Astros: What Brandon Bielak and Cristian Javier mean to Forrest Whitley
By Josh Sippie
Houston Astros fans are still waiting anxiously for the arrival of Forrest Whitley, so what do the emergences of Brandon Bielak and Cristian Javier mean?
No one would have expected the Houston Astros starting rotation to look like this. Or just the pitching staff in general, for that matter. Rookies and unproven masses showing the kind of stuff you’d expect out of the best.
If you’d have told fans that two rookies would be in this starting rotation not all that long ago, perhaps the expectation would have been that one would be top-ranked prospect Forrest Whitley, who is instead still standing by, trying to sort out what consistency is.
Instead, Brandon Bielak and Cristian Javier, two guys who spent last year in AAA and had yet to feature in the majors, have taken center stage not just as temporary fill-ins, but as the kinds of guys that you can build a rotation around.
Forrest Whitley should be thrilled at Bielak’s and Javier’s success
Between the two of them, the numbers are pretty astounding. Javier has started four games, accounting for 21.2 innings, and he’s rocking a 0.83 WHIP, and 88.7 LOB%, and were it not for one bad outing against the Oakland A’s, he’d look unstoppable.
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Even with that bad start, he’s still given up just seven earned runs for a 2.91 ERA with 21 strikeouts and just seven walks.
Brandon Bielak isn’t far behind. With 21.1 innings pitched, just three starts, Bielik boasts a sub-2.00 ERA with a WHIP just over 1.00. He’s had a bit of a problem with free passes, but for his 11 walks, he adds 15 strikeouts.
Both of these guys have no reason not to stick in the starting rotation even when guys start getting healthy again. If they do.
So what happens to Whitley? Easy. There’s not as much pressure on Whitley. With a Major League team that isn’t desperate for solutions, Whitley has no reason to be rushed. He’s still younger than the two current rookies and if he needs another season or two to get in a better place, that’s perfectly fine.
The Astros have more pressing matters at hand, like how to build out the rotation for the long-term. If Whitley is a part of that, great. If not, Javier and Bielak hopefully will be. And I don’t care what the name on the back of the jersey says as long as they’re what’s best for what’s on the front.
I’ll still look forward to Whitley, but with other young guns to root for, there’s no reason to hold my breath for the No. 1 prospect.