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After contentious discussions, the MLB lockout is over and teams have begun their spring training schedules. Opening Day has been pushed to April 14, which gives teams some extra time to finalize their rosters and rotations. In this series, TGH will be summarizing each team’s 2021 season and predicting their Opening Day pitching rotation. Here is the projected Houston Astros pitching rotation for 2022.
A year and change after the Astros’ cheating scandal came to light, the team managed to make it back to the World Series. They ended 2021 at the top of the AL West with a record of 95-67, earning an automatic berth to the ALDS. They beat the White Sox in the ALDS in four games, then the Red Sox in the ALCS in six games.
In the World Series, they fell to the Atlanta Braves in six games as they won their first Fall Classic since the 1990s. Houston had five Gold Glove finalists and five Silver Slugger finalists. They also had a Rookie of the Year finalist for the third year in a row. Needless to say, it was a successful season for the Astros. Here is a look at a rotation they could use to have some continued success.
1. Justin Verlander
Verlander is still a true ace. He is an eight-time All Star, two-time Cy Young winner and an AL MVP, among many other accomplishments. He has not pitched very much at all since 2019, but that was one of his Cy Young seasons, so he should be just fine at the top of the rotation.
2. Framber Valdez
Valdez had his biggest workload and arguably his best season in 2021. He pitched 134 innings, and collected just a 3.14 ERA. He also went 11-6 in 22 games started, while striking out 125 batters. Now that he has real starters’ innings under his belt, he can enjoy the second slot in the rotation.
3. Luis Garcia
Garcia is entering his third year of MLB service, all of which will have been with the Astros. He got a starting role last year, pitching 155.1 innings, appearing in 30 games (28 starts). Garcia also earned an ERA of 3.48 in 2021, and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting.
4. Jake Odorizzi
Odorizzi pitched his first season for the Astros last year, pitching 104 innings. All but one of his 24 game appearances were starts, but he went just 6-7 in the win-loss column. His 4.21 ERA was just about normal over his 10 year career.
5. Cristian Javier
Fellow Astros Rookie of the Year finalist, Cristian Javier, is also entering his third MLB season. His ERAs in his previous two seasons have been 3.48 in 54 innings in 2020 and 3.55 in 101 innings last season. Interestingly, he had 34 appearances last year, but only nine starts.
Featured image courtesy of Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
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