Astros News

Astros Morning Snippets: Justin Verlander, Forrest Whitley impress in first Spring Training appearance

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WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 19: Forrest Whitley #68 of the Houston Astros poses for a portrait during photo days at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on February 19, 2019 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 19: Forrest Whitley #68 of the Houston Astros poses for a portrait during photo days at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on February 19, 2019 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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The latest news around the Astros and baseball on February 25th, including updates on how Justin Verlander and Forrest Whitley performed on Monday.

Justin Verlander and Forrest Whitley look ready for the upcoming season

One of the bigger storylines in Astros‘ camp this year is who’ll be named the fifth starter in the rotation. Top prospect Forrest Whitley is a candidate for the job, although it seems doubtful if he’ll open the season with the club. For one, I think the Astros want to see Whitley establish a bit of consistency in Triple-A, thanks in part to a mostly lost season in 2018. Also, there are service time implications, which Houston doesn’t likely want to jeopardize.

That said, Whitley impressed in his spring debut, throwing two solid innings while striking out four against the Mets. He also didn’t allow a single hit or walk in his appearance. Here is a video link here from Pitcher List showing how dialed in Whitley was on Monday. For grins and giggles, here is another link for your viewing pleasure.

Verlander was the actual starter in Monday’s game against New York, and he also pitched two scoreless innings without allowing a hit or walk. He also struck one Met. Like Whitley, who followed him in this game, the veteran right-hander looked dialed in. If you’d like proof, check out this clip from the Pitcher List.

For more details, check out this article from our own Brett Chancey on how Verlander and Whitley already look in mid-season form.

Astros exercising “caution” with Hector Rondon

As noted here by Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros are taking the lessons learned from last year’s Spring Training to this year in their handling of Rondon, who struggled notably last September. As such, Houston is not going to use Rondon in a game situation until March 2nd. Per Rome, “There is no health issue, just an abundance of concern.” Rome also notes that the Astros “accelerated Rondon’s workload too fast” last year, which is a key reason behind the delayed spring debut in 2019.

Baseball America – Top Five Farm Systems in Baseball

Baseball America recently ranked the top five farm systems in baseball, and the Astros appeared on the list at number five!

The only clubs to rank higher than the Astros were the Padres, Rays, Blue Jays, and Braves, which makes sense as all four have highly rated farm systems in the industry.

Next. Astros Analysis: Having fun with Justin Verlander’s numbers. dark

Astros Stat of the Day

In what turned into his final season with the Astros, Charlie Morton made 30 starts last season. Through those 30 starts, Morton posted a 3.13 ERA across 167 innings. He helped led the rotation to atop the leaderboards in 2018. Hey, I don’t need a reason to write about Morton, who’ll still be an Astro in my mind. By the way, only 30 days ’til the Astros start their season in Tampa against the Rays on March 28th.

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