Do the Houston Astros have another Dallas Keuchel in the making? The drive, or ride home, from Spring Training sparked some questions about the minor leagues in 2015. Who will emerge as the Astros pitcher/player of the year in the minor leagues? Who is a breakout candidate? Brian Holmes might be the closest thing to another Keuchel, so why not make a case for him to dazzle this season?
Holmes was selected with the 399th overall pick in the 2012 draft. Brian is no stranger to pitching well, extremely well, as he has flirted with no-hitters as a professional. He has even thrown a no-hitter during his college years at Wake Forest University.
Brian’s frame is nearly the same as Dallas Keuchel, per Baseball-reference: Keuchel 6’3″ 210 lbs, Holmes 6’4 210 lbs. But the similarities go further than just height and weight. Holmes is a left-handed pitcher who doesn’t have the velocity of some baseball stars.
Yet his four-pitch mix (fastball, change-up, slider, curve ball) does generate some swings and misses as evidenced by a 9.01 SO/IP ratio in 3 seasons in the minor leagues. That distinguishes him away from Dallas a bit; Keuchel’s SO/9 in the minor leagues was 5.9 through four seasons.
Holmes finished the 2014 season with the Lancaster Jethawks. In the hitter-friendly environment of the California League, Brian pitched to a 4.55 ERA, a 5-2 record and 87 innings pitched. That is the most work that he has seen in his professional career.
Overall Keuchel posted a 3.74 ERA through his time in the minor leagues.
At the three stops prior to Lancaster, Holmes posted ERAs of 2.56 or better. In 2013 he had a 10 1/3 scoreless inning stint in the Gulf Coast League. Altogether Brian has compiled an excellent 17-8 record with a 3.20 ERA in 225 1/3 innings pitched, 229 strikeouts and 69 walks.
I expect Brian to start the 2015 season as a member of the Corpus Christi Hooks. That pitching staff will have a lot of healthy competition that includes Mark Appel, Lance McCullers Jr., and Josh Hader. Holmes should fit in real nicely, especially if the Astros continue to utilize the tandem pitching system.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer