Luke Gregerson's slider was absolutely devastating last season, and his whiff-per-swing rate of 60.4 percent on the pitch was the second-best rate in all of baseball among pitchers who threw at least 200 sliders in 2016. His strikeout rate of 29.3 percent was more than four percentage points higher than anything he had posted since 2010, and an astounding 53 of his 67 strikeouts last season (79 percent) were finished off by his slider. Gregerson's 3.28 ERA was actually the highest single-season mark of his eight-year career, as the right-hander has established himself as one of the most consistent relief pitchers in baseball. He has proven that he can handle the closer role but is just as comfortable earlier in the bucket line putting out fires. Ken Giles figures to close games for the Astros in 2017, with Gregerson among those who will notch holds in the seventh and eighth.
Gregerson said he has been working on his changeup and would like to incorporate the third pitch next season, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. The 32-year-old has primarily been a sinker-slider right-hander, although he has said he would like to add a pitch in 2017 to complement the two. He posted a 3.28 ERA across 57.2 innings in 2016, and he only featured his changeup nine times across that span. After working on the pitch all spring, he is more comfortable throwing it and is looking to implement it next season, giving hitters another pitch to think about.
Gregerson threw his first live batting practice session of spring training, Brian McTaggart of the team's official site reports. Gregerson was pleased with the movement on the ball and his location, particularly this early in training camp. Per usual, Gregerson remains a valuable bullpen arm who can spot in as a closer should Ken Giles falter or become injured, but also is comfortable in the high-leverage spots prior to the ninth inning.
Gregerson allowed an unearned run, but he still nailed down his 15th save, closing a 6-5 victory over the Athletics on Wednesday. Astros manager A.J. Hinch avoided usual closer Ken Giles because he had pitched two straight days and three of the last four. Since recovering from an ankle injury in late August, Gregerson has a 2.08 ERA and 0.807 WHIP. This was his first save since July 6. Gregerson has a 2.93 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 64 strikeouts in 55.1 innings this season.
Gregerson (ankle) is expected to be available to pitch during Houston's series against Oakland, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. Although Gregerson is available, the team may be cautious with their 32-year-old reliever. Gregerson has been able to throw off the mound recently, but there's still some concern regarding his mobility to cover first and pick up infield hits.
Gregerson (ankle) is expected to be available out of the Houston bullpen for this week's series against Oakland, The Houston Chronicle reports. Gregerson has been out with an ankle injury since August 18. Ken Giles remains in the closer's role for Houston, with Gregerson pitching more in a seventh or eighth inning setup role with Will Harris. Gregerson has a pristine 0.90 WHIP but has been tagged for a 3.15 ERA this season.