Houston Astros add pitching depth in Hector Velasquez

The Houston Astros have added another piece to their depleted pitching staff, acquiring Hector Velazquez from the Baltimore Orioles.

The Houston Astros pitching staff is not what it once was. Due to injuries and departures in free agency, a once excellent rotation has been reduced to Zack Greinke and several question marks. The Astros currently have nine rookies on the pitching staff in the majors, not what one would expect from a potential contending team.

On Wednesday, the Astros added some depth. They have acquired Hector Velazquez from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for the ever-popular Player to be Named Later.

Velazquez had been removed from the Orioles 40 man roster just before Opening Day. The Orioles had selected him off waivers from Boston in March, after the pitching thin Red Sox could not find a place for him on their roster.

The long time Mexican League veteran had a solid showing in the beginning of his major league career. Over his 109.2 innings from 2017 and 2018, he posted a 3.12 ERA and a 1.377 WHiP, striking out 72 batters with 33 walks. While those numbers were not great, they were perfectly acceptable for a long reliever/spot starter, a role that Velazquez filled in Boston.

Everything fell apart last season. Considered a prime candidate for regression, especially given his inability to miss bats, Velazquez was indeed hit hard with the regression hammer. In his 56.1 innings, he posted a 5.43 ERA and a 1.527 WHiP. While his strikeout rate increased, so did his walk rate, as he struck out 49 batters with 28 walks.

For a team as starved for major league caliber pitching as the Astros, Velazquez is a decent gamble. He has had some major league success, even if the peripherals felt it was unsustainable. Likewise, those metrics felt that his 2019 campaign should have been better than the statistics indicated.

Hector Velazquez is a reasonable flier for the Houston Astros. If nothing else, he should be a solid depth option for a depleted pitching staff.