Astros claim tantalizing ex-Red Sox reliever with brutal 2024 numbers

Houston is taking a low-risk gamble on a flame-throwing reliever who has struggled to put things together.
Miami Marlins v Boston Red Sox
Miami Marlins v Boston Red Sox / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

Coming into the 2024 season, the Houston Astros' bullpen looked like a position of strength especially when looking at the late innings. They had signed Josh Hader and now had Bryan Abreu, Ryan Pressly, and Hader to close games out for what was already one of the strongest rosters (on paper) in all of baseball.

Astros fans know what happened next. Houston fumbled the bag to start the season and their vaunted relief corps struggled mightily out of the gate. While the bullpen has since gotten mostly back on track and currently sports a top-10 bullpen ERA (3.70) in MLB, it is clear that they could use some more relief depth as their Big Three are not as sure a thing as many thought.

To that end, Houston made a curious, but high-upside move to claim Kaleb Ort off of waivers from the Orioles on Tuesday.

Astros News: Houston claims flamethrowing Kaleb Ort off of waivers from Orioles

We'll start with the good news first. One, Ort's fastball has some real heat on it, averaging in the upper 90s. While that doesn't guarantee success in the big leagues, having that kind of velocity in one's back pocket definitely doesn't hurt. Ort also was absolutely dominant in Triple-A from 2021-2023 which at least gives some hope that he can reach his lofty upside at some point.

The bad news is that Ort is coming off a season that saw him miss a ton of time with elbow issues, struggled in the big leagues with the Red Sox, and who also sports a 12.08 ERA down at Triple-A this year after 14 appearances. Ort's inability to harness and execute his impressive stuff is a big reason why he has been passed around so much since the end of last season with the Mariners, Marlins, Phillies, and Orioles all giving him some sort of look before the Astros claimed him.

If Ort comes over and Houston can diagnose his issues, he could be a legitimate stopper out of the bullpen as he has that sort of ceiling. However, if his time with the Astros doesn't go well, it isn't like the Astros gave up much to give him a shot.

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