Astros Reliever Targets: B-Tier
Now we get to the B-tier and this is an interesting high risk, high reward group. These guys have the stuff to be top flight bullpen options, but have some warts that are hard to ignore including price, command, etc. If the deal is right, all of these guys are worth taking a shot on, but Houston needs to do their due diligence before pulling the trigger.
Hick's fastball probably doesn't need any introduction as it averages north of 100 MPH and has touched 105. The pitch is an absolute weapon, but he doesn't fool as many batters as you would think and the walk rate is downright spooky. There is a real chance that some team throws a bunch of money at him in the hope that he could become a high-end closer. However, his command issues along with some injury risk should keep the Astros out of it unless his price is reasonable.
Reynaldo Lopez was a starting pitching prospect of note for a while, but he has settled into the bullpen nicely with a 3.02 ERA over the last two seasons. His fastball checks a lot of boxes for the analytically inclined and he does miss bats, but his command leaves something to be desired and can get hit hard if he leaves his breaking stuff over the plate. His expected cost keeps him in the B-tier given the risk, but there is certainly a price point where Lopez would make a ton of sense.
Finally, we could to Aroldis Chapman who is a known quantity. He throws really hard and has been one of the more consistent bullpen performers in the league for years now. However, he is 35 years old and has a lot of miles on an arm that HAS to be able to throw hard to be effective. Aroldis also has a fair bit of off the field baggage that the Astros could do without and he isn't likely to sign a cheap deal like he did with Kansas City for 2023, but he remains a possibility nonetheless.