No. 10 Astros prospect Bloss skips Triple-A, makes MLB debut

June 22nd, 2024

CHICAGO -- The Astros have spent the 2024 season dealing with an injury-ravaged rotation and seeking help anywhere they can find it. On Friday, their latest reinforcement will be arriving from Double-A.

Manager Joe Espada confirmed that Jake Bloss, the team’s No. 10 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, will make his big league debut and get the start in Friday’s series opener against the Orioles.

“Tomorrow is going to be a very exciting day,” Espada said. “His stuff is really, really good. A strike-thrower, upper 90s, can spin the ball. All the things we hear about his makeup, he checks all the boxes. ... We expect him to go out there tomorrow and compete and do well.”

It's another huge step for Bloss as he makes a meteoric rise through the Astros’ system. Houston selected the Georgetown product in the third round of last year’s MLB Draft, signing him under slot for $497,500. He then posted a 2.89 ERA in seven combined games (six starts) between the Astros’ Florida Complex League team and Single-A Fayetteville last season.

Though Bloss opened 2024 with High-A Asheville, he certainly wasn’t there long enough to plant many roots. After just four starts, in which he posted a 2.08 ERA over 17 1/3 innings, the 6-foot-3 right-hander was promoted to Double-A Corpus Christi. But based on the numbers he put up, you’d hardly know he was facing stiffer competition.

In eight starts in Double-A, Bloss turned in a 1.61 ERA over 44 2/3 innings while holding opposing hitters to a paltry .127 average. The 1.10 WHIP he posted with Ashville dropped to just 0.72 in Double-A.

“I don’t think there was ever any question about the arm talents,” Astros senior director of player development and performance science Jacob Buffa said earlier this month. “The thing that he has done faster than we anticipated is his overall maturity and little things as far as how he develops the routine, knowing what time he needs to start throwing, knowing himself and what pitches he has a feel for.

"It’s the art of competing. He has matured tremendously in that respect in a really, really short amount of time.”

Just in case the Astros needed further proof Bloss was ready for a new challenge, the 22-year-old saved his best outing for last.

Bloss threw 6 1/3 hitless innings in Saturday night’s win over San Antonio, striking out six while giving up just three walks. Together with reliever Cesar Gomez, Bloss helped turn in the first nine-inning no-hitter in the Hooks’ 19-year franchise history.

It was enough to convince Houston that no seasoning in Triple-A was required before Bloss got his call to the bigs. But even though he’s proven to be good enough to skip an entire rung on the MiLB ladder, his first big league test will be no easy feat. Bloss will be taking on an Orioles lineup that ranks third in the Majors with a combined 15.4 wins above replacement, according to FanGraphs.

Per Espada, Houston will be doing everything it can to ensure the rookie is ready for the challenge.

“He has a group of teammates that are going to help him through that process,” Espada said. “We’re going to give him the information to be prepared. Just go out there and try to execute to the best of your ability. Don’t try to do too much. Just do what you’ve been doing to make it to the Major Leagues.”

As for his biggest piece of advice for Bloss as he gets ready for his MLB debut?

“Enjoy the moment,” Espada said. “I always start with that. It’s always been his dream to pitch in the big leagues. Embrace that, take all that in.”

Said moment will be taking place during quite a big weekend for Bloss. The righty turns 23 on Sunday, and certainly has an opportunity to kick off the festivities on a high note.