2. The rotation will be top ten in baseball
While Josh James, Austin Pruitt, Jake Odorizzi, Andre Scrubb and Pedro Baez will have delayed starts to the 2021 season, the depth and help is on its way to the pitching group that used to hold former Cy Young candidates. As the Astros enter Opening Day with three prospects in their bullpen/rotation, my second bold prediction is that the pitching will find itself and all work out.
As James is slated to return in June, the right-hander is working back from hip surgery. While Scrubb, Baez and Odorizzi are still aiming to make their 2021 debuts sometime in April, Baez will need a 40-man roster spot to hold when he is ready. Lastly, Valdez has some good news, but we don’t have a timetable just yet.
Pruitt is another name aiming for an early summer return, as he hasn’t made his Astros’ debut yet. With all these in mind, the Astros’ rotation could look like Zack Greinke, Valdez, Lance McCuller Jr., Odorizzi and Jose Urquidy. While the bullpen is stacked with depth, the options include Cristian Javier, Brooks Raley, Pedro Baez, Joe Smith, Ryan Pressly, Ryne Stanek, Josh James and Austin Pruitt with Enoli Paredes, Andre Scrubb, Blake Taylor, Luis Garcia, Brandon Bielak and Bryan Abreu still having minor league options. This rotation is easily top ten in baseball.
Once everyone is healthy, it is a good issues to have, as the Astros could possibly make some deals at the deadline. To make matters even more interesting, Justin Verlander is aiming to be a reliever in October, but that’s something to take with a grain of salt.