Though the Astros’ lack of a left-handed reliever may appear to be a troubling dilemma at face value, general manager Jeff Luhnow and company are not treating it as such, and appear poised to move into the postseason with a bullpen consisting entirely of righties, writes Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. Of the four lefties on the 40-man roster, Framber Valdez is the only reliever with significant Major League experience—experience that hasn’t yielded the most promising results. However, the Stros’ righties have done nothing to suggest a southpaw is needed: left-handed hitters have managed a dreadful .263 wOBA versus the Houston bullpen, the lowest mark in the Majors. Luhnow points to Chris Devenski and Will Harris as two veterans who have been instrumental in that success and could be deployed in October as pseudo-lefties. Of course, Roberto Osuna and Ryan Pressly have likewise dominated lefty hitters, but that duo will likely be used as matchup-proof late-inning options.
Here’s more of the latest news out of Houston…
- Kyle Tucker has been receiving continued reps as a first baseman with the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate and will receive heavier exposure at the position in the offseason, writes Rome. He and fellow rookie Yordan Alvarez are being groomed into first baseman with an eye on next year’s version of the Astros. Having Tucker and Alvarez available at first could offer added flexibility in the club’s roster construction, as well as providing a clearer path to Major League at-bats for Tucker, who has accumulated more than 900 Triple-A plate appearances in part because of the Astros strong corner outfield rotation. Rome notes that if and when Tucker returns to the Majors as part of expanded rosters, he would only line up at first base in a relatively inconsequential game.
- Rome provides further details (via Twitter)on the suspension that Astros management handed down to Reymin Guduan last week, clarifying that the suspension only spans the entirely of the minor-league season. As a consequence, Guduan will be eligible to pitch for the Astros in September, though there’s no indication that the 27-year-old will see any more Major League action this season. Guduan, a southpaw, does offer depth in an organization that is thin on lefties, but his performance in limited big league exposure has not been encouraging.