Why the Astros are signing Hector Neris

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

Confession time. I had Hector Neris on some versions of the free agent table in the Off-season guide. I ultimately left him off because at 33 years old and projected to earn $7.5M AAV (The ACTUALLY deal is reported at $17M- 2 years- $8.5 AAV), I preferred Corey Knebel (age 30, $8M AAV) as a replacement RHSP. So, the Astros went for Neris. Let's explore why.

First, this is Neris's Baseball Savant summary page. (Most stats are from Baseball Savant and Fangraphs.com)


Some highlights:

Look at all of the RED!

  • all of the expected stats xwOBA (0.267), xERA (2.99), xBA (0.185), xSLUG (0.317) are all in to top 90% or more.


Look at the swing and miss data

  • K% (31.6%- 91%)

  • Whiff%- 93%

  • Chase Rate- 93%

Neris also has above average velocity (69%) and spin (67%) and excellent Ave Exit Velocity (88.6- 88%).


It is interesting when one digs into the actual stats vs. the expected stats how much better the expected stats are.


ERA - Actual 3.63 vs. Expected 2.99

wOBA - Actual 0.292 vs. Expected 0.267

wOBA vs. LHH - Actual 0.338 vs. Expected 0.294

wOBA vs. RHH - Actual 0.252 vs. Expected 0.230


I believe the Astros front office bases decisions on the EXPECTED data. I believe and I think they do as well that the RP sample size is too small for most actual pitching statistics. Long term, the expected stats (like xwOBA) are probably a better indicator of true talent than the corresponding actual number (like wOBA.). If they are right in this, Neris will be excellent.

We have written about the issue the Astros had with relief pitchers who were GOOD at getting both LHH AND RHH out. Graveman typified this issue as well (LHH 0.361 xwOBA, RHH 0.234 xwOBA).


Notice that Neris would join Pressly as capable of being good both ways. This would be HUGE in late innings. Stanek could be deployed vs. RHH portion of lineups and Neris and Pressly get the rest.


This is a HUGE signing. Neris should be an upgrade over Graveman.


Now I will add some caution. Neris walks WAY TOO MANY LHH. Maybe he pseudo pitches around them, If I were. the Astros I would have Neris as a two pitch pitcher vs. LHH- Split Finger (xwOBA 0.252) and Sinker (xwOBA 0.309). I would only use the 4-seam fastball sparingly vs LHH (xwOBA 0.406)


Go check out Clint's Scouting report on Neris.


Now let's hope the Astros go get Chafin too.


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