Collin McHugh
Collin McHugh
31-Year-Old PitcherRP
Houston Astros
2019 Fantasy Outlook
McHugh is probably the best starting pitcher who didn't make a single start last season. After McHugh turned in four straight years with a FIP under 4.00, the Astros, with their embarrassment of riches on the pitching side, moved McHugh to the bullpen in 2018. He excelled there to the tune of a 1.99 ERA in 72.1 innings. Notably, his strikeout rate spiked from 22.9% to 33.2% thanks to a small velocity bump and increased slider usage, while he held his walk rate steady at 7.4%. He'd likely give back some of those gains should he return to a starting role, but starting would mean more innings, more strikeouts and more chances at wins. McHugh is talented enough to remain a fantasy factor even if he remains in the bullpen, as he can help anchor your ratios. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $5.8 million contract with the Astros in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Hit hard Thursday
PHouston Astros
March 14, 2019
McHugh allowed six runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out one over 2.2 innings against the Marlins on Thursday.
The Marlins teed off on McHugh in the second innning when they scored five runs, raising the right-hander's spring ERA to 15.88. "I got behind a few guys," McHugh told Hunter Atkins of the Houston Chronicle. "My fastball wasn't fooling anybody today. Wasn't getting by anybody. I felt like every mistake I made, they hit hard. Frustrating. Nobody wants to have days like that, even in spring training." The good news is that he got his pitch count up to 57 after missing time due to back soreness and got up and down three times. Historically, McHugh has not been a dominant pitcher in spring training. His career spring ERA is 7.22, which stands in contrast to his regular-season 3.87 ERA.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .279 633 147 52 160 37 3 16
Since 2016vs Right .233 717 186 43 153 33 4 22
2018vs Left .228 129 36 13 26 8 0 3
2018vs Right .135 154 58 8 19 1 1 3
2017vs Left .295 124 23 10 33 11 0 2
2017vs Right .218 147 39 10 29 10 0 5
2016vs Left .291 380 88 29 101 18 3 11
2016vs Right .274 416 89 25 105 22 3 14
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
Since 2016Home 2.88 1.18 143.2 12 4 0 9.8 2.3 1.0
Since 2016Away 4.28 1.35 176.2 12 10 0 9.0 3.0 1.1
2018Home 2.14 0.74 33.2 4 0 0 12.8 1.6 0.8
2018Away 1.86 1.06 38.2 2 2 0 10.7 3.5 0.7
2017Home 0.83 1.20 21.2 2 0 0 7.1 2.5 0.4
2017Away 4.97 1.34 41.2 3 2 0 9.7 3.0 1.3
2016Home 3.67 1.35 88.1 6 4 0 9.3 2.4 1.2
2016Away 4.95 1.46 96.1 7 6 0 8.0 2.8 1.2
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Stat Review
How does Collin McHugh compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
92.1 mph
Strand %
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
McHugh's 2017 campaign got off to an ominous start as an early-spring dead arm turned into a right elbow impingement, delaying his debut until July 22. He started 12 contests, providing a timely shot in the arm to the Astros over the second half. McHugh's numbers were an improvement over his disappointing 2016, in part due to allowing only seven homers in 63.1 innings. He also significantly improved versus right-handed batters (.694 OPS against in 2017 versus .777 in 2016), incorporating a slider to complement the cutter he throws versus lefties. McHugh's career 22 percent strikeout rate and seven percent walk rate are both better than league average, portending success if he can continue minimizing homers. McHugh will contend for a spot in a crowded Astros rotation, but the acquisition of Gerrit Cole probably means he'll start the season working out of the bullpen like he did during the 2017 postseason. Unless his role is clarified in the spring, don't pay for more than 125-130 innings.
