Héctor Velázquez might not be among the most popular pitchers in baseball. You have to accept it: He’s not the kind of player that draws crowds of people waiting for autographs.
But he’s now a Houston Astro and is definitely someone the team can turn its eyes to if needed.
Velásquez won’t make you fall in love with his peripheral stats, but he’s someone that has had success in the past as a swingman and long reliever.
At least this season, that could be very useful for the Astros, who acquired him via trade from the Orioles on July 29, 2020, in exchange for a player to be named that turned out to be minor-leaguer Miguel Padilla.
I’m not saying the 32-year-old Mexican should crack the Opening-Day roster, but he could give the team some innings during a long 162-game regular season.
His best year so far in his three-season career was 2018, when he pitched to a 3.18 ERA across 85 innings for the Red Sox and finished the campaign with a 7-2 record.
Although on one side it’s true he got into trouble at times, nonetheless, his HardHit% was at 37.9 that year and he had a 50.4 GB%, a good combination that could produce lots of infield outs.
In case the Astros consider him as a long reliever, Velázquez owns a 3.05 lifetime ERA with a 6-0 record in 25 career appearances of 1 1⁄3 innings or more (1.22 WHIP).
So far in 2021 Spring Training, the right-hander has surrendered two hits and one earned run in 3 1⁄3 episodes of work, along with five strikeouts.
To this point, the Astros’ bullpen is probably locked right now, but no team could play a 162-game regular season without suffering injuries. That’s when Héctor Velázquez’s name should get into the conversation for Houston, especially if he shows a good, dominant version of himself in the Minors.