The 2020 baseball season will start late if it starts at all. Right now, we should be enjoying the second week of the season, but NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! (Kudos to John Belushi).
Let’s assume that the season starts in Mid-May, which is MLB’s current date. How will that late start affect the Astros? In the most important question mark of the team in 2020, starting pitching, it should help them.
Let that owwa mend. Justin Verlander had groin discomfort in spring training and ended up having surgery three weeks ago in Mid-March. There is an approximate 6 week period for recovery. So, instead of JV looking to return 4 or 5 weeks into the season, he will likely be recovered at the end of April, ahead of the beginning of the season.
Meanwhile, Justin has not been completely shut down….
Old Guys. Justin Verlander just turned 37 years old. Zack Greinke will turn 37 years old this October. Yes, they both pitched very well last season (and a number of seasons before that). But Verlander especially looked like he was tuckering out in the playoffs. JV pitched 258.1 IP in the regular season and playoffs in 2019 and Greinke threw 233 IP. Having a shorter season would seem to be a benefit to both men who will be in the #1 and #2 spots in the rotation and may knock off 50 innings or more from their load.
Return of the Jedi. Lance McCullers sat out the whole of the 2019 season after Tommy John surgery. The team really did not want him to take on a whole season of starts (175-200 IP) considering his past problems with staying on the field. The late start of the season allows them to get closer to that 120-130 IP sweet spot they had planned without having to sit him out for a month plus or skip a bunch of starts.
On the other side. The Astros had a number of guys in 2019, who were late starters. This included Alex Bregman (again), Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel. If those guys get off to a similar slow start this time around, the season might be half over before they really contribute.
Using those famous words, “on paper” this delay would seem to help a team like the Astros where the starting pitching especially could use the lighter load.
What do you think?