2 Houston Astros Playing Their Way Off the Opening Day Roster and 1 Playing His Way On

Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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Brandon Bielak
Houston Astros Photo Day / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Brandon Bielak is playing his way off of the Opening Day roster

It wasn't so long ago that Brandon Bielak seemed like a future middle-of-the-rotation starter for the Astros. He broke into the league in 2020 with a 12 game (six start) showing, but he did not impress, posting a 6.75 ERA in 32 innings while allowing 11 hits per nine innings.

Then 2021 rolled around and he got what has been the longest look in the majors to date for him. He made 28 appearances (two starts), going 3-4 with a 4.50 ERA, 4.07 FIP and 96 ERA+. He brought his hits per nine innings down nearly three full hits, struck out more batters than he had the year before and did exceptionally well at limiting home runs.

Last year, there just never seemed to be a legitimate spot for him on the active roster. With the starting rotation reaching all-time-great status, he wasn't going to cut it there, and the bullpen excelled as well.

While he made it into just five games out of the bullpen last year for the big league club, it was his 88 innings in Triple-A that kept him on the radar of the front office. He made 23 appearances (14 starts) with a 3.15 ERA for Sugar Land.

The 26-year-old survived the first few rounds of roster cuts and remains in big league camp with the Astros. However, he is doing everything right if his goal is to be demoted to Triple-A.

In four spring outings (two starts), Bielak has a 5.25 ERA, surrendering eight hits and seven earned runs in just 12 innings of work. On top of that, his control has gone completely out the window, as he has walked seven batters in that time as well.

Again, the Astros are a club aiming for greatness once again. Someone who is pitching like Bielak is right now just does not have a spot on the roster.