Spring 2021 Magazine

Houston Astros pitcher Collin McHugh thriving in role as reliever

The Houston Astros have been one of the best teams in baseball all season long. The defending World Series champions are trying to do something that hasn’t been done in 18 years: win back-to-back titles.

One of the pleasant surprises for Houston this season has been pitcher Collin McHugh.

For the first time, McHugh has been used out of the bullpen. In 38 games pitched this year, all in relief, he’s gone 5-1 and allowed just six earned runs, while striking out 69 batters in 53.1 innings pitched.

The son of a preacher, McHugh was selected in the 18th round by the New York Mets in 2008 out of Berry College. After toiling in the minors for four seasons and even contemplating leaving the game in 2011 as a member of the Double-A Binghamton Mets, McHugh remained steadfast and made his MLB debut in 2012.

In his first game with the Mets, he threw seven scoreless innings, striking out nine and giving up just two hits. His parents were in attendance at Citi Field in New York.

“Just to see that turn was an amazing thing,” Scott McHugh told the Baptist Press. “We believe it was a God thing, that [God] has really given him not only determination but favor in the system.”

After leaving the Mets, McHugh had a short stint with the Colorado Rockies before landing with the Astros. He cemented himself as a mainstay for Houston in 2015, when he went 19-7 with a 3.89 ERA and finished eighth in the Cy Young Award voting. Last year, he missed the first half of the year with a right elbow injury but returned to go 5-2 with a 3.55 ERA, keying the Astros’ run to the World Series.

“In all of this, Collin and [his wife] Ashley have kept their love for the Lord and their understanding that they have a platform and really a responsibility to honor Him and to stay focused in their walk, as well as manage this highest level baseball career,” Scott said.

Collin has spoken about various topics concerning the Christian faith, including forgiveness, which he shared in a video with The Baseball Chapel.

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