Out of all the team in MLB, the Houston Astros have the most messed up bullpen. First off, their plans to go with Brandon Lyon is borderline crazy. I have nothing against Lyon. I think he is a fine MLB reliever and his numbers support it. My problem with Lyon is he doesn’t have the killer instinct mentality required by closers, nor does he have the stuff. Its the exact reason that every team he has played for he wasn’t the planned closer or at some point lost his job. Look to Boston, Arizona, Detroit, and Houston. He reminds me of a great backup quarterback. If he comes in mid-season, he’s great. If he starts or finishes for a competitive team, it doesn’t look good.
Who will challenge him this spring? There isn’t allot of depth to the Astros bullpen, but there are some options that could present themselves. Jeff Fulchino had minor surgery in the off-season and looks to be fully ready by spring training. He’s a classic fastball, slider, split-finger pitcher with a great K/9 rate, but not so good on the BB/9 rate.
Then there is the passionate 27 year old Alberto Arias. He has solid mid nineties fastball, lights out curveball and the occasional slider. He is in his prime and looks like a far better candidate to close games for the Astros then Lyon or Fulchino. He’s biggest issues are attitude and developing a more consistent slider and changeup.
A darkhorse for the job is Brett Myers. If he doesn’t make the starting rotation and the closer job is still unsettled, Myers would make a great closer. However, I see him easily making the rotation for the Astros.