The starting pitching rotation is set. However, as proof of their depth, there is also a Houston Astros secondary rotation. Let’s take a look to examine further.
Houston Astros fans — the title defense is on the horizon! The hitting and pitching depth are abound. There’s even an Houston Astros secondary rotation to back up the slated five starters for 2018.
The spacemen are making their quest for a back to back title, and everything is going in their favor. Minus an injury to Yuli Gurriel, which he is already recovering from, all of the key players from last year’s historic run are back to make lightning strike twice!
A.J. Hinch set the starting rotation into motion just last week. The only real surprise is where Gerrit Cole ended up. While he was the ace in Pittsburgh, the veteran righty will take 4th in the rotation spot. This is actually a great idea to preserve some added pressure that Justin Verlander will no doubt face on Thursday.
There is also an Astros secondary rotation that can be used for long relief. Collin McHugh, Brad Peacock and Chris Devenski all have a proven track record of being able to go multiple innings. In many cases, they have even started games.
Let’s take a look at this secondary rotation, individually by pitcher:
1. Collin McHugh
Career Stats: ERA – 4.08, WHIP – 1.29, WAR – 6.9
Collin McHugh is essentially the sixth Astros starter already. The only reason he is in this proverbial secondary rotation is because the team added Gerrit Cole. McHugh can be inserted in behind 5th starter, Charlie Morton. Additionally, he can also take whatever spot in the rotation is needed due to injury.
McHugh is famous for his fastball. Cutters are his second favorite. Whenever he hits the strike zone with these weapons, opposing hitters don’t stand a chance. Even his breaking throws tend to throw the batters off most of the time.
What you won’t see McHugh throw is sinkers. According to the hot zone tracker from ESPN, he has no presentable stat representation from this particular pitch. When McHugh does break his pitchers, they are typically sliders.
2. Brad Peacock
Career Stats: ERA – 4.05, WHIP – 1.19, WAR – 3.4
Another pitcher in the Houston Astros secondary rotation is Brad Peacock. This is not surprising. 21 of his 34 appearances in 2017 were games of which he started. Over a span of 132 innings, Peacock struck out 161 batters. Talk about an eye opener of a pitcher!
So what is the specialty of the Peacock? Well, like Lance McCullers, he has a pretty nasty curve ball. That pitch fools left handed batters and gets the right handed hitters to chase from here to kingdom come.
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Peacock also has filthy slider that is known to keep opposing hitters spellbound. All of these components are the recipe for a deadly potion that is Brad Peacock!
3. Chris “Devo” Devenski (A.K.A. The Dragon)
Career Stats: ERA – 2.68, WHIP – 0.93, WAR – 4.7
The third pitcher of what I’ve dubbed the Astros secondary rotation is none other than Chris Devenski. Nicknamed “Devo” and “The Dragon” among other things, Devenski has not started many games over his career. 5 out of 110 across his career, to be exact. However, he also has 5 saves across his career. 4 of those came last year alone.
In 80 innings of work in 2017, Devenski struck out 100 batters. Like Peacock, he’s a wiz at getting batters to take a seat. This explains the fair amount of saves Devo tallied for the Astros’ championship run last season.
What’s the weapon of choice for the dragon? Obviously, it’s his change up that has been dubbed “the circle of death.” It is a pitch that is as filthy as they come. Hitters in the batter’s box are in for a big surprise when that throw gets unleashed!
This Astros secondary rotation isn’t without it’s flaws. Certainly, these three have given up there share of hits, runs and home runs over there respective careers. Just like all the players on this roster, they are human after all!
However, these three pitchers all possess great strengths that will help greatly in getting Houston a back to back championship. They would be among only a handful of teams to do so. The quest for a back to back run begins now! LET’S PLAY BALL, FOLKS!!!!