Lucas Luetge should be an Astros' target
After Michael Conforto reached a deal with the San Francisco Giants and Tucker Barnhart agreed to terms with the Cubs, most of the free agents the Astros had previously been linked to are now off the market.
With two rosters spots left on the 40-man, the Astros still have room to get creative in their signings. Yes, they're the reigning world champs, but in today's arms race era of free agency, a team can never have too much alent, and specifically, too many arms.
We all know Dusty Bakers loves his lefties. Why not give him one that can actually be deployed with some sembelance of trust?
In a surprising turn of events, the New York Yankees DFA'd Lucas Luetge to make room for Tommy Kahnle in their bullpen. One man's trash is another man's treasure.
Lucas Luetge should be the Astros' next target in free agency. The Rice product by way of Bellville should make his homecoming.
Luetge spent four years in the big leagues from 2011-2015 and struggled. He toiled in the minors and reinvented himself prior to 2021 Spring Training, where he was dominant for the Yankees. He became a mainstay on the big league roster, throwing 129.2 innings over the last two seasons, good for a 2.71 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 9.6 K/9.
His underlying metrics on Statcast are equally as impressive. He finished 2022 in the 100th percentile of hard hit rate, 97th percentile in average exit velocity, 81st percentile in barrel rate, and 70th in xSLG. The most eye-popping may be his 99th percentile fastball spin rate. Maybe no stat in the game screams, "Future Astro!" more than that one.
According to Statcast, his batted ball profile resembles 2021 Collin McHugh, the beloved Astro.His cutter, slider, curveball pitch types would allow him to fill the role that Will Harris (and even Seth Martinez) played to such great success during his time in Houston. He may not blow batters away with high strikeout rates, but he's a soft contact machine and doesn't have the extreme right/left splits other left-handed relievers. Think Brooks Raley, but far more effective.
The Astros dominated October in large part due to their overpowering bullpen. Many of their righties--Hector Neris and Ryne Stanek--already dominate lefties. But one can never have too many weapons out of the bullpen. With two roster spots to play with, Houston should spend one on Lucas Luetge.