Astros: Pitching prospect Cristian Javier could play important role in 2020

With his meteoric rise through the Astros organization and the team’s loss of pitchers through free agency, it may be time for Cristian Javier to shine.

As the offseason progresses and free agents are taken off the board one by one, it is becoming more apparent that the Astros may need to rely heavily on the success of their young pitching prospects and Cristian Javier is one of those youngsters that may end up playing a key role on Houston’s pitching staff in 2020.

Javier has been quickly climbing the ladder of the Astros Minor League system and has shown excellent results at each and every level. His performance was rewarded by being one of the players the Astros added to their 40-man roster in November to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft.

The 22-year-old native of the Dominican Republic leapfrogged to 9th on the list of Astros MLB Top 30 Prospects, from not even being ranked in the preseason. Javier was named the 2019 Minor League Pitcher of the Year by the Astros for his very successful campaign last season.

“It didn’t really surprise me,” Javier said through an interpreter. “During the offseason I worked really hard to get ready for this season and fortunately it worked out the way I wanted it to.” via Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle

He started out the season with the Class A+ Advanced Fayetteville Woodpeckers before advancing to AA Corpus Christi after just seven games, then playing his final two games of the season at AAA Round Rock.

In those 26 games total, he ended with a record of 8-3 and an impressive 1.74 ERA. Javier racked up 170 strikeouts in his 113.2 innings of work for a 13.5 SO/9IP ratio and kept his opponents’ batting average down to .130. In Javier’s five years in the Minors, the highest year-ending ERA was just 2.70, every other season has been below the 2.30 mark.

The Astros GM Jeff Luhnow has indicated that Javier will most likely join Houston’s pitching staff sometime in 2020, but will probably begin the season at AAA Round Rock. The soon to begin Spring Training games will tell a lot, but I have a feeling he’ll be called up sooner rather than later.