Mar 7, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) pitches during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the New York Yankees at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
The Astros Cy Young race should come down to two players–Keuchel and McHugh–both of whom had fantastic campaigns in 2014. Keuchel pitched exactly 200 innings last season and held a 2.93 ERA while McHugh held a 2.73 over 154 2/3. I’m giving the nod to Keuchel in 2015 for a few reasons. The first is the most obvious: his beard. Everyone knows that beards like that contain special powers, and that will give him an advantage. Another reason for my selection is that he’s a lefty, which is a built in advantage as well. Finally, he logged more innings last season, so his arm is less likely to get tired do to workload over the course of the season. That sounds counterintuitive doesn’t it?
Of course, the next person went the opposite direction as I did.
Kennon: Collin McHugh finished 2014 with a 7-0 record in the final two months. His impressive 1.93 ERA in August dipped to 1.59 in September. While his second half opponent batting average rose to .215 from a first half mark of .183, Collin drastically reduced his walk rate. Overall his K/9 rate decreased as well, but I do not see why that will not return with increased harnessing of his stuff in 2015.
Eric: Asher Wojciechowski throws strikes, and has shown his bulldog mentality during spring training. With an improved offense, if he can keep his team in games, he could win 15+ in 2015. Is he the most likely? No, but I like his overall game. My prediction is he will win 15 games/ 2.95 ERA/ 151 K.
Thomas: Keuchel will get this. With a better offense and bullpen, he could get close to 20 wins this year.
Ryan: Luke Gregerson: I think Gregerson becomes a shutdown closer in an Astros uniform. Most people go with the starters, and I understand why. But I feel having a lockdown closer is key, and Gregerson will do that this year only blowing four saves the entire season and getting in the 30-40 range for saves.
Well, Ryan’s wrong. Moving on.
Brandon: Dallas Keuchel will be the Houston Astros Cy Young. At this point, he is clearly the best pitcher the Astros have and he is the anchor of a weak staff. He is a very good pitcher but the Astros need to upgrade this part of the team quickly. He will end up with similar numbers as last year. He will prove that he is a good major league pitcher but he is not the ace of a good staff.
Brian: I agree with the others that Keuchel will have a big year. He will have plenty of offensive support and suddenly that outfield looks very stout defensively. I’ll say he tops 15 wins.
Andy P: Collin McHugh. The mystery of Keuchel and McHugh will be the number one story of 2015. Can we assume they duplicate last year? The truth is it will be difficult. McHugh has the best stuff in the rotation, and Keuchel knows pitching better than the others. I’m placing my vote on best stuff this year, and I think Collin McHugh is not a fluke and his curveball will continue to dazzle. As long as he stays healthy McHugh will become the staff ace.
Issa: Dallas Keuchel. Don’t really see anyone in the rotation who can keep up with him yet. I think he’ll be about the same as he was last year, which means he’ll still be the best pitcher on the team. Maybe Colin McHugh will keep it close.
Andrew: Keuchel. I imagine him coming into his own this season and will be looking to bring his ERA down a little after almost cuttingÂ it in half from 2013-2014. If he can get down to the 2.50 range, I see no reason he can’t end the season with an even better W/L record.
Next: Breakout Player