Staff Picks: Who Should Be the Astros Opening Day Starter?

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

What about Brett Oberholtzer? He’s been on fire since moving to the starting rotation. In fact, he and Cosart have the highest WARs of any pitcher on the Astros this year (1.9 and 2.5, respectively.) To put that in perspective, Bud Norris posted a 1.8 WAR with the Astros in 21 starts. Obie put up 1.9 in 8 starts and 11 appearances. He has been stellar to finish out the year. Does he deserve to be the Opening Day starter?

If your initial reaction was no, maybe you should take a look at his numbers. In 60.1 IP so far this year, Brett has walked 9 batters. Even better, he has struck out 39. That’s more strikeouts and significantly less walks than Cosart. Oberholtzer currently sits at a 2.98 ERA and that includes the 3 appearances out of the bullpen. If you ignore those, he has a 2.38 ERA in 53 innings. Those numbers are very similar to Cosart’s, but Oberholtzer has much better peripherals.

The same argument can be made against Oberholtzer as Cosart, however. Is Bo Porter really going to run out the 23 year old with ~10 starts under his belt on Opening Day, signifying their leadership in the roation?

I don’t know the answer to that question, but you certainly cannot write off Oberholtzer as a candidate for the job. He has pitched too well in 2013 to not at least be in the back of Porter’s mind.