Astros Countdown: Top Five First Half MVP’s
By Colin Gay
The Astros had a remarkable first half.
With a winning percentage of .674, the Houston Astros head into the All Star break as the best team, record wise, in the American League as well as one of two teams that have 60 wins. Many players have been important parts of the success. However, there have been five players in particular that have been integral to where the Astros are today.
Coming off of a 2015 season that was disappointing to many, left-handed starter Dallas Keuchel has proved once again why he is, not only the ace of the Astros’ pitching staff, but one of the best pitchers in the AL.
In 11 starts, the 29-year-old veteran has a 1.67 ERA with a 0.87 WHIP. Matching his win total of 2015 with a perfect record of 9-0, the 2017 All Star has only given up two or more earned runs in three of his 11 starts.
Keuchel puts up these remarkable numbers without overpowering stuff. Using primarily a sinker, he has a career high 67.4 percent ground ball rate so far this season with a career low BABIP of .222. Even though he is a ground ball pitcher, Keuchel is getting hitters to swing and miss as well. He has a career high strikeout rate of 24.4 percent so far this season.
Keuchel has been back to his Cy Young-caliber ways in 2017.
However, he has not been doing it much as of late. He has not thrown a start since June 2nd because of a pinched nerve in his neck. Currently on the 10-day disabled list, Keuchel is expected to be back shortly after the All Star break.
Even though he has not pitched for the Astros in over a month, Keuchel helped get the Astros to where they are today and will be a very important piece in their second half run into October.