For the first time in years, the Astros appear to have a surplus in starting pitching. And the list doesn’t include borderline names like Brad Peacock, Sam Deduno, Dan Straily, Jake Buchanan, Lucas Harrell, Paul Clemens or Philip Humber.
But what to do with this Mike Fiers guy?
- Fiers has pitched five times since the Astros acquired him via trade from the Brewers at the break. In his four scattered starts, the 30-year-old is 2-0 record with a 0.67 ERA, allowing two earned run in 27 IP. He is somewhat of a late bloomer and may still be revealed as a flash in the pan. However, in a stretch run where every run allowed is magnified with a sometimes-anemic offense, where does Fiers fit? With only an age difference, Fiers somewhat resembles Collin McHugh who was picked up off the trash heap on a waiver wire pickup.
- Could Fiers develop into a solid starter down the stretch and be a key component in the rotation for the next 3-4 seasons?
- Should the Astros add him into the regular rotation?
The future stars and nucleus.
Three years ago, everyone was looking for another player or two to build around Jose Altuve. Frankly, he was it. Now, there are at least half a dozen players on the current roster who are or might become build around types. Altuve is still a key piece, but he is no longer the key piece to the puzzle. Even a year or ago, the nucleus had to be considered as future. Now, you can argue, much of the nucleus has been assembled at Minute Maid Park. Sure, other pieces will be added — perhaps soon even — but there are at least four players on the current roster who deserve “build around” status. And, there are a few others who fit the first round around the nucleus.
Here are the nucleus players who are likely to be part of the organization into the next decade and who would star on any team.
First ring players.
Would you add any other players to either of those groups? Using my logic from a few years ago, if the Astros can add a player or two every year to either join or surround that nucleus, they will be World Series potential contenders for the next decade.
Let’s do a little name association. I’ll list a name and you give the thing that comes to your mind in one short sentence or less.
- Mark Appel. A #1 pick should be missing more bats by now.
- Jon Singleton. What a waste of good talent. Sad.
- Hank Conger. No comment, it’s a family blog. Besides, any comment would be direct at Jeff Luhnow and I’m taking the high road.
- Jonathan Villar. Who?
- 2017. I’ve moved up the anticipation to 2015 and 2016, thank you.
- Chris Carter. See Singleton, Conger and Villar (by next year).
- Correa. Still early, but perhaps better than Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, assuming similar longevity.
- A.J. Hinch. Hoping he’s as brilliant in the long run as he’s looked so far.