The Astros have announced that they have signed left-hander Zac Rosscup to a minor league deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
Rosscup, 34 in June, has seen sporadic MLB action in seven of the last nine MLB seasons. Though he has 86 2/3 career innings on his ledger, he’s never gone as high as 27 in any individual season and only logged three total MLB innings over the past two years. His career ERA of 5.09 comes with an excellent 29.3% strikeout rate but frightening 14% walk rate. In 29 Triple-A innings for the Rockies last year, he put up an ERA of 2.48, 33.1% strikeout rate and 11.3% walk rate.
As a southpaw, Rosscup is generally more effective against lefties, holding them to a paltry line of .155/.296/.297 in his MLB career. Righties, however, have produced a much more robust sample of .330/.413/.607. Given that wide split, the Astros will surely try to deploy him strategically in a way where he faces as few righties as possible. However, with the recent implementation of the three-batter minimum, that might not always be possible.
Houston’s roster is quite strong overall but the lack of lefty hurlers is one weak element of it. Framber Valdez will be in the starting rotation. Jonathan Bermudez was added to the 40-man roster a few months ago but has no MLB experience and will likely be in the minors. That leaves Blake Taylor as the only southpaw projected to be in the club’s Opening Day bullpen. If they don’t make any further additions in the next few weeks, there could be a path for Rosscup to earn his way back to the show.