What options should the Astros look at if they decide to make a move with a left-handed reliever?
After coming over from the New York Mets system in the Jake Marisnick trade, Blake Taylor made himself a valuable left-handed bullpen option for the Houston Astros in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Originally a second-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013 from Dana Hills High in Dana Point, California, Taylor made the most of his opportunity with the Astros. Appearing in 22 games and covering 20.2 innings, Taylor struck out 17 and gave up only 13 hits while registering an ERA of 2.18, five holds, a save and a blown save.
Taylor’s fastball, which he threw 76.5% of the time, averaged 93.7 mph and baffled hitters to the tune of a .120 batting average, while the then 24 -year-old had the look of a left-handed reliever that could hang around Houston for quite a while.
While that’s still a possibility, in the two years since, Taylor’s fastball velocity has dropped to 93.1 in 2021 and 92.5 in 2022, while the batting average against the pitch has risen to .216 in 2021 to .244 this season.
Taylor’s ERA has ballooned due to a bad outing in Washington, where he gave up four runs in an inning and he was ineffective Sunday against the Rangers, leaving his ERA at 6.14 for the month of May.