Houston Astros: Southpaw options for next year’s bullpen

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 27: Manager manager A.J. Hinch
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 27: Manager manager A.J. Hinch /
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(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Tony Watson

Last week, I noted Watson as an option for the ninth inning should Giles be relieved of his duties – no pun intended.

However, no matter what role he is granted, Watson can succeed in an Astros jersey. Of all the available southpaw relievers, he likely has a No. 1 stamped on his back. And with good reason, because he has been relatively consistent throughout his entire career.

Among the league’s best firemen (an old term for closers), Watson doesn’t have the heat most pitchers bring in the late innings of any game. His career strikeout rate is rather substandard at 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings. Compare that to Ken Giles, who in four seasons has boasted a K/9 rate of at least 11.0 each season.

Watson’s promotion to closer following Mark Melancon’s departure in Pittsburgh seemed fitting, as both are similar pitchers. Neither have overpowering stuff, but both still prevail in most ninth-inning situations. Yet, Los Angeles deprived Watson of his former title once he got sent to Southern California. But Kenley Jansen is the best closer in the game, so that was fine with the lefty.

He was still effective for the Dodgers in the new role.

Manager Dave Roberts utilized Watson often, calling to him 24 times since bringing him in. In 20 innings, the left-hander allowed just six runs and yielded six walks compared to 18 strikeouts. He also pitched well in the postseason, allowing no runs in the NCLS or the World Series.

Unfortunately, Watson could earn a ring during his short stint with the boys in blue. So if you can’t beat them (the Astros), join them?