The Houston Astros’ rotation will look far different in 2021, but one writer believes it still ranks among the top 10 in baseball.
On Tuesday, Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com released his top 10 rotations heading into the 2021 season. The Houston Astros were mentioned in the article under the 10th spot as Castrovince left it up to readers to choose the final team. The Astros do not have an ace on their staff, and while they have talented young arms, they seemingly are not ready to be mentioned among the top rotations in baseball.
The young talent, however, does point to a promising future with Forrest Whitley, Bryan Abreu, and Luis Garcia making their way to the majors in the next few years. But 2021 will be another season without 2019 Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander and if he was healthy, the rotation would be in the top 10.
Castrovince mentioned “the emergence of Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier demonstrated the Astros’ depth beyond Zack Greinke and Lance McCullers Jr.” There is more to dig into about the Astros future and the current strengths of the rotation, but it goes to show that the top analytical writers are monitoring their young arms.
Right now, the Astros starting five is Valdez, McCullers Jr., Greinke, Urquidy, and Javier. It looks like a slightly above average rotation, at least on paper, but it is much different than having two Cy Young candidates in the front end. The Astros should browse the market this offseason and look for a veteran such as Chris Archer to round out the rotation while using Javier, who came in at 14th in MLB Pipelines top rookies list as a sixth starter or in long relief.
2021 will be a great year for the youthful staff, but it will also be a test for the veteran arms of Greinke and McCullers Jr. as both will be free agents after the season. The two right-handers have different approaches and techniques which present diversity and challenges to hitters.
The other teams mentioned at 10 came with the “What if?” question, but the Astros seemed to be the one of the only teams along with the Miami Marlins that pointed to their youthful depth for success.