Astros Rotation Will Survive Without Trade


As we approach the 2015 MLB All-Star Game and the July 31st Trade Deadline, many Astros fans are clamoring for a top-tier starting pitcher that they feel like will get the Astros over the hump this season. Now I can go and write all the pieces that start with, “The Houston Astros should NOT trade for…” but honestly it can be wrapped up more simply than that. The Astros do not need another starting pitcher in 2015, end of story.

Last Year’s SI Astros Feature said 2017 World Series Champs, Not 2015

All Astros fans can agree that the 2015 season has been very fun so far, with this young team winning a lot of games and seizing 1st place in the AL West from the beginning. But, we all must remember that this season has been a SURPRISE.

Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow has built this organization from the ground up ever since he took the job in 2012. Yes, he has made many trades along the way, but not any major ones to break up the long-term vision. Carlos Correa, Mark Appel, Lance McCullers, Preston Tucker, and Tony Kemp are all his guys, and he doesn’t want to part ways with the draft picks that built this team.

A deal for a top-tier pitcher like Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto, David Price, or anyone else would likely cost the Astros one of those guys, perhaps even two or three. When you look at the big picture of where this team is headed, I don’t think it’s worth sacrificing any of those players for the “Rent a Pitcher” strategy. As of right now, my guess is that Jeff Luhnow feels this way as well. If the club continues to struggle, however, a change of attitude might occur.

Astros Current Rotation is Very Good

When some people call for trades immediately after someone has a bad start, sometimes they need to sit back and examine how that player or group of players is doing overall. Let’s do that with this Astros starting rotation.

First, we have the BEST PITCHER IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE in Dallas Keuchel. Please, Astros fans, let that sink in for just a few seconds. It’s really cool when you appreciate what you have. Keuchel has a 4.6 WAR, 11 wins, 110 strikeouts, and oh yeah, he’s an All-Star.

Second, Lance McCullers and Vincent Velasquez are two of the best young pitchers in the MLB. In the case of the casual Astros fan who doesn’t know who these two pitchers are, you should probably look them up or watch their highlights before watching the Astros lose them and calling for the farm system to be gutted. Both of these guys are future aces in Houston who is already having a huge impact on the team.

McCullers already has a 1.7 WAR after only 10 major league starts, and Velasquez, once he learns to keep his pitch count down, will be able to showcase that 8.72 K/9 that he’s averaging right now. McCullers showed Houston exactly what he was capable of when he threw a complete game against the Orioles, and Velasquez pitched great in a very important game against the Yankees with a sellout crowd in front of him. These guys are very good and need to be recognized before being thrown around in trade talks.

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Third, Collin McHugh showed us all last season that he’s definitely a second half pitcher. McHugh had a 4-8 record with a 3.28 ERA heading into the 2014 All-Star break, and afterward he finished strong with a 7-1 record and a 2.12 ERA. We are already starting to see signs of a strong second half this year, as Colin has brought his ERA from 5.08 to 4.54 since June 13th. Barring a rough outing on 4th of July at Fenway, he has been on fire lately.

Finally, if none of these cases cheered you up about the Astros, hopefully, this will. Scott Feldman is set to return to the rotation later this month, and the Astros still have more options for a final starter with Dan Straily or Brett Oberholtzer.

We’ve seen positive signs from Obie before when he posted a 2.1 WAR in 2013. Dan Straily also felt very confident about his start in Boston, even though his stat sheet didn’t look that great. On top of all that, Mark Appel could make his Astros debut in 2015 if he fixes whatever isn’t working up in Fresno. Even he is showing good signs, as he threw 6 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball last night.

Don’t worry, Astros fans. This rotation will make it through the 2015 season by itself. I’m very confident in this young group, and I’m also very confident that we will all be watching them pitch in October. If Jeff Luhnow decides to make a deal, I’ll watch what happens and support the Astros the same way. But, for the time being, I think we should stay put.

Next: Should Carlos Correa be an All-Star?

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