Option 3: Rebuild internally from the organization
As stated earlier, Forrest Whitley is apparently going nowhere and there is more talent where he came from. The Astros can also rob from the bullpen and move a reliever or two with starting experience back into the rotation. Then finally, as mentioned before, they could re-sign one their pitchers turned free agent.
Whitley, 21, has been widely projected to be one of the best pitching prospects in baseball today. The first round draft pick in 2016 is Houston’s #2 prospect and #8 on the MLB Pipeline. He had a great showing in this year’s Arizona Fall League with 36 SOs in six starts and had an ERA of 2.42. One downfall is the fact that he has yet to pitch above the AA level.
Josh James, 25, is another intriguing prospect within Houston’s organization. James was called up late last season and didn’t disappoint. In six regular season appearances, three of those starts, he compiled a 2.35 ERA winning the last two games he started. The postseason, however, did seem to be overwhelming for the inexperienced James.
The bullpen is one place the Astros are more than likely to go to for one of the rotation slots. Houston is leaning toward bringing Collin McHugh back into a starting role. A role that he is no stranger to, serving as a regular starter for the Astros from 2014-17, winning 19 games in 2015. Brad Peacock is another pitcher that could be borrowed from the bullpen with starting experience.
Only time will tell whether the Astros decide to make a big move in free agency or the trade market, or they attempt to stand pat and promote from within. Keep your eyes and ears open, no telling what Jeff Luhnow might have up his sleeve in this year’s Winter Meeting.