Astros: Four free agent starting pitchers who could be fits

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 07: Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers in the first inning against the Washington Nationals in game four of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 07, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 07: Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers in the first inning against the Washington Nationals in game four of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 07, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 14: Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the third inning of the game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on June 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 14: Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the third inning of the game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium on June 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

Rich Hill

Yes, Hill will turn 40 years old before opening day. Yes, he’s made more than 25 starts in a season only once in his career, and that was back in 2007. He’s one of the oldest players in the game and he’s not that durable, so why would the Astros even consider him?

They should consider him because when he’s pitched, he’s been remarkably effective. The left-handed curveball specialist continues to put up strong numbers on the mound, even as he’s missed time with injuries. Ever since his resurgence in 2015, he’s been excellent.

In his time with the Dodgers beginning in late 2016, he’s posted a 30-16 record with a 3.16 ERA in 68 starts and one relief appearance. He’s averaged 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings and a sterling WHIP of 1.079. Even as he’s aged, his effectiveness has not diminished.

Take this past season for example. Even though he only made 13 starts, he still posted a 2.45 ERA and 11 strikeouts per nine. All this goes to show that when he’s on the mound, he hasn’t had any problem missing bats.

Part of that goes to a stat the Astros love — spin rate. Hill is among the best in the majors in spin rate on both his curve and his fastball. He’s also among the best in average exit velocity and hard-hit percentage.

Given his age, he could surely be had on a one-year deal, which would obviously appeal to the Astros. They probably can’t rely on him for 30-plus starts, but that’s okay. If you can get 20 effective starts from him on a one-year deal, wouldn’t you take that? I would.

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