By David Miller @DavidMillerRant on April 19, 2014
After the immediate surprising sweep of the New York Yankees, the Houston Astros have faltered and really have not done all that well. The reason for this cannot be saddled completely with the starting rotation and bullpen however. Here is a look at early grades for these guys and they are better than most would think. With the exception of Lucas Harrell, who would get an F if he wasn't designated for assignment recently, the staff has been good.
Starting at the top of the rotation as the ace was something that Feldman was supposed to just be a figurehead on, but instead he has taken charge. He is 2 – 1 with a 1.69 ERA and 0.938 WHIP early on. He's been three times as good as anyone could have hoped going into the season.
While Cosart is sporting a bad ERA of 7.36 and WHIP of 1.418, he does have a couple of quality starts to go on. His recent terrible outing versus the Athletics, giving up 7 runs in only 0.1 of an inning, had a terrible impact on his numbers. Still that performance drags down his grade from what would have been a B most likely.
Oberholtzer has been as good as advertised so far. Through three starts he has three quality outings. His WHIP is as good as Feldman's at 0.944. Overall he seems to be exactly what Astros management and fans hoped he would be this year.
With a 3.50 ERA and 1.333 WHIP, Keuchel hasn't been as good as Feldman and Oberholtzer but he hasn't been bad either. A 1 – 1 record is just about right for what he's done this year. He can be better going forward but all in all he has given the team a good chance to win more times than not.
Peacock's grade is a little skewed as a starter because as of now he has yet to make a start. Through his relief appearances, he had a high ERA and WHIP but better things are expected in the rotation. He has shown good potential enough to earn an average grade overall. Now we will see what he does.
It is best to start the relief staff off with the closer but the Astros don't really have one. Instead we'll just go down the listed depth chart. Qualls has three scoreless outings and one save to his credit. Overall he has been very good and reliable for this bullpen.
Fields has actually been very good out of the bullpen this year. All but one of his appearances has been scoreless and all but two have seen him not allow a hit. He has an ERA of 2.57 and one save to his credit.
Albers doesn't have a save yet but the veteran does have several good outings. He has only given up a run in one of his outings, resulting in an ERA of 1.13. That is obviously good enough to earn the highest grade possible.
Bass gets an A minus because of one bad outing mainly. He also has a handful of good outings including 2 saves. All in all Bass has been very good for the Astros bullpen which has been better than anyone would have thought; especially these four guys.
The grades finally come down when we get to Williams though it really happened in two outings. He gave up 2 runs against the Royals in one outing and had a terrible time against the Angels in the other. You cannot have a passing grade with an 8.00 ERA though. Hopefully he'll do better and who knows; might even wind up in the starting rotation before its over.
Clemens has a not-so-good ERA of 3.68 but he also has been the tough-luck long man from the bullpen. When Cosart gave up 7 in the first against the Athletics it was Clemens job to eat innings. He gave up three runs in that one and only had one other outing this year. He is doing a good thing for the arms in the 'pen even if his numbers stink.
Valdes has only been out for less than an inning and it wasn't a good one. His ERA is 13.50 to this point. Maybe they will use him more often in the coming weeks or maybe he is on his way out of the active roster. Either way, he has not been successful so far.
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