Astros Countdown: Top Five Players to Watch in July
The injured pitchers
The Astros have had a depth problem at starting pitcher for the past month. At one point, four of their five starters were all on the disabled list at once, giving the opportunity for a pitcher like Peacock, Joe Musgrove, and Mike Fiers to get opportunities. However, with Lance McCullers already back in the rotation, the Astros are close to having their rotation back to normal.
Right-hander Charlie Morton has been a solid No. 3 starter for the Astros. In 10 starts, he has a 4.06 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP and a .251 batting average against. Using the ground ball to his advantage, Morton has a ground ball percentage of 51.3 percent so far this season. His strikeout percentage is very high as well, striking out 25.8 percent of batters faced. Going on the 10-day DL with a right lat strain, Morton could return to the Astros rotation, according to Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle, as soon as July 2nd.
Not quite as fast.
Right-hander Collin McHugh has not made a start at the major league level this season. Struggling with an elbow injury in spring training, he was sent on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Fresno early in the season. He then reaggravated the injury, causing him to miss the entire season up to this point. The Astros will be sending McHigh on a rehab assignment to Double-A Corpus Christi on June 30th.
Left-handed ace Dallas Keuchel has been struggling with a neck injury. He started the season off strong with a 1.67 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP through 11 starts. Now, it seems as though Keuchel will not come back until after the All-Star break.
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All three of these pitchers have been integral to the Astros success in years past. With all three healthy, it may solve the issue of starting pitching depth.
***Stats provided by Baseball Reference, MLB.com, and FanGraphs***