The Houston Astros‘ pitching staff has been lack luster as of late, and with the bullpen still moving forward with question marks, they are looking to in-house talent as replacements. With the Sugar Land Skeeters housing three rehab stints of Framber Valdez, Jake Odorizzi and Blake Taylor, the reinforcements are nearing their return.
With these three arms making their way back to the staff, they have their own respected numbers in their rehab stints. One thing to always remember is the level of talent that these pitchers are facing and knowing that there is more to the numbers to evaluate, but we don’t have access to pitch breakdowns and video like we do for major league outings.
While the Astros’ pitching staff will get a much needed boost, let’s take a look at their rehab stints thus far.
With the left-hander going down in his first outing of spring training in March, Framber Valdez was looking to miss the whole season with a finger injury on his throwing hand. After multiple evaluations, Valdez didn’t have season-ending surgery and will make his return at an unknown date in the coming month.
With a rotation looking to get deeper into games, Valdez can bring that as he averaged seven innings a start in 2020. While a left-hander is hitting the rotation for the first time this season, the Astros will be adding a future ace to their arsenal.
First start: 3 IP, 7 H, 5 R, ER, 3 K
Second start: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2K
While having a delayed start to the 2021 season, Jake Odorizzi‘s signing was in response to Valdez possible missing the whole season. The right-hander hit the injured list on April 26 with a right pronator muscle strain that looked shaky at the time. General manager James Click was hinting toward Odorizzi not needing a rehab stint, but he ended up in a Skeeters’ uniform.
With a 10.13 ERA this season, Odorizzi hasn’t been in All-Star form since his injury in 2020. A delayed start can always be rushed depending on need of the arm, but after his time in Triple A, Odorizzi looks to get over that five-inning hump.
First start: 3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, BB, 4 K
Second start: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
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With the bullpen being retooled this offseason with more experienced arms, Blake Taylor was looked to for left-handed depth behind Brooks Raley. After a shaky start in April, the left-hander fell to the IL with a right-ankle sprain that looked gruesome on TV.
Taylor didn’t receive much chatter on a return but was snuck into Triple A. While Pedro Baez and Josh James are working in West Palm Beach, more experienced arms could be joining the bullpen as well. Through one appearance, Taylor looks like his 2020-self, but there is more to analyze from more opportunities to throw against competition.
First outing: IP, H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
With these three pitchers returning at unknown dates, three roster spots will have to open up. In my opinion, I believe that Brandon Bielak, Bryan Abreu and Kent Emanuel are the pitchers bumped to the minor leagues. Although these pitchers are anticipating on pitching soon, manager Dusty Baker is wanting them to be “over-ready.”
While Jose Urquidy is scheduled for a rehab start with the Corpus Christi Hooks on Wednesday, Click thinks it is possible he will only require one start. It will be interesting to see who is optioned for Urquidy; the right-hander would most likely take Luis Garcia’s roster spot, if no one falls to injury.