Those who bought in on McHugh in 2016 were left mostly disappointed as he turned in damaging ratios along with modest totals in wins and strikeouts. However, it was not a disastrous season by any means, and he in fact improved in several areas, most notably with his strikeout rate (22.2 percent) -- a rebound supported by his third straight season with a swinging-strike rate north of 10 percent. Unfortunately, a pair of disastrous outings (13 combined earned runs over the span of two innings) marred his overall numbers. He threw roughly 20 fewer innings than he did in 2015 despite making one additional start as manager A.J. Hinch was quick to give him the hook on his off nights. Home runs were a problem (25 allowed), but an improvement there in 2017 could return McHugh to mixed-league prominence. While there is some uncertainty at the back of the Houston rotation, McHugh should be secure in his role entering spring training.
After a 2014 breakout that put him in the AL Rookie of the Year conversation, McHugh entered last season with an assured rotation spot with the Astros. The 28-year-old picked up right where he left off, going 3-0 with a 2.92 ERA in April before suffering his first loss of the season on May 12. McHugh wasn't at his best from May through July, but a strong August (1.89 ERA) and four wins in September attributed to solid numbers overall, as he finished 19-7 with a 3.89 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 171:53 K:BB ratio over 203.2 innings. While his 19 wins were tied for third-best in the majors, his strikeout rate (7.6 K/9) dipped slightly, but that may be attributed to less use of his curveball and slider. The right-hander will open 2016 in the upper half of Houston's rotation after earning his first postseason victory with a win over the Royals in Game 1 of the ALDS.
McHugh opened 2014 in the minors after a disastrous spring (14.29 ERA), but he received a quick call from Houston when Scott Feldman's injury opened up a spot in the rotation. Once he arrived, he never looked back, going 11-9 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 157:41 K:BB in 154.2 innings (25 starts). His curveball and slider were particularly effective, attributing to a career-best 9.1 K/9 ratio. McHugh's impressive season put him in the AL Rookie of the Year conversation, and while he didn't win the award, he definitely assured himself a spot in the Astros' starting rotation to open 2015.
The fifth spot in the Rockies' rotation was a continual trouble spot throughout the second half of the season, and McHugh was arguably the worst of those who filled the role, going 0-3 with a 9.95 ERA in his three starts. Despite his quality minor league numbers, McHugh has been abysmal over his 47 innings in the big leagues, with his strikeout rate bottoming out and an inability to avoid the long ball proving to be his biggest pitfalls. McHugh will compete for an Opening Day roster spot, in a role to be determined, with the Astros during spring training after being claimed off waivers in December.
McHugh held his own after a promotion to Triple-A Buffalo last season, carrying a 70:29 K:BB and finding a way to retire hitters without an overpowering arsenal. After throwing 129 innings between two levels in 2011, McHugh was likely out of gas by the time he broke through to the big leagues, having already logged 148.1 innings over 25 starts between Binghamton and Buffalo. If there are any openings in the rotation when the season begins, McHugh figures to be in the mix to handle a temporary spot as the team's fifth starter, but he will have to fend off Jeremy Hefner and youngsters Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Zack Wheeler to keep that spot.
More Fantasy News
No issues in return
PHouston Astros
March 9, 2019
McHugh (back) allowed three runs on three hits and recorded two strikeouts over two innings during Saturday's spring game against the Cardinals.
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Slated to pitch Saturday
PHouston Astros
March 6, 2019
McHugh (back) is scheduled to start Saturday's exhibition game against the Cardinals, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reports.
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Won't pitch Monday
PHouston Astros
March 3, 2019
McHugh (back) will have his Monday start skipped due to back soreness, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.
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Set to start Monday
PHouston Astros
March 1, 2019
McHugh (back) is scheduled to start one of the Astros' split-squad games Monday, Brian McTaggart of reports.
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'Zero' concern over back injury
PHouston Astros
February 27, 2019
Manager AJ Hinch said he has "zero" concern about McHugh's back, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports. "We hoped to get 12 or 15 more pitches out of him, but the first time out, it's not that alarming," the manager said. "We're going to err on the side of caution. This was a regular season game, he'd have gone back out there."
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