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Evan Gattis trade: Who is James Hoyt, the pitcher heading to the Astros?

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The other piece of the Astros return has a pretty interesting backstory, too.

This is not James Hoyt. This is Evan Gattis.
This is not James Hoyt. This is Evan Gattis.
Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images

The Astros not only acquired Evan Gattis from the Braves, but also extracted a live-armed, older reliever in James Hoyt who could make an impact with the Astros next season. Here's a brief rundown of who the Astros got and what fans can expect.

Who is he?

The 6-foot-6 right-hander came to the Astros as a late addition to the Evan Gattis trade. Hoyt, 28, made it to the Braves Triple-A team last season but has yet to pitch in the major leagues.

Where did he come from?

Despite his age, Hoyt isn't a minor league lifer. He only started playing professional ball in 2011, signing with the Mexican League's Olmecas de Tabasco in Villahermosa.

Hoyt grew up in Idaho, went to Palomar Junior College and Centenary College in Louisiana, but was not drafted after his senior season. He went home, according to this article, where he helped out with a high school team while working on sail boats in San Diego.

Eventually, he tried out for the Golden Baseball League, an independent league which did things like let Ricky Henderson and Jose Canseco be manager-players.

From there, Hoyt hopped around, playing in Edinburg, Texas and Wichita, Kansas. Finally, he caught on with the Olmecas, where he caught the eye of a Braves scout.

"I was pretty excited just to get that opportunity. It took me a while to get there."

At spring training, pitching coach Derek Botelho said, "All that I heard and gathered from our people in spring training was - very raw, very raw but has ability."

How good is he?

Pretty dang good, actually. This is a stat Anthony dug up once we learned that Hoyt was included in the deal.

He has walked and/or allowed a hit to a combined 175 batters over his minor league career.

He has struck out 182.

In other words - he has struck out more guys than have reached base against him.

In a broader sense, Hoyt had an unimpressive 5.46 ERA in 28 innings for the Braves' Triple-A affiliate last season. He struck out 34 in those innings while walking 14. The year before, Hoyt had an ERA of 1.14 in 31 innings while striking out 43 and walking 10.

Hoyt's main problem last season seemed to be giving up home runs. The right-hander allowed just six home runs in his previous 127 innings. Last year at Triple-A, he gave up four home runs in 28 innings.

That should change.

If it does, Hoyt becomes a great candidate to help out the Astros bullpen very soon. He's easily the best relief "prospect" Houston has in its system now, allowing for the fact that 28-year-old's are not prospects and that relievers are usually failed starting pitcher prospects.

What does he throw?

Measuring in at 6-foot-6, Hoyt has plenty of downward leverage on his pitch. Thus, he's got a pretty big fastball, clocking in anywhere from 94 to 96 mph. He also have a nice slide as his main two offerings.

That slider is pretty special, too. It's been alternately called a "wipeout" pitch and "devastating." Both of his pitches were described as major-league ready in 2013, when he played with the Braves High-A affiliate in Lynchburg.