Taken in context, the Houston Astros‘ bullpen could not get any worse; so saying that it’s getting better is almost moot. That being said, improving from nothing is the first step to getting to something.
Kevin Chapman has come up and established himself as perhaps more than just a left-handed specialist. Right-handed batters are hitting just .125 against him and lefties have yet to register a hit against him.
Walks were the biggest problem Chapman faced in the minors and he has yet to register a walk in 5.2 innings. His ERA is safely at 0.00 as well.
Chia-Jen Lo has thrown 9.0 innings and given up just one earned run. Lo has allowed a .194 average against him. Needless to say, anything below the Mendoza line is a welcome alteration to what the Astros used to offer.
It may be too early to judge David Martinez’ performance as a reliever, but in 2.2 innings, he’s surrendered just one hit. Martinez has the most impressive resume, and could even factor into the starting rotation at some point.
Josh Fields and Josh Zeid are still struggling to get established, with ERAs well up over a 5.00, and Philip Humber is hanging on for dear life, so there is still a lot of work to go. As far as the current seven-man rotation, the two odd men out will either attempt to contribute to the bullpen or find employment elsewhere.
As stated, it doesn’t sound like much, with only a combined 16.1 innings pitched, but it has to start somewhere, and these three may be that start.