As a result of “Dead Arm” and slow progress, Collin McHugh‘s availability for the start of the Astros season is unlikely.
Collin McHugh will likely not be ready to start the season for the Astros. After his arbitration case, which led to McHugh’s new contract, it seemed likely the right-hander would be poised to be “ole reliable” at the heart of the Astros rotation. However, this does not appear to be the case.
The most likely scenario is the McHugh will start the season on the 10-day DL. This would mean he misses the first cycle through the rotation, and be in line to start on its second loop. Simply put, we may not see a McHugh start until their series against the Athletics. And that could be at the earliest. However, this is just clearly speculation based on the 10-day DL designation and the prospective outlook of the rotation.
His absence will open the door for Mike Fiers, and Joe Musgrove to both be present in the rotation during this time. Both pitchers have performed well in Spring Training, so this may develop into a dilemma if either one or both start strong this year. In hindsight, it is not a bad situation to have pitchers who are performing well. This may work to their advantage to expand the rotation and maintain health for the postseason.
McHugh has won 32 games from 2015-2016. He is a great component of the Astros rotation and has proven he can perform on bigger stages. The right-hander should find his way back into the rotation once ready. Hopefully, his delay in progression will help him avoid injury. Rushing McHugh back is not the ideal solution, and his presence in the later part of the season is valuable for a potential Astros postseason run.
McHugh threw 41 pitches in his most recent minor league outing. He is not so far behind that it would lead to an extended leave of absence from the mound. We will see what happens. McHugh should get a start on Monday with the Astros.
**Statistics courtesy from Baseball Reference**