Houston Astros 2016 Pitching Rotation Options (Part 1)

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Dallas Keuchel

Aug 31, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the top of the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Player Overview and Stats

Dallas Keuchel, a seventh-round draft pick in 2009, has been part of the Astros rebuild since the beginning.  The left-hander has become more polished each season and has established himself one of the league’s best aces.  He recently won a franchise-record third AL Pitcher of the Month award.  The two previous players to accomplish this feat, Johan Santana in 2004 and Jake Peavy in 2007, went on to win the Cy Young Award.  He beat out multiple elite pitchers to start for the America League in this year’s All-Star game.

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Keuchel’s skill set is unique in that he’s not a flamethrower or strikeout machine (though those numbers are increasing).  Keuchel uses a two-seam fastball just over 90mph.  The 2014 Gold Glover winner has high ground ball rate that aligns with the Astros sabermetric thinking.

Contract Situation

Keuchel, who made just $525k this year, will go into this offseason eligible for arbitration for the first time.  He remains eligible until 2019 when he becomes a free agent.  According the Houston’s Chronicle Evan Drellich, the Astros and Keuchel have already begun contract negotiations and are looking to agree on an extension soon.

To give us an idea of what type of extension Keuchel is looking, below is a table of three pitchers recently in the same situation as Keuchel.

I doubt Keuchel can land more money that Price or Kershaw.  However, I think he can beat out Lynn.  A 3-year and $27 million dollars is potentially middle ground for both parties.  If the parties can’t reach an agreement, they’ll head to arbitration.  With Keuchel’s gold glove, all-star start, and potential Cy Young award, leverage will lean his way.

2016 Status and My Recommendation

Though the Astros have been extremely cautious in their financial decisions, they will make sure Keuchel is coming back as their starting ace next season.

Next: Scott Kazmir