Where does this Astros’ rotation rate?

Continuing the theme on lineups, here is a post from mlb.com on the top 10 rotations in the majors.

A quick summary – the article ranks the following as the top 10 rotations:

  1. Washington Nationals
  2. Tampa Bay Rays
  3. Cincinnati Reds
  4. Cleveland Indians
  5. LA Dodgers
  6. NY Yankees
  7. Texas Rangers
  8. NY Mets
  9. Houston Astros
  10. St. Louis Cards


  • The Astros faced the top two teams on the list and saw how tough their starting staffs could be. The Nats behind Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin were a powerful starting rotation. The Rays were strong behind Charlie Morton, Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell. The irony is that in this season when there may be more teams trying the “opener” strategy, one of the teams that specialized in it (The Rays) may be using it less.
  • The Reds are a bit of a surprise. They are kind of like the Astros when they started turning things around behind Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh. The Reds started turning their fortunes around behind Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray and now have added Trevor Bauer and Wade Miley to the mix. They have to hope that they get the Miley of April thru July of 2019.
  • The gut feeling is that the Indians at #4 should be flipped with the Yankees at #6 with the Dodgers holding fast at #5. Sending Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber away has got to catch up a little bit with the Indians, even with Shane Bieber, Mike Clevinger and Carlos Carrasco remaining while adding Gerrit Cole to Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton looks pretty stiff on the Yankee side.
  • The best thing about the 2019 Rangers were the performances of Lance Lynn and Mike Minor. Can they sustain that? Can Corey Kluber return to top-notch effectiveness? Can Kyle Gibson channel his 2018 performance and Jordan Lyles the second half of 2019? Pitching is often the part of the game with the most questions, but the Rangers seem to have a lot for a team in the 7th spot.
  • Losing Noah Syndergaard to TJ surgery undoubtedly cost the Mets a number of spots in this listing, but Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman are a strong 1-2 punch. After that, there are guys who used to be good.

The Astros clock in at #9, which actually makes a lot of sense…

In many ways how the Astros’ rotation goes may well set the tone for the whole team in 2020. And it is a tone that needs to be set the moment the green flag flies.


44 comments on “Where does this Astros’ rotation rate?

  1. Well, let’s see:
    1. Our #1 is just about everybody’s #1. He is the defending Cy Young Award winner in the AL, and the most experienced starting pitcher in baseball. Tons of playoff experience.
    2. Our #2 is a former Cy Young Award winner who was 18-5 last season and is a 6-time GG Award winner, a 6-time All Star and a two time Silver Slugger Award winner who has had several more years with CYA votes. Tons of playoff experience.
    3. Our #3 starter is a 26 year old stud with 3 plus pitches in his arsenal and is a former All Star with a 29-22 career record and a 3.67 career ERA and an even better record in the postseason. Other than Patrick Corbin, is as good as anyone’s #3 and will prove that in the next two seasons. LMJ is 4 years younger than Corbin.
    We don’t know who the # 4 and 5 starters are, but the top 3 in the rotation already put Houston in the Top 10 rotations in baseball. If Whitley and Javier were to emerge as the BOR this coming month, it would become a Top 5 rotation instantly. The only thing holding those 2 pitchers back is the Astros, and that is their fault.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. McTaggart had that question today about backend rotation.
    This was my thinking, which you covered, Dan.

    If Urquidy is still out, James takes SP4.
    If Peacock is still out and can’t go #5, we’re looking at Framber Javier Abreu (Pruitt?) Bielak Whitley and possibly a rejuvenated Devenski.

    Brandon Bailey is getting a good look. I like his abilty to throw strikes and pitch to contact.

    I’m surprised we haven’t seen Paredes yet, because he looked like a factor in Spring.

    The fellows I usually forget are Sneed, and Armenteros.
    I think they’d be good candidates to tandem start with Blake Taylor, or Cionel Perez, but that is more of a doomsday scenario of sickness.

