The Houston Astros promoted relief pitcher Jandel Gustave to the major leagues on Wednesday. His debut came Thursday with two hits and a run allowed in one inning of work against the Minnesota Twins. Here's a quick look at what to expect from him.
From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Jandel Gustave, RHP, Houston Astros
2014: Grade C; 2015: Grade C
Signed by Houston back in 2010 out of the Dominican Republic, Gustave was drafted by the Royals under Rule 5 in December 2014. He did not stick on the big league roster and was sent back to the Astros last spring, for which the Astros are thankful. After futzing around as a starter in the low minors he converted to the bullpen last year with excellent results, blowing through Double-A with a heater up to 98-99 MPH and a plus slider. His change-up was never better than poor as a starter but in the pen he just blows people away for an inning or two. His control needs sharpening and he needs Triple-A time but his bullpen upside is quite high and the Astros rationally protected him on the 40-man this time. Grade C+.
Gustave has been solid this year for Triple-A Fresno, posting a 3.71 ERA in 51 innings with a 52/18 K/BB and 43 hits allowed. He's been especially deadly recently with a 1.29 ERA in his last 14 innings with a 15/3 K/BB.
As noted pre-season there's no shortage of velocity here and bullpen work fits his skill set much better than starting did. If he maintains the greatly improved control he's shown over the last few weeks, he could close games. If his control is erratic he is more of a back-of-the-bullpen type, but even that could keep him employed in the majors for some time.