The latest news around the Astros on March 18th, including commentary about Justin Verlander and proposed new rule changes in baseball.
Justin Verlander looks ready for Opening Day
I have a feeling that Verlander, the Astros‘ Opening Day starter, has been ready for the season to start for some time now. Although his latest start in Spring Training was against Houston’s minor leaguers, the veteran right-hander is already locked in for 2019 as he allowed only one hit and two walks while striking out ten hitters in 6 2/3 innings.
Rule changes in 2019, 2020
As you may already know, there are going to be some rule changes to Major League Baseball, some taking effect as early as this season. For example, there will now be only one trade deadline (July 31st). Yes, the August waiver trade deadline (August 31st) will no longer exist. Remember when the Astros acquired Verlander on August 31st, 2017? Well, that would not happen under the new rule. Personally, I am in agreement with this rule change.
Starting in 2020, there will be a trio of new rule changes implemented: New roster size constraints, a three-batter minimum for pitchers, and limits of when to use a position player as a pitcher. The most noteworthy change for 2020 will be the the three-batter minimum for pitchers, which is likely to be a lightning rod for fans. I’ll reserve praise or criticism until I see it the rule in actual game settings, but I do understand the motive for the change.
Josh Reddick…a first baseman?
We all know that the Astros value roster flexibility across the roster. It was one reason why Marwin Gonzalez, now with the Twins, was such an important cog for the club. Aledmys Diaz figures to pick up some of the slack left by Gonzalez, the Astros are also creating depth at a thin position with Josh Reddick: First base.