Justin Verlander with a career year?
When your 4, 5 and 6th pitchers are Lance McCullers Jr., Charlie Morton, and Collin McHugh, it’s not much of a “Bold Prediction” to say the pitching is going to be phenomenal this year. Without really needing depth to the starting rotation, the Astros went out and signed Gerrit Cole. Oh, and Justin Verlander will be here for a full season.
Presumably, your starting three will be Verlander, Keuchel and Cole followed up by that 4, 5, and 6th pitchers I mentioned who are better than presumably half the leagues starting three.
So what is bold about this staff?
How about a guy who is 12 wins shy of 200 wins for his career? What do you say about a 34-year-old who won 24 games in 2011 and flirted with almost 20 wins five times in his 13-year career? Add some depth and rest between games and he may as well be on the way to another 20 win campaign.
Verlander was 10-8 before arriving in Houston and won all 5 of his Starts here in the regular season and going 5-1 in the postseason. With roughly averaging about 27 quality starts in 2018 for the Astros, I think this year will be his best season since 2011. Being mentioned in 8 Cy Young discussions throughout his career and winning the award once is huge. Adding depth, rotation and keeping intact his offense is a big difference.
My Bold Prediction: Verlander will win 20 games going 20-5 and being discussed in the Cy Young race again.