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June 27, 2014

Raising Aces

Houston, We Have Lift-Off

by Doug Thorburn


The Astros have unearthed a couple of legitimate All-Star candidates in their rotation this season, and though neither pitcher fits the “high-ceiling prospect mold” that has become characteristic of the franchise, Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh have quickly ascended from afterthoughts to valuable assets for the organization. Is their performance merely a blip on the radar, with regression looming to take each of them down a peg, or are there legitimate reasons to get excited about either of these two pitchers? Let's dig in.

Dallas Keuchel
Keuchel is a 6'3” left-hander whom Houston selected in the seventh round of the 2009 draft. He steadily climbed the organizational ladder with an approach that learned toward commanding the strike zone and keeping the ball on the ground.

Year

GS

IP

ERA

K %

BB %

H %

HR %

2013

22

153.7

5.15

18.0%

8.1%

27.0%

2.9%

2014

15

103.7

2.78

20.2%

6.3%

21.4%

1.2%

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4 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Leg4206

I remember Keuchel's pitching coach commenting on how he thought the "drop in the drive" aspect was a significant factor in Keuchel's improvement. Basically, the explanation revolved around the benefit of using a different set of muscles.

Jun 27, 2014 07:00 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Doug Thorburn
BP staff

I'm on board with the "drive" portion of that line of thinking, as his momentum is much improved. I'm just not big on the "drop," and one is not necessary to have the other. The net result is a definite positive, though.

Jun 27, 2014 13:44 PM
 
jfranco77

Great article. Am I remembering right that McHugh had the crazy curve with the Mets, but didn't have anything else and didn't really know what to do with it?

Jun 27, 2014 07:46 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Doug Thorburn
BP staff

If memory serves (PITCHf/x-aided), McHugh had the opposite problem in that he had a wide arsenal of pitches but nothing that stood out. In that sense, he has simplified his approach while at the same time improving the individual components of his three-pitch mix (FB-SL-CB).

Jun 27, 2014 13:49 PM
 
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