Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

McHugh working to build off 2015 success

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- The success of the Astros' starting rotation a year ago wasn't a one-man show, despite the terrific season turned in by American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel.

As great as Keuchel was in 2015, he had quite the sidekick in right-hander Collin McHugh, who finished second to the lefty in the AL with 19 wins. In fact, McHugh (19-7) and Keuchel (20-8) are just the second pair of Astros teammates in franchise history to record at least 19 wins in the same season.

HOUSTON -- The success of the Astros' starting rotation a year ago wasn't a one-man show, despite the terrific season turned in by American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel.

As great as Keuchel was in 2015, he had quite the sidekick in right-hander Collin McHugh, who finished second to the lefty in the AL with 19 wins. In fact, McHugh (19-7) and Keuchel (20-8) are just the second pair of Astros teammates in franchise history to record at least 19 wins in the same season.

After setting career highs in starts (32) and innings (203 2/3), McHugh altered his throwing program somewhat this offseason to make sure he was a little more rested entering the spring.

"I started a little bit later this year cranking it back up to throwing, because the inning total last year went over 200, which was my goal, and I wanted to give myself a little bit of a blow," McHugh said. "And you played a couple of weeks later [into the postseason]. I'm right in the thick of it right now, getting back into it throwing, and everything is feeling good."

McHugh, 28, has been one of the Astros' better feel-good stories the past two years, going 30-16 with a 3.39 ERA after being plucked off the waiver wire. Prior to joining the Astros, he was 0-8 with an 8.94 ERA in 15 career games.

It's because of those previous struggles that McHugh won't ever be one to think he's got it made or come to camp thinking he's got a spot sewn up.

"You have to have a little bit of an edge, a little bit of a chip on your shoulder," he said. "For me, this year, it's what we have right in front of us, and the opportunity we have to hopefully win the [AL] West and make a deep run in the playoffs again.

"For us, it starts early. It starts as soon as the season ended last year and builds all the way up until the season starts April 4."

McHugh, who lives in Atlanta in the offseason, became a father for the first time when his wife, Ashley, gave birth to a son, Elder Shaw McHugh, on Dec. 18. McHugh said he's known as Shaw.

"He's great," he said. "He's healthy. He's doing all the baby things. He's making sleep at a premium and making us kind of realize what it's like to be parents and what it's like to raise a little guy. It's been fun so far, and we're having a blast with him. We're ready to get him in an Astros uniform and get him out to the park."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Collin McHugh