Houston Astros: The story behind Will Harris’ exponential improvement

Houston Astros pitcher Will Harris (Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Houston Astros pitcher Will Harris (Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Houston Astros reliever Will Harris has seen exponential improvement in his level of play from last season. What’s going on? Let’s find out more.

The Houston Astros have won six out of their last 10 games and still have control over the throne of the AL West, despite struggles at the plate in some matchups, causing them to lose games.  At 23-15, this team has a four-game lead over the Seattle Mariners and have one of the best records in the majors.

The thing with this season is that there is no team that has vigorously sprinted out from one another but all are right within each other.  That’s certainly a good thing because it means that there is more parity among teams in 2019.  Jeff Luhnow’s penchant for analytics as a strategy to building roster has spread across league and teams are getting better at it.

Luhnow, who remains supreme as well as Billy Beane, is the Grandmaster Flash of sorts in terms having success in what was such a cavalier strategy back in the day.  I’ll take it as this Houston Astros team will be competitive for years to come and I couldn’t be prouder of what I’m seeing out on the field.

But speaking of success, how about Will Harris‘ improvement year-over-year?  If he plays his cards right, he might just wind back up being an All-Star like he was back in 2016.

So what has gone into his success?  He’s changed the way he has been pitching and has yielded terrific results.

Brian McTaggart of MLB.com asked A.J. Hinch about this and here’s what was said:

Yes, that’s right, Harris has joined the curveball club as well.  It’s an extremely devastating pitch and although it can cause a lot of wear and tear on the joints, the fact he’s a reliever subdues that type of an effect.

His cutter has been his signature pitch but in this game we all love, sometimes you have to diversify

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yourself in order to remain competitive and that he has.  What certainly makes him stands out from the rest is that he’s pitching off the curve with a cut fastball.

This makes it difficult for batters to nail the timing of the baseball and it’s almost certainly going to generate the ground balls that are needed to reduce an opposing offense’s effectiveness.

Harris netted a 3.49 ERA through 56.2 innings pitched in 2018.  Plus, I’m sure the decision not to add him to the ALCS roster in last postseason was because of the 9.00 ERA that he had against the Cleveland Indians in just 1.0 IP.

But that’s all behind him now as he has a 1.42 ERA, has only two earned runs to his credit, 10 strikeouts and an excellent 1.03 WHIP through 12.2 IP this season.

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I really like what I’m seeing out of him and I hope this tear continues!

Keep it going, Will!