MLB Quick Hits: Gardner, Beltran out for Yanks
SEP 11, 6:47a ET | John Halpin
Rotowire: Mar 31 / 6:30p ET
News: Qualls is slated to open the year in a setup role, with Luke Gregerson named the Astros' closer Tuesday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.
Impact: Qualls has been very good this spring, giving up just two hits with no walks and three strikeouts over 5.2 scoreless innings, but he blew three of his final seven save opportunities last year (six blown saves in total) and it seems the Astros decided Gregerson was the safer bet given his sustained success over the years. Gregerson has posted a sub-2.76 ERA in each of the last four seasons, while Qualls' mark has ranged from 2.61 to 5.33 over the same span. For his career, Gregerson has averaged 8.8 K/9 whereas Qualls has averaged 6.9 K/9, though Qualls did have a slightly better K/9 rate last year.
Rotowire: Mar 19 / 7:12a ET
News: Astros manager A.J. Hinch isn't ready to announce his closer, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports.
Impact: Qualls is having a great spring thus far, permitting only an unearned run on two hits with no walks and two strikeouts through four Grapefruit League innings. Luke Gregerson (2.25 ERA) and Pat Neshek (3.00 ERA) have also pitched well, so assume this competition won't be settled until the end of spring training. It's possible Houston will use the three veterans in a closer-by-committee situation, but Qualls is the slight favorite to open 2015 in the role due to success last year (19 saves) and strong camp thus far.
Rotowire: Mar 3 / 6:24p ET
News: Qualls is expected to face competition from Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek for the Astros' closer role in spring training.
Impact: Qualls was impressive for Houston last season, posting 19 saves with a 3.33 ERA and 43:5 K:BB ratio in 51.1 innings, but Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow signed Gregerson and Neshek via free agency this offseason to give the team several experienced options for the ninth inning role. Manager A.J. Hinch has an idea of who he'd like to use in the ninth inning, but he cautioned that the decision isn't final and would be contingent on spring performance.