T-Mobile Park on July 23, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Mariners won 4-3. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /
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We have graded the deadline moves, but how have the new Astros’ pitchers performed?

Less than a week post trade might be quick to grade the success or failure of trade deadline deals, but with a few tough series back-to-back, Houston Astros‘ fans enjoyed a glimpse at a promising future. Three of the four relievers have blanked opponents for a combined 8.2 innings as of Thursday, with plenty more possible opportunities moving forward with the Minnesota Twins in town.

Grading the Houston Astros’ trade deadline moves. light. Related Story

It would be easy to say, at this point, that the bullpen support brought in by James Click have paid dividends and the top three relievers will certainly continue to play a significant role moving forward in manager Dusty Baker’s game strategy. Kendall Graveman has particularly impressed, tossing 2.1 innings with a combined 5 punch outs. Graveman’s velocity and movement puzzled hitters in the 8th inning, shutting down the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants in his two appearances.

Baker’s use of Graveman so far indicates he will have the vital role this post season that Pressly filled in 2018 as the shut down set up man in front of Osuna, let’s hope the results are just the same.  Graveman has continued his outstanding pitching this season with the Astros and could also be interchangeable with Pressly to find the best matchup (or perhaps the hottest pitcher at the time) in the 9th inning this post season.

I for one am all for versatility, as the more options and arms you can choose from, the better your chances are at finding the best piece to fit the situation. Graveman most certainly gets an A+ grade for a deadline deal. Rafael Montero and Phil Maton have provided 6.1 innings combined of shutout baseball. Although the Astros never had the lead in any of their appearances, they certainly gave the Astros a chance to get back in it.

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Time will tell if they will be leaned on in pressure situations, but the future seems bright.  With added depth and arms that will keep you in ballgames, especially if a starter is knocked out early, the combination of Montero and Maton gets an B+ grade to date as a deadline deal, with the potential to be an A if they can prove just as valuable in higher pressure situations.

Questions remain however, about the depth of the Astros bench after a baffling deadline deal by general manager James Click to send starting center fielder Myles Straw packing without acquiring a bat in return.

Straw certainly wasn’t a franchise outfielder and was going to be replaced eventually, however the Astros didn’t acquire any replacement for the 3.5 year experienced outfielder.  Rookie Chas McCormick, Straw’s presumed replacement, has been less than impressive as of late, posting a .250 average in July with one home run and 14 strikeouts.

Next. Can Houston win with their current bottom of the order?. dark

Click’s shortsighted deal leaves the outfield depleted with two rookies vying for playing time, along with a similarly empty depth chart in the infield.  With Aledmys Diaz being the only decent bat off the bench and his career postseason batting average sitting at .231 with one home run, one of the young bats must step up if the Astros hope to secure another ring.  The Astros deadline deals for offensive depth, especially center field, earned a grade of F with regards to the goals set forth for this season.