If you look back at the Astros 2010 draft last year one thing that is missing is a promising college arm capable of high strikeout totals with the potential to move through the system rapidly. They have Jake Buchanan who has been solid this year, but is not a dominating strikeout type pitcher and has a low ceiling. That did not have to be the case however as a rare circumstance involving Barret Loux and the Arizona Diamondbacks eventually made Barret Loux a free agent last August giving the Astros and every other interested team another shot at him. The Astros determined that the risk in signing Loux was not worth taking, and Loux ended up signing with the Texas Rangers for $312k. At age 22 Loux was assigned to the Rangers High-A affiliate the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Here’s a look at what Barret Loux has done so far in his first professional season:
Barret Loux (22) - 31 innings pitched, 11.03 K/9, 1.74 BB/9, 3.19 ERA, 1.85 FIP.
After checking what Barret Loux has done so far this season, I decided to compare him to the starters for the Astros High-A affiliate the Lancaster JetHawks. Here are the results below:
Jake Buchanan (21) – 42 innings pitched, 4.89 K/9, 2.34 BB/9, 1.70 ERA, 3.27 FIP
Robert Donovan (23) – 32.2 innings pitched, 7.16 K/9, 4.41 BB/9, 5.23 ERA, 4.67FIP
Andrew Robinson (23) – 32.1 innings pitched, 5.0 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 5.57 ERA, 4.44 FIP
Bobby Doran (22) – 29.2 innings pitched, 3.34 K/9, 3.64 BB/9, 7.89 ERA, 5.63 FIP
Jose Cisnero (22) – 24.1 innings pitched, 15.53 K/9, 5.55 BB/9, 6.66 ERA, 3.20 FIP
It’s safe to assume that Barret Loux would be the most consistent starter for the JetHawks so far had Ed Wade signed Loux this offseason. The JetHawks have done a very good job at scoring runs on a consistent basis, but they have only 1 pitcher with an ERA under 5.00 making starting pitching the obvious weakness of the team. Things would look a lot different if Barret Loux and Jake Buchanan were anchoring the top of the rotation coupled with the strikeout king Jose Cisnero falling in place behind them.
I realize that you can’t declare Barret injury free after a solid month, and that he is at a greater risk to incur a significant injury at some point in his career than others, but this just seemed like a good risk to take. Ed Wade has taken risks on injured/troubled pitchers at the major league level with a far greater monetary risk (see Russ Ortiz - $750,000.00, Mike Hampton - $2 million, and Shawn Chacon - $2 million.) These guys held no future value to the club, and none of the signings ended up being very successful. At least in Loux’s situation the risk had the potential for a future reward with the club at a far less initial value. In any event Loux is a Ranger and there is no sense in dwelling on it now, but here’s to hoping that the next ownership regime would take this kind of risk in the future. This deal could have the Rangers organization looking very smart if Loux pans out, and if he doesn’t then it would not be any different than any other decent prospect whose career was cut short by injury.