Houston Astros First Half Report Card

With the first half of the 2023 season all but in the books, here is how the Astros grade out so far.
Houston Astros v Texas Rangers
Houston Astros v Texas Rangers / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
4 of 5

Houston Astros Bullpen: A-

One thing that has really lessened the sting of all of the injuries in the rotation has been the performance of the Houston bullpen. Astros' relievers have pitched the third fewest innings this season, but still have managed to accumulate the 5th highest fWAR amongst all bullpens in baseball at 3.1 in 2023. They have the highest strikeout rate in the league at 10.71 K/9 and their collective 3.54 ERA is fourth best in MLB.

Unlike the rotation which has been top heavy, the Astros' bullpen performance has been a team effort. Ryan Pressly, Phil Maton, Hector Neris, and Bryan Abreu have formed one of the best bullpen cores in all of baseball. Maton and Pressly have been particularly impressive as they both have the strikeout and walk rates you want to see from your late inning options.

If there is one quibble here, it is that the Astros' other big signing from last offseason, Rafael Montero, has been pretty bad out of the pen. He currently sports a 7.08 ERA in 35 appearances this season which is definitely not what the Astros had in mind when they gave him a three year, $34.5 million deal. Ryne Stanek has also walked too many batters this year, but you can't have everything we suppose.

Collectively, this is a very good bullpen. A- may seem like a pretty tough grade, but the Houston bullpen does lack a true shutdown reliever and that combined with Montero's struggles takes them down a small notch. If the Astros can add another quality reliever or two at the deadline, they will be more than equipped for the stretch run with the bullpen as a strength of the team.