Unlike the offense, Houston’s pitching was fantastic in 2010. In fact, most of the time it was the sole reason the Astros were competitive. And the rest of the time? It was the primary reason. Here’s how the pitching stacked up to the past:
Best ERA since 2006
Best WHIP since 1971
Fewest Runs and Hits since 2006
Fewest HRs since 1999
These numbers look impressive no matter what but Houston had a very young rotation. Houston’s five starters, Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris, Felipe Paulino, and J.A. Happ had an average age of 27.6. With all five returning for 2011 and 19 year-old phenom Jordan Lyles on his way, the ‘Stros should boast a rotation towards the top of the NL for many years to come. Prospects Tanner Bushue and Dallas Keuchel could be on their way to Houston soon as well as you’ll see in my upcoming 2011 prospects preview.
The bullpen will stay much the same with Matt Lindstrom and Brandon Lyon returning. Houston also has some great minor league relief arms ready to help if needed, most notably Fernando Abad, Chia-Jen Lo, and Sammy Gervacio. For 2011, the pitching should only get better than it already was this season.