    No doubt 1-2-3 look very solid vs any other 3. Strom said that McCullers came in in mid-season form, so the bottom rotation gives us a chance to employ a hot hand. Someone said that Strom had very positive things to say about James.

    I’m excited that the team will hit enough to allow Whitley and others to take their requisite lumps, and hopefully try to build toward a 2021 full season.

    As incredible as JV came in shape, having stripped it down to bare bones, starting over — and looking this good? We might start thinking about an extension, and nobody has really talked about that. He says he wants to pitch 8 more years!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I tend to forget Pruitt and Armenteros, who both may see some time this year – probably pitching multiple innings out of the bullpen


      • For what it’s worth, I had a woman tell me that Urquidy will be back soon.

        I said I figured he would be, but do you mind telling me how you know specifically?

        She replied, I’ll wait til everyone knows. And I thanked her.

        I mean, even if it’s covid-related, I’m going to assume it’s a 10-20 day recovery based on the Zelenko Protocol, and that would conclude before or around Opening Day? Anyway, that’s what I’m operating with. So James is your #5.

        Although I really like the idea of getting bold, and handing the ball to Forrest sometime soon. I’m anxious to see if it plays yet, and I know he is too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Of course it is possible Urquidy could have tested positive a while ago and is almost done with his time. Still it feels like he won’t be ready for opening day


  3. Urquidy and Yordan were both put on the 10 day IL on 07/12, so they could be available for opening day.

    Even if Urquidy doesn’t make his first few starts, I would rank the Astros rotation higher than the Reds, Indians, Rangers and Mets.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Following up on someone’s comment from the previous entry, I am fully expecting George Springer and Jose Altuve to come out of the gate putting up some monster numbers. The former is going to be a free agent. The latter is going to hit .400 for the shortened season and attempt to let his bat silence the critics. What does that have to do with the rotation? Well, between the two of them trying to abuse the other staffs in the league and Carlos Correa being healthy I feel pretty good about whoever the Astros plug in at #4 and #5. I’ll feel a lot better if Alvarez is in the lineup too, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This will be a unique experience this season. I would also like Bregman to start the season like he thinks its 6 weeks into it. Can’t have his usual slow rolling.
    The biggest concern about the end of the rotation to me is not necessarily having guys with a 3.00 ERA, but we need some inning eaters. Otherwise the bullpen gets worn out in a hurry. I know we have a bigger roster to start with and all but we can’t have those 1 inning starts.


    • That’s been on my mind for a year now, the way Tampa cut us to shreds with different looks, and now we have James Click!

      He’s been asked a few times about using a lot of arms, and doesn’t shy away from being open to the Opener, for example. He has definitely cautioned though, and understands it’s a real luxury to have workhorses. I’m guessing we’ll see a good mix of Up& Down guys who were once starters in MiLB, taking on as much as they can.

      I’ve mentioned before Jojanse Torres. His coach calls him Vas Siete, “Go 7!” Devin probably got to see him a few times. Taking these projected relievesr to new heights presumably. End of the day, there’s none more able than Strom et al, and am heartened by his words at Spring Training this year, interviewed in the dugout. “Every pitcher is a starter until he isnt.” Love that, keeps them all motivated.

      Now, someone said we have baseball today!
      Dan, you should hook up the same link here again, so Op and others can see!

      There are a few pitchers that I’ve wondered why we haven’t seen them. Today is probably that day for the likes of Rogelio, or Cionel, or Enoli! Maybe Pruitt?

      I’ve got a “personal investment” in Pruitt because I was in love with the guy we traded in Peyton Battenfield. Austin could be hometown boy (Woodlands) makes good, so got my eyes peeled.


      • From what I am reading – Pruitt is having elbow problems and may start the season on the IL. I’m wondering about Greinke – I would expect to see him even though I’m not worried about him. Should be interesting.


      • I didn’t make it to that half of the state last summer. I’m looking forward to seeing Torres in action though. He had a strong showing in the AFL, but they used him exclusively out of the bullpen.


