A replacement-level swingman in 2016, Brad Peacock took a massive leap forward last season and established himself as one of the most important arms on a championship-winning pitching staff. In fact, he led all full-season (non-Justin Verlander) Astros pitchers in fWAR with 3.4. He provided stability at the back end of the rotation when injuries hit, posting a 3.22 ERA in 111.2 innings as a starter, and was dominant out of the bullpen (.143/.268/.214). The right-hander saw a big uptick in strikeouts year-over-year, with his strikeout rate jumping three per nine to 11.0 K/9. That spike went hand-in-hand with a massive improvement in the quality of his slider, which was tied closely to the lowering of his arm slot. His walk rate remains high (3.9 BB/9), and he seems unlikely to see a big spike in innings at this point in his career, but his development is legitimate. The innings Peacock gives you should be very good.
Peacock is expected to pitch out of the bullpen in 2018, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. The acquisition of Gerrit Cole from the Pirates over the weekend essentially seals Peacock's role in 2018. Assuming health among all of Houston's starters, Peacock will be a multi-inning reliever out of the pen and, we suspect, be stretched out in case Houston needs a spot or piggy-back start. Peacock enjoyed the finest season of his career in 2017, contributing as both a starter and reliever. He had a 1.77 ERA over 20.1 innings with an 11.5 K/9 out of the pen.
Peacock agreed to a one-year deal with the Astros on Friday. This was the second offseason Peacock was an arbitration-eligible player. During the 2017 campaign, he posted a 3.00 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 132 innings split between the bullpen and rotation. Although his walk rate remains a little high (3.9 BB/9) he provides solid value as a back-end starter or middle-reliever.
Peacock will move to the bullpen for Game 4 of the ALCS against the Yankees on Tuesday, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Lance McCullers will make the start, but will likely be on a pretty short leash, with Peacock poised to come in and eat a few innings before the Astros hand the game over to their top bullpen arms. Peacock gave up three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out four in 2.2 innings in his lone postseason appearance against the Red Sox in the ALDS.
Peacock (13-2) beat the Red Sox on Thursday after allowing two runs on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts over five innings. Peacock was handed a 5-0 lead after the top of the second inning and a 9-2 advantage through four, enabling him to cruise to a third consecutive victory. The 29-year-old righty excelled as a starting pitcher after being moved into that role from the bullpen, and finishes the season with a tremendous 161:57 K:BB in 132 innings to go with a 2.93 ERA overall. He's lined up to make his next start in the ALDS, likely against this same Boston team.
Peacock will start Thursday's game against the Red Sox, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. Peacock will get the ball for Thursday's series opener in what will be his final start of the regular season. The 29-year-old owns a 2.35 ERA and 22:8 K:BB through four starts (23 innings) in September.