Astros claim Matt Gage off of waivers
The Houston Astros 40-man roster is now filled. Houston announced this afternoon that they have claimed left-handed reliever Matt Gage off of waivers.
Gage made his big league debut in 2022 with the Toronto Blue Jays. In 11 appearances, Gage threw 13 innings. He finished the season with a 1.38 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP after allowing six hits, walking six and striking out 12.
Opponents hit .146 off of Gage with a .509 OPS. He did outperform his expected numbers on Statcast. Gage yielded a .195 xBA with a .308 xSLG. His .273 xwOBA is very similar to what Bryan Abreu posted. Abreu's .269 xwOBA, albeit in a much larger sample size, was in the 83rd percentile in 2022.
Gage spent much of his 2022 season in AAA. In 41 games with Buffalo, Gage posted a 2.34 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP.
His repertoire consists of predominately a four-seam fastball and cutter, but Gage mixed in the occasional slider. Based off of Houston's track record with bullpen acquisitions, it's safe to assume Gage will throw plenty more sliders in 2023.
His fastball has an average speed of 92.8 mph while his cutter is 86.7 mph with a 2200 spin rate. For comparison's sake, Luis Garcia throws his cutter on average 85.3 mph with a 2354 spin rate.
The Gage signing fills the left-handed role that Dusty Baker has clamored for over the years. If he can carry over his small sample sized success into this season, he further solidifies what is already a dominant Astros' bullpen. Houston rode their relievers, specifically Pressly, Neris, Montero and Abreu to a World Series title.
Gage will replace Will Smith in the bullpen. Smith was left off of both the ALDS and ALCS rosters. He made the World Series roster, but did not pitch.
Gage will join the remaining pitchers and catchers that report on February 16th.