Houston Astros: 2017 was sign of development for Musgrove and Hoyt

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 27: Manager manager A.J. Hinch
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 27: Manager manager A.J. Hinch /
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Houston Astros
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 05: Joe Musgrove /

Joe Musgrove

Musgrove essentially had two separate seasons throughout the 2017 campaign.

As a starter, the right-handed hurler struggled, eventually losing his spot in the rotation. But he was fantastic following his move to the bullpen, before the playoffs.

Musgrove faced much of his difficulties in the first few innings. He allowed 10 runs in the first inning alone as a starter – 78 innings pitched. And he yielded 12 runs during the third inning across those starts.

Overall, the 25-year-old – and former top pitching prospect – sported a 5.42 ERA as a starter and posted a 1.34 WHIP. He may have been on the verge of losing his position on the roster at that point.

Then the Astros pushed Musgrove into a relief role, where he thrived for the second half of the season. He surrendered just five runs in 31 1/3 innings while racking up 31 strikeouts compared to only five walks.

A significant aspect that Musgrove improved upon was his susceptibility to the long ball. Opposing hitters launched 17 homers against him when he was starting in Houston. They managed to clock just two when he came in relief.

Musgrove’s strong second half is encouraging, especially after his rough start to 2017. But he wasn’t as dominant during the postseason for the Houston Astros. Hitters crushed three bombs off of him in less than seven innings of work, which inflated his ERA to 8.10.

Nonetheless, he will surely be back in the bullpen next season as a mid-to-long reliever. He could be an option for the fifth spot in the rotation as well, but he would be more useful in relief

He’s still just 25. Hence, there is plenty of time for him to develop, no matter what his role is.