New Astros Pitcher Doug Fister will Open Spring Training.
In a surprise twist, Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch has named his starting pitcher for the opener, Doug Fister will get the nod. Just to make sure we are on the same page, Fister will start the first game of Spring Training, nothing is wrong with Dallas Keuchel. Fister will throw the first pitch for the Astros on Thursday at about 12:00 CST versus the split-squad Phillies. The first game of spring changes the mindset of who should make the team to who will make the team based on their performances.
It’s nice to have games start again to see how ready the players are. While it doesn’t mean anything, Fister gets the first start of spring for several reasons according to A.J. Hinch per Brian McTaggart’s article Doug Fister to start Astros spring opener. Personally, I think people just want to see what he can offer.
Hinch wants to get a good look
The 32-year-old pitcher is a recent addition to the Astros pitching staff, but Hinch has not seen Fister pitch versus hitters yet this spring. While it is widely believed that Fister will claim the fifth starter role, there was much concern this offseason as to his health and stuff. In 2014, Fister was on the top of his game winning 16 games in his first season with the Nationals. Last season, he wasn’t quite as fortunate as he lost some velocity on his pitches. This start will be an audition to show what he has to offer the Houston Astros rotation.
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How ready he is
Despite being a relatively late signing, Fister appears to have prepared this offseason to shake off the poor season. Hinch wants to see where he is in getting ready for the season. Some starters only go one inning or so during their first start in Spring Training, so should Fister have good control and keep up a low pitch count, going two innings would be a great start.
Start the competition
Hinch also said that there could be as many as six to seven starters trying to stretch out this spring, which is better than in years past where they had eight or more starters. This means that the candidates for the rotation are Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers, Mike Fiers, Fister, Scott Feldman, and Brad Peacock. The first three pitchers are locked in, and the last two will come from two of Fiers, Fister, Feldman, or Peacock. All these guys will get the innings they need to decide who fills the last two spots.
I am very curious how this all plays out this spring, but it’s a good problem to have. How do you see this all playing out?
**Stats from Baseball-Reference**