Who Am I?
Height: 6′ 5″
Throws right, Bats right
How did I get here?
Musgrove was a supplemental first-rounder in 2011, drafted by Toronto. He was traded to Houston in the Great Houston-Toronto MegaDeal of 2012 (trademark pending) that included David Carpenter, JA Happ, Brandon Lyon, Kevin Comer, Asher Wojo.. wojo… ah forget it, we traded him already, David Rollins, Carlos Perez, Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco, and a box of Rice-a-Roni. He was added to the 40-man roster after the 2015 season.
Contract status: Musgrove has two option years remaining and is not eligible for arbitration until 2020.
Why am I here?
Musgrove is competing with Mike Fiers for the fifth spot in the rotation, unless McHugh can’t start the season healthy. Given that Fiers is out of options, it’s an uphill battle for Musgrove. Personally, I’d rather bet on the youngster with the higher upside – you know what you’re getting from Fiers.
What are my strengths?
Plus-plus control. Musgrove’s 2.3 walks per 9 innings in the majors in 2016 was his highest at any level in his career. You’ll have to hit your way on against him. Musgrove also gets good movement on his pitches.
What are my weaknesses?
It does put things in perspective to say that a starter with a 92 MPH fastball doesn’t even have average velocity, but that’s where we are in 2017. And while Musgrove mixes his pitches effectively, he doesn’t have a go-to pitch. His slider has shown flashes, so maybe he can get some tips from the guys in the bullpen on how to improve it. Given that lack of a plus pitch, Musgrove becomes more reliant than most on keeping runners off the bases. With the bases empty, he held hitters to a .214/.275/.383 line; once there were men on base, that jumped to .317/.360/.585. That makes him a sort of feast-or-famine guy; in 10 starts, he gave up 8 runs once and 5 runs twice – but the other 7 starts were all 3 runs or less.
What is my future with the Astros?
Unless Musgrove comes up with that plus pitch, his ceiling is probably a #3 starter. On the other hand, his control keeps the floor pretty high. I’d expect to see him in the rotation for the remainder of the decade.
What is my projected 2017 performance?
Pinpoint accuracy, below average velocity, good movement: the ingredients of a pitcher that bedeviled the Astros for years. Yes, I think of Musgrove as a poor man’s Greg Maddux. As long as he’s a poor man’s version, and not a homeless man’s version, then he’ll be a valuable contributor for the good guys.