Houston Astros: Why the bullpen is ranked among the Top 5 in MLB

Ryan Pressly of the Houston Astros (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Ryan Pressly of the Houston Astros (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

According to MLB.com, the Houston Astros bullpen is ranked among the Top 5 in major league baseball out the gate. Why? Let’s dig and found out more.

The Houston Astros will kick-off the season on the road in a four-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays today and the first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. CDT.  It just felt like the off season went so fast this time around with some of the notable roster moves that they made.  It almost felt as quick as it was when the won the World Series the season previous.

But regardless, it’s awesome to see that baseball is back in the saddle once again and this 162-game roller coaster ride is about to clickety-clack its way up to the summit of fun.  This team has all of the pieces to be able to compete for a World Series title and although I’d like to see another starter in the rotation or another lefty in the bullpen, I think they’ll be able to compete just fine with the guys that they have.

Lest we not forget that the farm is still ripe with talent that has yet to harvested so that’s always option if the team needs to beef up their talent quickly.  But we likely won’t see that *cough* *cough* Forrest Whitley until at least in the early summer.

One thing’s for sure — the Houston Astros‘ bullpen will be as stout as ever when the season commences.

According to MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince, the Houston Astros‘ bullpen is ranked 4th in the majors and 3rd in the AL.

Who are they behind?

In the majors, he ranked the New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics and the Pittsburgh Pirates ahead of the Houston Astros.  The Yanks and A’s were ranked ahead of the Houston Astros among the teams in the AL.

Do you know why?  The Houston Astros‘ bullpen got better last season if such a notion could be made.  They finally were able to rid themselves of Ken Giles — who had trouble exorcising his demons of blowing the big ones — and were able to successfully replace him with Roberto Osuna.

There was a lot of controversy with the Osuna signing because of previously pending domestic violence charges but it didn’t seem to faze him and he pitched his tail off to end last season on positive note.

Osuna finished up 2018 with the Houston Astros with a 1.99 ERA, while tossing 19 strikeouts, and 0.88 WHIP through 22.2 innings in 23 games.

Ryan Pressly, the best mid-season acquisition in 2018, pitched a gem in the second-half of the

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season with the Houston Astros, finishing up with 0.77 ERA while tossing 32 strikeouts and 0.60 WHIP through 23.1 innings in 26 games.

Castrovince points out to Pressly’s elite spin rates and his 10.67 SO/BB ratio that has morphed him into a force to be reckoned with.  I knew Pressly would be of great help but I didn’t think he was going to be this successful with the Houston Astros.  Pressly was recently rewarded with two-year, $17.5 million contract extension, buying out two years of his free agency.

That’s a 78.2 percent pay increase above the $1.9 million that he was slated to make for 2019, locking up the deft hurler for a little bit longer.

With the departure of Tony Sipp, who signed a one-year, $1.25 million deal with the Washington Nationals, the bullpen does lack a reliable lefty but that could where Framber Valdez will shine.  A starter in his own right, it’s still a prudent move to put him in the bullpen and see how he flourishes.

Top prospect lefty Cionel Perez has been sent down to the minors to harvest a bit longer as his Spring Training campaign was hardly impressive, yielding a 11.57 ERA, two strikeouts and 1.714 WHIP through 2.1 innings pitched.

The Houston Astros still have the formidable Will Harris along with Hector Rondon, Josh James, Collin McHugh and Chris Devenski to fill out the bullpen.

The unit will be without veteran side-arm sensation Joe Smith as he is still recovering from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon he sustained in a off season workout this past winter.  He’s expected to be back in the lineup by mid-summer.

Next. Astros: Players with the best shot at earning hardware. dark

All in all, the bullpen is still pretty damn good and it’s now fluke that they had the third-best ERA in the majors (3.03) back in 2018.  I fully expect for them to continue the dominance that they’ve had yet so far.

Let’s go Houston Astros!