Matt Gage is a name to know for 2023
The Houston Astros won the 2022 World Series on the backs of a dominant bullpen. Ryan Pressly, Bryan Abreu, Hector Neris, Rafael Montero, Ryne Stanek and others were absolutely overwhelming in the postseason. Their elite rotation turned the ball over to a bullpen that game after game slammed the door.
Houston hasn't had a lights-out lefty in recent years, with Blake Taylor and Will Smith filling Dusty Baker's token lefty role to varying success. Enter Matt Gage. The Astros claimed the 30-year-old off of waivers from the Blue Jays. They say one man's trash is another man's treasure, and while he was far from trash during his time in Toronto, he may very well be Houston's next diamond in the rough reclamation project.
Gage made 11 appearances with the Blue Jays big league club last season, throwing 13 innings. In his 13 innings of work, Gage recorded a 1.38 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. While a limited sample size, he dominated the competiton. This was piggybacking off of 41 games in AAA in which Gage posted a 2.34 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. He can pitch.
He's been great this spring, throwing three clean innings, aloowing two hits and one walk. With both Blake Taylor and Parker Mushinkski battling back from injury, it appears Gage could very well break camp with the big league club, though he was initally a non-roster invite.
Dana Brown has noticed Gage's effectiveness, telling Brian McTaggart that Gage looks great.
"Against the Mets the other day, he came in and was up to 93 to 95 and a filthy cutter that was 87 and backfooting right-handers, running away from left-handed hitters. He looks really good. That claim was recommended by our front office, and I kind of closed the deal on, I think it’s looking like a pretty good claim right now. We’ll see, but he’s a big chip for us right now."- Dana Brown
Gage could be the next great Astros reliever they acquired from seemingly out of nowhere, joining Will Harris, Collin McHugh and Ryan Pressly among others as arms that flourished in Houston. Watch for him to make an impact this season.