Astros Spring Notes: Lance McCullers, How We Missed You
A healthy Astros starting rotation can go a long way. Of course, this is an obvious statement.
Mandatory Spring Training update: Astros bested the St. Louis Hackers, er, I mean Cardinals to the score of 3-0. I know, that’s pretty clever, right? Or is lazy the right word?
But we shouldn’t take too much pride in this win as this is still Spring Training. And we all know that Spring Training wins mean absolutely nothing.
Instead, let’s concentrate on the overwhelming positive of this game. And his name is Lance McCullers.
You see, McCullers has not pitched in a competitive environment for the Astros since last summer. Elbow issues were the culprit. But yesterday’s start seems to be a step in the right direction for the young right hander.
This is definitely the news that the Astros needed when you consider the rotation question marks. Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh, two key rotation pieces, have yet to pitch themselves. So it is imperative that the Astros have a healthy McCullers this year. You just don’t know what to expect with a pitcher’s arm health.
And this season could be the season in which McCullers breaks out. Before his season-ending injury last year, the 23-year old put up a 3.22 ERA/3.00 FIP in 81 innings pitched. Imagine what could be possible if he can stay healthy for an entire season?
The question at this point is whether McCullers can pitch for an entire season with little to no arm issues. And while some will claim that he needs to be converted into a reliever, I believe he should stay in the rotation until proven otherwise. A transition to the bullpen should be a last resort for both him and the Astros.
Next: Astros Spring Notes, Don't Count Out A.J. Reed
On this one day though it was nice to see McCullers out there and pitching again. In other words, it was a welcomed sight.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and MLB.com**