Astros AM Breakdown: Valuing the contributions of Lance McCullers
The contributions of Astros’ starter Lance McCullers this season has flown somewhat underneath the radar.
A key strength of the Astros this season has obviously been its starting rotation. To put a number or two on the rotation’s value, how about a 2.92 ERA and 11.5 fWAR in 518 2/3 innings?
Again, obviously a strength. Here is how the Astros’ rotation currently breaks down by ERA and innings pitched this season.
Justin Verlander: 1.82 ERA in 113 2/3 innings
Charlie Morton: 2.54 ERA in 95 2/3 innings
Gerrit Cole: 2.56 ERA in 105 2/3 innings
Lance McCullers: 3.55 ERA in 101 1/3 innings
Dallas Keuchel: 4.22 ERA in 102 1/3 innings
Plenty of attention, and deservingly so, has been spent on the likes of Verlander, Morton, and Cole. Keuchel and his struggles have been a popular point of discussion as of late. Sort of stuck in the middle without much hoobla is none other than McCullers.
While McCullers doesn’t possess the shiny ERA of his teammates, his contributions to the 2018 Astros cannot be overstated. For one, he has already thrown 101 1/3 innings. In his first three major league seasons, McCullers has never topped 125 2/3 innings, which was back in 2015. Barring an injury, McCullers is well on his way to set a new career-high in innings pitched in 2018. There is value to a starting pitcher staying healthy and providing respectable results.
McCullers also possesses the capability of pitching like his teammates. In his latest start in Tampa on Thursday night, the age-24 pitcher shutout the Rays over seven innings.
When McCullers is on top of his game, he is one of the better starting pitchers in baseball. In fact, he has surrendered no more than three earned runs in all but two starts this season. But the two starts when he did allow more three runs were doozies.
4/11 at Twins: 8 earned runs
5/26 at Indians: 7 earned runs
Both starts were on the road, so there’s that. McCuller’s 2.66 ERA at home in Minute Maid Park this season is the 23rd-best out of all starting pitchers with more than 30 innings pitched. And if you were to eliminate those two poor starts, McCullers would have a 2.42 ERA over 93 1/3 innings.
The Astros’ starting rotation is really, really good. And McCullers is a key reason why, even if he doesn’t receive the full amount of attention that he should.
Houston Astros News and Notes From Around FanSided
AJ Reed gets a chance with Yuli Gurriel on the paternity list [Climbing Tal’s Hill – Eric Huysman]
Astros Minor League Spotlight: Myles Straw [Climbing Tal’s Hill – Andrew Gleinser]
More Houston Astros and General Baseball News From Around the Internet
Astros tie club mark as McCullers leads shutout [MLB.com – Brian McTaggart]
Flu-Like Symptoms: HBP Grudge Matches [Baseball Prospectus – Rob Mains]
Next: Astros plan on placing Carlos Correa on the DL
We hope you enjoyed this edition of the Astros AM Breakdown.