Dallas Keuchel was unquestionably the ace of the Houston staff last season, going 12-9 with a 2.93 ERA over exactly 200 innings. In 2015, Keuchel will look to build upon the success from last season and lead a young team as they make the climb towards being contenders.
While Dallas Keuchel’s 2014 season was fantastic, it was a departure from what the fans in Houston were accustomed to from the southpaw. The 2.93 ERA he put up was his lowest mark in a season since he pitched in low-A ball in 2009 when he came in with a 2.70. In 47 games in the big leagues between 2012 and 2013, Keuchel had a combined 5.20 mark covering 239 innings. So the question as we head towards 2015 is whether Keuchel found lightening in a bottle in 2014, or if he has figured something out that will lead to a successful career.
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The Steamer on FanGraphs is projecting somewhere in between last season and his 2012/2013 numbers for the upcoming campaign. They have him going 12-10 with a 3.80 and pitching 192 innings, while both his walks and hits allowed totals go up slightly. In essence, he will be a less effective pitcher, according to FanGraphs.
There was one factor that we can all hope contributed to Keuchel’s success last season and that was the elimination of his curveball, while relying more on his fastball, changeup and slider. He’s not a hard-thrower, topping out at 89.7 miles per hour, but if he can mix his pitches well and keep the ball down in the zone, I believe 2015 could be another great season for the Astros’ ace.
How do I think he’ll do? Well, being biased I’m going to project Dallas Keuchel at 14-8 with a 3.15 ERA. He’s going to give the Astros a chance to win every time he takes the mound, and with the offensive firepower there to back him up, he’ll be able to have a bad game every now and then while still keeping his team in the game. Houston will need Keuchel to every bit as good as he was in 2014 to continue their upward swing in 2015.