Astros: Justin Verlander could offer a Randy Johnson like impact
Could Justin Verlander be Randy Johnson 2.0 for the Astros in 2017 and beyond?
If you are a true Astros fan, you remember the summer of Randy Johnson in 1998. Managed by the legendary Larry Dierker, the Astros won a franchise high 102-games. They were already a good team, but they took a chance on a future Hall of Famer in Johnson, who was 34 then. Johnson was having a disappointing season after finishing second in the AL for the Cy Young Award in 1997.
With the Mariners, Johnson was 9-10 with a 4.33 ERA in 23 starts. He had already amassed 213 strikeouts in 160 innings. The Mariners offense was not giving him much run support and he was unlucky with them. Then Johnson was traded to the Astros, he answered with a 10-1 record with a 1.28 ERA. He dominated with 116 strikeouts in 84 1/3 innings and another 17 strikeouts in 14 innings in the postseason.
If it weren’t for the Kevin Brown effect, we could have seen how good that Astros team could have been. The Astros were 47-32 after 79 games that year, they are 53-26 this year. This is a different team built by Jeff Luhnow to win. This team could win more than 102 this year.
The purpose of this article is not to compare Verlander to Johnson, but to look at what a change of scenery can do. They both struggled before the trade deadline, could Verlander turn the season around after a trade?