TCB Astros March Madness 2014: Darin Downs vs Josh Zeid

The bullpen battle begins early: left-handed reliever Darin Downs vs right-handed reliever Josh Zeid.

TCB's Astros Fan Favorite March Madness Tournament is underway. From now until the end of Spring Training 64 players will spend the next several weeks facing off in a head to head public vote to determine who advances to the next round and who will eventually be crowned the communities favorite Astros player. For more details click here for the introductory post.

The rules are simple determine which player you want to advance to the next by voting for that player. Any excellent arguments made for an advancing player in the comments below may be used in the players description for the next round. Vote subjectively, objectively or by using your trusty magic eight ball. Votes will last exactly 24 hours.

In this match-up

7 - Darin Downs

One of the more under-the-radar waiver claims Houston made this offseason, Downs joins the Astros from the Tigers organization. The 27-year-old lefty has thrown 56 innings in his brief major league career, posting an uninspired 4.34 ERA. However, his peripheral stats look good and his minor league strikeout rates were also very solid. Heck, his major league strikeout rate last season was very good. In those career MLB innings, Downs has posted an FIP and xFIP nearly a run under his ERA. As long as he stays healthy, Downs is one of the biggest dark horse candidates to make the 25-man rotation in camp. -David


10 - Josh Zeid

Zeid made his MLB debut in 2013, throwing 27 innings with a 3.90 ERA and 24 strikeouts. That success was mainly due to his slider, which was worth 1.3 runs above average, according to FanGraphs. Zeid was unfairly penalized by entering the dumpster fire of an Astros bullpen after only the most loyal had turned away. His late season success should have locked up a spot for him in the 2014 relief corps, but a slew of free agent signings make that unlikely. Still, if Zeid proved anything, it's that he can be successful in limited innings (if his control improves) and that means he should be a viable callup if there's an injury in the bullpen. -David

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