Brewers: 3 Free Agent Starting Pitchers the Team Should Target
By Matt Carroll
RHP Collin McHugh
Another player who could be looking to rebuild his value in 2020 is right-handed starter Collin McHugh. Unlike Teheran, though, he could be more within Milwaukee’s price range.
McHugh actually didn’t end up pitching at all in the 2020 season. He had signed a one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox prior to the season that guaranteed $600k but could have paid up to $3.625MM with incentives. After offseason surgery didn’t respond the way he’d liked, however, he decided to opt out of the season.
Prior to that, McHugh made a name for himself over six seasons with the Houston Astros. He began as a starter, compiling a 3.70 ERA and 1.253 WHIP with 8.4 K/9 over 102 starts from 2014 to 2017. The span saw him finish 4th in AL ROY voting in 2014 and 8th in Cy Young voting in 2015.
After that, McHugh was converted to a reliever for a couple seasons. The first season went very well, with him putting up a 1.99 ERA, 0.912 WHIP, and 11.7 K/9 over 58 games in 2018.
2019 went less smoothly, though. Elbow issues did cause him to miss some games at two separate points that season, causing his ERA to spike up to 4.70 that season and only allowing him to pitch in 35 games.
Even in a 2019 season that wasn’t up to his standards, there are some encouraging Statcast numbers from that year when it comes to McHugh. His 30.3% hard hit rate finished in the 91st percentile that season, while his average exit velocity (88 mph), strikeout rate (25.9%), and barrel rate (7.0%) all finished in the top half of the league as well.
At 33-years-old, McHugh is a bit farther up there in age than the 29-year-old Teheran. But that could also be what puts him more within the Brewers’ price range for a potential contract.