Scott Feldman (Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports)
Yes, I know, I am taking the easy way out here. Generally I do try to stray from the norm, or obvious answer, when possible regarding predictions, but in this case I am not sure I can do that. Based on talent and overall future forecast, Scott Feldman is not the best pitcher in the current Houston Astros starting rotation.
If we were predicting the 2014 Astros Cy Young based on talent then, without a doubt, the winner would be Jarred Cosart. I am basing this on pitchers currently in the rotation and primed to spend at least half the season in Houston. For this exercise, that does eliminate Mark Appel who will likely stake a claim to this next season.
Based on how Brad Peacock finished 2013, he could also figure in this discussion, but at this point his role to begin the season is unclear. Additionally based on his Spring Training performance there might be some rough patches for the right-hander this season. Brett Oberholtzer could also figure into the discussion after his strong conclusion to 2013 when he seemingly came out of nowhere, but I think his second pass through the American League might be a little more difficult.
So for me, the choice comes down to Feldman and Cosart and I will make the boring selection and go with Feldman.
While I did agree with the $30 million contract received this off-season, his value was overstated by the market. I’m not sure Feldman is a $10 million a year pitcher. But he will anchor the rotation this season and be a consistent option every fifth day for the Astros.
Cosart is more talented, his 1.95 ERA last season and five perfect innings against Washington last week certainly prove that, but he will face some struggles in 2014. And that is just natural regression and due to no fault of his own. There could also be some adjustments having to pitch a full season at the major league level. Having to do that while also fine tuning some mechanical issues could prove to be difficult at times.
And that leaves Feldman. I think we can mark the right-hander down for 200 innings, an ERA around 4.00 and a bunch of quality starts. That is something that has been missing the last few seasons around Houston. While Feldman might not dazzle anyone, he will be a stabilizing pitcher at the top of the rotation, and for 2014 that makes him the Astros Cy Young.
Well that is my opinion, what is yours?