The runner-up from the recent World Series has added another pitcher to their rotation. The team is looking forward to bolstering their lineup after a disappointing end in their battle against the Washington Nationals.
The Houston Astros have secured Austin Pruitt from the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-man trade. The team sent a pair of Minor League players in right-hander Peyton Battenfield and outfielder Cal Stevenson in the said trade.
The team has put right-hander Dean Deetz for assignment to provide a spot for Pruitt. The move also makes the team’s 40-man roster full.
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Pruitt played at the University of Houston back in his collegiate days. He is set to join a group of elite throwers who are battling for a spot in the team’s 2020 rotation. Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, and Lance McCullers Jr. are already in the lineup.
The Astros lost a lot of players since the 2018 season. Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, and Gerrit Cole were given away, but that gave other players a chance to showcase their talents in the strong Astros’ lineup.
The team is tying up loose ends. They have filled their 40-man roster and have resolved player contracts. Martin Maldonado was re-signed by the team, making him the default catcher for the team.
If Pruitt does not make the starting lineup, he will head to the team’s bullpen. The team still has a lot of reserves in their arsenal that can pack a punch going into the season.
Joe Smith has also been re-signed by the team. He will be in the team’s bullpen and could be Pruitt’s buddy if the latter fails to make the rotation, who was signed by the team in hopes of deepening their rotation.
He will have to compete against Jose Urquidy, Brad Peacock, Framber Valdez, Josh James. Team prospects Forrest Whitley and Cristian Javier are also included in the spot consideration.
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow is keen on getting the best pitcher for his strong lineup. The tough loss against the Nats had a lasting effect on the Astros’ mentality going into the next season.
‘We’re going to give him a chance to compete. He’s started in his Major League career, so he’s capable’, said Luhnow, who is also the team’s president of baseball operations. ‘He’s got two different breaking balls, a good fastball and really good command, which means he should be able to get through some innings’.
Pruitt played 67 games for Tampa Bay from 2017-19, and he started in 10 of those games. He is posting a 4.87 ERA for his career. His average curveball spin rate of 2,999 revolutions per minute is the ninth-best among 358 pitchers in 2019, as per Statcast.
It seems that the Astros are already done making key additions to the team. The 2020 MLB season will just have to wait as the team aims to avenge their World Series loss to the Nationals.
Words: Paul Daniel Flores