Starting Pitchers: Framber Valdez, Jake Odorizzi, Justin Verlander, Jose Urquidy and Luis Garcia
While in rotational order above, the breakdown of where starters pitch won’t matter to open the year. Lance McCullers Jr. wasn’t in the first two games last season in Oakland, and the right-hander was the best Astros pitcher by October.
A six-man rotation would behoove the Astros, if the team looks for more rest days for recovering pitchers like Verlander or for those who aren’t fully stretched out. Cristian Javier, Brandon Bielak and minor-league rostered arms could be spot-start candidates.
Relievers: Cristian Javier, Phil Maton, Héctor Neris, Ryan Pressly, Blake Taylor, Ryne Stanek, Rafel Montero, Pedro Báez, Zac Rosscup
Manager Dusty Baker believes in having two lefties in his bullpen, which sparked a left-handed battle between non-roster invitees, Rosscup and Adam Morgan, this spring. Based on standard metrics alone, Rosscup is having the better March.
The addition of Rosscup would require a corresponding 40-man move. McCullers has not pitched in a spring training game, making the righty a likely 60-day injured list patient to make room for a healthy arm. Neither Rosscup nor Morgan have strong track records, making the left-handed seats even more fringe.
Montero was late to camp due to visa issues, and Báez continues to face velocity concerns, leaving both of these two pitchers as candidates for extended spring training. Bryan Abreu and Seth Martinez are two options that could fill that void, while the possible addition of Ronel Blanco to the 40-man is not a bad option either.