Astros: Which pitching prospect is ready to be the “Next Man Up”?
By Brian Murray
Two slots still remain open in the Astros’ rotation behind Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Collin McHugh. Which pitching prospect is ready to step up?
The Astros‘ pitchers and catchers report to West Palm Beach to begin Spring Training Feb. 13, and begin their workouts the following day. As it stands right now, only three of the five starters are set. Barring any moves by GM Jeff Luhnow to acquire support, Houston will be relying on one of their prospects, possibly two, to man the 4th and 5th rotation spots.
Thus far, Jeff Luhnow has spent this offseason utilizing a calm and conservative approach. He has made it clear that there are a few top prospects that are considered untouchable, in any trade talks. With the acquisition of Michael Brantley, that list of players may have changed, only time will tell.
But as the offseason progresses, team’s priorities are altered, and the number of quality players available tend to dwindle. There are currently only two of the top eleven free agent starting pitchers still on the board, one of those being Dallas Keuchel.
There have been rumors that Cleveland may now hold off trading Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer until mid-season, depending on their record.
The New York Mets and the Astros were rumored to be talking about a possible trade for Seth Lugo, but a recent five player deal between the teams did not include him. The Mets have also indicated that a trade involving Noah Syndergaard is becoming less likely.
The options for Houston to add a starting pitcher to strengthen their rotation are becoming fewer and fewer. The need to depend on a prospect or two to fill the void is looking more like a necessity, as Spring Training nears. Let’s take a closer look at some of those prospects that may be asked to step up.