    • This is Plan A for me.
      But boy does it throw a wrench in Toro and Jones’ plans.

      I do think it’s a wonderful vote of confidence that Yuli likes this clubhouse! he seems like a guy who’s not easily won over, and instead enjoys and respects this group.

      Recall last year about late May, we had debates on the other blog about trading him, horrid slump, he’s getting to old blah blah. The reality is he is a professional hitter in classic sense, great pedigree, improved YoY. Cubnas typically (in their leagues) have incredible longevity. If not mistaken he improved his sprint time from ’18-’19 (would have to double ck Statcast).

      I think we will offer him 2/14 and pray he takes it!

      That puts Diaz on alert for his last year, or makes Toro surplus.


      • Apologies for typos.
        My proof-reader is awaiting benefits and full time employment, and well, times are tough!


  6. The intrasquad game will be on at 3:35 and will be on the MLB website as well. Maybe it will have sound on MLB.

    I have been following the simulated season on Baseball Reference, which is powered by Out Of The Park Baseball 21, I don’t give this site much credit as the club is currently 50-45 and 23 games behind the Dodgers for the best record in baseball. No one on the starting staff has an ERA under 4.26 and only five relievers have an ERA in the 3.00s. After actually seeing JV and McCullers pitching recently, we know this is false!

    Here is the website…




    • Imagine that, Sarge. Painting the Astros as worse than they really are?!

      Thanks for the scrimmage info.

      *dave should drop by and weigh-in on Tyler White in Korea. Maybe they will break out the little sharks on his behalf.


      • Indeed.

        I always thought Dodgers got him to pick his brain only.
        Tall order for him to stick there, unless he went back to his AAA ways.
        They’re so loaded, they traded top prospects for Betts and have plenty more on farm.


  7. When I read projections and projected rankings, things become a little clearer. Astros’ prospects will contribute almost nothing because the Astros will have players, especially veteran pitchers, who will contribute little and will keep the young pitchers out.
    Also, the position players for the Astros will have a down year and position players from the other teams will have career years. Players on the Astros in their mid-thirties will be sliding and players on other teams in their late 30’s will be monsters.
    Of course, the players will play and the experts will just watch, so we shall see.
    Interesting see some evidence that LMJ will start game 2 of the season instead of Greinke. Anyone else see that?


  8. Per McTaggart:

    Astros will play an intrasquad at 2:35 p.m. today. RHP Zack Greinke and RHP Josh James will serve as today’s starters, while LHP Blake Taylor is also scheduled to make an appearance.
    It will be streamed live on the Astros’ official social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook).



  9. I saw where Bud Norris was released from the Phils. He did not get a contract he liked in 2019 and sat out the year. Now struggling to get a foot back in the baseball world


    • Betcha lots of guys like a Joe Smith are battling the same thoughts. The crop and harvest is so bountiful of players looking just to play, that if those vets don’t grind, they’ll be the husks twisting in the wind.

      It’s like HS football — if you caught a cold, or suffered a small injury and sat out a few days — next man up could take your spot and never leave.

      We have baseball, fans! Breakout the popcorn!

      Looks like the team that Greinke is pitching against is a little tougher than James’ opponents. Going out on a limb nonetheless and personally guaranteeing an Astros win today.


  10. I’m working so I have not been watching this. Any commentary on what y’all have seen from Greinke and James and the rest of the folks?


  11. Just took a look – I see Devo warming up. It looks like he went through one of those quick weight loss programs over the off-season. Hardly recognized him.


    • I know, right? I saw that when he first appeared last week. The only way I was certain that it was him is when he stalked back to the mound after a pitch.


  12. Ugh! I did not get to see any of the scrimmage. My computer decided to update at the beginning and it took three hours to complete, thus causing me to miss it all.


  13. Strommie speaking my language!

    “I’m excited to see these young bucks,” Brent Strom said, “and it’s just a different phase of Astros pitching right now.”

    Liked by 1 person

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