Starter #5: Mike Fiers
The last spot on the starting rotation goes to Mike Fiers, the veteran pitcher who had an up-and-down 2016 season.
In light of McHugh’s injury, Fiers was automatically thruster back into the starting rotation despite being the presumed favorite to be the long relief pitcher. A la Scott Feldman from last year.
Those plans may have been temporarily derailed, however, Fiers’ still holds value as a starting pitcher. Let’s not forget that he has a combined 60 starts in the past two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers and Astros. Sure, he may post another season like 2016 (4.48 ERA/4.43 FIP), or he could revert back into 2015 (3.69 ERA/4.03 FIP). I am sure that the Astros would prefer a return closer to his 2015 metrics. As a fifth starter in the rotation though, the leash may be a bit longer than last year.
Of course, his time as a starting pitcher this year is contingent on two factors: Musgrove’s results and McHugh’s health. And only time will tell how this storyline unfolds.