Houston Astros: What’s on their post-lockout to-do list

Oct 22, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. (12) celebrates after defeating the Boston Red Sox to advance to the World Series after game six of the 2021 ALCS at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 22, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. (12) celebrates after defeating the Boston Red Sox to advance to the World Series after game six of the 2021 ALCS at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /
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OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 23: Andrew Chafin #39 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Seattle Mariners at RingCentral Coliseum on September 23, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 23: Andrew Chafin #39 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Seattle Mariners at RingCentral Coliseum on September 23, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros need to sign another left-handed reliever

After something of a down year in 2020, left-hander Andrew Chafin rebounded in a big way in 2021, splitting his time between the Chicago Cubs and the Oakland Athletics. The 31-year-old southpaw finds himself on the free agent market for the second consecutive offseason.

Chafin appeared in a total of 71 games last year, 43 in Chicago and 28 in Oakland. In 68.2 innings, he put up a sparkling 1.83 ERA and gave up just four home runs all season. While his SO/9 were down somewhat from his previous showings, he still showed the ability to get batters out at an above-average clip.

Andrew Chafin is largely a two-pitch pitcher, relying heavily on his sinking fastball and slider. He has been known to throw an occasional changeup as well throughout the years, primarily from 2014-2018, although the pitch returned here and there this past season.

While a large amount of his fellow southpaws had reason for concern once Major League Baseball put the “three batter minimum” rule into effect (essentially eliminating the LOOGY, or the Lefty One Out Guy), Chafin has not been affected at all by the rule. In 2021, Chafin carved up both left-handed batters and right-handed batters, allowing a .170 and .196 Batting Average Against across 104 and 162 plate appearances, respectively.

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The Houston Astros currently have starter Framber Valdez, reliever Blake Taylor, and minor league pitcher Jonathan Bermudez as the only left-handed pitchers on their 40-man roster. Andrew Chafin is capable of pitching in a variety of roles including setup man and even emergency closer. The Astros should have their eyes on him once the lockout is lifted.