Houston Astros: Five X-Factors to help the team #TakeItBack

Houston Astros logo in Spring Training (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Houston Astros logo in Spring Training (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /
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Houston Astros SP McHugh
Collin McHugh of the Houston Astros (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

Collin McHugh, SP

Next up on the list is none other the host of the Twelve Six Podcast, Collin McHugh. McHugh has been the definition of a team player the past two seasons for the Houston Astros but it could finally be his time to shine in 2019.

McHugh was a stalwart in the rotation for the Astros from 2014 through the 2016 season after he was unceremoniously claimed off of waivers. He was very solid during that tenure and helped guide the team back to prominence.

Unfortunately, 2017 was not kind to McHugh as he dealt with some injuries. That paired with the Verlander acquisition and some other mitigating circumstances didn’t allow McHugh to return to the rotation when he got healthy and he was ultimately left off of the roster come playoff time.

Also. Issues to solve but outlook is strong in Spring Training. light

2018 saw McHugh take on a vastly different role for the Houston Astros, one he had little experience with prior to. He shifted to a bullpen role in which A.J. Hinch utilized him in long relief opportunities all the way to high leverage outings. He excelled in that role.

But, after the team lost Charlie Morton and opted to not re-sign Dallas Keuchel they needed talent in the rotation so McHugh was an obvious choice to rejoin the rotation. He developed a wicked slider in the bullpen and has been working on strengthening his cutter and changeup. He seems ready to roll as a stand out third pitcher in a rotation. If can capture this role and run with it, the Astros will once again have one of the best rotations in baseball.