The Astros have designated right-hander Joe Biagini for assignment, general manager James Click announced to reporters prior to today’s opening round against the Twins (Twitter link via Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle). His roster spot will go to outfielder Chas McCormick who has been included on Houston’s postseason roster. McCormick becomes the third player promoted to the big leagues for a potential postseason MLB debut today — joining Minnesota’s Alex Kirilloff and Tampa Bay’s Shane McClanahan.
McCormick was a 21st-round pick for the Astros in the 2017 draft, and he has made a relatively quick trip up Houston’s minor league ladder, already reaching Triple-A ball in 2019. Over 1126 plate appearances in the minors, the 25-year-old McCormick has hit .276/.360/.400, with 20 homers and 41 steals (out of 53 chances). MLB Pipeline rates McCormick as the 24th-best prospect in the Astros’ farm system, citing his “solid raw power,” ability to play all three outfield positions, and a “grinder makeup [that] allows him to get the most out of his tools.”
The Astros’ starting outfield mix is heavy in left-handed hitters, so McCormick’s right-handed bat will provide a bit of balance if necessary off the bench. Myles Straw is the only other right-handed hitting outfielder on Houston’s postseason roster, though backup infielder Aledmys Diaz has played a handful of games in the outfield over his career.
It’s been a tough year for Biagini, who only appeared in four games due to a shoulder injury and then a demotion to the Astros’ alternate training site. Biagini allowed damage in all four of his outings, finishing with a ghastly 20.77 ERA over 4 1/3 innings of work. The righty is arbitration-eligible this winter (his third of four trips as a Super Two player), but Biagini’s struggles both in 2020 and even since joining the Astros last season make him seem like a non-tender candidate.