The start of the 2017 season is rapidly approaching and the Astros Opening Day roster is taking shape.
As you may have heard by now, Collin McHugh will most likely start the 2017 season on the 10-day disabled list. His absence creates a need for the Astros in the starting rotation. Good thing that the team does have options to turn to in case of injuries.
Once such option is Joe Musgrove, the right-hander who impressed in his debut last year. In fact, his 2017 Spring Training results (2.45 ERA in 22 innings pitched with 15 strikeouts) was definitely encouraging to us as fans. The Astros were apparently encouraged as well as they decided to name Musgrove to the starting rotation to begin the 2017 season.
Musgrove’s first start will take place in the final game of the Opening Series against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park. That day is otherwise known as April 6th. Mark it on your calendars.
So, what does this news mean for the rest of the Astros starting rotation?
As you can tell, the Astros rotation will have to rely upon its depth to get by while McHugh prepares for his 2017 debut. This means that Mike Fiers has also made the Opening Day roster in the starting rotation.
Fiers hasn’t pitched much in Florida (8.1 innings) but he has the starting experience. Since the 2015 season, the 31-year old pitcher has made 60 combined starts for the Milwaukee Brewers and Astros. His struggles to close out the 2016 season though made it seem that the Astros could place him in the bullpen to start the season. In fact, Musgrove was Fiers’ fiercest competitor for the final rotation job before McHugh’s “dead arm” issues.
Another byproduct of this development is the likely addition of Brad Peacock to the bullpen. He will essentially be the long relief pitcher out of the bullpen. He could also get a spot start or two if another starter goes down.
**Statistics courtesy of MLB.com**