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Astros 40 in 40: Brad Peacock

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You gotta let him fly!

Last season was lost year for 28-year old Brad Peacock. Here's the thing; the Astros didn't need him. After weathering the injuries to Scott Feldman and a few trips through the rotation for Roberto Hernandez, Houston finished the season with enough capable starters, especially after a midseason trade with Milwaukee for Mike Fiers and the promotions of Lance McCullers and Vince Velasquez.

This season may not take the same path. In 2015, the Astros rotation became one of the major storylines of the team's 2015 success, throwing 984 innings for a 16.0 WAR, good for 8th in the majors. However, 224 of those innings are gone, primarily from the departures of Scott Kazmir and Vincent Velasquez. The rotation's core will stay constant; however, with the realization of pitcher injuries and McCullers' innings limit, Brad Peacock's presence in the rotation could be a key factor in keeping the back end afloat.

Though always known as a decent strikeout pitcher who can keep velocity, (a K/9 over 7 for his career and a 93 mph fastball average) Peacock's downfall has been the flyball. Though Minute Maid Park's historical park factor has been about even, Peacock's reliance on flyballs (nearly a 44% rate for his career) has led to a good amount of gopher balls. Peacock's career 1.50 HR/9 rate will have to come down to be anything more than a back end starter, though the presence of four legitimate centerfielders in the Houston corps could contribute a few more outs than normal on his heavy flyball rate if he gets enough time with Rasmus, Springer, Gomez and the occasional Marisnick cameo behind him this season.

The Astros hope they won't have to heavily rely on Peacock to turn in six and seven inning outings consistently in 2016. Though he can churn through innings, Peacock hasn't proved himself as anything other than a replacement-level starter with a decent upside. I would slate Peacock to start the season in Fresno's AAA rotation, but among the first considered when and if the Astros needing an emergency starter or long relief man. With only the addition of Doug Fister to replace the attrition of back-end rotation options, Peacock's name could be called more often than not in 2016.