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Astros Select Bryan King, Select Alex Speas

1:45 PM: Right hand Alex Speas was created for the assignment of creating a place for the King’s 40-man roster. Speas was released from the Athletics last month, and pitched two innings in his only MLB game in an Astros uniform (Houston’s 6-1 loss to the Twins on May 31.)

Speas’ only other hard-throwing Major League experience came in the form of three appearances for the Rangers in 2023. A second-round pick by Texas in the 2016 draft, Speas has a whopping 32.73% strikeout rate over 165 1/3 career innings. minor league innings, but also a 5.01 ERA and a terrible 18.24% walk rate.

12:13 PM: Bloss will indeed be placed on the 15-day IL due to shoulder discomfort, manager Joe Espada he told Matt Kawahara of the Houston Chronicle and other reporters.

8:38 AM: The Astros will pick up the left-hander’s contract Bryan King from Triple-A, Brian McTaggart of reports (X link), and it’s OK Luis Contreras He was also called up to the 26-man roster after being optioned to Triple-A on Thursday. Houston’s preferred right-hander Nick Hernandez to Triple-A, and Contreras’ immediate return would indicate another player was placed on the injured list, as Contreras would not be eligible for a recall within 10 days of being demoted.

An injured player is possible Jake Bloss, as the right-hander’s MLB debut was cut short in the fourth inning yesterday due to shoulder discomfort. Bloss described the injuries to McTaggart and other reporters as “to adjust a little” and “it doesn’t sound like anything serious,” but subsequent transactions by the Astros indicate that a trip to the 15-day disabled list may be imminent. It makes for a nice birthday present for Bloss as he turns 23 tomorrow, after allowing two runs over 3 2/3 innings in his first game in the Show.

Assuming Bloss needs to miss time, he will join nine other pitchers on Houston’s injured list, as the Astros’ depth has been severely depleted throughout the season. To cover innings, 26 different players have taken the mound for the Astros this season, and King will be the 27th when he makes his Major League debut. The Astros will need to make some trades to clear a 40-man roster spot for the 27-year-old slugger.

The Cubs made King a 30th-round pick in the 2019 draft, and he has a 2.77 ERA over 123 2/3 career minor league innings, all as a reliever. King’s time on the mound was limited by the canceled 2020 minor league season and Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2023 campaign. Fortunately, King seems to have come back from rehab in good shape, posting a 1.87 ERA, a 51.9% slugging percentage, and a 29.9% strikeout rate in 33 2/3 innings at Triple-A Sugar Land this season.

The 3.86 xFIP and 82.9% strikeout rate show a certain level of luck in the king’s numbers, and the 10.2% walk rate is still a bit high, if an improvement on the major control issues the southpaw endured early in his career. That said, if King can show he can make the majors, he could get an extended look both because the Astros simply need healthy arms, and because Houston’s bullpen lacks depth in lefty. With Bennett Sousa seasoned due to thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, near Josh Hader is the only southpaw in Houston’s bullpen.

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