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LA Angels: Taking a look at the division rival Houston Astros

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Justin Verlander, Houston Astros (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Justin Verlander, Houston Astros (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 15: Ryan Pressly #55 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning in Game Five of the American League Championship Series at PETCO Park on October 15, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 15: Ryan Pressly #55 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning in Game Five of the American League Championship Series at PETCO Park on October 15, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

In the Pen

Bullpen

Ryan Pressly
Enoli Paredes
Blake Taylor
Brooks Raley
Andre Scrubb
Cionel Perez
Austin Pruitt
Josh James*

Inside Look

Much like their rotation, the Astros will be returning many of their key bullpen pieces from 2020. Ryan Pressley is expected to return as their closer in 2020 after posting a 3.43 ERA over 21 IP and converting 12 of 16 save opportunities in 2020.

Strong performances from Andre Scrubb, Blake Taylor, and Enoli Parades in 2020 give the Astros enough confidence to not have to be overly active in free agency or trade talks, however it is possible that the front office picks up an arm or two to supplement their current bullpen.

Roberto Osuna, a key piece to the Astros bullpen success in 2018 and 2019, dealt with injury in 2020 and will head to free agency looking for a team to roll the dice on his supposedly healthy elbow. Osuna threw 65 innings in 2019, averaging 10.11 K/9 and a 2.63 ERA over 38 saves. That kind of production isn’t easily found, and although he was a limited contributor in 2020, the bullpen will certainly miss his late-inning success.

Less notably, Chris Devenski, Brad Peacock, and Joe Biagini will all head to free agency as well.

Player Highlight : Andre Scrubb

2020 Statistics: 1-0 W/L, 23 2/3 IP, 24 K, 1.90 ERA, 1.48 WHIP

2021 Outlook: Scrubb saw his first bit of major league action in 2020, and much to the pleasant surprise of the Astros, he burst on to the scene with a 1.90 ERA in 23.2 innings. Although he struggled with walks as many rookies do, he was a welcomed addition with Roberto Osuna and Chris Devinski both going down with injury. It will be extremely interesting to see if Scrubb is able to continue his success in a full season, or if 2020 was a rarity and he will come back down to earth.

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