For most of the first half of the season, Lucas Harrell was one of the more promising looking starters in the Houston Astros’ rotation. The only problem he had was that his ERA was kind of high because when he wasn’t dominant he was being crushed. Around the all-star break the Astros and manager Bo Porter made the decision to send Harrell to the bullpen for a couple of reasons. It would allow Harrell to work on his inconsistency issues and it would clear a spot for other young starters to try their hand at the MLB rotation.
All in all, though the move was a little surprising at first, it has turned out pretty well. The few starters that have made their debut since Bud Norris was traded and Harrell went to the bullpen have been superb. It took a little time but within a few weeks Harrell started to really pitch well out of the bullpen. That all led to him getting a spot start a few days ago when the Astros needed a quick replacement. That went well too, for two innings.
During the third inning Harrell fell apart and gave up a ton of runs. The way it happened would lead you to think that he might actually be better suited for a bullpen role. It is possible that if he could focus on a couple of dominant pitches he could even be a great setup man or closer one day. Harrell could work things out, stretch his arm back out and make the starting five in 2014. With this result it makes you wonder if Porter should just keep him in the reliever role as long as it is working well.