The Houston Astros have acquired RHP Hector Velazquez from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for a player to be named later.
The Astros need experienced pitchers, especially in their bullpen. Opening Day was less than a week ago, and the Astros have already had seven relief pitchers make their MLB debut (Blake Taylor, Enoli Paredes, Cristian Javier, Brandon Bailey, Brandon Bielak, Andre Scrubb and Nivaldo Rodriguez). Velazquez was claimed off waivers by Baltimore from Boston in March, but he didn\’t make the team. The Mexican righty has starting experience, and he has had some success over his three year MLB career. With injuries impacted the pitching staff heavily, Velazquez is a fine pick-up. While he threw it less than 17% of the time last year, Velazquez\’s slider is a pitch that the Astros might look to abuse. The slider had a .125 average against and a 32.9 whiff rate, plus an average exit velocity of 85 mph, all the best among Velazquez\’s five pitches. The Orioles don\’t need Velazquez, as he didn\’t make the team, and when the squad is as bad as they are, getting value from anything is worth it.
Velazquez, 31, had a 5.43 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 56.1 innings for the Boston Red Sox last year. In three seasons for the Red Sox, Velazquez has appeared in 89 games (starting 19 of them), and he had a 3.90 ERA with 121 strikeouts in 166 innings. Velazquez has a career ERA+ of 117.