The Astros’ Spring Training is in full swing and week one of Grapefruit League games is behind us. Let’s take a look at what we’ve seen so far.
The Houston Astros now have eight Spring Training games under their belt. We’re getting a good look at the prospects that are trying to stand out in the crowd and the veterans are beginning to slowly work in more playing time. There have been some positives and there have been the negatives.
We’ve gotten a peek at the four pitchers that are the assumed 1-4 spots of the starting rotation, Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Collin McHugh, and Wade Miley. Although a very small sample to make any real assessment, they’ve started off the Spring in fine fashion. In six total innings between them, only one earned run, two hits and one walk were surrendered.
Those two hits and the run were all given up by McHugh. He left the game early due to some discomfort in his back. He also hit one batter threw one wild pitch. “I hit a guy and threw a ball away, so the Spring Training bingo is already full underway.” McHugh stated after the game. The back issue doesn’t seem to be serious problem.
Unfortunately for Josh James, his injury is much more serious. James suffered a quad strain, and as a result, A. J. Hinch has basically taken him out of the running for the highly coveted fifth spot in the rotation. Hinch also indicated that Forrest Whitley, J. B. Bukauskas and Corbin Martin will be starting out the season in the Minors Leagues, declaring them “not ready”.
But don’t tell Whitley and Bukauskas they’re not ready, they did their best to prove differently. Whitley pitched two innings following Verlander’s start and looked impressive, striking out three batters and allowing no base runners. Bukauskas has also impressed in the four innings he’s appeared in giving up just one hit and striking out three.
Martin hasn’t started out so well in his two appearances and 4.2 innings. He has given up five hits, one walk and two runs. Those two runs were both the result of a pair of homers.
Out of the three pitchers that seem to be the favorites for the 5th starting spot, Brad Peacock, Framber Valdez and Brady Rodgers, Peacock has shined the most. He pitched two perfect innings of baseball while striking out two. Rodgers has had trouble allowing eight hits and four runs in five innings of work. Valdez is still plagued with control issues walking three batters in 3.1 innings, also giving up four hits and two runs.
The Astros’ relief pitching has been a mixed bag of results in the first week. Roberto Osuna has looked as good as expected pitching two scoreless innings with three strikeouts in two appearances. Chris Devenski has somewhat of a rough start to Spring giving up four runs on three hits and a walk in just one-third of an inning.
Yes, it’s just the first week of Spring Training games, but it gives us a little insight of what has happened to this point. We’ll continue to watch and evaluate, as the games continue and the pitchers rack up more innings.